Author Topic: HLS Option B and the Sustaining Lunar Development Phase (Appendix P)  (Read 232866 times)

Online JayWee

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Any guesses what do the individual National Team partners bring to the table and are likely to be working on? (And related: what does BO actually want to focus on as a company?)
« Last Edit: 12/07/2022 07:50 pm by JayWee »

Online deadman1204

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Where does that leave Sierra Space?

I don't know. Does anyone know if they submitted a proposal?

Sierra is supporting the Blue National Team this time around.

Blue was insisting on exclusivity for nearly all of their partners, so they may only have been able to support NT rather than be a merchant provider.
Sierra Space may be a provider of the carbon composite crew cabin. They have significant recent experience in being able to do this quickly and low cost from their past and current work with Dream Chaser crew and now cargo.
I'm not disagreeing, but I don't understand. They've made a single untested prototype. Does that really count as experience?

Offline TrevorMonty

Where does that leave Sierra Space?

I don't know. Does anyone know if they submitted a proposal?

Sierra is supporting the Blue National Team this time around.

Blue was insisting on exclusivity for nearly all of their partners, so they may only have been able to support NT rather than be a merchant provider.
Sierra Space may be a provider of the carbon composite crew cabin. They have significant recent experience in being able to do this quickly and low cost from their past and current work with Dream Chaser crew and now cargo.
Composite shell was built by LM.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/10/17/dream-chaser-structure-arrives-at-factory-for-outfitting/

Online VSECOTSPE

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This is excellent news, IMHO.
NG are amongst the most innovative space companies at the moment, and of course they have the legacy of the LEM if that counts for anything.

In my non expert opinion I am excited about this proposal...

I would not get too excited.

Dynetics has zero experience with space systems this large and complex, and it’s now led by Steve Cook, a former MSFC PowerPoint engineer who was among the handful at NASA responsible for starting and leading the Ares I disaster.

Grumman’s LEM development experience is over a half-century in the rear-view mirror.  The Long Island facility that built the LEM hasn’t done space systems in decades.  It’s all maritime warfare now.

Even if they were a team with proven leadership and recent relevant experience, the harsh reality is that they will probably be outbid by National Team and Bezos’s deep pockets.  Dynetics has no war chest of its own, and NG isn’t going to kick in the billions of dollars needed to match Bezos.

I’m no fan of National Team’s pork map approach, either.  But it’s hard to see how the Dynetics team suddenly becomes a lot more technically competent and/or outbids Bezos.

Offline sdsds

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Looking at each of the two Appendix P bidding teams I have the same question: to what extent does the nominally "lead" company provide the actual — you know — leadership of the effort?

The National Team partners are Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic, and Honeybee. It's difficult to envision Blue dictating much to LM or Boeing. Maybe the role there is adjudicating between them when they disagree?

The team consisting of Leidos Dynetics and Northrop Grumman? Given NG could be viewed as a disguised combination of Orbital Sciences and Thiokol Propulsion, which of those entities has better leadership experience in spaceflight missions? If certain principals have learned lessons from the past it might not be as bad as it looks on first blush.
« Last Edit: 12/09/2022 12:14 am by sdsds »
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Offline Redclaws

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Looking at each of the two Appendix P bidding teams I have the same question: to what extent does the nominally "lead" company provide the actual — you know — leadership of the effort?

The National Team partners are Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic, and Honeybee. It's difficult to envision Blue dictating much to LM or Boeing. Maybe the role there is adjudicating between them when they disagree?

The team consisting of Leidos Dynetics and Northrop Grumman? Given NG could be viewed as a disguised combination of Orbital Sciences and Thiokol Propulsion, which of those entities has better leadership experience in spaceflight missions? If certain principals have learned lessons from the past it might not be as bad as it looks on first blush.

Is the question about Orbital vs Thiokol a serious one?  Orbital has(had) Cygnus, Thiokol makes(made) SRBs.  Would the Thiokol descended unit of NG have anything to do with designing or orchestrating full missions?  Is there some other function for them I’m unaware of?

Offline sdsds

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Is the question about Orbital vs Thiokol a serious one?  Orbital has(had) Cygnus, Thiokol makes(made) SRBs.  Would the Thiokol descended unit of NG have anything to do with designing or orchestrating full missions?  Is there some other function for them I’m unaware of?

You are quite correct. I had meant to compare the combined Orbital/Thiokol with Dynetics. Which of those would be the more natural leader of the team?
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Online DanClemmensen

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Looking at each of the two Appendix P bidding teams I have the same question: to what extent does the nominally "lead" company provide the actual — you know — leadership of the effort?

The National Team partners are Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic, and Honeybee. It's difficult to envision Blue dictating much to LM or Boeing. Maybe the role there is adjudicating between them when they disagree?

The team consisting of Leidos Dynetics and Northrop Grumman? Given NG could be viewed as a disguised combination of Orbital Sciences and Thiokol Propulsion, which of those entities has better leadership experience in spaceflight missions? If certain principals have learned lessons from the past it might not be as bad as it looks on first blush.
One result of the BO HLS lawsuit was that we got some insight as to how NASA evaluated the original HLS bids.  Program management was one of the three principal evaluation criteria, even more important than cost. I don't think they can simply wave their hands on this: they will need to describe the program management structure in some detail. just as they must describe the system architecture.

Online TheRadicalModerate

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Looking at each of the two Appendix P bidding teams I have the same question: to what extent does the nominally "lead" company provide the actual — you know — leadership of the effort?

The National Team partners are Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic, and Honeybee. It's difficult to envision Blue dictating much to LM or Boeing. Maybe the role there is adjudicating between them when they disagree?

The team consisting of Leidos Dynetics and Northrop Grumman? Given NG could be viewed as a disguised combination of Orbital Sciences and Thiokol Propulsion, which of those entities has better leadership experience in spaceflight missions? If certain principals have learned lessons from the past it might not be as bad as it looks on first blush.

I've been assuming that the designation of "partner" is happy inclusive PR-speak for "subcontractor".  NASA signs the contract with Blue, or Dynetics, or whomever.  The subs work for the lead, and the lead is ultimately responsible for the subs' performance.

Is this not correct?

Offline primer_black

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Yes, hence the ‘prime’ designation for Blue and Dynetics in this case. Cut and dry.

Offline yg1968

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Even if they were a team with proven leadership and recent relevant experience, the harsh reality is that they will probably be outbid by National Team and Bezos’s deep pockets.  Dynetics has no war chest of its own, and NG isn’t going to kick in the billions of dollars needed to match Bezos.

Bezos' money only helps to a degree. For Option A, Blue made a contribution of $1B. Lueders said that the contribution was appreciated but it didn't prove that the lander had a business case in the long term.

https://www.blueorigin.com/news/open-letter-to-administrator-nelson/

Online JayWee

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Who will evaluate the P bid? Lueders or Free?

Offline yg1968

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Who will evaluate the P bid? Lueders or Free?

It won't be Lueders, she is no longer in that directorate.

Offline sdsds

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Looking at each of the two Appendix P bidding teams I have the same question: to what extent does the nominally "lead" company provide the actual — you know — leadership of the effort?
[Which partner in each]  has better leadership experience in spaceflight missions?

[...] NASA signs the contract with Blue, or Dynetics, or whomever.  The subs work for the lead, and the lead is ultimately responsible for the subs' performance.

Yes, hence the ‘prime’ designation for Blue and Dynetics in this case. Cut and dry.

No doubt the prime has the legal contract with NASA. Does that mean the prime's best choice is to assign technical leadership to one of its own employees or some set of them? Or could a prime choose to assign technical decision-making roles to the subs?
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Online DanClemmensen

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Looking at each of the two Appendix P bidding teams I have the same question: to what extent does the nominally "lead" company provide the actual — you know — leadership of the effort?
[Which partner in each]  has better leadership experience in spaceflight missions?

[...] NASA signs the contract with Blue, or Dynetics, or whomever.  The subs work for the lead, and the lead is ultimately responsible for the subs' performance.

Yes, hence the ‘prime’ designation for Blue and Dynetics in this case. Cut and dry.

No doubt the prime has the legal contract with NASA. Does that mean the prime's best choice is to assign technical leadership to one of its own employees or some set of them? Or could a prime choose to assign technical decision-making roles to the subs?
The 1971 book "the psychology of computer programming" makes the point that if a pre-existing team is assigned to design and build a system,  the top-level architecture of system will inevitably reflect the organization of the team. Thus, the top-level architecture of BO's Appendix P HLS is already locked in place.

Offline sdsds

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Regarding Dynetix/NG: Leidos describes itself as a Fortune 500® technology, engineering, and science solutions company. Dynetix is a wholly owned subsidiary. I doubt many people outside that corporate structure have good insight into the level at which Dynetix leadership is, this time around, receiving oversight from Leidos leadership. I'm looking for a silver lining; maybe someone at Leidos HQ has a solid connection with someone at NG HQ.

Regarding the National Team, one of Blue Origin's Leadership Principles states that “Leaders are sincerely open-minded, and examine their own strongest convictions with humility. They value diversity, in all of its forms, since different viewpoints result in novel ideas. Their openness enables them to trust those around them – and to earn the trust of others in turn.” Again I'm looking for a silver lining; perhaps this cloud has none.

My pessimistic hunch though is that no Appendix P contract gets awarded, and NASA retreats to a government-owned, contractor-operated procurement style for developing an alternative to HLS Option B.
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Offline Kaputnik

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This is excellent news, IMHO.
NG are amongst the most innovative space companies at the moment, and of course they have the legacy of the LEM if that counts for anything.

In my non expert opinion I am excited about this proposal...

I would not get too excited.

Dynetics has zero experience with space systems this large and complex, and it’s now led by Steve Cook, a former MSFC PowerPoint engineer who was among the handful at NASA responsible for starting and leading the Ares I disaster.

Grumman’s LEM development experience is over a half-century in the rear-view mirror.  The Long Island facility that built the LEM hasn’t done space systems in decades.  It’s all maritime warfare now.

Even if they were a team with proven leadership and recent relevant experience, the harsh reality is that they will probably be outbid by National Team and Bezos’s deep pockets.  Dynetics has no war chest of its own, and NG isn’t going to kick in the billions of dollars needed to match Bezos.

I’m no fan of National Team’s pork map approach, either.  But it’s hard to see how the Dynetics team suddenly becomes a lot more technically competent and/or outbids Bezos.


That's disappointing. I remember the ESAS and Ares fiascos very well.
OTOH,C the National Team just seems so clumsy, with so many players. Surely there comes a point where having so many partners on a project results in design by committee.
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Online VSECOTSPE

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Bezos' money only helps to a degree. For Option A, Blue made a contribution of $1B. Lueders said that the contribution was appreciated but it didn't prove that the lander had a business case in the long term.

Bezos offered to throw $3B+ at the problem after losing.  I assume he’s learned his lesson and will go all-in at that level or more from the get-go this time around.  Dynetics has no such deep pockets, so they will be at an even bigger disadvantage on cost than last time around.

Dynetics doesn’t have a business case — unlike Lunar Starship, the system has no commonality with anything else.  Unless they’ve radically redesigned to have commonality with New Glenn or something, I doubt National Team has a business case either, so that will probably just be a wash.

The leads on both teams have little proven experience with space systems of this scale and complexity, so management is probably also a wash.

It may come down to which team stops shooting itself in the foot technically, but if they’re both about the same in that area, too, then it really just leaves cost/Bezos’s pockets as the deciding factor.

Offline TrevorMonty

Dynetics seems to keep working on there lander even after initial bid failed. National team on the other had disbanded. Blue probably keeped on working on lander but I doubt LM and NG worked on their elements.

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.

Offline yg1968

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Bezos' money only helps to a degree. For Option A, Blue made a contribution of $1B. Lueders said that the contribution was appreciated but it didn't prove that the lander had a business case in the long term.

Bezos offered to throw $3B+ at the problem after losing.  I assume he’s learned his lesson and will go all-in at that level or more from the get-go this time around.  Dynetics has no such deep pockets, so they will be at an even bigger disadvantage on cost than last time around.

Dynetics doesn’t have a business case — unlike Lunar Starship, the system has no commonality with anything else.  Unless they’ve radically redesigned to have commonality with New Glenn or something, I doubt National Team has a business case either, so that will probably just be a wash.

The leads on both teams have little proven experience with space systems of this scale and complexity, so management is probably also a wash.

It may come down to which team stops shooting itself in the foot technically, but if they’re both about the same in that area, too, then it really just leaves cost/Bezos’s pockets as the deciding factor.

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. 

Quote from: page 7 of the GAO Protest
Price: SpaceX - $2,941,394,557; Blue- $5,995,463,651; Dynetics - $9,082,209,433

https://www.gao.gov/assets/b-419783.pdf

Quote from: Blue's letter to Administrator/Senator Nelson
Blue Origin will bridge the HLS budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2B to get the program back on track right now. [...]

This contribution to the program is above and beyond the over $1B of corporate contribution cited in our Option A proposal that funds items such as our privately developed BE-7 lunar lander engine and indefinite storage of liquid hydrogen in space.

https://www.blueorigin.com/news/open-letter-to-administrator-nelson/

However, like I said before, contributions only goes so far. Here is what Lueders said in the selection statement for Option A about Blue's $1B contribution for Option A:

Quote from: page 19 of the Selection Statement
while Blue Origin proposes a significant corporate contribution for the Option A effort, it does not provide a fulsome explanation of how this contribution is tied to or will otherwise advance its commercial approach for achieving long-term affordability or increasing performance.
« Last Edit: 12/09/2022 01:51 pm by yg1968 »

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