Author Topic: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5  (Read 64197 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #1 on: 02/01/2023 10:54 pm »
https://flic.kr/p/2oeGeVD

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KSC-20230130-PH-KLS01_0108
The Crew Module Test Article (CMTA) floats in the water in the turn basin in the Launch Complex 39 area at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 30, 2023. The CMTA is being used to practice recovery after splashdown of the Orion spacecraft to prepare for the Artemis II crewed mission. Exploration Ground Systems leads recovery efforts. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
« Last Edit: 02/01/2023 10:58 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline yg1968

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Offline Vultur

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #3 on: 02/07/2023 07:57 pm »
What's a realistic NET for Artemis 2? The update thread still says May 2024, but surely that isn't still possible with a December '22 return of the A1 capsule?

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #4 on: 02/07/2023 11:49 pm »
What's a realistic NET for Artemis 2? The update thread still says May 2024, but surely that isn't still possible with a December '22 return of the A1 capsule?

Exploration Systems at HQ formally told the NASA IG, Paul Martin (or his staff), that it will take 27 months to turn around the eight Artemis I avionics suites that could not be accelerated from Artemis III production for Artemis II.  That gives Artemis II at NET 3/25.

Quote
"Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate considers the non-core avionics reuse to be the primary critical path for the Artemis II mission, with total preparation work between missions to take about 27 months," Martin wrote.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/12/artemis-i-has-finally-launched-what-comes-next/

Also per that article, current Orion manager Hu is “aspirationally” pushing for two years, which would put Artemis II NET 12/24.  But that’s obviously not going to happen and does not represent the official HQ response provided to the IG. 

Realistically, technical or program issues, externalities like weather, or the agency’s usual poor schedule projections will push Artemis II later than 3/25.  Given the coming budget environment and given that it took 10 months from stacking to launch for Artemis I, it would not be surprising if Artemis II launches in 2026.

Obviously, the lessons here are:

1) Don’t run programs so hardware-poor and lean that poorly informed decisions to save a $100 million can come back and haunt the program with years of schedule slip and billions in cost growth.

2) When trying to mount a human exploration campaign, use transportation systems that have steady production pipeline backed by a sizable industry base, not a once-in-a-blue-moon production rate from a boutique industry with only one customer.

3) Use hardware standards and production techniques from modern IT industries wherever possible, not cripplingly slow, decades-old, bespoke, aerospace avionics cottage industries.

FWIW...
« Last Edit: 02/08/2023 12:09 am by VSECOTSPE »

Offline su27k

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #5 on: 02/08/2023 12:30 am »
NASA refining Artemis exploration architecture

Quote from: SpaceNews
NASA is still working to refine an architecture for the next phases of its Artemis lunar exploration campaign which it now expects to roll out in April.

Speaking at a Space Transportation Association luncheon here Feb. 7, Jim Free, NASA associate administrator for exploration systems development, said there is still unfinished work from an architecture concept review held by the agency the week of Jan. 23 at the Kennedy Space Center to examine how to achieve a series of objectives for exploration of the moon and Mars that the agency developed last year.

“We came out of that week and our success criteria were not as green as we had gone into, which I’m good with because that means we pushed the boundaries a little bit,” he said. He didn’t elaborate on the issues left unresolved from the review.

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #6 on: 02/08/2023 12:39 am »

And still working a “Moon-to-Mars” reorg thru the usual morass of congressional overreach:

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NASA is waiting for Congress to approve its plan for a Moon to Mars Program Office to comply with the 2022 NASA Authorization Act...

Section 10811 goes on at length (four and a half pages) specifying details of the Moon to Mars Program Office that NASA is directed to create, and the duties of the Moon to Mars Program Director...

... Jim Free said the agency completed the plan, cleared it through the White House Office of Management and Budget, and briefed congressional staff, but must wait for official congressional approval before implementing it...

Pursuant to the law, the Program Office will be part of ESDMD and report to the ESDMD Associate Administrator, but the Program Director is to be appointed by the NASA Administrator...

This will be the second reorganization in 18 months....

https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/nasa-awaiting-congressional-approval-for-moon-to-mars-program-office/
« Last Edit: 02/08/2023 01:31 am by VSECOTSPE »

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #7 on: 02/08/2023 01:02 am »
What's a realistic NET for Artemis 2? The update thread still says May 2024, but surely that isn't still possible with a December '22 return of the A1 capsule?

Exploration Systems at HQ formally told the NASA IG, Paul Martin (or his staff), that it will take 27 months to turn around the eight Artemis I avionics suites that could not be accelerated from Artemis III production for Artemis II.  That gives Artemis II at NET 3/25.

Quote
"Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate considers the non-core avionics reuse to be the primary critical path for the Artemis II mission, with total preparation work between missions to take about 27 months," Martin wrote.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/12/artemis-i-has-finally-launched-what-comes-next/

Also per that article, current Orion manager Hu is “aspirationally” pushing for two years, which would put Artemis II NET 12/24.  But that’s obviously not going to happen and does not represent the official HQ response provided to the IG. 

Realistically, technical or program issues, externalities like weather, or the agency’s usual poor schedule projections will push Artemis II later than 3/25.  Given the coming budget environment and given that it took 10 months from stacking to launch for Artemis I, it would not be surprising if Artemis II launches in 2026.

Obviously, the lessons here are:

1) Don’t run programs so hardware-poor and lean that poorly informed decisions to save a $100 million can come back and haunt the program with years of schedule slip and billions in cost growth.

2) When trying to mount a human exploration campaign, use transportation systems that have steady production pipeline backed by a sizable industry base, not a once-in-a-blue-moon production rate from a boutique industry with only one customer.

3) Use hardware standards and production techniques from modern IT industries wherever possible, not cripplingly slow, decades-old, bespoke, aerospace avionics cottage industries.

FWIW...

The IG said 27 months but Nelson and others have been saying 2 years when ever they are asked.

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #8 on: 02/08/2023 01:04 am »

And still working Moon-to-Mars org:

https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/nasa-awaiting-congressional-approval-for-moon-to-mars-program-office/

From the article:

Quote from: Marcia Smith
NASA developed a set of 63 Moon to Mars objectives, a “blueprint for shaping exploration throughout the solar system.” Free just completed a week-long Architecture Concept Review to begin developing an evolvable plan to achieve those objectives. He wants to get the group — which includes all of NASA’s Center Directors, Mission Directorates, and technical authorities — together again later this month before finalizing a report to NASA’s Executive Council in mid-March. NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy will share the results with the public at the Space Symposium in April if all goes according to plan.

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #9 on: 02/08/2023 01:19 am »
The IG said 27 months but Nelson and others have been saying 2 years when ever they are asked.

The IG did not say 27 months.  Exploration Systems at HQ said 27 months, and the IG reported it.  (Even if came from the IG, their non-advocate figures are always more accurate than whatever the programs and their conflicts-of-interest are currently spouting.)

When an exact figure is available, I’d also recommend going with that over a misleading, fuzzed up, rounded down expression like “two years”, especially when it’s coming from the program manager in the hotseat like Hu or a politico like Nelson.
« Last Edit: 02/08/2023 01:23 am by VSECOTSPE »

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #10 on: 02/08/2023 02:15 am »
The IG said 27 months but Nelson and others have been saying 2 years when ever they are asked.

The IG did not say 27 months.  Exploration Systems at HQ said 27 months, and the IG reported it.  (Even if came from the IG, their non-advocate figures are always more accurate than whatever the programs and their conflicts-of-interest are currently spouting.)

When an exact figure is available, I’d also recommend going with that over a misleading, fuzzed up, rounded down expression like “two years”, especially when it’s coming from the program manager in the hotseat like Hu or a politico like Nelson.

Hu provided some details at a press conference, he said that they would have a better idea after the Artemis I mission (Free had also said something similar). So we should get a better estimate soon. I would imagine that we may get a better date once the Artemis II astronauts are announced.

Incidentally, as far as I can tell, the IG said 27 months (not Exploration Systems):

Quote from: page 14 of the IG Report
Between the reuse of avionics, installation of vital components, integration and testing, modifications and upgrades to launch facilities, and other ground operations, Artemis II preparations following completion of the Artemis I mission will take approximately 27 months.

https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-22-003.pdf
« Last Edit: 02/08/2023 02:24 am by yg1968 »

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #11 on: 02/08/2023 03:12 am »
Hu provided some details at a press conference, he said that they would have a better idea…

Revised schedules are unlikely to move to the left.  (I can’t think of any that ever have.)

Quote
Incidentally, as far as I can tell, the IG said 27 months (not Exploration Systems)

See Martin’s quote in my first post.  He indicates the info is coming from Exploration Systems.  Even if the IG generated the 27-month figure, I would take their non-advocate estimate over conveniently round figures from folks with conflicts-of-interest like Hu or politicos like Nelson.

No one ever gets it exactly right, but independent projections like those from the GAO and IG always come closer to reality than estimates from program advocates or whatever agency leadership is spinning.  And after the past decade-plus of utterly wrong cost estimates, schedule projections, and performance figures, just common sense should tell us to be very skeptical of any Orion, SLS, or EGS promises.

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #12 on: 02/08/2023 03:28 am »
See Martin’s quote in my first post.  He indicates the info is coming from Exploration Systems.

Thanks. Yes, you are right, it seems to come from pages 5 and 6 (or pages 8 and 9 of the PDF) of this other OIG report:

Quote from: pages 5 and 6 of the NASA OIG Report (or pages 8 and 9 of the PDF)
In fact, the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate considers the non-core avionics reuse to be the primary critical path for the Artemis II mission, with total preparation work between missions to take about 27 months.[9]

[9] Critical path is the sequence of tasks that determines the minimum duration of time needed to complete a project. It is important to identify the critical path and the resources needed to complete the critical tasks along the path if a project is to be completed on time and within its allocated resources.

https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/MC-2022.pdf
« Last Edit: 02/08/2023 04:01 am by yg1968 »

Offline goretexguy

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #13 on: 02/08/2023 06:18 am »
Exploration Systems at HQ formally told the NASA IG, Paul Martin (or his staff), that it will take 27 months to turn around the eight Artemis I avionics suites that could not be accelerated from Artemis III production for Artemis II.  That gives Artemis II at NET 3/25.

Why in the _world_ is it going to take 27 months (or 24, or whatever) to 'turn around' the avionics suites? Something seems very wrong here.

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #14 on: 02/08/2023 01:12 pm »
Why in the _world_ is it going to take 27 months (or 24, or whatever) to 'turn around' the avionics suites? Something seems very wrong here.

One answer is that there’s a waterfall chart somewhere showing the critical path through the schedule where it just takes a certain amount of time to do each step of removing the boxes, taking them apart, testing each element, replacing suspicious elements, putting boxes back together, testing each box, doing integrated testing, reinstalling the boxes, and doing full-up testing on the whole system.  There are challenges specific to Orion’s compromised design (the avionics boxes are relatively inaccessible and so hard to uninstall/install) and to the mission generally (acoustic environment testing, radiation environment testing, thermal vacuum testing, electronic environment testing etc.) that just take time.

Another answer is that it’s old-school aerospace production, which more closely resembles a medieval cottage industry than a modern assembly line.  If you’ve ever seen an old Hughes or Loral geostationary satellite assembled, it’s years of using the same team to lay up very different components on a production floor, not specialists responsible for installing their individual elements before the system moves to the next specialist.  It’s like the difference between building a kit car in your garage and an early Ford assembly line.  Parts of the aerospace industry have moved or are moving away from the cottage industry and closer to the assembly line model, notably the large satellite constellations and SpaceX in launch vehicles and human space flight.  But with a tiny launch rate of only one mission every year or two, the Orion Program could never justify such a change.

The same model plagues the production schedule of new avionics for Artemis III and so on.  There’s no capacity to simply churn out a complete extra copy for Artemis II.

If they’re to achieve any economic goals and open the Moon to commercial activity, NASA and the Artemis Program need to think and plan in terms of scale.  But as long as the program is tied to onesie-twosie Orion/SLS launches once in a blue moon, that’s not going to happen.

Offline Kiwi53

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #15 on: 02/08/2023 06:36 pm »
Why in the _world_ is it going to take 27 months (or 24, or whatever) to 'turn around' the avionics suites? Something seems very wrong here.

One answer is that there’s a waterfall chart somewhere showing the critical path through the schedule where it just takes a certain amount of time to do each step of removing the boxes, taking them apart, testing each element, replacing suspicious elements, putting boxes back together, testing each box, doing integrated testing, reinstalling the boxes, and doing full-up testing on the whole system.  There are challenges specific to Orion’s compromised design (the avionics boxes are relatively inaccessible and so hard to uninstall/install) and to the mission generally (acoustic environment testing, radiation environment testing, thermal vacuum testing, electronic environment testing etc.) that just take time.

Another answer is that it’s old-school aerospace production, which more closely resembles a medieval cottage industry than a modern assembly line.  If you’ve ever seen an old Hughes or Loral geostationary satellite assembled, it’s years of using the same team to lay up very different components on a production floor, not specialists responsible for installing their individual elements before the system moves to the next specialist.  It’s like the difference between building a kit car in your garage and an early Ford assembly line.  Parts of the aerospace industry have moved or are moving away from the cottage industry and closer to the assembly line model, notably the large satellite constellations and SpaceX in launch vehicles and human space flight.  But with a tiny launch rate of only one mission every year or two, the Orion Program could never justify such a change.

The same model plagues the production schedule of new avionics for Artemis III and so on.  There’s no capacity to simply churn out a complete extra copy for Artemis II.

If they’re to achieve any economic goals and open the Moon to commercial activity, NASA and the Artemis Program need to think and plan in terms of scale.  But as long as the program is tied to onesie-twosie Orion/SLS launches once in a blue moon, that’s not going to happen.

That's the long - and very good - answer.

The short answer is "because they're being paid by the hour on a cost-plus contract"

Every hour longer the process takes delivers a pound or several of prime USA taxpayer-funded pork, so there's absolutely no incentive to go faster

Offline goretexguy

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #16 on: 02/08/2023 07:05 pm »
Thank you for the responses. Having thought about it a bit, I can't help but wonder if an underlying driver for these reasons is the costing and estimating models used by contractors.

I develop large scale software systems. We have estimating tools- fancy spreadsheets, really - which we use to figure out costs when responding to RFPs. These tools, and the models they represent, are costly to build. It is hard and risky to make new models.

So. I'm thinking that the underlying tools used for program estimates continually drive 'old space' to do things the old way... Which probably results in all the things you gentlemen have described.

I'm curious if anyone in the aerospace industry can speak to this, that outdated estimating tools prevent improvement in costs and timelines?

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 5
« Reply #17 on: 02/09/2023 01:58 am »
I'm thinking that the underlying tools used for program estimates continually drive 'old space' to do things the old way... Which probably results in all the things you gentlemen have described.

I'm curious if anyone in the aerospace industry can speak to this, that outdated estimating tools prevent improvement in costs and timelines?

It’s true that most space industry cost models do not capture the newer ways of doing development and production — large LEO constellations, SpaceX, etc.  Their cost-estimating relationships rely on data going all the way back to the 1950s, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if managers do not care to innovate in how their programs are managed or if parochial interests want to maintain old ways of doing business to protect pork and turf. 

However, those models don’t necessarily prevent managers who want or need to execute a development program more efficiently from doing so, especially if parochial interests are not paying attention.  That’s exactly what we did in the NASA COTS Program, where, among other things, we ignored the cost models and and set out to break them by fundamentally doing everything differently from every prior development program:  flexible requirements where possible and clean/simple interfaces where not, Space Act Agreements instead of Federal Acquisition Regulations contracts, maintaining competition throughout the program to control costs vice onerous and counterproductive oversight, fixed-price instead of cost-plus contracts, payment-on-delivery milestones instead of payment up front, industry co-investment on commercially aligned systems, etc.  And — surprise, surprise — when you do things differently from how they’ve always been done, you break historical cost models.  Quoting from an old report to Congress:

Quote
NASA recently conducted a predicted cost estimate of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle using the NASA-Air Force Cost Model (NAFCOM). NAFCOM is the primary cost estimating tool NASA uses to predict the costs for launch vehicles, crewed vehicles, planetary landers, rovers, and other flight hardware elements prior to the development of these systems.

NAFCOM is a parametric cost estimating tool with a historical database of over 130 NASA and Air Force space flight hardware projects. It has been developed and refined over the past 13 years with 10 releases providing increased accuracy, data content, and functionality. NAFCOM uses a number of technical inputs in the estimating process. These include mass of components, manufacturing methods, engineering management, test approach, integration complexity, and pre-development studies.

Another variable is the relationship between the Government and the contractor during development. At one end, NAFCOM can model an approach that incorporates a heavy involvement on the part of the Government, which is a more traditional approach for unique development efforts with advanced technology. At the other end, more commercial-like practices can be assumed for the cost estimate where the contractor has more responsibility during the development effort.

For the Falcon 9 analysis, NASA used NAFCOM to predict the development cost for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle using two methodologies:

1) Cost to develop Falcon 9 using traditional NASA approach, and
2) Cost using a more commercial development approach.

Under methodology #1, the cost model predicted that the Falcon 9 would cost $4.0 billion based on a traditional approach. Under methodology #2, NAFCOM predicted $1.7 billion when the inputs were adjusted to a more commercial development approach. Thus, the predicted the cost to develop the Falcon 9 if done by NASA would have been between $1.7 billion and $4.0 billion.

SpaceX has publicly indicated that the development cost for Falcon 9 launch vehicle was approximately $300 million. Additionally, approximately $90 million was spent developing the Falcon 1 launch vehicle which did contribute to some extent to the Falcon 9, for a total of $390 million. NASA has verified these costs.

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Section403(b)CommercialMarketAssessmentReportFinal.pdf

Offline jacqmans

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Offline woods170

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« Last Edit: 02/09/2023 10:15 am by woods170 »

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