Author Topic: How could winning the HLS second contract change the Blue company?  (Read 8185 times)

Online whitelancer64

*snip*
USAF viewed the results and saw much progress in Vulcan development, with a high number of milestones completed. But they also saw way-less-than-much progress in New Glenn development, with a much lower number of milestones completed.
*snip*

Perhaps now we are getting somewhere.

How many milestones did ULA complete compared to Blue Origin? Which milestones were they? Can you provide a link with this information?

Also, when did they characterize Blue Origin's performance as poor or too slow?

I'm gonna bet you are asking the impossible. That information probably isn't public.

Indeed, it is not public.  Which makes Woods' statements that much more suspect.

"While the U.S. Air Force said that it did not pay termination costs to Northrop Grumman [NOC] and Blue Origin for ending their Launch Service Agreement Other Transaction Authority (LSA OTA) pacts on Dec. 31, the service did pay the companies for meeting milestones in the more than two years the companies spent developing their launch systems–OmegA for Northrop Grumman and New Glenn for Blue Origin.

The Air Force paid $531.7 million to Northrop Grumman and $255.5 million to Blue Origin (Defense Daily, Jan. 22).

“The LSA Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements were public-private partnerships where the government and industry contributed funds to the development of the respective launch systems,” the Air Force wrote in an email on Feb. 1. “The funds contributed by the Government were tied to contractual milestones and data deliverables. The government paid each industry partner when evidence was provided that milestones documenting progress towards the completion of its launch system were achieved (e.g., successful completion of various design reviews, key facilities, test articles, components, and tests). The details of the milestones are specific to each industry partner’s launch system. Therefore, they are company proprietary and not publicly releasable.”

https://www.defensedaily.com/air-force-787-2-million-northrop-grumman-blue-origin-meeting-lsa-development-milestones/space/
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1364
  • USA
  • Liked: 1209
  • Likes Given: 1758
*snip*
USAF viewed the results and saw much progress in Vulcan development, with a high number of milestones completed. But they also saw way-less-than-much progress in New Glenn development, with a much lower number of milestones completed.
*snip*

Perhaps now we are getting somewhere.

How many milestones did ULA complete compared to Blue Origin? Which milestones were they? Can you provide a link with this information?

Also, when did they characterize Blue Origin's performance as poor or too slow?

I'm gonna bet you are asking the impossible. That information probably isn't public.

Interesting take, particularly since it undermines your repeatedly expressed position.

I must ask, then, how does Woods know that New Glenn wasn't meeting its milestones, while Vulcan was completing a "high number" of them? In an above comment, Woods says that Blue Origin had completed just over half of their Phase 1 milestones.
OK prove me wrong. If this is about you winning a debate, go get the info you are demanding. Don't just pretend everyone is wrong if they cannot produce all the info you demand.
« Last Edit: 01/24/2023 04:35 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline AlexP

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 106
  • Liked: 182
  • Likes Given: 70
I mean if all we're doing is providing opinions of what might have gone on in the contract, then okay. But it seemed like factual statements were being made, for which sources are preferable.

I personally think Bezos and Musk would pose together for a "BFFs forever!" photo before ULA would fail to win that DoD contract, but there you go.

Online whitelancer64

*snip*
USAF viewed the results and saw much progress in Vulcan development, with a high number of milestones completed. But they also saw way-less-than-much progress in New Glenn development, with a much lower number of milestones completed.
*snip*

Perhaps now we are getting somewhere.

How many milestones did ULA complete compared to Blue Origin? Which milestones were they? Can you provide a link with this information?

Also, when did they characterize Blue Origin's performance as poor or too slow?

I'm gonna bet you are asking the impossible. That information probably isn't public.

Interesting take, particularly since it undermines your repeatedly expressed position.

I must ask, then, how does Woods know that New Glenn wasn't meeting its milestones, while Vulcan was completing a "high number" of them? In an above comment, Woods says that Blue Origin had completed just over half of their Phase 1 milestones.
OK prove me wrong. If this is about you winning a debate, go get the info you are demanding. Don't just pretend everyone is wrong if they cannot produce all the info you demand.

Prove you wrong? ???

No.

The burden of proof is on the person who is making the claim.

You are the one asserting that the Air Force said that Blue Origin's poor performance is the reason that they cancelled the contract.

It is on YOU to prove that YOUR claims are right, by supplying evidence showing that what you are saying is true.


At any rate, I think you have been proven wrong already, as multiple articles have been linked to this thread discussing the cancellation of Blue Origin's NSSL contract, none of which mention poor performance on the part of Blue Origin as the reason why the contract was cancelled.
« Last Edit: 01/24/2023 05:34 pm by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Online matthewkantar

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1769
  • Liked: 2120
  • Likes Given: 1884
If getting the axe mix-contract is not evidence of poor performance, what is?

Offline vaporcobra

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2457
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Liked: 7642
  • Likes Given: 8748
Many of the dismissive commenters on here have been around for years. You should know full well that woods170 has proven to be a reliable source of info and insight beyond what the average public has access to.

Offline AlexP

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 106
  • Liked: 182
  • Likes Given: 70
I'll re-post this as it's fairly clear and to the point:
"The purpose of the agreements was to help Phase 2 competitors pay for launch vehicle development and infrastructure. Blue Origin received $500 million; Northrop Grumman $792 million and ULA $967 million. The funds were to be spread out through 2024, and the Air Force from the beginning said the LSAs would be terminated with those companies that did not win a Phase 2 procurement contract."
https://spacenews.com/air-force-to-end-agreements-with-blue-origin-and-northrop-grumman-prepares-for-launch-contract-protests/
Emphasis mine.

So the rejoinder here is now becoming "well they didn't do well enough to justify selection, ergo they did poorly." I would put some stock in this if most people weren't of the overwhelming view, long before the phase 2 awards were announced, that ULA and SpaceX would win the awards. Here are two separate threads from this site with polls demonstrating this:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=48112.0
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=48797.0

Obviously not definitive of opinion everywhere, but I think given the expertise and interest-level on this site it presents a very good ballpark. Therefore, I don't think the stated argument is very persuasive. Quite possibly BO did do poorly, but not winning the competition is itself not strong evidence of this.

If it's based on not publicly available data then... not really a lot of point having this back and forth.
« Last Edit: 01/24/2023 06:47 pm by AlexP »

Online DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3149
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 2445
  • Likes Given: 948
If getting the axe mix-contract is not evidence of poor performance, what is?
I do not like BO, but this is not reasonable. The NSSL contracts were a competition to select two providers. There are not enough NSSL launches to support more than two providers. One provider was SpaceX and did not get any development money because they were bidding Their existing NSSL-qualified rockets: F9 and FH. The other three providers were therefore effectively competing for the second slot. ULA won, so development funding was stopped for the other two competitors. This was not specifically because Northrup Grumman or BO were performing poorly. It was because ULA was performing better. The contract was awarded in 2020 for launches to start in 2022.

I personally think that BO was performing poorly, by which I mean they had no realistic chance of delivering New Glenn in time to actually support NSSL phase 2 launches, but that's not the issue here.

Online whitelancer64

Many of the dismissive commenters on here have been around for years. You should know full well that woods170 has proven to be a reliable source of info and insight beyond what the average public has access to.

I'm aware of Woods' knowledgeable posting elsewhere.  Still, I would like to see a source for his claim that Blue Origin completed half their milestones while ULA completed "more," and that this was viewed by the military as poor performance.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2023 02:20 pm by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12859
  • N. California
  • Liked: 12144
  • Likes Given: 1337
*snip*
USAF viewed the results and saw much progress in Vulcan development, with a high number of milestones completed. But they also saw way-less-than-much progress in New Glenn development, with a much lower number of milestones completed.
*snip*

Perhaps now we are getting somewhere.

How many milestones did ULA complete compared to Blue Origin? Which milestones were they? Can you provide a link with this information?

Also, when did they characterize Blue Origin's performance as poor or too slow?

According to your logic, maybe BO also has a fusion drive tucked in the corner of one of its hangers.

This is not a semantics competition.  NG could not have met any significant milestones since so many years later, it is still a complete no-show.  BO never misses a chance to crow about achievements.  It's just that it doesn't have that many.

If they didn't get the second phase award despite the high promise of NG, and other competitors did, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Online whitelancer64

*snip*
USAF viewed the results and saw much progress in Vulcan development, with a high number of milestones completed. But they also saw way-less-than-much progress in New Glenn development, with a much lower number of milestones completed.
*snip*

Perhaps now we are getting somewhere.

How many milestones did ULA complete compared to Blue Origin? Which milestones were they? Can you provide a link with this information?

Also, when did they characterize Blue Origin's performance as poor or too slow?

According to your logic, maybe BO also has a fusion drive tucked in the corner of one of its hangers.

This is not a semantics competition.  NG could not have met any significant milestones since so many years later, it is still a complete no-show.  BO never misses a chance to crow about achievements.  It's just that it doesn't have that many.

If they didn't get the second phase award despite the high promise of NG, and other competitors did, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Can you explain how your comment relates to the the NSSL contract's development milestones (which we have already established we do not know what they were for each company)?

If not, then your post is wholly irrelevant.

You're just vomiting up mindless anti-Blue Origin rhetoric, which is both off-topic to the conversation at hand, and unproductive to the furtherance of any other possible discussion. We don't need any more of that nonsense here.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Online matthewkantar

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1769
  • Liked: 2120
  • Likes Given: 1884
….snip.. I don't think the stated argument is very persuasive. Quite possibly BO did do poorly, but not winning the competition is itself not strong evidence of this.

If it's based on not publicly available data then... not really a lot of point having this back and forth.

Not sure what us being posited here? B.O. never had a chance of winning, everybody knew it, therefore getting axed in the middle of the competition is not a poor performance?   

I am not trying to spin anything, I am not “trolling” as some of the B.O. fanatics suggest. A “good” performance would have been getting a contract.

A “poor” performance would be having a competitor start later than you and then beat you with your own engines.

Online whitelancer64

….snip.. I don't think the stated argument is very persuasive. Quite possibly BO did do poorly, but not winning the competition is itself not strong evidence of this.

If it's based on not publicly available data then... not really a lot of point having this back and forth.

Not sure what us being posited here? B.O. never had a chance of winning, everybody knew it, therefore getting axed in the middle of the competition is not a poor performance?   

I am not trying to spin anything, I am not “trolling” as some of the B.O. fanatics suggest. A “good” performance would have been getting a contract.

A “poor” performance would be having a competitor start later than you and then beat you with your own engines.

That's the thing, they didn't get axed in the middle of the competition.

And yes, they did have a chance of winning. It wouldn't have been a competition otherwise, that was the whole point of the development contracts, to give Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, and ULA a shot at winning some of the launches.

Blue Origin's development contract was cancelled when the NSSL launches were awarded to ULA and SpaceX. Northrop Grumman's development contract was also cancelled at the same time -- because the competition was over.

And "good" vs "poor" isn't about winning the contract, two posters here are saying that the military characterized Blue Origin's performance as poor without providing any supporting evidence that that is the case.
« Last Edit: 01/26/2023 07:43 pm by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline AlexP

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 106
  • Liked: 182
  • Likes Given: 70
….snip.. I don't think the stated argument is very persuasive. Quite possibly BO did do poorly, but not winning the competition is itself not strong evidence of this.

If it's based on not publicly available data then... not really a lot of point having this back and forth.

Not sure what us being posited here? B.O. never had a chance of winning, everybody knew it, therefore getting axed in the middle of the competition is not a poor performance?   

I am not trying to spin anything, I am not “trolling” as some of the B.O. fanatics suggest. A “good” performance would have been getting a contract.

A “poor” performance would be having a competitor start later than you and then beat you with your own engines.
To reduce it down to an even simpler version of what I already said: ULA and SpaceX were always the strong favourites to be selected, therefore you cannot extract any information as to how "good" or "bad" (the exact word originally used was "dismal") BO's performance was in said competition from their not, as expected, winning. ULA are old hands, and were never likely to drop the ball on it.

I just think it's quite easy to critically discuss something without resorting to over-the-top language in order to exaggerate a point.

Offline meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12859
  • N. California
  • Liked: 12144
  • Likes Given: 1337
Can you explain how your comment relates to the the NSSL contract's development milestones (which we have already established we do not know what they were for each company)?

If not, then your post is wholly irrelevant.

You're just vomiting up mindless anti-Blue Origin rhetoric, which is both off-topic to the conversation at hand, and unproductive to the furtherance of any other possible discussion. We don't need any more of that nonsense here.

Call it the "mean value theorem of dysfunction".  It is 2023 now.  NG won't be flying even in 2024.  If some milestones were met, then the project got stuck after them.  Or, they were never met.  Given the cancellation, the second option is likelier, but it doesn't really matter.

Where.  Is.  The.  Progress.

You keep demanding that everyone present proof of absence, whereas everyone else is saying how about BO present some bone-fide rockets.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2023 02:27 am by meekGee »
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11483
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 15619
  • Likes Given: 9804
*snip*
USAF viewed the results and saw much progress in Vulcan development, with a high number of milestones completed. But they also saw way-less-than-much progress in New Glenn development, with a much lower number of milestones completed.
*snip*

Perhaps now we are getting somewhere.

How many milestones did ULA complete compared to Blue Origin? Which milestones were they? Can you provide a link with this information?

Also, when did they characterize Blue Origin's performance as poor or too slow?

I'm gonna bet you are asking the impossible. That information probably isn't public.

Interesting take, particularly since it undermines your repeatedly expressed position.

I must ask, then, how does Woods know that New Glenn wasn't meeting its milestones, while Vulcan was completing a "high number" of them? In an above comment, Woods says that Blue Origin had completed just over half of their Phase 1 milestones.
Well, there's a flight Vulcan sitting at the cape today starting its integration for flight. But even the most ardent BO fans would not be able to claim with a straight face that there is a finished New Glenn first stage with 7 mounted engines, a finished upper stage with engines mounted, and finished fairings, all completed and ready for integration and rollout. That's a fairly concrete milestone to compare.

Emphasis mine.

Exactly!

Even without having the benefit of being able to talk to sources inside ULA, SpaceX, Airbus, etc., anyone who kept his/hers eyes peeled has seen that ULA overcame Blue's 3-year lead in a rapid pace.

And that is not because Blue supposedly has no experience in building orbital class rockets. They vacuumed up a huge number of(former) SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, LockMart and NASA folks. All the experience they need is there. All the money they needed was there as well: starting in 2015 Jeff's been consistently funding Blue from his own pockets with at least $1B per year. Heck, they even found a stray $3B to try to change NASA's mind with regards to the HLS award to SpaceX. So, availability of funding is not the issue either.

Then why is it that Blue allowed ULA to overtake them in the Phase 2 NSSL competition?

Well, in my opinion it is because being competitive is NOT in Blue's DNA. Being fast is NOT in Blue's DNA. And that is why they continue to lose competitions for government work. I would not be surprised if the second HLS award goes to Dynetics. I also wouldn't be surprised if, in round 2 of Commercial LEO Destinations, Starlab is selected instead of Blue's Orbital Reef.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2023 09:36 am by woods170 »

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11483
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 15619
  • Likes Given: 9804
Can you explain how your comment relates to the the NSSL contract's development milestones (which we have already established we do not know what they were for each company)?

If not, then your post is wholly irrelevant.

You're just vomiting up mindless anti-Blue Origin rhetoric, which is both off-topic to the conversation at hand, and unproductive to the furtherance of any other possible discussion. We don't need any more of that nonsense here.

Call it the "mean value theorem of dysfunction".  It is 2023 now.  NG won't be flying even in 2024.  If some milestones were met, then the project got stuck after them.  Or, they were never met.  Given the cancellation, the second option is likelier, but it doesn't really matter.

Where.  Is.  The.  Progress.

You keep demanding that everyone present proof of absence, whereas everyone else is saying how about BO present some bone-fide rockets.

Emphasis mine.

That is indeed the question to ask, based on the delays communicated by Blue itself.

Here's a short history:
- In 2016 Blue indicated a 2020 launch date for New Glenn.
- In 2018 Blue indicated a 2021 launch date for New Glenn.
- In early 2021 Blue indicated a late 2022 launch date for New Glenn.
- In early 2022 Blue indicated a late 2023 launch date for New Glenn.

It shows very slow progress. The initial estimate in 2016 was that launch was 4 years away. Two years later, in 2018, launch was still 3 years away, indicating a delay of 1 year.
Three years after that, launch was still almost 2 years away, upping the total delay to 2 years.
But here is the thing: one year after the 2021 announcement, Blue once again communicated that launch was still nearly 2 years away. That is year-for-year slip. That is the kind of slips SLS suffered for years in a row. It also indicates no real progress towards launch in the 2020 to 2022 timeframe. Perhaps COVID related? But then why did ULA NOT suffer the same problem with Vulcan?

Progress is undeniably there however. In late summer 2022 images of flight-like test hardware for the upper stage and fairings finally began to emerge. As well as images of tank sections, domes, interstage and engine section of the first stage. But progress is slow. Mind you, this thing was supposed to launch in 2020, meaning that test articles would have to be completed at least a year before that, to facilitate the usual static tests and integrated test firings. But only now, early 2023, are test articles finally being completed, with the majority of the static tests, and integrated test firings yet to happen. Heck, some of the GSE needed to support those tests is still under construction. It is therefore IMO unwise to assume that Blue will make the current target date of "late 2023". More like it will slip at least another year, to late 2024.

If Blue manages to get New Glenn off the launch pad by late 2024, it will mark one of the longest - if not THE longest - development timeline of any US orbital rocket, ever. Twelve years from initiation of development to launch.
That's even two years longer than the protracted development timeline of SLS.
By comparison the, generally considered, lengthy development timelines of Falcon Heavy (7 years) and Vulcan (8 years) look blazing fast.

I won't even compare New Glenn development to the Atlas V and Delta IV development timelines, because that would only serve to make New Glenn's development timeline look even more ridiculous.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2023 10:48 am by woods170 »

Online LouScheffer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3077
  • Liked: 5407
  • Likes Given: 684
In the phase one competition, Blue would get $500M if they completed all their milestones, and Northrop-Grumman $792M.  Each company got $109M to start.   At terminination, both companies were paid for milestones achieved.  Blue got $256M and Northrop $532M.

If the first $109M was an advance on milestones, then Blue got (109+256)/500 = 73% of possible milestone based money.  Northrop got (109+532)/792 = 81% of their milestone based money.  If the first $109M was a simple payment, and the rest based on milestones, then Blue got 256/391 = 65% of their money, and Northrop 532/683 = 77% of their money.

Now milestone dollars and milestone achievements are not perfectly correlated (when I worked on milestone based contracts we definitely looked at $/milestone/difficulty and prioritized the most cost-effective ones).  But naively this implies they got less expected work done than Northrop, and if the award was based on confidence they would succeed, they likely finished third (out of three).
« Last Edit: 01/25/2023 12:51 pm by LouScheffer »

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14892
  • Liked: 7535
  • Likes Given: 1206
New Glenn and Omega lost to Falcon 9/Heavy and Vulcan because Falcon 9/Heavy and Vulcan were better options at the time of the competition.  Winners get funding to build rockets.  The losers don't - and haven't.  Blue did win part of the Vulcan contract, by the way, and is building and delivering BE-4 engines as a result.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/25/2023 01:44 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline edzieba

  • Virtual Realist
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4936
  • United Kingdom
  • Liked: 7169
  • Likes Given: 36
In the FY2021 budget for NGSV/1206853SF (the only one where the line item was split by provider, as previous years under 1206853F were confidential) ULA received $327m (plus $25m congressional add for engine dev), whereas BO received $36m (plus $25m congressional add for engine dev) and NG received $40m. ULA funding also tapers off to much lower levels for FY2022 and FY2023 ($140m, out of $967m total), indicating most Phase 1 milestones were completed by FY2021.

::EDIT:: https://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/Portals/84/documents/FY23/RDTE_/FY23%20Space%20Force%20Research%20Development%20Test%20and%20Evaluation.pdf
« Last Edit: 01/25/2023 01:58 pm by edzieba »

Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement SkyTale Software GmbH
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
0