Author Topic: HLS Option B and the Sustaining Lunar Development Phase (Appendix P)  (Read 172759 times)

Offline deadman1204

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That original $1billion dollar contribution always felt.... disingenuous. Its like marking the price up to put it on sale.  Since Blue was setting the prices for everything, it was simply playing with numbers to make it look like a discount was being given.

Offline yg1968

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That original $1billion dollar contribution always felt.... disingenuous. Its like marking the price up to put it on sale.  Since Blue was setting the prices for everything, it was simply playing with numbers to make it look like a discount was being given.

Blue's original HLS proposal for the base period was for $10.2B, so I think that the $1B contribution for option A was genuine since their price went down from $10.2B to $6B from the base period to option A.

https://www.usaspending.gov/award/CONT_AWD_80MSFC20C0020_8000_-NONE-_-NONE-
« Last Edit: 12/09/2022 05:29 pm by yg1968 »

Offline VSECOTSPE

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However, like I said before, contributions only goes so far.

Donít disagree last round.  Thatís when there was a proposal that was significantly superior to the other two in terms of management experience, technical competence, and business planning.

Unless thereís a big reveal coming, this round NASA seems to be left with the same two also-rans, both of which are led by orgs with no proven experience in space systems this size and complexity, both of which demonstrated technical incompetence last round, and neither of which has much business vision beyond NASA missions.

Would love to be proven wrong by one of these teams getting its act together on the technical or business side.  But absent that, they appear to be equally bad backups to Lunar Starship with the only major difference between them being Bezosís deep pockets, which will make National Teamís bad backup the cheaper and lesser of two evils over Dyneticsí bad backup.

Absent a reveal of something we donít know yet or a demonstration of technical competence or business vision, thatís how I handicap this shaking out ó Bezosís billions will be the deciding factor between two otherwise equally bad options for NASA.

Offline JayWee

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..
For Option A, Blue's proposal was for $6B and included a $1B contribution. Hopefully, they will offer a $3B contribution this time as they ended up proposing after the fact for Option A. This would reduce the price to $4B for Appendix P. 
...
I'd understand if Bezos gave Blue $3B in case of pure-Blue bid, it's his company. But Bezos giving money to Lockheed, Boeing and others sounds a bit weird.
« Last Edit: 12/09/2022 03:32 pm by JayWee »

Offline Athelstane

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However, like I said before, contributions only goes so far.

Donít disagree last round.  Thatís when there was a proposal that was significantly superior to the other two in terms of management experience, technical competence, and business planning.

Unless thereís a big reveal coming, this round NASA seems to be left with the same two also-rans, both of which are led by orgs with no proven experience in space systems this size and complexity, both of which demonstrated technical incompetence last round, and neither of which has much business vision beyond NASA missions.

Would love to be proven wrong by one of these teams getting its act together on the technical or business side.  But absent that, they appear to be equally bad backups to Lunar Starship with the only major difference between them being Bezosís deep pockets, which will make National Teamís bad backup the cheaper and lesser of two evils over Dyneticsí bad backup.

Absent a reveal of something we donít know yet or a demonstration of technical competence or business vision, thatís how I handicap this shaking out ó Bezosís billions will be the deciding factor between two otherwise equally bad options for NASA.

I agree with all this, in the main; but it's reasonable to also think that Blue Origin's team will once again have a *modest* advantage on the technical quality of its proposal - the National Team did, after all, grade out as "Acceptable" to Dynetics' "Marginal" grade on this criterion.

Of course, we do not know yet exactly what each "partner" will be responsible for developing. Lockheed can at least claim Orion on its resume, and while there are serious criticisms to be made of Orion, it does at least seem to be *working* so far on this mission (so far). If indeed LockMart is still doing the primary work on the Ascent Module, a fair bit of its Orion work could reasonably transfer over, or at least inform the engineering for the AM. It'll be expensive, and behind schedule, but I think there is a residue of competency still left at LockMart.

What is Boeing going to be doing? No one has said. Theoretically, Boeing can claim prime work on the US orbital segment of ISS, Starliner, and SLS's core stage on its c.v., but this only highlights why they're likely to be a detriment, if anything, for reasons which will be obvious to everyone here. Almost all of ISS's development work dates back to before the McDonnell merger, and it's ancient history anyway at this point; the less said about the other vehicles, the better. It is telling that Boeing's Appendix P proposal for HLS was so poor that it did not even make the first round cut.

But the real problem, as I think you were saying, is that it is Blue Origin that is the *prime* contractor, and they can't claim any experience of this sort, good or bad. So one wonders how much the modest advantage LockMart might confer on the project will really matter, especially in light of the talent losses they have suffered on the lander team. But I expect they will probably get a bit better technical grade than Dynetics once again, and will come in somewhat cheaper, and that will be enough to get them the bid. And given the stick that Cantwell and Murray will likely swing in this upcoming Congress, that can only help NASA politically.
« Last Edit: 12/09/2022 04:34 pm by Athelstane »

Offline Coastal Ron

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...Of course, we do not know yet exactly what each "partner" will be responsible for developing. Lockheed can at least claim Orion on its resume, and while there are serious criticisms to be made of Orion, it does at least seem to be *working* so far on this mission (so far). If indeed LockMart is still doing the primary work on the Ascent Module, a fair bit of its Orion work could reasonably transfer over, or at least inform the engineering for the AM. It'll be expensive, and behind schedule, but I think there is a residue of competency still left at LockMart.

What matters most is whether any of the Orion team will be working on this, because it's not the technology transfer that is important, but the knowledge of how to use that technology that is most important. And that is the PEOPLE.

When SpaceX won the contract for Commercial Crew, they already had a team of people that had been working on Commercial Cargo, so they had a head start over Boeing regarding existing experience at SpaceX vs Boeings deep potential talent pool. And as it turns out Boeing did not have a significant advantage because of their "heritage" or number of total employees. Having employees with hands on experience really is important.

Which is also why you can't read too much into proposals, since the internal teams doing the proposals is A) not the whole team that will be doing development, and B) many on the proposal team may not transfer to the development team if they win. I have friends that used to be the procurements contracts experts that proposal teams brought in as part of the bidding team, but they rarely stayed around after the bids were submitted.

SpaceX already had a large team building the Starship program for their Mars program, so carving out a lunar version of the HLS was not a significant challenge. Everyone else is building a lunar lander team from scratch, with no existing products to leverage. Which is why I have been warning that developing a lunar lander in less than 10 years is optimistic at best. The history of the Commercial Crew program should not be forgotten.

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But the real problem, as I think you were saying, is that it is Blue Origin that is the *prime* contractor, and they can't claim any experience of this sort, good or bad.

THIS!!! is such an important point. And who Blue Origin appoints to be the overall program manager could make or break their efforts, along with the chief engineer. Running a complex program within your own company is a huge challenge, but managing a disparate team that includes companies with far more "heritage"? That takes a talented program manager.

Plus, for Blue Origin as the prime contractor, they have to make sure the incentives agreed upon by their team members are adequate and enforced. Teams have advantages, but they have disadvantages too, which is why you need the right leadership.
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 deadman1204

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What is Boeing going to be doing? No one has said. Theoretically, Boeing can claim prime work on the US orbital segment of ISS, Starliner, and SLS's core stage on its c.v., but this only highlights why they're likely to be a detriment, if anything, for reasons which will be obvious to everyone here. Almost all of ISS's development work dates back to before the McDonnell merger, and it's ancient history anyway at this point; the less said about the other vehicles, the better. It is telling that Boeing's Appendix P proposal for HLS was so poor that it did not even make the first round cut.
Doesn't Boeing run the ISS? Their operational knowledge about running space missions could be quite useful.

Offline Athelstane

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...Of course, we do not know yet exactly what each "partner" will be responsible for developing. Lockheed can at least claim Orion on its resume, and while there are serious criticisms to be made of Orion, it does at least seem to be *working* so far on this mission (so far). If indeed LockMart is still doing the primary work on the Ascent Module, a fair bit of its Orion work could reasonably transfer over, or at least inform the engineering for the AM. It'll be expensive, and behind schedule, but I think there is a residue of competency still left at LockMart.

What matters most is whether any of the Orion team will be working on this, because it's not the technology transfer that is important, but the knowledge of how to use that technology that is most important. And that is the PEOPLE.

Agreed 100%, Ron.

Offline Coastal Ron

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What is Boeing going to be doing? No one has said. Theoretically, Boeing can claim prime work on the US orbital segment of ISS, Starliner, and SLS's core stage on its c.v., but this only highlights why they're likely to be a detriment, if anything, for reasons which will be obvious to everyone here. Almost all of ISS's development work dates back to before the McDonnell merger, and it's ancient history anyway at this point; the less said about the other vehicles, the better. It is telling that Boeing's Appendix P proposal for HLS was so poor that it did not even make the first round cut.
Doesn't Boeing run the ISS? Their operational knowledge about running space missions could be quite useful.

Development and operations are completely different, and the people doing operations are unlikely to be the people you want on a development team due to the differences in skillsets required for both.
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 Paul451

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What is Boeing going to be doing? No one has said.

Assuming there's no radical departure from the previous ILV design, Northrop was responsible for the transfer stage. I would assume Boeing will be building its replacement. Perhaps based around Centaur/DCSS/ICPS?

Offline VSECOTSPE

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I agree with all this, in the main; but it's reasonable to also think that Blue Origin's team will once again have a *modest* advantage on the technical quality of its proposal - the National Team did, after all, grade out as "Acceptable" to Dynetics' "Marginal" grade on this criterion.

Maybe.  One couldnít close a mass budget.  The other couldnít close a link budget.  Even after hundreds of millions in prior NASA awards in the run up to the competition.  Thatís systems engineering amateur hour in both cases.  Maybe one gets their act together and ekes out a technical advanatge.  But I think itís more likely that both continue to wallow in systems incompetence.  Neither has successfully completed even a Falcon 1-like project.  Until they do, I remain skeptical.

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Of course, we do not know yet exactly what each "partner" will be responsible for developing.

I donít think the partners matter much.  Theyíre not bringing the system together, just supplying elements.  Itís up to Blue and Dynetics  to get their choirs to sing together technically, and neither lead has demonstrated experience doing that at this level.

It would be a different discussion if, say, LockMart Space Sustems was lead.  They have demonstrated, current experience getting complex (if expensive) landers down safely on Mars.  But theyíre not a lead, and I canít point to anything like that at Dynetics or Blue.

FWIWÖ

Offline Athelstane

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It would be a different discussion if, say, LockMart Space Sustems was lead. 

It's telling that they decided not to pursue a bid as the lead.

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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What is Boeing going to be doing? No one has said.

Assuming there's no radical departure from the previous ILV design, Northrop was responsible for the transfer stage. I would assume Boeing will be building its replacement. Perhaps based around Centaur/DCSS/ICPS?

Centaur or DCSS sounds like a possibility, but why isn't it a ULA project then?  (I'll bet the word "co-manifesting" is somewhere in the explanation.)

I've always had a failure of imagination on the whole AE/DE/TE architecture.  I get that the AE is extensively crew-rated, and therefore well worth reusing.  The DE has to be expendable in the kind of form factors that ILV would be working with. 

The TE was advertised as being reusable, but every time I looked at what it would take to boost it back to NRHO and refuel it, it was just as cheap to send a new one, and a lot easier.

Maybe if you hack the RL10 off of the DCSS or Centaur, their attitude control systems have enough delta-v (60-80m/s) to get from BLT to NRHO?  That might make refueling and reusing the TE with the RL10 worthwhile.

Everybody would be sooooooo much better off if they'd just swallow their pride and buy methalox or LOX from SpaceX.  They can use some other heavy lifter(s) to send prop 10-15t at a time to a cislunar depot if Starship has some kind of problem.  But if it's working, it drops the cost of prop in NRHO by a factor of 10.

In addition to being expensive, the ILV was (and likely still is) tiny.  With more prop available, it might stop being a toy.

NG have shown they are willing to gamble on innovative space technology like MRV. So they might invest heavily in this lander especially if technology can be used elsewhere.

For example, I suspect NG would be quite happy to be one of maybe 2 organizations with experience doing bulk in space cryogenic fuel transfer.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Offline punder

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In addition to being expensive, the ILV was (and likely still is) tiny.  With more prop available, it might stop being a toy.
Thatís what is so maddening about Appendix P, when you step back. A lot less capability for a lot more money, because competition and redundancy are suddenly a good thing (edit, thatís irony).
« Last Edit: 12/11/2022 07:43 pm by punder »

Offline yg1968

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In addition to being expensive, the ILV was (and likely still is) tiny.  With more prop available, it might stop being a toy.
Thatís what is so maddening about Appendix P, when you step back. A lot less capability for a lot more money, because competition and redundancy are suddenly a good thing.

Redundancy and competition have always been a good thing for public-private partnerships. Having said that, selecting one proposal or no proposal should be an option if there is only one or no good proposal.

Offline sdsds

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Does the selection officer have the option of transforming Appendix P awards into essentially more Appendix N risk reduction work?
ó 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 ó

Offline yg1968

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Does the selection officer have the option of transforming Appendix P awards into essentially more Appendix N risk reduction work?

The Appendix P has a lot of optional items (CLINs) which gives NASA a lot of flexibility if it doesn't receive enough funding from Congress or if a provider underperforms (see the link below). Option B is apparently very similar to Appendix P, so it probably also has optional items (CLINs).

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=56067.msg2432528#msg2432528

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Does the selection officer have the option of transforming Appendix P awards into essentially more Appendix N risk reduction work?

The Appendix P has a lot of optional items (CLINs) which gives NASA a lot of flexibility if it doesn't receive enough funding from Congress or if a provider underperforms (see the link below). Option B is apparently very similar to Appendix P, so it probably also has optional items (CLINs).

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=56067.msg2432528#msg2432528

The BAA also specifies that selecting zero bids is a possible outcome.

Offline woods170

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What is Boeing going to be doing? No one has said.

Assuming there's no radical departure from the previous ILV design, Northrop was responsible for the transfer stage. I would assume Boeing will be building its replacement. Perhaps based around Centaur/DCSS/ICPS?

If that was the case than Blue is not actually partnering with Boeing, but with ULA. Boeing's IP and production lines for Delta rockets was transferred to ULA ages ago.
Centaur originally came from LockMart, NOT Boeing. But Centaur production line and IP has also been transferred to ULA ages ago.

So no, whatever Boeing is bringing to the table in the National Team, it is not Centaur derived, not is it DCSS/ICPS derived. Because none of those products are owned by Boeing.

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