Author Topic: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now  (Read 39174 times)

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #20 on: 04/04/2013 04:14 am »
Keynes is bunk anyway.

What's needed is some Schumpeter style creative destruction. Those engineers can be doing useful things elsewhere.

But Lar, he said "national security". National security! National security. It's not just the root password to the constitution, ya know? It also buys you a free pass on economics, budget deficits, common sense... the list is endless. One day those engineers working at MSFC will be called upon to, umm, ahh, launch something for the DoD? That's my guess anyway. I'm not exactly sure what national security need they're serving, it's probably secret anyway, but clearly they need a make work project to keep them fed or they might go learn a marketable skill.. then there will be no-one to launch the missiles or whatever. It's not that it's a horrible argument that makes no sense, it's just that we're not cleared to know all the details.. also, Inspiration. It's about the kids. Anyway, cancel SLS and it will be the end of human spaceflight - ya know, like the retirement of the Shuttle was? - and you like human spaceflight, don't ya? A penny for NASA, that's all we're asking.

« Last Edit: 04/04/2013 04:16 am by QuantumG »
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Lar

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #21 on: 04/04/2013 04:34 am »
Keynes is bunk anyway.

What's needed is some Schumpeter style creative destruction. Those engineers can be doing useful things elsewhere.

But Lar, he said "national security". National security! National security. It's not just the root password to the constitution, ya know? It also buys you a free pass on economics, budget deficits, common sense... the list is endless. One day those engineers working at MSFC will be called upon to, umm, ahh, launch something for the DoD? That's my guess anyway. I'm not exactly sure what national security need they're serving, it's probably secret anyway, but clearly they need a make work project to keep them fed or they might go learn a marketable skill.. then there will be no-one to launch the missiles or whatever. It's not that it's a horrible argument that makes no sense, it's just that we're not cleared to know all the details.. also, Inspiration. It's about the kids. Anyway, cancel SLS and it will be the end of human spaceflight - ya know, like the retirement of the Shuttle was? - and you like human spaceflight, don't ya? A penny for NASA, that's all we're asking.


Ya know, you're right. You moved me so much I might even be nice to the TSA tomorrow when I endure my twice weekly humiliation at their hands[1] ...

Let's bring it around though. You and I know SLS needs to go. You and I know SLS will actually live on like a zombie, draining vital essence from actual good things, for years if not decades. Unless libertarians suddenly get swept into office. But that's not going to happen.

Surely Pete Wilson knows it too. So why'd he sacrifice what remains of his career this way?

1 - not bloody likely that I'll ever be nice to them.
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #22 on: 04/04/2013 04:48 am »
Let's bring it around though. You and I know SLS needs to go.

I'm apathetic to how exactly NASA wastes their budget.

Quote
Surely Pete Wilson knows it too. So why'd he sacrifice what remains of his career this way?

I expect he has tenure.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Lar

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #23 on: 04/04/2013 05:33 am »

I'm apathetic to how exactly NASA wastes their budget.


So I gather. I'm not. Some waste is better than others. Silly me.
"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 Chris Bergin

Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #24 on: 04/04/2013 05:33 am »
Right, I think this is back on topic, ish.

It's still got me wondering if it'll last when some people put stock into a short op-ed from someone we all had to google to work out who he is, so let's try and aim to have a productive thread.

Remember, I'm the one getting (a lot of) angry report to mod notifications from people who are pretty outraged by some of the posts made on here (and I can see why to be honest)....but someone's opinion isn't a breach of site rules.

Rock and a hard place.
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Offline Lar

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #25 on: 04/04/2013 05:37 am »
Right, I think this is back on topic, ish.

It's still got me wondering if it'll last when some people put stock into a short op-ed from someone we all had to google to work out who he is...

So the upshot is... (my prediction) this oped will cause a (very[1]) minor ripple. Some outraged comments will be posted in various places. RAND might reassign him to less fun stuff. No other change in anything.

1 - only places like here which, lets face it, are great sources of info but not a lot of influence...
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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 KEdward5

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #26 on: 04/04/2013 05:39 am »
I actually like this thread. It reassures me there is no concise argument behind killing SLS, a wish from such people who seem more concerned with budget funding than future accomplishments, yet support a move that would cost and lose billions of dollars.

Irony.

Offline Lar

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #27 on: 04/04/2013 05:44 am »
I actually like this thread. It reassures me there is no concise argument behind killing SLS, a wish from such people who seem more concerned with budget funding than future accomplishments, yet support a move that would cost and lose billions of dollars.

Irony.

I'm afraid I don't quite follow what you're saying.
"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 Chris Bergin

Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #28 on: 04/04/2013 05:45 am »
Right, I think this is back on topic, ish.

It's still got me wondering if it'll last when some people put stock into a short op-ed from someone we all had to google to work out who he is...

So the upshot is... (my prediction) this oped will cause a (very[1]) minor ripple. Some outraged comments will be posted in various places. RAND might reassign him to less fun stuff. No other change in anything.

1 - only places like here which, lets face it, are great sources of info but not a lot of influence...

That's a good point. Not that it would ever happen, but there could be a massive 50,000 post petition thread where everyone posts in support of scrapping SLS.... and it would have zero influence.

I'd go as far as to say there will be no ripple from this op-ed. Just as there would not be a ripple had this guy written a gushing article about how SLS is amazing. That's not a reflection on the person who wrote it, that's more to do with media influence bellow the likes of the Washington Post is pretty weak.
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Offline STS Tony

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #29 on: 04/04/2013 05:48 am »


I'm afraid I don't quite follow what you're saying.

I was going to say something similar about every post you've made on this thread! :)

So where are you all going to find the money, which will be several billion, to cancel SLS?

Offline spectre9

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #30 on: 04/04/2013 06:29 am »
Falcon Heavy is a disruptive development. Until it actually exists it's not an alternative. I will treat all FH based proposals as pure fantasy until SpaceX sorts out their development and operations for such a large launch vehicle.

SLS is still the best path forward today.

Skylab II, Gateway station, Fast track Europa mission are all good options for SLS.

If a lunar lander is funded of course NASA can then visit a lunar pole. SLS can then evolve to support NEA/Mars missions.

Even SpaceX doesn't think FH is big enough. They wouldn't be considering a 7m+ core MCT if they did.

Offline MP99

Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #31 on: 04/04/2013 06:47 am »
Hmm.

My first thought was "Ugg, here we go again".

My second thought was "Save $10 billion? Is that before or after they have to pay up the contracts with Boeing and such - then pay off thousands (?) of people they would need to fire from the Program, etc?"

Chris,

if you remember when NASA was slow-walking CxP, Gen Bolden announced that the contractors had to keep enough reserves from money already received to cover any costs if the programme got cancelled. Can't find an article about that, unfortunately.

Caused a major slow-down on CxP work at the time. (And some hassle to other programmes like JWST, IIRC.)

ISTM that the same would apply today.

cheers, Martin

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #32 on: 04/04/2013 10:18 am »
Anyone remember all the “happy talk” that we needed to stop flying the Shuttle in order to fund SLS?

I don't... probably because there was no such happy talk.

By the time SLS was introduced (NASA Authorization Act of 2010, in the summer), ending the shuttle was already a fait accompli; there was no longer a choice whether to keep flying it or not.

Perhaps you have confused SLS with its predecessor, Ares.

Quote
What happened to those savings?

Some went to SLS, some to Orion, as Chris stated.

Some went to ISS (Shuttle was basically absorbing some of the overhead of running Mission Control and other facilities, and those costs were absorbed by ISS since it's the only "active" program using those facilities).

Some went to Commercial Crew.

And some was used to reduce NASA's budget (it's lower, by several hundred million dollars, than it was when shuttle was flying).
Hey Jorge,
Yup, sometime SLS gets blurred in my corrupt memory files with Ares V... ;D I seem to recall during Augustine that the discussion was along those lines that an increase in NASA funding was required to extend the last Shuttle flights and continue developing a new launch vehicle and Orion. NASA couldn’t afford both.  Others have mentioned on NSF the question what happened to the savings of no longer flying Shuttle over the past couple of years, but let’s stay on topic I guess...
 
Bottom line is I don’t see savings to be derived form canceling SLS, but a smaller-flying-sooner and at a higher flight rate as an investment if commercial cannot fill the void. Please feel free to correct any recollection of facts as there were so many convolutions from CxP to SLS...  Memory fails at times...  :)

(Edit to add: I think the “happy talk” came via the WH about saving from ending Shuttle, CxP , Orion (which became MPCV)and going into R&D and future tech) Once again feel free... ;)
« Last Edit: 04/04/2013 10:33 am by Rocket Science »
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Offline JBF

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #33 on: 04/04/2013 10:40 am »
That's an argument an anti-NASA person would use, but as an American I don't consider NASA to be wasting any money.

Of course they are wasting money. Every organization does. The problem is that NASA is hemorrhaging money on a vehicle that has no certainly of ever actually flying...

The real answer is to give Human Spaceflight a big new mission which is *explicitly* not tied to a particular launch vehicle. An example would an L2 station, but there are others. Once you set that mission, then the requirements will follow. If SLS is needed to fill those requirements, so be it. But if not, cancel it.

The point is to be focused on the mission as the product, not the Shuttle mentality of the launch vehicle as product.

I agree the primary goal should be the mission not the launch vehicle.
"In principle, rocket engines are simple, but that’s the last place rocket engines are ever simple." Jeff Bezos

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #34 on: 04/04/2013 11:03 am »
Hmm.

My first thought was "Ugg, here we go again".

My second thought was "Save $10 billion? Is that before or after they have to pay up the contracts with Boeing and such - then pay off thousands (?) of people they would need to fire from the Program, etc?"

Chris,

if you remember when NASA was slow-walking CxP, Gen Bolden announced that the contractors had to keep enough reserves from money already received to cover any costs if the programme got cancelled. Can't find an article about that, unfortunately.

Caused a major slow-down on CxP work at the time. (And some hassle to other programmes like JWST, IIRC.)

ISTM that the same would apply today.

cheers, Martin

It's a bit fuzzy, but I remember watching a Senate webcast where they spoke of lots of money to pay the contracts off.....and again, when the new plan came in, they said they transfered the contracts over?

Yeah, we need some articles or documentation to nail that down.

And I forgot all about the thread where we all get to realign the forward plan (in a "this is a fun exercise, not a "We know better than NASA" style). I'll do that today.
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #35 on: 04/04/2013 11:51 am »
Anyone remember all the “happy talk” that we needed to stop flying the Shuttle in order to fund SLS?

I don't... probably because there was no such happy talk.

By the time SLS was introduced (NASA Authorization Act of 2010, in the summer), ending the shuttle was already a fait accompli; there was no longer a choice whether to keep flying it or not.

Perhaps you have confused SLS with its predecessor, Ares.

Quote
What happened to those savings?

Some went to SLS, some to Orion, as Chris stated.

Some went to ISS (Shuttle was basically absorbing some of the overhead of running Mission Control and other facilities, and those costs were absorbed by ISS since it's the only "active" program using those facilities).

Some went to Commercial Crew.

And some was used to reduce NASA's budget (it's lower, by several hundred million dollars, than it was when shuttle was flying).
Hey Jorge,
Yup, sometime SLS gets blurred in my corrupt memory files with Ares V... ;D I seem to recall during Augustine that the discussion was along those lines that an increase in NASA funding was required to extend the last Shuttle flights and continue developing a new launch vehicle and Orion. NASA couldn’t afford both.  Others have mentioned on NSF the question what happened to the savings of no longer flying Shuttle over the past couple of years, but let’s stay on topic I guess...
 
Bottom line is I don’t see savings to be derived form canceling SLS, but a smaller-flying-sooner and at a higher flight rate as an investment if commercial cannot fill the void. Please feel free to correct any recollection of facts as there were so many convolutions from CxP to SLS...  Memory fails at times...  :)

(Edit to add: I think the “happy talk” came via the WH about saving from ending Shuttle, CxP , Orion (which became MPCV)and going into R&D and future tech) Once again feel free... ;)

NASA's budget suffered a swift $1.6 billion cut after STS-135 - about half what it cost to annually run the Shuttle program and some missions.  http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-house-appropriations-cuts-nasa-budget-359215/

I remember vivid discussions here and on other websites about how killing Shuttle & CXP etc would allow the 'Shuttle/CXP Money Pit's' funds to be redirected towards 'proper' technologies and 'real' manned space projects. These things were said - nay promised - after the demise of Constellation. It didn't happen! The 'Evil' Ares 1 'Stick' and 'Ares V' were 'sucking all the air out of the room'.

SLS is a much smaller, leaner program than Ares 1 & V together - even though Ares 1 & V both had clearly defined roles and missions ahead of them: far less vague than what currently awaits SLS.

I said in 2011 that if you cut funds, they wont come back in another form. I was told I was wrong. I was not. QuantumG said something I partly agree with; along the lines of "is it better for NASA to waste money than to not get it at all?"

No: CXP wouldn't have been a waste of money if some more sensible choices were made and also some hard, pragmatic changes (not enough space here to get into all that). America would have been well on the way to surpassing Apollo by the early 2020s and newer, more efficient technologies and cost savings could have been integrated into CXP over time in an evolutionary, 'modular' way. SLS would not be a waste of money if a clearly defined path, plan and strategy to make use of its unique lifting power were implemented. But I believe those Strategy & Plan(s) are deliberately being held back, probably for a multitude of reasons.

And if the funding of SLS were diverted to a viable alternative; say, further Evolved expendable launch vehicles and Propellant Depots - then that money would be well-spent. But if SLS is cancelled and further billions are spent 'winding-down' the project with nothing to follow it; then there will be no 'good money' to be thrown about after the 'bad'. :(

Give SLS a purpose; some missions!

1: EML-2 Station. 2: Near Earth Asteroid. 3: The moons of Mars. There! Simple, really. After that? Crews to the Lunar Poles, the Sands of Mars and drilling into Ceres...
« Last Edit: 04/04/2013 12:18 pm by MATTBLAK »
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Offline MP99

Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #36 on: 04/04/2013 11:53 am »
Hmm.

My first thought was "Ugg, here we go again".

My second thought was "Save $10 billion? Is that before or after they have to pay up the contracts with Boeing and such - then pay off thousands (?) of people they would need to fire from the Program, etc?"

Chris,

if you remember when NASA was slow-walking CxP, Gen Bolden announced that the contractors had to keep enough reserves from money already received to cover any costs if the programme got cancelled. Can't find an article about that, unfortunately.

Caused a major slow-down on CxP work at the time. (And some hassle to other programmes like JWST, IIRC.)

ISTM that the same would apply today.

cheers, Martin

It's a bit fuzzy, but I remember watching a Senate webcast where they spoke of lots of money to pay the contracts off.....and again, when the new plan came in, they said they transfered the contracts over?

Yeah, we need some articles or documentation to nail that down.

And I forgot all about the thread where we all get to realign the forward plan (in a "this is a fun exercise, not a "We know better than NASA" style). I'll do that today.

Ah, this looks relevant: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-609R (click for full text):-

Quote
...After the President proposed canceling the Constellation program in his fiscal year 2011 budget request, NASA reported that the agency's costs associated with terminating the various Constellation program contracts could reach close to $1 billion. As we reported previously, responsibility for these potential costs became an issue between NASA and its Constellation contractors. The questions about responsibility for potential termination liability costs, coupled with the Constellation program's constrained budget profile, led to disruption in work activities at some contractors. Because of these questions regarding responsibility for potential termination liability costs and the impact they could have on NASA's ability to execute its projects effectively, Congress asked us to assess NASA's policies and practices pertaining to the management and funding of contract termination liability, as well as interactions between the agency and its contractors related to termination liability.

NASA's policy on management and funding of contract termination liability is to rely on the FAR's limitation of funds or limitation of cost clauses, which act as a mechanism to limit the government's liability in the event of a contract termination to the amount of funds currently allotted to a contract. ...
(My bold)

cheers, Martin

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #37 on: 04/04/2013 01:02 pm »
I said in 2011 that if you cut funds, they wont come back in another form. I was told I was wrong. I was not.

You're still wrong. The minor cuts that followed Shuttle were more than made up in later programs. NASA's budget is flat and has been for decades. Your claim is that cutting X will be the end of human spaceflight where X = whatever the current boondoggle is. The cut inevitably comes, human spaceflight doesn't end.


Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline muomega0

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #38 on: 04/04/2013 01:51 pm »


I'm afraid I don't quite follow what you're saying.

I was going to say something similar about every post you've made on this thread! :)

So where are you all going to find the money, which will be several billion, to cancel SLS?

Finding the money is quite easy.  You see, even if NASA had SLS completely operational now, it could not afford to operate the HLV.  Once NASA decided to use the smaller LVs to launch crew, the mixed fleet costs (maintaining both smaller and larger LVs) sealed its fate.  The 2010 Law just postponed the inevitable. 

In generic terms, simply cut the product lines:  SSME, J2X, SRM, ET and likely Orion too (What does 21 days buy NASA..its a 3 day trip and its not a year or more required?).  SLS/Orion budget is 2.5B/year.  These are tough cuts.  Hopefully a good transition plan is well underway.  The great news is that there is metric tonnes of work ahead.

One has too much rocket and no budget for missions.  Even the depot centric architecture, has 32% less funds to conduct a bare bones mission set.  See HLV Evolution for details.

When you need launch services from the smaller LVs, you purchase them.  But it will take several years to have mission hardware and/or payloads in place.  The depot centric architecture provides NASA program managers the flexibility to shift funds from development to missions from one FY to another, unlike the past several decades.

The Calls to Cancel SLS are overdue and will continue


Quote from: RocketScience
Give SLS a purpose; some missions!
1: EML-2 Station. 2: Near Earth Asteroid. 3: The moons of Mars. There! Simple, really. After that? Crews to the Lunar Poles, the Sands of Mars and drilling into Ceres...

Giving SLS missions is the problem.   It all started with the sand chart that showed ISS splashdown in 2015, giving up ISS for the moon and the moon for Mars *ONLY* if one added 1-3B/year. 

but even this plan ignored technology development and a sustainable architecture...everything is expendable. Worse, it neglected to add mass to improve crew health in the lunar and Mars architectures (and who says NASA does not take risks!). 

There is nothing new in this post--many folks pulled together key technology plans and paths forward over the past few years and decades, only to have them ignored.

So hence the key statement one again:

one needs depots (including a LEO ZBO depot) a L2 Gateway as a stepping stone testing crew health mitigation strategies to get the flight rate up (for decades?) to extend crew stays to a year or more in the proper environment and a reuseable LEO to L2/lunar transfer vehicle, IMHO.   The mars flyby in 2030s is clearly an achievable goal with substantially less risk.   Perhaps it will happen sooner and more frequently and for longer duration.

Wilson outlines a slightly different flexible path forward:
Kill SLS to Save HSF
Quote from: PeterWilson

Simply put, the SLS program should be canceled now to free up approximately $10 billion programmed for this decade. This money could then be redirected to continue the planned flight tests of the Orion spacecraft with the much lower-cost Falcon Heavy booster while making a robust investment in a first-generation space station in the vicinity of the Moon. An investment in such a cislunar station would provide—by the early 2020s—a multifunctional platform to act as a fuel depot, a workstation for robotic operations on the Moon and a habitat to protect against the more intense radiation environment outside of the Earth's magnetic field. This station could even be used as a habitat during longer-duration human missions to an asteroid and eventually to Mars.


It is quite and exciting new beginning for HSF yet bittersweet.

The time for SLS and likely Orion  is not now. 

Online JohnFornaro

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Re: Pete Wilson (RAND): cancel SLS now
« Reply #39 on: 04/04/2013 02:42 pm »
My first thought was "Ugg, here we go again".

My second thought was "Save $10 billion?

My third thought ...

continuing in this vein:

My first thought:  Here we go again.

Second thought:  There would be no savings; that money would go to some other nonsense.  Should it stay in NASA, it would be virtually certain to be wasted.  Wasted, because it would be another cancelled LV on the same scale as Ares, coming on the heels of Ares, and accompanied by the same lack of accountability regarding Ares.  There is every expectation that the money would be wasted.

Third thougt:  Arguments regarding NASA jobs providing the country with national security are simply false.  It is the jobs in the defense industry which pertain to our national security.

Fourth thought:  Are we being kept on planet or not?

Now to the article.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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