Poll

Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?

SLS
65 (54.2%)
Starship/Super Heavy
55 (45.8%)

Total Members Voted: 120

Voting closed: 07/16/2022 01:09 am


Author Topic: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?  (Read 7285 times)

Offline TomH

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This is my third annual, and hopefully last, poll of which SHLV will first successfully fly as intended.

2020 poll results: SLS-33.5%, SS-66.5%%
2021 poll results: SLS-21.3%, SS-76.9%

To qualify successfully fly as intended, for SLS, that is nominal launch and place Orion on correct trajectory for a semi-free return (with minor course adjustments) around Luna. Successful Orion performance is not necessary.

For Starship, that is nominal Super Heavy launch, flight, and simulated landing at designated coordinates, and nominal Starship/US trajectory and simulated landing at designated coordinates. Successful dispensation of Starlinks (or facsimiles) is not necessary.

Neither LV needs to complete one full Earth orbit if that is not part of the flight plan.

SLS is now at the pad for WDR. SS has a mitigated FONSI, but not a final permit yet. Which will be the first to successfully achieve a nominal flight according to flight plan?

Poll will run for 30 days.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2022 04:08 am by TomH »

Offline dglow

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #1 on: 06/16/2022 01:59 am »
Feeling that Starship is somewhat more likely to launch first, though it’s far more probable that SLS will satisfy the specified flight requirements when it does.

Requiring a successful, controlled reentry from Starship (US) while not requiring similar from Orion is uneven and stacks the deck in SLS’s favor IMO.

Offline TomH

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #2 on: 06/16/2022 03:07 am »
Requiring a successful, controlled reentry from Starship (US) while not requiring similar from Orion is uneven and stacks the deck in SLS’s favor IMO.

I do get where you're coming from.

The possibility does exist for SLS to fly with some payload other than Orion. Why anyone would want to put something else on top of it is another matter entirely. The LV and the payload are built by differing companies. The Starship system is only designed to fly as a fully integrated upper stage and payload/spacecraft. You can't fly it (sans major redesign) without the nose section. Even if Orion fails, Boeing can say, That's on Lockheed; our rocket performed just fine.
 
Granted, the criterion may seem different for each LV.; they are, because the purposes differ. SLS is going to have to send its payload around the moon. SS likely won't even have to reach LEO, just a trajectory almost reaching LEO. One is designed for full reuse of all components, and that includes successful landings. The LV portion of the other is disposable. Since the two LVs have differing purposes, it seemed reasonable to pose the question as, Which program will be the first to be able to say, On this initial flight, we did what we set out to do?
« Last Edit: 06/16/2022 03:50 am by TomH »

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #3 on: 06/16/2022 03:29 am »
Requiring a successful, controlled reentry from Starship (US) while not requiring similar from Orion is uneven and stacks the deck in SLS’s favor IMO.

I do get where you're coming from.

The possibility does exist for SLS to fly with some payload other than Orion. Why anyone would want to put something else on top of it is another matter entirely. The LV and the payload are built by differing companies. The Starship system is only designed to fly as a fully integrated upper stage and payload/spacecraft. You can't fly it without the nose section. Even if Orion fails, Boeing can say, That's on Lockheed; our rocket performed just fine.
 
Granted, the criterion may seem different for each LV.; they are, because the purposes differ. SLS is going to have to send its payload around the moon. SS likely won't even have to reach LEO, just a trajectory almost reaching LEO. One is designed for full reuse of all components, and that includes successful landings. The LV portion of the other is disposable. Since the two LVs have differing purposes, it seemed reasonable to pose the question as, Which program will be the first to be able to say, We did what we set out to do?
You criteria are are fine with me: you have to draw the line somewhere. Some time last year, Elon said the first Starship launch would be a success if SH/SS cleared the tower, and that's consistent with the "try, fail, try again" approach.

I do note that Artemis 1 is not supposed to be a free-return mission, so your wording may need some refinement. I think for an SLS block 1, the SLS mission succeeds when the SLS proper (Core, boosters, ICPS) have completed their burns and placed the payload on the planned trajectory and the payload has separated properly.

I also think that if the SH boosts the SS past the Kármán line before SLS launches, then SLS can never claim to be "the most powerful rocket ever!", but that's separate from your criteria for this poll.

Offline TomH

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #4 on: 06/16/2022 03:45 am »
I also think that if the SH boosts the SS past the Kármán line before SLS launches, then SLS can never claim to be "the most powerful rocket ever!", but that's separate from your criteria for this poll.

Yea, I thought about the "most powerful rocket ever" aspect. While SLS will have more thrust than Saturn V, it will have lower payload capacity, so the claim would be open to debate. Those high density solids are mostly lifting their own weight and transferring much less thrust to the upper thrust beam of the core than liquid boosters would do. Also, Starship's eventual design for repropping  on orbit will give it a phenomenal deep space injection capacity. With all these dissimilar design aspects, I decided to just keep the question simple.

And I will modify the free return wording.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2022 03:57 am by TomH »

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #5 on: 06/16/2022 03:55 am »
I also think that if the SH boosts the SS past the Kármán line before SLS launches, then SLS can never claim to be "the most powerful rocket ever!", but that's separate from your criteria for this poll.

Yea, I thought about the "most powerful rocket ever" aspect. While SLS will have more thrust than Saturn V, it will have lower payload capacity, so the claim would be open to debate. Also, Starship's eventual design for repropping  on orbit will give it a deep space injection payload of phenomenal capacity. With all these dissimilar design aspects, I decided to just keep the question simple.

And I will modify the free return wording.

At risk of dragging the poll off topic, I think it's fair to use liftoff thrust as the metric for "most powerful rocket", especially since it is nice and simple. As you say, "payload mass" gets complicated.

Offline deltaV

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #6 on: 06/16/2022 04:03 am »
It's too close to call but I'll call it anyway. The vehicles are roughly tied for making the first launch attempt but SLS has a better chance of launching successfully on the first try so I voted SLS.

Offline Hog

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #7 on: 06/16/2022 04:25 pm »
I also think that if the SH boosts the SS past the Kármán line before SLS launches, then SLS can never claim to be "the most powerful rocket ever!", but that's separate from your criteria for this poll.

Yea, I thought about the "most powerful rocket ever" aspect. While SLS will have more thrust than Saturn V, it will have lower payload capacity, so the claim would be open to debate. Those high density solids are mostly lifting their own weight and transferring much less thrust to the upper thrust beam of the core than liquid boosters would do. Also, Starship's eventual design for repropping  on orbit will give it a phenomenal deep space injection capacity. With all these dissimilar design aspects, I decided to just keep the question simple.

And I will modify the free return wording.
Bold emphasis mine
The entire SRM has a decent sized hollow from its top to its bottom(aka combustion chamber), while a LRB does not. When figuring density of the prop., this void actually brings the density down to comparable levels of some LRBs. 
Figure in the lack of turbomachinery and lack of booster MPS as compared to solids helps this case. Hurting it, the SRB segments made from D6AC ultra high strength steel, which averages approx. 1/2 thick.  A liquid booster tankage "merely" needs to keep its props. contained during operation with a few psi of ullage space pressure.  The solid's segments must contain its prop. whilst also containing the entire pressure of combustion produced in its huge sized and ever growing combustion chamber. 
Paul

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #8 on: 06/16/2022 04:55 pm »
It's too close to call but I'll call it anyway. The vehicles are roughly tied for making the first launch attempt but SLS has a better chance of launching successfully on the first try so I voted SLS.
Agreed, but I'm an optimist so I voted for Starship. I think SLS is lower risk but it's not zero risk. The SRBs are far past their original stack limit and the system as a whole is new and complex even if some of its subsystems derive from older systems. Starship is completely new and SpaceX uses the "try it, it might work" paradigm, but it is a fundamentally simpler system.

Offline dglow

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #9 on: 06/16/2022 05:05 pm »
Requiring a successful, controlled reentry from Starship (US) while not requiring similar from Orion is uneven and stacks the deck in SLS’s favor IMO.

I do get where you're coming from.

The possibility does exist for SLS to fly with some payload other than Orion. Why anyone would want to put something else on top of it is another matter entirely. The LV and the payload are built by differing companies. The Starship system is only designed to fly as a fully integrated upper stage and payload/spacecraft. You can't fly it (sans major redesign) without the nose section. Even if Orion fails, Boeing can say, That's on Lockheed; our rocket performed just fine.
 
Granted, the criterion may seem different for each LV.; they are, because the purposes differ. SLS is going to have to send its payload around the moon. SS likely won't even have to reach LEO, just a trajectory almost reaching LEO. One is designed for full reuse of all components, and that includes successful landings. The LV portion of the other is disposable. Since the two LVs have differing purposes, it seemed reasonable to pose the question as, Which program will be the first to be able to say, On this initial flight, we did what we set out to do?

Yes, I hear you. Orion and the Starship are such different animals, as are their inaugural test flights. One difficulty is that Starship’s behavior in the orbital reentry regime is arguably the least-tested element of the stack. If we’re going to exclude a successful reentry and return of Orion (already better tested than Starship), it seems not reasonable to include reentry and return of both Starship’s booster and upper stage. On the other hand, Starship’s US isn’t required to orbit the moon prior to its return. So…

How about this for an common test of success between SLS and Starship: “Does each vehicle’s boost/core stage perform as intended, including all separation, disposal, and return events, and does each vehicle’s upper stage successfully fire, lofting itself or its payload to the intended trajectory.”

Offline mandrewa

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #10 on: 06/24/2022 05:17 pm »
For Starship, that is nominal Super Heavy launch, flight, and simulated landing at designated coordinates, and nominal Starship/US trajectory and simulated landing at designated coordinates. Successful dispensation of Starlinks (or facsimiles) is not necessary.

I was debating with myself which is more likely until I saw the definition of Starship 'success' given by the poll's author.

If it is just a question of who reaches orbit first, which is how I would guess most people are interpreting this poll, then I think it's almost a coin toss with the SLS slightly more likely to launch first.

But if 'success' means the Starship doing a successful simulated landing in the ocean north of Hawaii, then I think that puts the odds significantly in favor of SLS/Orion.

Offline crandles57

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #11 on: 06/24/2022 07:41 pm »

For Starship, that is nominal Super Heavy launch, flight, and simulated landing at designated coordinates, and nominal Starship/US trajectory and simulated landing at designated coordinates. Successful dispensation of Starlinks (or facsimiles) is not necessary.


How do we tell if there is a nominal simulated landing?

If it belly flops into water obviously it wasn't nominal. If it appears to simulate vertical landing but is 10m displaced from where intended presumably that wouldn't allow a catch and we won't know this unless SpaceX decides to tells us. Can we expect SpaceX to say if something like that has happened? Will we even get video to see if it stabilises in a vertical position prior to splashdown?

Is 'stabilising in a vertical position prior to splashdown' sufficient or does it have to be in almost exactly the place intended as well?

Offline jongoff

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #12 on: 06/24/2022 11:44 pm »
It's a coin-toss IMO.

~Jon

Offline Vahe231991

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #13 on: 06/28/2022 07:24 pm »
It's a foregone conclusion that the SLS (which now seems extremely likely to carry out its maiden launch in late August/early September after competing its final WDR) will certainly fly first successfully because it is derived from existing technology, but it remains to be seen if the first stage of the Starship rocket will be stable enough during the Starship's first launch for the rocket to avoid veering off course.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #14 on: 06/29/2022 03:22 am »
It's a foregone conclusion that the SLS (which now seems extremely likely to carry out its maiden launch in late August/early September after competing its final WDR) will certainly fly first successfully because it is derived from existing technology, but it remains to be seen if the first stage of the Starship rocket will be stable enough during the Starship's first launch for the rocket to avoid veering off course.
A foregone conclusion? That's impressive. Would you bet $1000 of your own money on success against $1 of my money that it will fail?

I also think it will succeed, but there are a great many reasons it might fail. The most obvious is that the SRBs will have been stacked for more than 20 months, although they were originally specified to remain stacked for not more than 12 months.

Offline laszlo

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #15 on: 06/29/2022 12:12 pm »
Again, just as in the previous polls, this poll does not take into account that the lunar flight has specific launch windows determined by the moon's orbit while a long fractional orbital lob only has to wait for the path to be clear of boats, planes, other spacecraft, etc.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #16 on: 06/29/2022 04:09 pm »
Again, just as in the previous polls, this poll does not take into account that the lunar flight has specific launch windows determined by the moon's orbit while a long fractional orbital lob only has to wait for the path to be clear of boats, planes, other spacecraft, etc.
Fine, feel free to count it as a tie if SLS launches within the first two days of the first launch window after the first successful Starship launch. Since nobody is keeping score, you can make your own rules for yourself. Meanwhile some Starship fans are convinced that Starship would have launched by now if only the FONSI had not been delayed so long, so I guess they can make their own rules also and count it as a tie if both LVs launch in 2022. Who cares?

Offline whitelancer64

Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #17 on: 06/29/2022 04:18 pm »
I voted Starship in the earlier polls, it would just seem wrong to not vote Starship again....


*edit to add*
Apparently I missed the 2021 poll.

But oh, how optimistic I was in 2019 and 2020 lol

I almost voted for New Glenn, but went with BFR / Starship instead. I think that Blue Origin will be very hot on SpaceX's heels. Probably within single digit months.

It's going to be fairly close. My personal hope is that Starship, Vulcan, New Glenn, and SLS all launch to orbit within six months of each other.
« Last Edit: 06/29/2022 04:27 pm by whitelancer64 »
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Offline laszlo

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #18 on: 06/29/2022 08:50 pm »
...Since nobody is keeping score...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!




Offline su27k

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Re: 2022 Poll: Which SHLV Will Successfully Fly First?
« Reply #19 on: 06/30/2022 02:33 am »
Again, just as in the previous polls, this poll does not take into account that the lunar flight has specific launch windows determined by the moon's orbit while a long fractional orbital lob only has to wait for the path to be clear of boats, planes, other spacecraft, etc.

Nobody forced NASA to launch an operational payload to BLEO in the first launch, they could have done a test launch first like Starship and most other new LVs in the world. The fact that they can't do this is a problem with SLS itself, and should very much count against them.

In any case, this new poll gives SLS unreasonable favor by requiring Starship to complete successful EDL, which is very hard to do in the first try and pretty much guarantees Starship will lose, so I'm not sure why you're complaining in the first place.


 

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