Author Topic: Man rating EELVs  (Read 63335 times)

Offline Downix

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #20 on: 11/05/2009 03:04 pm »
Human-triggered Abort

There seems to be an assumption that for a launch vehicle to be "human rated" it must have an automated system that would detect trouble and trigger the abort/escape system.

Why?

For sake of discussion, assume there is no solid propellant; just liquid.  Why isn't it enough to give the pilot an abort button, give the ground controller an abort button, and give range safety an abort button? 

Letś use Challenger as an example, how fast can you hit that button when breakup takes under a half second?

The Challenger stack included solids, but let's look at it anyway.  With a launch abort system triggered from the ground and a reasonably robust escape system pulling a reasonably robust capsule away from the stack, would the crew have been alive upon hitting the water?

Evidence indicates that with Challenger, the crew cabin detached and was robust enough that some crew members were alive until impact.

So there's no need for the crew to "hit the button" in under a half second.  That's what the ground controller's button is for!
Correct, save Challenger lost telemetry upon breakup, which ment that the signal from the ground controller may not have been picked up by the abort system.

Now, you do not need a dramatic automatic system, even the simple accelerometer off of a Wii remote would do.  Just put in a trigger such as left/right motion in excess of 10G, or some # the hardware cannot withstand.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #21 on: 11/05/2009 03:06 pm »

Evidence indicates that with Challenger, the crew cabin detached and was robust enough that some crew members were alive until impact.

So there's no need for the crew to "hit the button" in under a half second.  That's what the ground controller's button is for!

Incorrect,

A. The ground does not active the LAS.  The ground activates the range safety system which activates the LAS.

B.  The break up of the vehicle would have disable commands going from the range safety system to the LAS.


Look up EDS and you will see why it has to be automated.

Offline Jorge

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #22 on: 11/05/2009 03:09 pm »

Evidence indicates that with Challenger, the crew cabin detached and was robust enough that some crew members were alive until impact.

So there's no need for the crew to "hit the button" in under a half second.  That's what the ground controller's button is for!

Incorrect,

A. The ground does not active the LAS.  The ground activates the range safety system which activates the LAS.

B.  The break up of the vehicle would have disable commands going from the range safety system to the LAS.


Look up EDS and you will see why it has to be automated.

Well, not *completely* automated. The Saturn V EDS, to take an example, had only a few automatic triggers, mostly during first stage. Most subsequent aborts would have been crew initiated.
JRF

Offline ugordan

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #23 on: 11/05/2009 03:15 pm »
Well, not *completely* automated. The Saturn V EDS, to take an example, had only a few automatic triggers, mostly during first stage. Most subsequent aborts would have been crew initiated.

Well, you don't need as strict requirements during subsequent stages, do you? Stuff like angle of attack limits when you're out of the atmosphere, etc.

Offline Antares

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #24 on: 11/05/2009 04:35 pm »
Well, my concern with man-rating Delta or Atlas is simple, what is the history of either system with people?
what was the history of the Shuttle before Young and Crippen climbed aboard? Lack of such "people" history does not by itself make a vehicle unsuitable, nor does having any such previous history necessarily make it suitable (as Ares I 5-segment SRB proponents would have you believe).

Agree with ugordan and a slightly different take.  The heritage of the hardware doesn't matter at all.  It's
1) whatever the current design margins are
2) the experience and qualifications of the people working on it
3) the policies, practices and procedures of the vehicle's culture

There's no difference in the seriousness of the people and culture launching a $2B spysat, planetary RTG or their fellow man.  Reaching back more than 10-15 years doesn't yield a good comparison.
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Offline Jorge

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #25 on: 11/05/2009 08:41 pm »
Well, not *completely* automated. The Saturn V EDS, to take an example, had only a few automatic triggers, mostly during first stage. Most subsequent aborts would have been crew initiated.

Well, you don't need as strict requirements during subsequent stages, do you? Stuff like angle of attack limits when you're out of the atmosphere, etc.

Correct.
JRF

Offline Robo-Nerd

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #26 on: 11/07/2009 04:44 pm »
Cross-posted here because it is on-topic (and with additional comments):
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18822.msg486396#msg486396

I believe that there are four (relatively) cheap and (relatively) quick incremental actions that NASA could take soon that would dramatically improve the US human spaceflight posture:

1. Fund United Launch Alliance (ULA) to actually develop and flight-qualify the "strap-on" Emergency Detection System for Atlas V. Based on the statements made in the ULA paper on this topic (http://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/publications/AtlasEmergencyDetectionSystem.pdf), this should be amenable to a firm-fixed-price contract, especially if it was tied to a NASA commitment to routinely purchase this system for use on all NASA Atlas V launches (e.g. unmanned spacecraft launches). I can't estimate the price for this effort, but based on the level of effort assumed in the ULA paper I would guess somewhere between $10-$100 million. Mission Relation: All Atlas V launchers would then be potentially "human rateable" to NASA standards, whether used by NASA or as a commercial "space taxi" launcher.

2. Fund ULA to actually develop and flight qualify the Atlas V Heavy launcher configuration. Statements made on this forum indicate that the Atlas V Heavy has passed it's critical design review, and that ULA has offered to perform this effort firm-fixed-price for around $1 billion. Mission Relation: Atlas V Heavy is designed to launch 25,000 kg to LEO, which should easily cover launch of Orion to ISS, especially as the Orion's launch abort system does not need to be "upsized" to outrun burning solid rocket propellant chunks in the event of a booster failure (Atlas V Heavy is an all-liquid-rocket launcher).

3. Fund ULA and/or Pratt and Whitney (need to check contract requirements) to manufacture under license and flight qualify the RD-180 engine used on the Atlas V first stage. Total price for this effort: Unknown (to me). I will guess that it could be done for approximately $1 billion, but that is a pure WAG. Mission Relation: Congress is likely to demand that US astronauts be launched on US-built launchers, and the current Russian-built RD-180 engines are likely to become a lightning rod for criticism if this is not fixed.

4. Fund development and operational qualification of separate launch complex for manned EELV launchers, particularly focusing on the Atlas V. Total price for this effort: Unknown (to me). I will guess that it could be done starting from scratch for $2 billion, but that is a pure WAG, and it might be a lot less if there was an existing launch complex that could be modified. Mission Relation: DOD is likely to object if the existing EELV launch complex(es?) are taken out of service for modifications to support "NASA-only" missions (e.g. human spaceflight). Therefore, having a dedicated launch complex for this purpose avoids the conflict.

I believe that all four of these actions are relatively cheap and relatively quick, and might be accomplished without a lot of controversy. They could be accomplished incrementally and might go far to solving the "chicken and egg" problem of matching launchers and spacecraft for US human spaceflight.

Additional comments:
It is my understanding that the EELV launchers started out as Department of Defense (DOD) launchers that were deliberately commercialized. The DOD is on record that it favors a “white-tail” approach, where for any given EELV configuration there is only one type of launcher built, not an “Air Force version” and a “NASA version”. Thus, it would be easy for NASA to purchase an existing Atlas V launch (which they do regularly for space probe missions) and configure it with a bolt-on EDS as part of integrating the payload (e.g. human space capsule). However my understanding is that Delta IV would require a launcher redesign (to put in an integrated EDS, because “bolt-on” is not an option), which the DOD does not want to do. Thus, if NASA does decide to use an EELV platform as a human spaceflight launcher it will likely be a variant of the Atlas V. (For what it is worth my understanding is that Mike Griffin, the previous NASA Administrator, stated publicly several times while in that position that if NASA were forced down the EELV path, they would greatly favor Atlas V over Delta IV.)

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #27 on: 11/07/2009 05:14 pm »
Atlas EDS

This logic is somewhat compelling.  Maybe you could expand a bit though on one of the aspects?

1. Fund United Launch Alliance (ULA) to actually develop and flight-qualify the "strap-on" Emergency Detection System for Atlas V [...] tied to a NASA commitment to routinely purchase this system for use on all NASA Atlas V launches (e.g. unmanned spacecraft launches).

What benefit does an EDS provide to an unmanned mission?  Is there any unmanned mission that would also carry an EDS-triggered escape system for the payload?
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Offline ugordan

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #28 on: 11/07/2009 05:23 pm »
What benefit does an EDS provide to an unmanned mission?  Is there any unmanned mission that would also carry an EDS-triggered escape system for the payload?

No benefit, the purpose is to test out the EDS in realistic flight conditions and see if the "emergency" detection part is working properly, i.e. not providing false positives etc. Then, once its flight proven it would be committed for crewed flights. One of the great things about testing upgrades in vehicles that also serve unmanned launches - risk reduction for human flights.

Offline Hopf

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #29 on: 11/07/2009 09:58 pm »
Robo-Nerd, This is exactly what is so frustrating watching NASA poor $9B down the Constellation bottom less pit, $4B on Ares 1 alone.  ULA publically told the Augustine Commission that human rating Atlas would cost $400m.  Thus, for a fraction of what has been spent on Ares I NASA could have a world class crew launcher!  And Ares I still has some $15B and 8 years to go.  Even then Ares I will just be entering the "teething" stage, count numerous more years and more billions to get to a truly operational mode.  DoD already encourages EELV use for NASA science and commercial missions, see LRO and Intelsat.  DoD benefits from higher launch rates. 
« Last Edit: 11/08/2009 12:50 am by Hopf »

Offline Antares

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #30 on: 11/08/2009 12:59 am »
I agree Hopf, but there's disinformation on these costs (by a factor of 35) spewing from the Northern Alabama Space Agency and its contractors, to the point that some of those contractors are telling their joint venture to cease and desist.

Also note that ATK has told the DoD that ending the Shuttle SRM line will affect DoD costs on ordnance and missiles.  Ergo, the DoD is conflicted about SDLV or EELV.
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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #31 on: 11/08/2009 01:18 am »
to the point that some of those contractors are telling their joint venture to cease and desist.

Grapevine or publicly available evidence?

Quote
Also note that ATK has told the DoD that ending the Shuttle SRM line will affect DoD costs on ordnance and missiles.  Ergo, the DoD is conflicted about SDLV or EELV.

Wouldn't the DoD prefer the part of the NASA budget that goes to ATK to be transferred to the Defense budget?
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Offline Antares

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #32 on: 11/08/2009 02:40 pm »
It's happened so many times that it's an open secret around NASA and inside the Beltway.  Objective evidence of the latest example should be available soon, but you'll have to know what you're looking for.

The problem would be if that sustaining fund is vaporized rather than transferred.  This is an administration far more likely to add to NASA than to DoD.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #33 on: 11/08/2009 11:00 pm »
It's happened so many times that it's an open secret around NASA and inside the Beltway.  Objective evidence of the latest example should be available soon, but you'll have to know what you're looking for.

You speak in riddles. I'm hoping for another hint if or when that happens.

Quote
The problem would be if that sustaining fund is vaporized rather than transferred.  This is an administration far more likely to add to NASA than to DoD.

Ah, fine by me, but probably not fine by the DoD.
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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #34 on: 11/08/2009 11:41 pm »
What benefit does an EDS provide to an unmanned mission?  Is there any unmanned mission that would also carry an EDS-triggered escape system for the payload?

No benefit, the purpose is to test out the EDS in realistic flight conditions and see if the "emergency" detection part is working properly, i.e. not providing false positives etc. Then, once its flight proven it would be committed for crewed flights. One of the great things about testing upgrades in vehicles that also serve unmanned launches - risk reduction for human flights.

It will be difficult to convince critics that this kind of testing has much benefit.  Sure, the first successful flight proves the EDS won't always trigger due to a false positive.  But beyond that?  No number of additional flights would prove the EDS will never trigger due to a false positive, and no number of missions that go well will prove the EDS actually would trigger in an abort condition.  So critics would say it's a poorly designed test strategy!
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Offline Hopf

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #35 on: 11/09/2009 01:06 am »
The instrumentation for EDS provides a little more insight into how the rocket is flying than the existing instrumentation.  Added knowledge is useful to all customers if it improves reliability.

NASA should be willing to shell out a few extra million for non-crew flights simply to build up additional insight into the EDS.  This is one of the incredible benefits of sharing crew launch vehicles with everyone else.  The added insight should lead to fewer false aborts.

Commonality to should be advantageous to the rocket builder in the form of reduced costs and increased flexibility.

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #36 on: 11/09/2009 01:52 am »
The instrumentation for EDS provides a little more insight into how the rocket is flying than the existing instrumentation.  Added knowledge is useful to all customers if it improves reliability.

NASA should be willing to shell out a few extra million for non-crew flights simply to build up additional insight into the EDS.  This is one of the incredible benefits of sharing crew launch vehicles with everyone else.  The added insight should lead to fewer false aborts.

Commonality to should be advantageous to the rocket builder in the form of reduced costs and increased flexibility.

Your reading of the cited 'Atlas Emergency Detection System' paper must have been more informed than mine.  Here's what I read:

Quote
The Atlas EDS baseline includes a total of 76 parameters to be monitored, 37 on the booster and 39 on the Upper Stage. These are all existing parameters and are summarized below. In all cases, the data will be acquired from the redundant 1553 bus data and will use existing dual or triple redundant sensors.

"These are all existing parameters acquired using existing sensors."

So by my reading your assertion posted above is incorrect.  The proposed EDS will provide no more insight into how the rocket is flying than the existing instrumentation provides. 
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Offline JosephB

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #37 on: 11/16/2009 06:01 pm »
@ agman25

I'm no expert at the history.  However, you have to look at the different backgrounds of the two times. 

OSP was one of the two designed major customers of the EELVs alongside DoD payloads.  If the program had proceeded then, the EELVs would have been built as human-rated according to NASA's requirements and the pads would have been built to double as crewed launch sites.  The DoD would have used the same machine and pads for their own launches and that would have been that. 

Now, we are in a situation where NASA is the 'johnny-come-lately' and the USAF is (perhaps, justifiably) worried that two perfectly good launchers may end up being ruined by NASA's bureaucratic fumbling or that human-rating work at LC-37 and LC-41 may delay their own launch schedules.  Instead of being one of the two original major customers, NASA HSF is in the position of being a new customer who wants massive changes to the product that the original major customer isn't happy about.

This was not the case. EELVs developed in the pre-OSP world and both were flying before OSP was initiated.

DoD did cast a wary eye on the proceedings, but also recognized the value of enhanced reliability that HR mods would bring to the vehicle. Beyond structural and engine mods that would be built into all EELVs, HR would've been accomplished by so-called "mission-unique kits" which would be added to the standard vehicle during production. The kits would've involved sensors, some extra avionics boxes and the requisite harnesses.

Very interesting with the kits. Sounds like most of the design work was completed for these?

Offline Danny Dot

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #38 on: 11/16/2009 08:32 pm »
Emergency Detection Systems are very simple devices and only need a hand full of parameters to work properly.  An EDS can very easily be added to either the Atlas or Delta at very low risk and costs.

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Re: Man rating EELVs
« Reply #39 on: 02/11/2010 06:02 am »
Pro-tip: you don't have to be a jerk if someone doesn't agree with your theories

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