Author Topic: Senate Commerce Committee Executive and Congress Version - July 15 onwards  (Read 677839 times)

Offline HappyMartian

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Not to ask a silly off topic question, but how is the VASIMR engine going to get back to Earth for analysis?

Couldn't it be analyzed on orbit? That's the whole point of the ISS, it's a flying laboratory.

Quote
If someone can just point me to a reference please... If "game changing" technology can't get back to Earth for analysis... the supporters of it are talking hot air.


If arbitrary thing A can't happen, pushing the technological envelope further is a bad idea. Brilliant.

I would love to push the technological envelope. I will be ecstatic if the VASIMR engine works out at the ISS.

How big is the VASIMR engine?
How big is the biggest ISS airlock?
Are some of the ISS crew members going to be trained in the skills needed to properly take apart the VASIMR engine?
Are any of the labs properly equiped to deal with the potential environmental and other issues of taking apart the  VASIMR engine in zero G?
Where is the Internet reference that answers these types of questions about the VASIMR engine?

I'm glad to know that Cog_in_the_machine has the answers equal to his or her sarcasm. I always have questions.

Cheers!
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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How much commonality would there be with maintaining Shuttle in the mean-time?

The big money drain would, as always, be the Orbiters themselves and their maintenance teams.
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Offline kkattula

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How much of that capability will be required to operate SLS & MPCV, and what is the cost to maintain that across the gap, or to re-build it before test flights begin?

How much commonality would there be with maintaining Shuttle in the mean-time?

cheers, Martin

For a long time, Direct have said that Shuttle extension only makes sense in parallel with true SD-HLV development, because of the common infrastructure.

Assuming NASA is keeping the payload, launch and mission people around pending HLV test flights anyway, the only additional costs should be orbiter processing.

It makes sense to start by modifying one VAB high bay and one pad for SLS. Then when it's operational, retire the Shuttle and modify the others. With the added benefit of SLS operational experience to improve the mods.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 08:27 am by kkattula »

Offline KelvinZero

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, and large pieces of "game changing" hardware. 


No such thing and there is 30 years of history to prove it.

What sort of fraction of NASA's budget has gone towards developing game changing technology over this period? (I don't mean entire new vehicles, just the game changing component)

Offline marsavian

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My main concern at this time is robust and ongoing support for the International Space Station. That is the first role for the SLS Orion combination. The recent problems with an ISS coolant pump should help to focus our attention on the mission we are actually flying.


SLS and Orion would not help this.  Orion comes on too late 2016 to be of real use to the ISS.  Same would be true of other payloads for SLS

One would expect barring an unforeseen major emergency the ISS could get to 2016 with the current support manifest and on board spares. However the current 'free' ATV/HTVs end around that time putting more pressure on other vehicles. Having the SLS/Orion combination will help in that regards but also will guarantee full utilization in the last 5 years of the ISS life as well as allowing extension options such as large replacement modules if politics decide that an ISS of some sort should be continued appreciably beyond 2020. It's a long term insurance policy.

Offline Bill White

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As for commercial cargo / crew being the sole source of US logistical support of ISS, has this ever been studied, even in a cursory fashion?

In terms of ISS requirements for up mass and down mass, both in terms of mass and volume?

It seems to me that a failure to adequately support ISS cannot be an option, since (among other things) commercial crew and cargo will utterly depend in ISS being available.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 11:44 am by Bill White »
EML architectures should be seen as ratchet opportunities

Offline Jim

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, and large pieces of "game changing" hardware. 


No such thing and there is 30 years of history to prove it.

What sort of fraction of NASA's budget has gone towards developing game changing technology over this period? (I don't mean entire new vehicles, just the game changing component)

the comment had to do with returning the hardware.  Nothing the shuttle has return has been game changing

Offline Jim

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One would expect barring an unforeseen major emergency the ISS could get to 2016 with the current support manifest and on board spares. However the current 'free' ATV/HTVs end around that time putting more pressure on other vehicles. Having the SLS/Orion combination will help in that regards but also will guarantee full utilization in the last 5 years of the ISS life as well as allowing extension options such as large replacement modules if politics decide that an ISS of some sort should be continued appreciably beyond 2020. It's a long term insurance policy.

SLS is not needed for any of that.  Orion and EELV can do it just as well.

Offline Bill White

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Jim, I certainly believe you are correct from a technical perspective, however I wish to ask why you believe EELV solutions have so little traction in Congress.

Why are SDLV lobbyists so much more effective than the EELV lobbyists?

After all, the same companies pretty much make both systems. Is this really all about whether ATK gets frozen out?
EML architectures should be seen as ratchet opportunities

Offline MP99

But I must also say it's more than just a matter of how many launches, divided by the total cost, to get a per-launch cost; you'd be paying for a CAPABILITY. You keep a standing Army at a huge cost, hoping you never really have to send troops into battle; but you need the CAPABILITY to do so if the need arises, because you're protecting a huge value and investment--our freedom. Not trying to compare spaceflight to preservation of national security, of course, but just suggesting more has to be taken into account than simply an estimated per-mission cost. There's VALUE in preserving the CAPABILITY to ensure the ISS--something this nation has invested between $60 and $100 BILLION in developing, assembling and operating so far, depending on what costs you choose to include--can not only survive as a functioning spacecraft and habitat, but also be used to the fullest as a research laboratory--with who knows WHAT potential scientific and economic payoff over the next ten years.

How much of that capability will be required to operate SLS & MPCV, and what is the cost to maintain that across the gap, or to re-build it before test flights begin?

How much commonality would there be with maintaining Shuttle in the mean-time?

The big money drain would, as always, be the Orbiters themselves and their maintenance teams.

Let me re-phrase.

SLS will need a crew to operate it. That crew will either need to be retained over the gap, at some expense to the SLS project or dispersed as the Shuttle programme winds down, then re-built before the first SLS launch, again at some expense to the SLS project.

If SLS test flights can start in 2014, then I'd have thought that crew would need to be in place, and deep into learning the new vehicle & developing SLS procedures early in 2013. (Someone correct me here if wrong).

That gives a 1.5-2.5 year gap that needs to be covered.

I understand that most of Shuttle ops cost is people rather than materials. If the SLS programme will already need to budget for retention or disperse/re-build of that ops team, how does the cost of that compare with operating Shuttles in the mean-time? The people wouldn't necessarily be doing the same things for Shuttle that they'd do for SLS, but I am presuming the skills would be transferable.



You may recall that Senator Hutchison's bill introduced in March provided for the possibility of maintaining a two-flight-per-year option. I am still firmly convinced that could be accomplished for no more than $1.5 billion per year total cost; $2b per year at the max. But that simply is money that no one is willing, at this point, to provide as "new money", and so it would have to come out of the SLS/MPCV development, or Space and Earth Science, and none of those are acceptable options. That's one reason why that option did not carry into the Senate bill. But it remains, in my mind, to be an issue that we may well still have to seriously address (though NOT in this year's legislation) The recent failure highlighted that, and my guess is the ISS requirements analysis will likely suggest other steps might need to be taken.

I'm simply asking whether the SLS budget will already be carrying parts of that "yearly total cost", and if so how much? I can't see Shuttle extending at the above prices, unless a major ISS logistics shortfall is uncovered.

There's also the bigger issue of long lead-times (ET-94 excepted) to restart the programme, which might make all that moot, anyway.

BTW, 51D - what is now covered by the "21st Century Spaceport" programme? I'd understood it was partly to setup infrastructure for commercial launchers, including a commercial HLV. Without a commercial HLV, what is that element of the budget expected to accomplish under the Senate's bill?

cheers, Martin

Offline clongton

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BTW, 51D - what is now covered by the "21st Century Spaceport" programme? I'd understood it was partly to setup infrastructure for commercial launchers, including a commercial HLV. Without a commercial HLV, what is that element of the budget expected to accomplish under the Senate's bill?

cheers, Martin

I would suggest that *that* part of the budget could be redirected to help offset the cost of 2xShuttle flights per year. Couple that with not paying the Russians to fly our astronauts to the ISS and redirect that money to STS operations as well and we begin to make a big dent in the $1.5b STS price tag. Add to that the fact that part of that $1.5b is a shared cost with the SSL and now STS cost comes down even more.

With a little thinking outside the box I would bet that we could *at least* cut the 2xShuttle annual cost in half - possibly more.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 12:25 pm by clongton »
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Offline marsavian

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Won't it take years now to get new tanks even from partly built hardware and isn't that the same hardware that SLS will be using as a starting base ? SLS will also be requiring those working SSMEs.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 02:12 pm by marsavian »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Rather, you need to commercialize the exploration efforts as much/soon as possible. Allow corporations to own the resources they explore. That's how the solar system will be opened up.

Lunar property rights? Now there is a fascinating topic!

I have brought up the issue of property rights before.  I meant to just link this remark from 07-24-09, but ended up deleting the original post, hence the awkward reposting:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22558.0

I you can't own anything by law, where's the wealth?

If the "questionable termination liability actions" could cause better and more streamlined contracts for SLS (and a better SLS), why reverse them?
Or should NASA be forced to have undesired CxP remnants holding it back for more many more years?
Because most folks despise lawyer tricks...
Both parties wrote and agreed to those impenetrable termination clauses, and have no right, it seems to me, to complain about them being used.  These things shouldn't be so all fired complicated.

It would be a very good idea to streamline future contracts.

SLS and Orion would not help this.  Orion comes on too late 2016 to be of real use to the ISS.  Same would be true of other payloads for SLS
Which strengthens, in my mind, the argument to keep the shuttle flying for another five or six flights.

1. No question that streamlining and getting rid of excess "weight" in contract costs, etc., is a good thing...

2. Now that it is increasingly clear ... that the Congress will direct otherwise ... and ideally that termination effort should at least be immediately frozen in order to ensure needed skills and capabilities are NOT irretrievably lost while the "policy realignment" process is being finalized over the next few weeks (or months). 

1.  In a very real sense, live by the sword, and die by the sword.  The evolution of the increasing complexity of these contracts seems to be so top heavy and dysfunctional that we witness such actions coming to pass.

2.  I am torn on this.  The bad work should be stopped as quickly as possible, and the workforce transitioned as quickly as possible.  But this is not in the financial interest of those people who are profiting from the arrangement where accomplishment is hidden deeply in the contracturalese.  IMO, natch.

...we do not have a perfect solution; we believe we have the best solution possible...
The possibility of shuttle extension is pretty much the only possiblity which can fly without interruption for the next several years.  The commercial providers will do what they can, but require time to proceed carefully and rationally.

I believe that it is affordable, as is the new work.  The entrenched parties do not want the status quo changed.  In a related issue, look how much grief Gates is getting for trying to control the military budget!  He should be applauded, but no, the vested interests don't like that.  The analogy here is similar.  It seems clear that the shuttle costs could be reduced significantly; OV-106 is on record suggesting this idea.

...The *only* way to eliminate the gap is to continue to fly shuttle until Orion is operational on the SLS and that's going to cost $1.5b per year additional expenditure...

Furthermore, it seems to me like the new SDHLV might very well come on line quicker if it is unmanned at first.  Elon Musk needs time mostly, to get Dragon operating as a crewed vehicle.  Can he do that faster than Orion can be brought on-line?  The harsh and maybe not complete answer compares the development time and flight capabilities of Ares and F-9.  A big dumb cargo reptile, and small crewed mammal; both of which are needed for HSF evolution.  The big rocket eventally evolves into a passenger vehicle becasue we're not going to get hundreds of people up there until we can bring 'em up dozens at a time.

...Are our leaders and experts who manage NASA and space exploration truly experts and leaders?...
No they are not.  They are beholden individuals.

...This is a disingenuous mistaken argument in my humble opinion.
Fixed that for ya.  His is a mistake, I think, and can be more profitably discussed on those terms, rather than on personal theories on his motivations.  Now, I'll ask him to stop saying things like "wishful thinking".

...it's a flying laboratory.
Think about it for a sec.  We have much bigger labs here on Earth.   It would be nice to bring that ammonia pump back down for example.

whats the limitation that prevents this?
Think about it for a sec.  It's a sidemount vehicle, with a rocket engine of its own, canted at an angle to offset the aerodynamic loads; it has no providion for mounting on top of a rocket.  The idea has been studied some, and there are some stacked versions here and there online.

How come I get keep getting called "disingenuous" for stating the obvious?
Because your level of analysis seems to be deliberately incomplete.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline 93143

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We've already taken care of ISS cargo logistics with COTS/CRS, with two separate vendors no less.

ISS logistics isn't a boolean value.  Sure, we have some upmass and downmass, assuming nothing much goes wrong with the vendors' machines.  But if I'm not mistaken, COTS/CRS (being a part of the old plan under Griffin) was never designed to do more than keep the ISS limping along at partial utilization to the end of 2015.

Full utilization hadn't been studied in depth last time I checked, but it was seeming very likely to have a logistics gap, which would be too big and too soon for anything but Shuttle to plug.  The commercial guys simply can't ramp up that fast, never mind the issue of stuff only Shuttle can carry (It seems to me that EELV solutions are a non-starter if we need something like that in the next two years, since the required spacecraft system doesn't exist and would take too long to develop).
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 04:51 pm by 93143 »

Offline Jim

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never mind the issue of stuff only Shuttle can carry

There is little to none of this

Offline 93143

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never mind the issue of stuff only Shuttle can carry

There is little to none of this

I would have agreed with "little", but "none"?  What else would you fly that spare solar array on?

Either way, my point doesn't require there to be any; it's a side issue.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 05:00 pm by 93143 »

Offline Bill White

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As I recall, a Jupiter 130 can launch Orion AND a payload module significantly larger (mass and volume) than the shuttle payload bay.

If Orion can provide "last mile" guidance and ISS docking for that cargo, up mass logistics problem would appear solved, rather nicely in fact.

Whether this is better or worse than a dedicated EELV logistics solution (cargo payload on one Delta IVH, Orion on another, rendezvous in LEO and arrive at ISS?) would depend on detailed number crunching, right?

Note: I am not saying an EELV solution wouldn't work, just that numbers need to be crunched to ascertain whether its better or worse than a Jupiter 130 solution.
EML architectures should be seen as ratchet opportunities

Offline 93143

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Neither J-130 nor EELV is any good for the next couple of years.  The gap is now.

STS-135 is at the very least a good start.  I'm not up on any logistics analysis that may have been done in the last couple of months...

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Whether this is better or worse than a dedicated EELV logistics solution (cargo payload on one Delta IVH, Orion on another, rendezvous in LEO and arrive at ISS?) would depend on detailed number crunching, right?

Note: I am not saying an EELV solution wouldn't work, just that numbers need to be crunched to ascertain whether its better or worse than a Jupiter 130 solution.

The unmanned cargo Dragon is due to fly this year.  The Cygnus is due to fly next year.  Both come fitted with docking ports.  By adding an arm or docking equipment it may be possible to turn one of them into a remote controlled short range (harbour) tug.

An Atlas V or Delta IV can lift cargoes massing about 20mT to 25mT to near the ISS.  The delta-V, cargo mass, structural strain and control authority of such a tug would need investigating.

Offline clongton

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1. Delivering large items to ISS: If there are any major component breakdowns, such as a station gyro, of if an impact to one of the solar arrays damages it sufficiently to require replacement, or to any other system component that only Shuttle can currently carry, we will be SOL unless Shuttle is extended, even if only minimally to 2 flights per year. There are no other launch systems in existence that can respond in sufficient time to keep the station fully operational or, depending on the severity of the need, even functional. Remember, the entire purpose of extending STS is to maintain a "capability", not a specific manifest, and that is a key difference to understand. Additionally, maintenance of that capability, at least wrt crew access to US space assets, is still mandated by US law. With the latter specifically in mind, if Shuttle becomes unavailable because of some accident or system failure, that is not a violation of US law. But if NASA shuts down STS before its crew-capable replacement is available, that is a violation of US law. That has yet to be addressed, at least as far as I am aware.

2. Normal ISS Logistics support: A fully utilized ISS was designed from the beginning to require the lift and delivery capability of Shuttle for its entire operational lifetime. All other logistical spacecraft are intended to supplement the delivery capability of Shuttle, not replace it. Progress is meant to provide limited logistical support, and the ATV & HTV cargo spacecraft were meant to provide additional supplemental support. COTS was conceived to further supplement that support, as a vehicle to jumpstart a commercial industry. None of these, either individually, in combination or in total, was ever intended to replace Shuttle's role of main logistics support spacecraft. Without the delivery capability provided by Shuttle, the ISS cannot be fully staffed and utilized.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 05:50 pm by clongton »
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