Author Topic: The National Team (Blue Origin etc) lunar lander for HLS SLD (App P)  (Read 10583 times)

Offline TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3280
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 2429
  • Likes Given: 476
Theoretical are meaningless here. The national team simply will NOT share their money with spaceX. There is literally no world where this will happen. They will come up with some architecture which maximizes the amount of money they get paid, and also probably gets the job done.

I tend to agree.  But Dynetics would be more than happy to share.  And they could clean BO/NT's clock with a descent-ascent system with a liberal prop budget.

Offline TrevorMonty

Theoretical are meaningless here. The national team simply will NOT share their money with spaceX. There is literally no world where this will happen. They will come up with some architecture which maximizes the amount of money they get paid, and also probably gets the job done.

I tend to agree.  But Dynetics would be more than happy to share.  And they could clean BO/NT's clock with a descent-ascent system with a liberal prop budget.
NASA is looking redundant lander systems so would expect alternative LV to SS for supply of Dynetic's landers fuel. Vulcan was LV of choice as it can deliver fuel directly to lunar orbit.

Offline TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3280
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 2429
  • Likes Given: 476
Theoretical are meaningless here. The national team simply will NOT share their money with spaceX. There is literally no world where this will happen. They will come up with some architecture which maximizes the amount of money they get paid, and also probably gets the job done.

I tend to agree.  But Dynetics would be more than happy to share.  And they could clean BO/NT's clock with a descent-ascent system with a liberal prop budget.
NASA is looking redundant lander systems so would expect alternative LV to SS for supply of Dynetic's landers fuel. Vulcan was LV of choice as it can deliver fuel directly to lunar orbit.

Yup, and I had a solution to that problem up-thread:  SpaceX bids prop on a $/t basis, not on a per-launch basis.  If Starship's down for whatever reason, they have to use FH and eat the cost difference.  Setting the price includes the risk that they might have to do that.

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15944
  • Liked: 6164
  • Likes Given: 2693
NASA always said that they had a preference for 2. They said so verbally on a number of occasions. One was a possibility but it wasn't their preference. The BAA reflects that too (see below). The base period could have up to 4 providers but Options A and B had a maximum of 2. It's possible that Appendix P will have no awards if the bids are too high or if Congress doesn't provide enough funding for HLS. Incidentally, Option B and Appendix P have a lot of optional CLINs which makes it possible for NASA to drop a provider if they are unhappy with their performance.
HLS wasn't even a commercial fixed-cost program at first. It seemed obvious that NASA was going to select one HLS provider, presumably an integrated lander system to launch on SLS, until they surprisingly announced that this was going to be a commercial contract. Only then did it become plausible to select two providers.

There's a ton of revisionist history on this topic.

That is not true. HLS (Appendix H) was always a commercial fixed price program. There was discussions as part of Appendix E of having a 3 element lander where one of the elements (the ascent stage) was possibly not going to be commercial but that never made it very far. 

https://www.nasa.gov/nextstep/humanlander2 (Appendix H)

https://www.nasa.gov/nextstep/humanlander (Appendix E)
« Last Edit: 12/09/2022 02:05 pm by yg1968 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Theoretical are meaningless here. The national team simply will NOT share their money with spaceX. There is literally no world where this will happen. They will come up with some architecture which maximizes the amount of money they get paid, and also probably gets the job done.

I tend to agree.  But Dynetics would be more than happy to share.  And they could clean BO/NT's clock with a descent-ascent system with a liberal prop budget.
NASA is looking redundant lander systems so would expect alternative LV to SS for supply of Dynetic's landers fuel. Vulcan was LV of choice as it can deliver fuel directly to lunar orbit.

Yup, and I had a solution to that problem up-thread:  SpaceX bids prop on a $/t basis, not on a per-launch basis.  If Starship's down for whatever reason, they have to use FH and eat the cost difference.  Setting the price includes the risk that they might have to do that.
As is FH can't delivery propellant to lunar orbit . Upperstage can't  survive 4 day without extensive modification. Might be able to build tanker based on Dragon XL bus but why would they if SS is their future.

Most US only have life of few hours, Centuar and SS are about only stages capable of multiday missions. Photon is more of kick stage/OTV than US.

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1363
  • USA
  • Liked: 1206
  • Likes Given: 1754
Theoretical are meaningless here. The national team simply will NOT share their money with spaceX. There is literally no world where this will happen. They will come up with some architecture which maximizes the amount of money they get paid, and also probably gets the job done.

I tend to agree.  But Dynetics would be more than happy to share.  And they could clean BO/NT's clock with a descent-ascent system with a liberal prop budget.
NASA is looking redundant lander systems so would expect alternative LV to SS for supply of Dynetic's landers fuel. Vulcan was LV of choice as it can deliver fuel directly to lunar orbit.
Technically NASA is being directed to "look for another system". The entire "redundancy" thing is 100% blue origin propaganda and fud. There is NO redundancy in artimis - SLS/Orion have no back up, and congress won't allow one either. Its just a talking point to try and give legitimacy to congressional pork because blue and lockheed own so many people in congress.

Offline VSECOTSPE

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1073
  • Liked: 3722
  • Likes Given: 2

Ever since COTS, NASA human space flight has been moving in the direction of programs that maintain at least two competitors in major mission/program elements:  COTS, CCDev, ISS follow-on, and now the human lunar landers.  So the argument for alternates and backups has been made, and made successfully, for years, long before Blue protested the HLS award.

It’s also true that sole-sourced legacy programs on the critical path, especially Orion/SLS, do not have competition and alternatives when they and NASA really should.  But that doesn’t invalidate the argument for having competition and options, nor does it mean that the argument originated with Blue’s hamfisted lobbying.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5224
  • Florida
  • Liked: 4841
  • Likes Given: 1097
The primary reasoning for 2 contracts for a provider of a service was that due to goals of the project it was not that realistic to believe that both would deliver or even 1 would. HLS is no different. SLS/Orion after it's first launch is a lower risk than any effort that would replace or compete with it. That does not mean that there would not be one anyway.

For App P there is highly likely only funds for 1 selected and it is also possible that the funds may be less than expected requiring a renegotiation and lengthening of the scheduled delivery date on the selected provider. Thus the bidder's price still holds a very significant position in the decision as long as the lowest cost bidder can do the job!

Schedule wise I do not expect an award for App P to occur before April. A source selection process on these size contracts are slow. And thus the official award date may even end being summer of 2023. That being last quarter of the 2023 fiscal year. 1 Oct 2023 would need a new budget passed by congress.

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15944
  • Liked: 6164
  • Likes Given: 2693
The primary reasoning for 2 contracts for a provider of a service was that due to goals of the project it was not that realistic to believe that both would deliver or even 1 would. HLS is no different. SLS/Orion after it's first launch is a lower risk than any effort that would replace or compete with it. That does not mean that there would not be one anyway.

For App P there is highly likely only funds for 1 selected and it is also possible that the funds may be less than expected requiring a renegotiation and lengthening of the scheduled delivery date on the selected provider. Thus the bidder's price still holds a very significant position in the decision as long as the lowest cost bidder can do the job!

Schedule wise I do not expect an award for App P to occur before April. A source selection process on these size contracts are slow. And thus the official award date may even end being summer of 2023. That being last quarter of the 2023 fiscal year. 1 Oct 2023 would need a new budget passed by congress.

The latest version of the BAA says that the anticipated date for the award is June 6, 2023.

The BAA has a bunch of optional milestones in case that NASA doesn't receive the requested funding. So no renegotiation should be necessary. As of now, both the House and Senate proposed FY23 Appropriations bills fully fund HLS.
« Last Edit: 12/09/2022 05:05 pm by yg1968 »

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1363
  • USA
  • Liked: 1206
  • Likes Given: 1754
The primary reasoning for 2 contracts for a provider of a service was that due to goals of the project it was not that realistic to believe that both would deliver or even 1 would. HLS is no different. SLS/Orion after it's first launch is a lower risk than any effort that would replace or compete with it. That does not mean that there would not be one anyway.

For App P there is highly likely only funds for 1 selected and it is also possible that the funds may be less than expected requiring a renegotiation and lengthening of the scheduled delivery date on the selected provider. Thus the bidder's price still holds a very significant position in the decision as long as the lowest cost bidder can do the job!

Schedule wise I do not expect an award for App P to occur before April. A source selection process on these size contracts are slow. And thus the official award date may even end being summer of 2023. That being last quarter of the 2023 fiscal year. 1 Oct 2023 would need a new budget passed by congress.

The latest version of the BAA says that the anticipated date for the award is June 6, 2023.

The BAA has a bunch of optional milestones in case that NASA doesn't receive the requested funding. So no renegotiation should be necessary. As of now, both the House and Senate proposed FY23 Appropriations bills fully fund HLS.
How likely is this congress to pass a budget before it ends? Cause I have zero faith in one passing next year with divided chambers.

Offline TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3280
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 2429
  • Likes Given: 476
As is FH can't delivery propellant to lunar orbit . Upperstage can't  survive 4 day without extensive modification. Might be able to build tanker based on Dragon XL bus but why would they if SS is their future.

Most US only have life of few hours, Centuar and SS are about only stages capable of multiday missions. Photon is more of kick stage/OTV than US.

That's a fair point, and it would be a problem that SpaceX would have to be willing to solve if they wanted to sell a "guaranteed prop in NRHO" kind of contract--for an App. P bidder or anybody else.

However, it's only about 60-80m/s from a BLT to NRHO.  That's not nuthin', but a couple of Dracos and 400kg of prop would handle it easily.  I don't think that Starlink bus propulsion has enough thrust or delta-v to work on a 15t payload as-is, but maybe there's a Draco adaptation that could piggyback on its bus?  (Remember, this is likely the kind of thing that SpaceX will have to do to market Starshield effectively.  This wouldn't be a terrible demonstration project.)

Obviously, SpaceX would rather not build a slightly maneuverable 15t wet methalox tank for FH.  But being the sole provider of methalox in cislunar is a pretty big deal, likely with multiple customers (NASA, SLD/SLT providers, USSF, and probably other allied agencies like ESA, JAXA, CSA, etc.), and extremely good profit margins--as long as Starship is doing the delivery.  If the price of that is a guarantee to get prop to cislunar on an FHE if something goes horribly wrong with Starship, that might be worth the cost.

Offline sdsds

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6626
  • “With peace and hope for all mankind.”
  • Seattle
  • Liked: 1582
  • Likes Given: 1503
[...] being the sole provider of methalox in cislunar is a pretty big deal, likely with [...] extremely good profit margins

Being the customer of a monopoly provider involves some pretty extreme tolerance to price distortions. The "market price" of a commodity tends to be just above the cost level of the second most efficient provider....
— 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 —

Offline TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3280
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 2429
  • Likes Given: 476
[...] being the sole provider of methalox in cislunar is a pretty big deal, likely with [...] extremely good profit margins

Being the customer of a monopoly provider involves some pretty extreme tolerance to price distortions. The "market price" of a commodity tends to be just above the cost level of the second most efficient provider....

If the monopoly provider can gouge pretty hard and still be 5-10x cheaper than any other alternative, that's still a pretty good deal.

Offline DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3122
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 2433
  • Likes Given: 937
[...] being the sole provider of methalox in cislunar is a pretty big deal, likely with [...] extremely good profit margins

Being the customer of a monopoly provider involves some pretty extreme tolerance to price distortions. The "market price" of a commodity tends to be just above the cost level of the second most efficient provider....

If the monopoly provider can gouge pretty hard and still be 5-10x cheaper than any other alternative, that's still a pretty good deal.
If there are two providers, it's not a monopoly. It's a market with a dominant provider. It's not gouging to charge just barely less than the second provider, it's market economics. A monopoly picks a price that maximizes net revenue. If the market is elastic, lower prices result in higher sales but lower profit per sale, and there is a point on this curve that maximizes total profit. The existence of a second provider puts a cap on the price the first provider can charge.

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15944
  • Liked: 6164
  • Likes Given: 2693
The primary reasoning for 2 contracts for a provider of a service was that due to goals of the project it was not that realistic to believe that both would deliver or even 1 would. HLS is no different. SLS/Orion after it's first launch is a lower risk than any effort that would replace or compete with it. That does not mean that there would not be one anyway.

For App P there is highly likely only funds for 1 selected and it is also possible that the funds may be less than expected requiring a renegotiation and lengthening of the scheduled delivery date on the selected provider. Thus the bidder's price still holds a very significant position in the decision as long as the lowest cost bidder can do the job!

Schedule wise I do not expect an award for App P to occur before April. A source selection process on these size contracts are slow. And thus the official award date may even end being summer of 2023. That being last quarter of the 2023 fiscal year. 1 Oct 2023 would need a new budget passed by congress.

The latest version of the BAA says that the anticipated date for the award is June 6, 2023.

The BAA has a bunch of optional milestones in case that NASA doesn't receive the requested funding. So no renegotiation should be necessary. As of now, both the House and Senate proposed FY23 Appropriations bills fully fund HLS.
How likely is this congress to pass a budget before it ends? Cause I have zero faith in one passing next year with divided chambers.

They are usually able to work it out. The Senate already needed bipartisan support since you need 60 Senators for appropriations bill. A CR for an entire year is very rare. 

Offline TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3280
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 2429
  • Likes Given: 476
If there are two providers, it's not a monopoly. It's a market with a dominant provider. It's not gouging to charge just barely less than the second provider, it's market economics. A monopoly picks a price that maximizes net revenue. If the market is elastic, lower prices result in higher sales but lower profit per sale, and there is a point on this curve that maximizes total profit. The existence of a second provider puts a cap on the price the first provider can charge.

If SpaceX could sell prop in cislunar, then there would be:

1) Two HLS providers (LSS Option B and whoever wins SLD).
2) One cislunar methalox provider (SpaceX).
3) One primary platform (Starship tanker) for sending the methalox to cislunar, and a secondary platform (FH with a ~15t methalox tank and some RCS as a payload), in case the primary is unavailable.  Whether they'd actually build the FH tanks ahead of time or just guarantee they'd be available if there's a problem...  I don't know.

That's a SpaceX monopoly on cislunar prop.  But it still has full redundancy.

This is probably off-topic for a BO/NT thread, because getting Blue to be dependent, even briefly, on SpaceX prop would probably cause Jeff's head to explode.  There's also the issue that the Blue Moon lander runs on hydrolox, but even if they only took LOX from SpaceX and shipped their own LH2, they could make a much bigger system that would actually be semi-useful, instead of a toy.  And it would cost less.

BTW, I agree with you that there's still price elasticity in a monopoly market.  And if there's one company that benefits from increased BEO traffic, it's SpaceX.  So I'd guess that they start out being fairly generous on pricing.  After a while, when they've created a bunch of demand, if nobody steps up to compete, then things might get ugly.

Offline GWH

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1633
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1710
  • Likes Given: 1122
Politics over design, politics over excellence, politics over accomplishment. And of course it will be expensive.

I hold out a little hope that National Team has developed something innovative this round, maybe leveraging New Glenn work, that has some promise of being operationally competitive with Lunar Starship.  But the National Team’s pork map strongly indicates otherwise.


Rumors and information tidbits pointed to Blue using a refueable and reusable tanker to ferry propellant to a transfer stage and single stage lander in NHRO. A simplified version of National Teams architecture.  New Glenn upper stage = tanker.  Transfer stage is lander without legs and a crew cab. The simplest solution is to use all common Blue Origin hardware.

With this many chefs in the kitchen I have a REAL hard time seeing a simple and innovative solution come about.  Far more likely that the proposal be constructed of 3 unique vehicles, just like the last proposal, with each of the big contractors looking to carve out the largest peice of the pie for themselves.

Lockheed "Orion derived" ascent stage, Blue moon derived descent stage, Boeing using what hardware they can to build a transfer stage.

I can't see any other breakdown where the 3 major contractors would be content with having a smaller role for the sake of offering a less complex solution.




Offline TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3280
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 2429
  • Likes Given: 476
Rumors and information tidbits pointed to Blue using a refueable and reusable tanker to ferry propellant to a transfer stage and single stage lander in NHRO. A simplified version of National Teams architecture.  New Glenn upper stage = tanker.  Transfer stage is lander without legs and a crew cab. The simplest solution is to use all common Blue Origin hardware.

With this many chefs in the kitchen I have a REAL hard time seeing a simple and innovative solution come about.  Far more likely that the proposal be constructed of 3 unique vehicles, just like the last proposal, with each of the big contractors looking to carve out the largest peice of the pie for themselves.

Lockheed "Orion derived" ascent stage, Blue moon derived descent stage, Boeing using what hardware they can to build a transfer stage.

I can't see any other breakdown where the 3 major contractors would be content with having a smaller role for the sake of offering a less complex solution.

The use of New Glenn for prop transport and the AE/DE/TE triumvirate can both be true.  But it requires betting the farm on New Glenn.  Maybe that's a good reason for Blue to be the prime; if things go pear-shaped, they're on the hook to pay their subs.

Offline TrevorMonty

Rumors and information tidbits pointed to Blue using a refueable and reusable tanker to ferry propellant to a transfer stage and single stage lander in NHRO. A simplified version of National Teams architecture.  New Glenn upper stage = tanker.  Transfer stage is lander without legs and a crew cab. The simplest solution is to use all common Blue Origin hardware.

With this many chefs in the kitchen I have a REAL hard time seeing a simple and innovative solution come about.  Far more likely that the proposal be constructed of 3 unique vehicles, just like the last proposal, with each of the big contractors looking to carve out the largest peice of the pie for themselves.

Lockheed "Orion derived" ascent stage, Blue moon derived descent stage, Boeing using what hardware they can to build a transfer stage.

I can't see any other breakdown where the 3 major contractors would be content with having a smaller role for the sake of offering a less complex solution.

The use of New Glenn for prop transport and the AE/DE/TE triumvirate can both be true.  But it requires betting the farm on New Glenn.  Maybe that's a good reason for Blue to be the prime; if things go pear-shaped, they're on the hook to pay their subs.
They would be silly not to have Vulcan as backup.

Offline niwax

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1353
  • Germany
    • SpaceX Booster List
  • Liked: 1901
  • Likes Given: 159
Politics over design, politics over excellence, politics over accomplishment. And of course it will be expensive.

I hold out a little hope that National Team has developed something innovative this round, maybe leveraging New Glenn work, that has some promise of being operationally competitive with Lunar Starship.  But the National Team’s pork map strongly indicates otherwise.


Rumors and information tidbits pointed to Blue using a refueable and reusable tanker to ferry propellant to a transfer stage and single stage lander in NHRO. A simplified version of National Teams architecture.  New Glenn upper stage = tanker.  Transfer stage is lander without legs and a crew cab. The simplest solution is to use all common Blue Origin hardware.

With this many chefs in the kitchen I have a REAL hard time seeing a simple and innovative solution come about.  Far more likely that the proposal be constructed of 3 unique vehicles, just like the last proposal, with each of the big contractors looking to carve out the largest peice of the pie for themselves.

Lockheed "Orion derived" ascent stage, Blue moon derived descent stage, Boeing using what hardware they can to build a transfer stage.

I can't see any other breakdown where the 3 major contractors would be content with having a smaller role for the sake of offering a less complex solution.

This seems very sensible, but it also tickles me that every architecture for landing on the moon now incorporates depots and in-orbit refueling.
Which booster has the most soot? SpaceX booster launch history! (discussion)

Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement SkyTale Software GmbH
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
1