Author Topic: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)  (Read 169815 times)

Offline yg1968

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Offline yg1968

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Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #442 on: 01/11/2024 11:39 pm »
Good video on the objective of the CLPS program:

https://twitter.com/NASAScienceAA/status/1745462572105814256

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #443 on: 01/12/2024 01:59 pm »
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1726636197517447546
That last sentence is always the kicker. You want a less risky development? Then give the money!
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Offline deltaV

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #444 on: 02/14/2024 05:19 pm »
From the IM thread:

Although I am a big supporter of the policy of NASA buying space science data ftom private companies (I wrote the enabling language in the Commercial Space Act of 1998), I am not happy with the implementation.

My take on the implementation: NASA throws money at startups with no track record, and hopes that they can pull off lunar landings with zero experience in space. Giving contracts for companies that haven't even launched a Cubesat is a recipe for disaster.

Once enough of these errors result in money thrown into the trash, I would hope that NASA will simply buy data from private missions, funded by private capital.

Maybe NASA should have required that the CLPS providers pay for insurance covering the cost of replacement payloads and another landing if the lander or launcher fails. This requirement could potentially be waived if there's a successful test flight first.
« Last Edit: 02/14/2024 05:20 pm by deltaV »

Online sdsds

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #445 on: 02/14/2024 05:36 pm »
From the IM thread:

[...] Giving contracts for companies that haven't even launched a Cubesat is a recipe for disaster.

Once enough of these errors result in money thrown into the trash, I would hope that NASA will simply buy data from private missions, funded by private capital.

Maybe NASA should have required that the CLPS providers pay for insurance [...]

Danderman makes a good point, and it was discussed in the IM-1 media teleconference. The goal is enabling NASA to buy the data they need. CLPS is an incubator for that.

Regarding insurance: it may well have doubled the costs incurred by the providers. How then would they have needed to price their service offering? It would have led to bids that didn't match the available budget.
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Offline DistantTemple

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #446 on: 02/14/2024 06:38 pm »
If even one of these providers becomes successful and can begin offering reliable lunar services, then CLIPS will have been successful. Isn't a good part of the program fostering commercial development, and like venture capital its a big risk with each individual "bet" from a spread of investments. The hope is that at least one makes good... And overall to give more new entrants a chance and a leg-up. 
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Offline Tywin

Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #447 on: 02/15/2024 01:25 am »
Just a remember, that IM, is a company of KAM, the guy from X-Energy, Axiom, Quantum Space, etc...very rich, I think so, IM will be survive...
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Offline deltaV

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #448 on: 02/15/2024 03:45 am »
Regarding insurance: it may well have doubled the costs incurred by the providers. How then would they have needed to price their service offering? It would have led to bids that didn't match the available budget.

If insurance makes costs for the first use of a lander double (to buy a test flight and insurance for the real flight) and reliability increases from say 60% to 90% NASA could end up with more successful payloads for its money since it would not only save money on failing landers but also on the payloads they carry. We'll get a better idea if something like this would be sensible over the next year or so as we get ~5 more data points to let us estimate the CLPS program of record's success rate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Lunar_Payload_Services#List_of_missions_announced_under_CLPS).

Online Zed_Noir

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #449 on: 02/15/2024 08:40 am »
Regarding insurance: it may well have doubled the costs incurred by the providers. How then would they have needed to price their service offering? It would have led to bids that didn't match the available budget.

If insurance makes costs for the first use of a lander double (to buy a test flight and insurance for the real flight) and reliability increases from say 60% to 90% NASA could end up with more successful payloads for its money since it would not only save money on failing landers but also on the payloads they carry. We'll get a better idea if something like this would be sensible over the next year or so as we get ~5 more data points to let us estimate the CLPS program of record's success rate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Lunar_Payload_Services#List_of_missions_announced_under_CLPS).
NASA doesn't have the budget to partner with the providers, gone with buying missions as a service instead. The reason why the CLPS program is what it is.

Insurance for CLPS is not an option, since it will make it much harder to capitalized a CLPS mission. Finding someone to provide insurance for what is in effect technology demonstrator missions will not be easy with the recent failed commercial spacecraft payouts.

.....You want a less risky development? Then give the money!

Offline Danderman

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #450 on: 02/15/2024 11:16 am »
NASA buys space launch services commercially, but levies prior performance requirements on bidders.

Perhaps, NASA could require bidders for space science data to similarly have prior performance, if not prior lunar landers, but some experience in space operations.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #451 on: 02/15/2024 12:48 pm »
NASA buys space launch services commercially, but levies prior performance requirements on bidders.

Perhaps, NASA could require bidders for space science data to similarly have prior performance, if not prior lunar landers, but some experience in space operations.
'Prior performance' requirements don't work if there is nobody with prior performance (i.e. no commercial moon landers). Requiring 'prior performance' in some tangentially related field is arbitrary at best, and just poor contractual specification design - good at keeping the old-boys-club going, not good at selecting for capable providers.

At some point, if you want to start up a new commercial industry you need to use providers who are new. To have 'data providers' available to hire commercially, you need some way for those providers to acquire that data, which means commercial landers need to exist as a prerequisite*. You can't skip that step, or just expect it to appear from 'the market' fully formed, that boostrapping needs to occur. You can do that on the cheap with more risk, or with more funding to pay down risk. If you do not have more funding, then that removes the latter option, hence CLPS as a low cost high risk option.

NASA did not levy 'prior performance' requirements on COTS bidders. They also did not levy them on CCDev bidders. Both programmes have produced successful services (indeed, the provider with the poorest actual performance was the one with the most claimed 'prior performance').


* Commercial instruments on a NASA lander is just the status quo, but with a new paywall added in. Pointless.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #452 on: 02/15/2024 04:13 pm »
Although I am a big supporter of the policy of NASA buying space science data ftom private companies (I wrote the enabling language in the Commercial Space Act of 1998), I am not happy with the implementation.

My take on the implementation: NASA throws money at startups with no track record, and hopes that they can pull off lunar landings with zero experience in space. Giving contracts for companies that haven't even launched a Cubesat is a recipe for disaster.

Once enough of these errors result in money thrown into the trash, I would hope that NASA will simply buy data from private missions, funded by private capital.

SpaceX had no experience when it won a COTS award. During the press conference, NASA mentioned that its payloads on these first missions were only worth a few million dollars. 

Having said that, I do have a concern with the Viper mission. That rover is worth a lot, so perhaps that NASA should delay that mission until Astrobotics can prove that it can land on the Moon. I know that Viper has a different lander than Astrobotics' first mission but it is still a risk.

My other concern is that Astrobotics only has one other mission which is also launching this year. But what happens in 2025 for Astrobotics after they have completed this other mission? Will they have to lay off their employees? I hope that Astrobotics wins another CLPS mission. If NASA is going to be the anchor tenant for CLPS, there needs to be more missions.
« Last Edit: 02/15/2024 04:36 pm by yg1968 »

Offline deltaV

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #453 on: 02/16/2024 03:02 am »
Insurance for CLPS is not an option, since it will make it much harder to capitalized a CLPS mission. Finding someone to provide insurance for what is in effect technology demonstrator missions will not be easy with the recent failed commercial spacecraft payouts.

How about the following proposed requirement. All major components of the launch and landing system must be successfully tested in space before being used for NASA payloads. The lander company can optionally choose to pay for insurance or a surety bond for the launch, lander and payloads instead of testing.

The lander companies could sell test flights to non-NASA customers. Companies that use a lander multiple times would only have additional costs the first time. Companies with a reputation for usually getting it right the first time such as ULA would likely go the insurance or surety bond route. Newer companies would be more likely to do a test flight.

This proposal is a lot less demanding than the multiple launches and paperwork that NASA and the Space Force require from new launch vehicles before they're certified and eligible for most missions. The hope is that it would provide a substantial fraction of the reliability benefit for much lower costs.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #454 on: 02/16/2024 02:46 pm »
The lander companies could sell test flights to non-NASA customers.
A terminal problem, given the lack of such customers.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #455 on: 02/19/2024 04:18 pm »
I would be happy if bidders at least had flown a Cube Sat in orbit. I don't like the idea of giving contracts to system integrators with no orbital experience.

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #456 on: 02/21/2024 09:36 pm »
Perhaps someone can help with this: I remember Intuitive Machines being more descriptive about their planned later offerings of upgraded landers.

I went back through the thread and found a notional Nova-D lander with 500kg payload capacity and a Nova-M lander with 1000-1,500kg payload capacity, but that's the extent of the information. (That the letters at the end are the payload capacity in roman numerals is neat, though.)

More recently, in October, Tim Crain spoke on a podcast about a notional Nova-D as being able to do "500 to 2,500 kilograms to the surface of the Moon", which sound like them still wondering whether they should use the original Nova-M plans as Nova-D, go even further than Nova-M, or stick with the incremental upgrade.

But I'm sure there were earlier discussions about this that I can't seem to find. I think I remember slides, comparative diagrams, and a little about the propulsion story for possible later landers, but I can't find it.

Anyone have a better memory than me here on this?

Edit: To add something else more recent than whatever I'm trying to remember, I just found that the Nova-M lander was again mentioned in a FISO telecon as being the lander described in a $5M fission power study that NASA awarded in 2022.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2024 11:06 pm by theinternetftw »

Offline Athelstane

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #457 on: 02/23/2024 04:49 am »
The lander companies could sell test flights to non-NASA customers.
A terminal problem, given the lack of such customers.

I don't think the problem is that there are no non-NASA customers for lunar missions, but rather that there are none that would be willing to pay what it would take to pay for such a mission, or even serve as an anchor tenant for one.

Now, it is just possible that we could start to see what we are seeing with Crew Dragon/ISS, where space agencies of smaller countries might ante up for such a lunar mission, or at least a smaller one, to take a short cut to their own deep space exploration program by simply "buying a ride." It's not impossible, but it has not happened yet. And even if it does, there's surely a limited pool of such agencies. Long-term commercial activity on the Moon is going to require more than that to close business cases!

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #458 on: 02/23/2024 06:44 am »
"Now, it is just possible that we could start to see what we are seeing with Crew Dragon/ISS, where space agencies of smaller countries might ante up for such a lunar mission, or at least a smaller one, to take a short cut to their own deep space exploration program by simply "buying a ride." It's not impossible, but it has not happened yet.'


It has happened yet!  Rashid rover on Hakuto-R, from the United Arab Emirates (Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre).  Not CLPS, obviously, but a commercial lander.  And on a smaller scale the Mexican Space Agency had a payload on Astrobotic's Peregrine lander.

I think we can expect to see more of that when a few CLPS landings have been successful.  The problem (as I see it) all along has been that expensive payloads are hard to find because customers don't want to put substantial sums into a payload whose lander will likely not succeed.  When success becomes more common we may reasonably expect payloads of larger size and value.

Offline Tywin

Re: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS)
« Reply #459 on: 02/23/2024 12:19 pm »
"Now, it is just possible that we could start to see what we are seeing with Crew Dragon/ISS, where space agencies of smaller countries might ante up for such a lunar mission, or at least a smaller one, to take a short cut to their own deep space exploration program by simply "buying a ride." It's not impossible, but it has not happened yet.'


It has happened yet!  Rashid rover on Hakuto-R, from the United Arab Emirates (Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre).  Not CLPS, obviously, but a commercial lander.  And on a smaller scale the Mexican Space Agency had a payload on Astrobotic's Peregrine lander.

I think we can expect to see more of that when a few CLPS landings have been successful.  The problem (as I see it) all along has been that expensive payloads are hard to find because customers don't want to put substantial sums into a payload whose lander will likely not succeed.  When success becomes more common we may reasonably expect payloads of larger size and value.



Exactly I think so in a few year we will have "rideshare" mission to moon...
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