Author Topic: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4  (Read 125269 times)

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #560 on: 01/01/2023 01:44 pm »

Will point out that one of the major news outlet will be twitter ...

And I will point out that Twitter is *NOT-NOT-NOT* a news outlet - major, minor or any other kind. It's a social media platform ...

DO NOT TRUST TWITTER! I cannot express this strongly enough.

Yeah, well we all know, or should know, the amount of trust to allow that news platform.  But a news platform it is -- if the reader wants to get opposing views that the MSM will not allow.  Case in point:  Joe Rogan and Siddharth Kara on mining cobalt for EV batteries.


 
This is news that you won't find on MSM.  Just because this site focuses on space doesn't mean that other news and other media platforms don't count.  Like it or not the twit is a news source.  It is up to the reader to verify, then trust.

You're touching on the idea of "Do Your Own Research".  People with cognitive impairment, including far too many in our government, argue that, because some nimrods don't know how to research a topic, that only Government approved news sources should be trusted.  Did you know that if you do this one thing before bed, your [mildly disgusting health problem] will be solved?

Quote from: Chuck
If you want to be certain that what you are reading/seeing/hearing about anything SpaceX, then there are only 2 places in the world you can go for that; this platform (NSF) and SpaceX.com.

Broadly agree, but it is also good to have close contacts with the industry, as your team at Direct did.

Quote from: Chuck's rant

I wouldn't even trust NASA for an unbiased viewpoint. ... One only has to remember that it was NASA leadership incompetence and arrogance that told the engineers to shut up, ignored professional recommendations and got the Challenger LOV/LOC event that killed the 7 crewmembers, something that I will never -EVER- forgive them for.

Specifically and whole heartedly agree.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #561 on: 01/01/2023 03:24 pm »
..... eventually NASA will need to decide if they're going to participate in SpaceX's Mars missions. There's only so much money available, something has to give sooner or later.

You are presuming SpaceX will allow NASA to have any say on how to do Mars missions. Which is required for the Congressional critters to allocated funding, IMO.

My guess is that Musk and SpaceX might let a token NASA guest Astronaut on each of their Mars surface exclusions. Along with possibly other token guest Astronauts from other space agencies.

That token NASA Astronaut's participation in a Mars exclusion might be done under a space act agreement with no NASA funding.

While this may be fun to think about, I don't think this is realistic. There's no reason for SpaceX to give a free seat to NASA to Mars, it's not like SpaceX is made of money. Remember SpaceX even bids on NASA's cubesat launch contract, they're not going to miss a billion dollar revenue stream like this. And it's not like NASA will give up on safety insight just because the seat is free, so might as well charge for it.

Also this is not a one time deal for NASA, this is going to be like crew rotation and resupply to ISS, it will happen on every Mars window, and with NASA's own payload too (i.e. science equipment). It's a long term income for SpaceX, and eventually for Mars colony itself as well (i.e. provide housing and logistic services for NASA science teams).

The point isn't a free seat on a Mars mission. Rather is it worthwhile for SpaceX to take development funding from NASA that comes with NASA insight.

Since the Artemis HLS Moonship requires all elements of the Starship systems to be functional to worked. Precede by the Super Heavy and the Pez Dispenser Starship working to deploy oversize Starlink comsats. SpaceX really don't need outside funding if the Starlink system works as expected.

Every time a SpaceX Mars surface exclusion launches. There will be revenue streams for payloads and passengers for delivery to the Martian surface from various entities. NASA will only be one of those entities.  There isn't really an alternate means of high mass transport to the Martian surface for the near future.

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #562 on: 01/01/2023 09:18 pm »
If SpaceX executes properly, this is going to be so blindingly obvious that you'll have it on all the major news outlets.

If SLS/Orion is what brings a measely 4 people to the moon, what will be all over the news outlets is "Orion/SLS, Orion/SLS, Orion/SLS, and oh, there is this lander thing built by a government subcontractor - SpaceX". Rinse, wash, repeat. If you doubt that, just look at the Apollo program. ALL the hardware publicity was Apollo/Saturn. Very little coverage of the LM. The only way to change that is for SpaceX to launch its own lunar mission, from the earth to the moon, and then bring them home; NASA not included in any way, shape or form, for 1/3 the cost of a single NASA mission, and maybe repeat it again within 4 to 6 months. THAT is what will get their attention. THAT is what will drive the news outlets. THAT is what *MIGHT* get congress' attention. But I doubt it. Their heads are buried too deep up you know where.

At the risk of putting at least two wheels off the shoulder into the weeds, let's think about how NASA gets covered.  Two modes:

1) 99% of the time, there's nothing interesting beyond the press release, which will indeed be fully saturated with SLS/Orion.  When that's all there is, then most news editors are going to assign somebody to regurgitate what the PR flack sent them, and that's it.

2) 1% of the time, there's a good story ("good story" = "story that will drive clicks or eyeballs to our platforms and therefore increase revenue") in questioning what the PR flacks have issued.  In that case, you assign one of your space/science reporters to to a bigger, more critical piece and then see if it gets traction.

I assert that something like, "SpaceX shows that Option A test article is capable of doing everything SLS/Orion is capable of, for 20% of the price, at 4x the cadence," would be one of those 1% stories.  And it's not like SpaceX can't feed the space press corps all the juicy details sub rosa.  Whether such a story is inflammatory enough to overwhelm the NASA PR is not assured, but my guess is that people would be asking hard questions in the Artemis III press conferences, and the non-answers would put the smell of blood in the water.

Then the question becomes one of who's on what side in the ensuing melee?

1) Congress will want to preserve the status quo, but not at the expense of looking stupid.  As has been mentioned several times up-thread, it's a lot more of a jump-ball when you don't have Shelby striking everything he views as a threat to anything in the Huntsville area.  And the risk of looking stupid goes way, way up.

2) Nelson (if he's still administrator then) has ego in the game and will want SLS/Orion to continue--but he'd also be very happy to do 2-3x the number of missions for the same price.  He seems pragmatic enough to split the baby here.

3) JSC will be 50/50:  the Orion folks will want the status quo, but everybody working on the non-transit portions of Artemis want more mission cadence and more money for interesting payloads.

4) Boeing, Lockmart, and Norgrum will engage in dark-sky lobbying to preserve the status quo.

5) But SpaceX doesn't exactly have a trivial lobbying capability these days--and they have the minor convenience of being able to win on the merits.

Finally, I have to believe that almost everybody at NASA thinks that SLS/Orion is medium-term unsustainable.  Some of them probably think that it's sustainable long enough for them to retire.  If that's true, then the question isn't if SLS/Orion should be phased out, it's when.  SpaceX can force the issue on the "when" part.

Offline su27k

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #563 on: 01/02/2023 03:11 am »
The point isn't a free seat on a Mars mission. Rather is it worthwhile for SpaceX to take development funding from NASA that comes with NASA insight.

Since the Artemis HLS Moonship requires all elements of the Starship systems to be functional to worked. Precede by the Super Heavy and the Pez Dispenser Starship working to deploy oversize Starlink comsats. SpaceX really don't need outside funding if the Starlink system works as expected.

Every time a SpaceX Mars surface exclusion launches. There will be revenue streams for payloads and passengers for delivery to the Martian surface from various entities. NASA will only be one of those entities.  There isn't really an alternate means of high mass transport to the Martian surface for the near future.

I'm pretty sure SpaceX thinks taking development funding from NASA that comes with NASA insight is worth it, otherwise they wouldn't have proposed Starship HLS. SpaceX could get $3B fairly easily from private capital in 2021 when stock market is still hot, but they chose to bid on HLS instead, even though it required them to build a separate Starship variant that has nothing to do with Mars. And they fought tooth and nail to defend their winning, so clearly they thought it is worth it.

And I dare say on the whole, NASA insight probably did a lot more good than harm for SpaceX. HSF is unforgiving, having a separate pair of eyes going over their work, especially one with NASA's experience, is a feature, not a bug.

And here's the thing: SpaceX is going to need someone's insight. Flight to Mars is not going to be the wild west, even if they only take private passengers they'll be subject to FAA's insight, which could be considerable if commercial HSF's "learning period" ends in October 2023. And if they take passengers from other space agencies, you can bet these agencies will want insight to ensure they at least have a good chance of getting their astronauts back alive. So it's going to be a pick your poison kind of situation, and I think having NASA insight is their best option, it's the devil they know and it's also the one organization with the most to contribute.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2023 03:41 am by su27k »

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #564 on: 01/02/2023 04:44 am »
I'm pretty sure SpaceX thinks taking development funding from NASA that comes with NASA insight is worth it, otherwise they wouldn't have proposed Starship HLS. SpaceX could get $3B fairly easily from private capital in 2021 when stock market is still hot, but they chose to bid on HLS instead, even though it required them to build a separate Starship variant that has nothing to do with Mars. And they fought tooth and nail to defend their winning, so clearly they thought it is worth it.

Winning a $3B contract from the U.S. Government is not equal, in any way, to getting $3B in outside investment.

The $3B investment is $3B SpaceX can use in any way they want.

The $3B Starship HLS contract has specific agreed upon tasks (i.e. milestones) that SpaceX must perform in order to get reimbursed for the time and material they have expended. The profit from the $3B contract was calculated at contract award to be a specific percentage, which IIRC is usually around 12% of the total contract - or about $360M. And sure, some of that might be parallel development for the baseline Starship, but it won't result in the equivalent of $3B worth of development for the Mars version of Starship.

Quote
And I dare say on the whole, NASA insight probably did a lot more good than harm for SpaceX. HSF is unforgiving, having a separate pair of eyes going over their work, especially one with NASA's experience, is a feature, not a bug.

NASA uses the Russian Soyuz to transport and keep U.S. astronauts at the ISS, despite the fact that NASA has no oversight over the Soyuz transportation system. That is an extreme example of how NASA can leverage systems that they have no oversight into, but we already know that NASA tried to reduce their overall oversight into the Commercial Crew program.

SpaceX is a contractor for the Artemis HLS program, so NASA has great oversight into the Starship HLS, but if NASA wants to go to Mars (or anywhere), and SpaceX invites them, then SpaceX is setting the rules, and NASA can either agree or not agree. Of course other nations might get invited too, so NASA may have no alternative but to agree to the SpaceX rules.

But I think what SpaceX is able to achieve with the Starship HLS will inform everyone how such an arrangement will likely go in the (hopefully) not too distant future when SpaceX send humans to Mars.

Quote
And here's the thing: SpaceX is going to need someone's insight. Flight to Mars is not going to be the wild west, even if they only take private passengers they'll be subject to FAA's insight, which could be considerable if commercial HSF's "learning period" ends in October 2023...

Let's remember that NASA's current HSF knowledge base, of current technological solutions, is limited to ISS operations. And that knowledge base is available to U.S. companies. Plus, what NASA is working on for the Artemis program is already being shared with SpaceX for the Starship HLS, so SpaceX is not too far behind NASA technology-wise.

We'll see what happens...
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 Eric Hedman

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #565 on: 01/02/2023 05:41 am »
Bill Nelson putting out a reason for keeping on schedule with Artemis to get back to the Moon:

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/01/01/we-better-watch-out-nasa-boss-sounds-alarm-on-chinese-moon-ambitions-00075803

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #566 on: 01/02/2023 07:47 am »
If SLS/Orion is what brings a measely 4 people to the moon, what will be all over the news outlets is "Orion/SLS, Orion/SLS, Orion/SLS, and oh, there is this lander thing built by a government subcontractor - SpaceX". Rinse, wash, repeat.

First, I am just aghast at the thought that only a "measly" four people (more than any who have gone beyond LEO at one time mind you) will be heading to the moon in 2 years. Things were so much better over the last 50 years when zero people were going. ;)

Quote
If you doubt that, just look at the Apollo program. ALL the hardware publicity was Apollo/Saturn. Very little coverage of the LM.

There are several major differences between the time of Apollo and today that will impact media coverage of Starship HLS.

1. The Starship HLS will be launched on its own superheavy lift vehicle, it will be a derivative of a vehicle that should be a well known and exciting workhorse launcher, it is also much larger than the LM and has applications for commercial lunar missions as well as crewed Mars missions.

2. The media landscape is much different. For example you don't just have three channels with 30 min newscasts every night. While yes the major media properties have issues with 30 second soundbites/lack of depth there will be plenty of opportunity for Starship HLS to be covered by said properties. Its just too big and imposing to be ignored IMO. And then of course there is the excellent coverage offered by NSF and others that can be easily accessed by those interested in spaceflight.

And Elon is fully aware of that fact as he walks the tightrope of accepting NASA funding for providing services and independently developing a space program that will make us a multiplanetary civilization in spite of NASA. SpaceX was NOT established in order to get NASA business. It was started to take us to Mars in spite of NASA.

Given how successful SpaceX is and how much we hear from both NASA and SpaceX personnel about how beneficial the relationship between them has been I would hardly call the partnership "walking a tightrope" for SpaceX.

Also yes SpaceX was created for the purpose of making civilization multiplanetary but blaming NASA for it not happening before now is disingenuous. No government agency by itself was ever going to be able to do that.

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NASA leadership only turned to SpaceX and took a chance on the company because their own stupidity, incompetence and folly got totally in the way of the things they were trying to do, and SpaceX, though falling on desperate financial times in the beginning, was the only potential way out of their own incompetence. So they gambled and won with SpaceX; not because they wanted to, but because they had to.

Couple of things. First, the shuttle was more than capable of resupplying the space station*. After Columbia in '03 and the now firm retirement date for shuttle new solutions for station resupply (and eventually crew) for after that date were needed. Are you upset at NASA for making the right call and pivoting when they needed to?

*Edited to add: I meant to say shuttle was capable of fulfilling US resupply tasks. I did not mean to imply that shuttle was capable of supplying ISS on its own without Progress, ATV, etc.

NASA took a gamble on SpaceX as well as other NewSpace companies to provide a solution (recall that Boeing submitted a proposal for COTS that was rejected). SpaceX and Orbital succeeded and everybody has benefited.

Also lest we forget NASA saved SpaceX from those desperate financial times when they hadn't gotten to orbit yet and several other NewSpace companies were competing for COTS.

Quote
One only has to remember that it was NASA leadership incompetence and arrogance that told the engineers to shut up, ignored professional recommendations and got the Challenger LOV/LOC event that killed the 7 crewmembers, something that I will never -EVER- forgive them for. [/rant]

Challenger happened almost 37 years ago. I highly doubt anyone responsible for said horrific decision making is still with the agency let alone in a position of authority. Holding a grudge against present day NASA for decisions made by people nearly 40 years ago just isn't the way to go IMV.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2023 06:04 pm by Endeavour_01 »
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 JohnFornaro

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #567 on: 01/02/2023 12:00 pm »
I assert that something like, "SpaceX shows that Option A test article is capable of doing everything SLS/Orion is capable of, for 20% of the price, at 4x the cadence," would be one of those 1% stories.

I agree, but they still would have to deliver.

Quote from: TheRadMod
Congress will want to preserve the status quo, but not at the expense of looking stupid.

I'm not sure I agree with that.



Quote from: TRM
...and [Spacex] have the minor convenience of being able to win on the merits./quote]

Good point.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #568 on: 01/02/2023 12:06 pm »
[SpaceX chose to bid on HLS instead, even though it required them to build a separate Starship variant that has nothing to do with Mars.

Well, they were paid to build that variant.  Many people in real life have jobs that do not directly pertain to their long term plans.  SpaceX are going to have to solve an HLS type problem in any case.  Of course they think the work is clearly worth it.

Quote from: su27k
having a separate pair of eyes going over their work, especially one with NASA's experience, is a feature, not a bug.

Bingo.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #569 on: 01/02/2023 12:21 pm »
If SLS/Orion is what brings a measely 4 people to the moon...

First, I am just aghast at the thought that only a "measly" four people (more than any who have gone beyond LEO at one time mind you) will be heading to the moon in 2 years. Things were so much better over the last 50 years when zero people were going.

That was a bit much!

Quote from: Eneavour_01
Given how successful SpaceX is and how much we hear from both NASA and SpaceX personnel about how beneficial the relationship between them has been I would hardly call the partnership "walking a tightrope" for SpaceX.

Also yes SpaceX was created for the purpose of making civilization multiplanetary but blaming NASA for it not happening before now is disingenuous. No government agency by itself was ever going to be able to do that.

Preach, brutha, but keep in mind that the "populace at large" does not consider a multi-planetary civilization to be a high national priority.

Quote from: Eneavour_01
Challenger happened almost 37 years ago.

You miss Chuck's point.  It's not about the number of years that have passed.  It's about the lack of accountability that occurred then, and the fear that many space fans have that the culture of the agency may not have changed all that much.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #570 on: 01/02/2023 01:46 pm »
Challenger happened almost 37 years ago.
You miss Chuck's point.  It's not about the number of years that have passed.  It's about the lack of accountability that occurred then, and the fear that many space fans have that the culture of the agency may not have changed all that much.
NASA changed a lot due to Challenger. The problem is that it has gradually changed back as those who learned the lessons retired and were replace by newer folks who weren't there. This happens in most large organizations.

Offline woods170

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #571 on: 01/02/2023 02:32 pm »
Bill Nelson putting out a reason for keeping on schedule with Artemis to get back to the Moon:

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/01/01/we-better-watch-out-nasa-boss-sounds-alarm-on-chinese-moon-ambitions-00075803

Don't mistake a (former) politicians attempts to safeguard his pet project from eventual cancellation, for "worries that the Chinese might win the Moon race".

You see, China cannot win the race to the Moon. They lost it back in the summer of 1969. The "China"-card that Nelson just pulled is a red herring.
Neither should you sucker for "justifications" like "China will deny the Moon to us if they get there first". That's another piece of cr*p that surfaces every now-and-then. Because HOW would China deny other nations from landing on the Moon? Answer: they can't. Not without risking an all-out war against China back on Earth.
But I digress.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2023 02:36 pm by woods170 »

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #572 on: 01/02/2023 05:33 pm »
That was a bit much!

If some snark from one side of the argument is acceptable I don't think there is anything wrong with some good-natured joshing back.

Quote
Preach, brutha, but keep in mind that the "populace at large" does not consider a multi-planetary civilization to be a high national priority.

Agreed. That is why space settlement is the job of private industry. NASA is the Lewis and Clark of space. They are conducting exploratory missions while also creating the conditions for private industry to follow and form a space economy.

NASA changed a lot due to Challenger. The problem is that it has gradually changed back as those who learned the lessons retired and were replace by newer folks who weren't there. This happens in most large organizations.

Which is one of the reasons why I have given presentations on Challenger to my organization. One of the key points I hit is that lessons learned can become lessons forgotten. Retaining institutional knowledge and a good safety culture is critical.

All that said I don't see the evidence that NASA has forgotten the lessons of Challenger and Columbia. The rigor applied to both Artemis and commercial crew implies the opposite to me.

You see, China cannot win the race to the Moon. They lost it back in the summer of 1969.

China "winning" the current "race" to the moon would be a huge propaganda victory for them. Sure the US made it there first but that was 50 years ago. China could portray its victory as the triumph of its system over what they would call a decadent and decaying West.

Quote
Neither should you sucker for "justifications" like "China will deny the Moon to us if they get there first". That's another piece of cr*p that surfaces every now-and-then. Because HOW would China deny other nations from landing on the Moon? Answer: they can't. Not without risking an all-out war against China back on Earth.

China would likely not attempt to deny the entire Moon to outside parties. However, getting there first gives them the opportunity to claim "prime real estate". They could create exclusion zones around say the south pole in a similar manner to the South China Sea islands.

The key difference would be that in this case there would be no pre-existing crewed traffic. In the South China Sea China would have to escalate the situation to cutoff the existing traffic. They wouldn't have to do that necessarily  in this theoretical lunar scenario.

The next move would have to be taken by other powers, which depending on multiple factors may not want to risk a war by testing China's resolve.
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 Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #573 on: 01/02/2023 05:51 pm »
Now to move the discussion back to the actual Artemis missions.  :D

I was curious last night what would be the closest approach to the lunar surface on Artemis II. According to the graphic below closest approach will be around 4000 nm (~4600 miles).

I went back to the return powered flyby video for Artemis I and took a screenshot of Orion's view at roughly that distance. This gives us a good idea of what the Artemis II crew will see through the windows.

There is also a nice insert detailing the proximity operations between Orion and the ICPS on Artemis II. I'm hoping we will get some awesome camera angles from both during the operations.
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.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #574 on: 01/02/2023 05:57 pm »
NASA leadership only turned to SpaceX and took a chance on the company because their own stupidity, incompetence and folly got totally in the way of the things they were trying to do, and SpaceX, though falling on desperate financial times in the beginning, was the only potential way out of their own incompetence. So they gambled and won with SpaceX; not because they wanted to, but because they had to.
Couple of things. First, the shuttle was more than capable of resupplying the space station.

This is relevant to the Artemis program, because it gets to the cost of keeping a program continuously operational (i.e. the ISS) versus occasionally operational (i.e. Artemis).

And it is important to remember that even before the Columbia accident in 2003 that the ISS partners did not fully rely on the Shuttle for keeping the ISS resupplied, since the Russians had their own crew and cargo vehicles that cost far less than a Shuttle flight. And that redundancy proved to be critical when the Columbia accident happened, and construction of the ISS was stopped.

After the Shuttle fleet returned to flight post-Columbia, the Shuttle was focused on finishing the ISS, not resupply. And the Shuttle was NEVER used for keeping crew at the ISS, it could only rotate crew, since the Shuttle could never stay at the ISS long enough to provide lifeboat services for regular crew assignments.

So what the ISS program learned from the Columbia accident is that redundancy is critical to keeping the program operational. A lesson that NASA is only partially applying to the Artemis program, since there is no redundancy for getting crew to/from the orbit of the Moon.

Now, it is Congress that created the SLS and Orion, and Congress that has actively avoided any scrutiny of those programs, and a popular theory is that Congress has done so because they were more interested in jobs than actually using the SLS and Orion. If that theory is correct, then that also explains why Congress isn't concerned that there is only one way to get crew to/from lunar orbit for the Artemis program, DESPITE the lessons we had learned from the Challenger and Columbia Shuttle accidents.

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One only has to remember that it was NASA leadership incompetence and arrogance that told the engineers to shut up, ignored professional recommendations and got the Challenger LOV/LOC event that killed the 7 crewmembers, something that I will never -EVER- forgive them for. [/rant]

Challenger happened almost 37 years ago. I highly doubt anyone responsible for said horrific decision making is still with the agency let alone in a position of authority. Holding a grudge against present day NASA for decisions made by people nearly 40 years ago just isn't the way to go IMV.

I wrote the first response so that I could respond to this exchange, because while people can learn from mistakes, institutions like Congress have no institutional memory, and will blindly make the same mistakes again and again.

Both the Challenger and Columbia accidents were the result of institutional failures, not only of NASA but of Congress too, because Congress didn't monitor the Shuttle program much either - maybe because it was a great source of jobs that no one wanted to interrupt?

The Artemis program certainly has some goals that some Americans would be interested in, but that doesn't mean that the approach that is being used for those goals is the result of all the lessons we have learned from Apollo, the Shuttle program, and the ISS program. Because why else would we be repeating the same major mistakes that we've made before?
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 sdsds

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #575 on: 01/02/2023 09:13 pm »
The Artemis program has a long way to go to explain how they intend to one day support long duration crewed expeditions in the lunar vicinity.

For Space Station Freedom/ISS, Shuttle was not capable of doing that. That's why there was the Crew Return Vehicle and Soyuz, and now there finally is Commercial Crew Program.

We can now have good confidence in the ability of the Orion spacecraft to perform a cis-lunar crew return. The Orion teams can be rightly proud of getting us that confidence. And Orion has many other capabilities as well; in fact it is something of a "swiss army knife" spacecraft. The goal for Orion is the be able to remain docked at the gateway for up to six months, so if it can meet that goal we can imagine six-month expeditions. But due to launch cadence and cost limits that isn't likely to allow for continuous human cis-lunar presence.

Does this analysis so far miss any key points? Is it somewhat obvious that something like a Cis-Lunar Commercial Crew Return Vehicle Program needs to be stood up?
ó 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 ó

Offline Khadgars

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #576 on: 01/02/2023 09:37 pm »
The Artemis program has a long way to go to explain how they intend to one day support long duration crewed expeditions in the lunar vicinity.

For Space Station Freedom/ISS, Shuttle was not capable of doing that. That's why there was the Crew Return Vehicle and Soyuz, and now there finally is Commercial Crew Program.

We can now have good confidence in the ability of the Orion spacecraft to perform a cis-lunar crew return. The Orion teams can be rightly proud of getting us that confidence. And Orion has many other capabilities as well; in fact it is something of a "swiss army knife" spacecraft. The goal for Orion is the be able to remain docked at the gateway for up to six months, so if it can meet that goal we can imagine six-month expeditions. But due to launch cadence and cost limits that isn't likely to allow for continuous human cis-lunar presence.

Does this analysis so far miss any key points? Is it somewhat obvious that something like a Cis-Lunar Commercial Crew Return Vehicle Program needs to be stood up?

NASA has contracts out already for Gateway re-supply missions.  This will help enable longer stays at Gateway whilst Orion is already docked at the Gateway.  Expect an incremental increase in mission length as Gateway is built out.
Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Thomas Jefferson

Offline su27k

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #577 on: 01/03/2023 01:21 am »
NASA has contracts out already for Gateway re-supply missions.

Except that contract is not funded, so that's another spending item NASA will need money on in the near future.


Bill Nelson putting out a reason for keeping on schedule with Artemis to get back to the Moon:

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/01/01/we-better-watch-out-nasa-boss-sounds-alarm-on-chinese-moon-ambitions-00075803

If NASA wants to go toe to toe with China on the Moon, they'll need to invest in lunar surface infrastructure, since China has big plans for their International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). That's another big ticket spending item for NASA in the near future.

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #578 on: 01/03/2023 05:05 am »
A quick (non-rhetorical) poke at this:  Is the issue that we're seeing over-target schedule and over-target baseline problems, i.e., schedules being pushed to the right and expenses coming in higher than budget, or is it that planned but not-yet-budgeted program components keep emerging from the out years?

Both.  The program is getting it from both ends.  Artemis I was delayed how many years, for example?  That marching army cost something every year it slipped, in both the fiscal year in question and in the outyears.  Same goes for the rest of the schedule and manifest.  But then Congress added stuff like EUS, BOLE, etc. over prior NASA and White House objections.  Those earmarks added cost in the fiscal year, but they also have (growing) outyear implications, too.

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But at some point, OTS/OTB causes the OIG to step in and demand a re-plan, while stuff coming over the horizon doesn't.

I donít know who OTS/OTB are, but the NASA OIG canít demand anything.  All they can do is issue reports, publish responses from NASA management, and testify and hope someone with real power in the White House or Congress pays attention and acts.  Same goes for the GAO.

GAO and NASA OIG Program assessments are almost always closer to the truth than NASAís rosy projections because theyíre not drinking the Kool-Aid and have no dog or career in the fight.  But they canít force NASA to change program plans, direction, or content.  Only Congress and the White House can.  (And I suppose the courts with regard to procurement challenges but success there is very rare.)

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ISTM that patience with continual re-plans is wearing quite thin, and a plausible alternative would be taken much more seriously if another re-plan were required.  But the out-year stuff is just business as usual, isn't it?

Itís bad if a program repeatedly does not meet its outyear commitments.  Iím not saying to the very number, but the kind of out-of-control cost growth in this chart eventually comes back down to Earth one way or another:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1b6kJQRBEtZCjQZ2QgncHPOOiufBNF-5oJ4wm67YEBHI/htmlview

(Credit to su72k who found this and posted it on the SLS general discussion thread.)

The White House has not cared about this, and Shelby has protected it, so far.  That will change sooner or later.  The question is whether change occurs soon enough to prevent Orion/SLS from eating Artemis from the inside and/or whether big changes to Orion/SLS bring Artemis down with them.

If NASA wants to go toe to toe with China on the Moon, they'll need to invest in lunar surface infrastructure, since China has big plans for their International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). That's another big ticket spending item for NASA in the near future.

ILRS is robotic only.  Thereís a few industry talks about what they want that make news and some evidence of low-level work and things can always change, but thereís no actual PRC commitment to a human lunar landing or program.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2023 05:15 am by VSECOTSPE »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 4
« Reply #579 on: 01/03/2023 10:36 am »
That was a bit much!

If some snark from one side of the argument is acceptable I don't think there is anything wrong with some good-natured joshing back.

Shocked, shocked I am!

Quote from: JF
Preach, brutha, but keep in mind that the "populace at large" does not consider a multi-planetary civilization to be a high national priority.

Quote from: Endeavour_01
Agreed. That is why space settlement is the job of private industry. NASA is the Lewis and Clark of space. They are conducting exploratory missions while also creating the conditions for private industry to follow and form a space economy. ...

Sadly, we have no Jefferson in the office, nor in the line of next up batters.

Quote from: Endeavour_01
China "winning" the current "race" to the moon would be a huge propaganda victory for them. Sure the US made it there first but that was 50 years ago. China could portray its victory as the triumph of its system over what they would call a decadent and decaying West.

... China would likely not attempt to deny the entire Moon to outside parties. However, getting there first gives them the opportunity to claim "prime real estate". They could create exclusion zones around say the south pole in a similar manner to the South China Sea islands.

The key difference would be that in this case there would be no pre-existing crewed traffic. In the South China Sea China would have to escalate the situation to cutoff the existing traffic. They wouldn't have to do that necessarily  in this theoretical lunar scenario.

And I would say that this obvious strategy is exactly their strategy.

Quote from: Endeavour_01
The next move would have to be taken by other powers, which depending on multiple factors may not want to risk a war by testing China's resolve.

We do live in interesting times.  Why NASA moves so slowly towards accomplishment is like the Peace of God:  It passeth all understanding.  Even so, with all of the IP theft and so on, getting to the moon is difficult, regardless of the flag one is flying.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Tags: artemis 2 Crew 
 

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