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SLS / Orion / Beyond-LEO HSF - Constellation => Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLV/SLS) => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 11/04/2014 01:46 am

Title: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/04/2014 01:46 am
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/11/sls-manifest-europa-mars-sample-return-missions/

Via the new internal SLS manifest overview (L2). Also, that is what SLS will look like, thanks to super talented Nathan Koga in L2).

Yes, I know we'll get the usual suspects rushing to say "no money!" I did mention that is the major driver, but the thought process on the manifest is the interesting thing here.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: BrightLight on 11/04/2014 01:51 am
Nice article Chris - is their any indication about funding from NASA or congress for these science missions?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Martin FL on 11/04/2014 02:04 am
That's a really interesting write up. Thanks!

Nice article Chris - is their any indication about funding from NASA or congress for these science missions?

And I actually read the article, unlike Brightlight ;)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: BrightLight on 11/04/2014 02:13 am
That's a really interesting write up. Thanks!

Nice article Chris - is their any indication about funding from NASA or congress for these science missions?

And I actually read the article, unlike Brightlight ;)
I don't want to belabor this but has someone in either the House or Senate made positive suggestions for funding either a Mars return or Europa mission? - I didn't see that in the article.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: CyclerPilot on 11/04/2014 02:27 am
I like that a Mars sample return is being discussed.  The article mentions the mars ascent vehicle docking with a crewed orion to transfer the sample canister.  Does anyone know if the transfer will take place in Earth orbit or Mars orbit?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: wannamoonbase on 11/04/2014 02:30 am
Interesting and a small step in the right direction.

But the flight rate for Orion needs to pick up.  Once ever couple of years is too slow to be sustainable.

Edit: Carrying costs to keep the system viable will be almost the same as flying and not flying when it's that slow.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: robertross on 11/04/2014 02:55 am
Really good article Chris, thanks.

(fingers crossed something definitive can happen with SLS now)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: arachnitect on 11/04/2014 03:51 am
I like that a Mars sample return is being discussed.  The article mentions the mars ascent vehicle docking with a crewed orion to transfer the sample canister.  Does anyone know if the transfer will take place in Earth orbit or Mars orbit?

Samples would be returned to earth/moon space robotically, picked up by manned Orion there.
A Mars sample return mission is on the order of $7-$9 billion.

It's rather nutty for the HEOMD people to start penciling-in a mission for another directorate that it is impossible for that directorate to afford. That's essentially assuming that the Science Mission Directorate would spend an entire decade's worth of procurement on a single mission. Not realistic at all.

I'm confused about this. There were some (very notional) "one shot MSR" slides from MPPG at one point, but I thought that the Mars 2020 rover plans have made that redundant? There would then be two additional missions to retrieve the samples and return them to earth; does SLS enable a two launch profile that would be advantageous somehow?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Zed_Noir on 11/04/2014 06:06 am
After reading the article. Do I understand the proposed Mars sample return mission need the the EUS to be in service along with EVA from the Orion/MPCV?

The EUS is currently a powerpoint, need to be in service.

The Orion have to be in service with a working service module from someone.

Doing EVA from the Orion/MPCV means more redesigns to support EVA with the capsule. Along with new EVA gear, unless you take them from the ISS program.

IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

If the above four projects get full funding than SLS could manifest scientific missions if the payloads also get funded. That is a lot of funding over several presidential & Congressional terms.  ::)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: uko on 11/04/2014 07:50 am
Great read, but I feel like something is mixed up in the article..
First there is talk of EM-3, with no mission outline but a date of August 15, 2023.
Then there is talk of MSR for 2024.
And after that, EM-4, again, no outline, but date of August 15, 2025.

I would think that EM-3 or EM-4 is one of those missions that returns the MSR canister?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: redliox on 11/04/2014 08:48 am
Then there is talk of MSR for 2024.
And after that, EM-4, again, no outline, but date of August 15, 2025.

I would think that EM-3 or EM-4 is one of those missions that returns the MSR canister?

Well frankly if SLS is brought into the equation it would be hauling both orbiter and lander in a single shot.  When those elements (and the sampling rover, which is pretty much the 2020 rover now) were conceived, they were presuming nothing better than an Atlas V could be employed.  Totally different payload capacities.

...of course if you mean EM-4 in the sense they send an Orion out to retrieve the capsule in deep space THAT'S another matter.  Considering we've been returning samples since Stardust it seems ridiculous to involve humans directly....in a mission heavy on contamination concerns to boot!
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jgoldader on 11/04/2014 09:34 am
The timeline is all messed up for the asteroid sampling mission.  If the robotic part (not yet designed or funded, going to an as-yet unidentified asteroid on a mission of unknown duration) is launched in 2021, then the Orion part of the mission can't happen until 2023-2024 or so at least, or maybe even later, if returning the rock to lunar orbit takes years via SEP.

And having an Orion intercept, somehow, a Mars sample-return mission seems to me to at least double the cost and complexity and risk.  Shouldn't the spacecraft returning from Mars be coming in like a bat out of Heck?  Or is it going to carry fuel to enter Earth orbit?  And if, God forbid, there's an accident on the Orion end, who wants to explain to the public why the sample return capsule couldn't just parachute into the desert, like Stardust?  This mission really sounds like make-work.  And figure $2 billion each for the SLS flights, plus billions more for the robotic part... No, a handful of dirt and rocks from Mars isn't worth $6 billion+.

This notional manifest just can't be serious.  And maybe I'm one of "the usual suspects," but there's no money for this, and I believe there won't be when the bills need to be paid.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Zed_Noir on 11/04/2014 10:49 am
The timeline is all messed up for the asteroid sampling mission.  If the robotic part (not yet designed or funded, going to an as-yet unidentified asteroid on a mission of unknown duration) is launched in 2021, then the Orion part of the mission can't happen until 2023-2024 or so at least, or maybe even later, if returning the rock to lunar orbit takes years via SEP.

And having an Orion intercept, somehow, a Mars sample-return mission seems to me to at least double the cost and complexity and risk.  Shouldn't the spacecraft returning from Mars be coming in like a bat out of Heck?  Or is it going to carry fuel to enter Earth orbit?  And if, God forbid, there's an accident on the Orion end, who wants to explain to the public why the sample return capsule couldn't just parachute into the desert, like Stardust?  This mission really sounds like make-work.  And figure $2 billion each for the SLS flights, plus billions more for the robotic part... No, a handful of dirt and rocks from Mars isn't worth $6 billion+.

This notional manifest just can't be serious.  And maybe I'm one of "the usual suspects," but there's no money for this, and I believe there won't be when the bills need to be paid.
My guess is the asteroid retrieval mission components will be cancel and the Mars sample return mission components will take their place.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/04/2014 10:59 am


IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

That will likely be my next article. That is changing.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: wannamoonbase on 11/04/2014 11:54 am


IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

That will likely be my next article. That is changing.

Chris, you are such a tease.  Ha ha

Now I'm going to be checking hourly until I see the story. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/04/2014 12:05 pm


IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

That will likely be my next article. That is changing.

Chris, you are such a tease.  Ha ha

Now I'm going to be checking hourly until I see the story. 

Sorry! ;D I agreed to a news embargo on that. Not sure when it will be released, I'm hoping real soon, but when a company is responsive and then asks a favor (wasn't really a demand embargo, more a cooperation embargo) then I'm always going to agree.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: tesla on 11/04/2014 12:43 pm


IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

That will likely be my next article. That is changing.

Chris, you are such a tease.  Ha ha

Now I'm going to be checking hourly until I see the story. 

Sorry! ;D I agreed to a news embargo on that. Not sure when it will be released, I'm hoping real soon, but when a company is responsive and then asks a favor (wasn't really a demand embargo, more a cooperation embargo) then I'm always going to agree.

SLS with Raptor or BE-4 engines of course... xD Better shut up now, this is how rumors get stared.  :-X
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: veblen on 11/04/2014 01:10 pm
A Mars sample return mission is on the order of $7-$9 billion.

It's rather nutty for the HEOMD people to start penciling-in a mission for another directorate that it is impossible for that directorate to afford. That's essentially assuming that the Science Mission Directorate would spend an entire decade's worth of procurement on a single mission. Not realistic at all.

Just imagine a robot gets a trip to Jupiter courtesy of (for eg) 4 shuttle engines, 2 souped up SRB's and a EUS: I think this is bucking the recent space mission trend of doing more while  using less (2 for the price of one like EPOXI), wouldn't you say?;)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 11/04/2014 01:14 pm
After reading the article. Do I understand the proposed Mars sample return mission need the the EUS to be in service along with EVA from the Orion/MPCV?

The EUS is currently a powerpoint, need to be in service.

The Orion have to be in service with a working service module from someone.

Doing EVA from the Orion/MPCV means more redesigns to support EVA with the capsule. Along with new EVA gear, unless you take them from the ISS program.

IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

If the above four projects get full funding than SLS could manifest scientific missions if the payloads also get funded. That is a lot of funding over several presidential & Congressional terms.  ::)

This is out of scope of this thread but the existing Orion design supports non-emergency EVA. The CSM design allows vacuum. ARM is baselined to do this.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: robertross on 11/04/2014 01:15 pm
A Mars sample return mission is on the order of $7-$9 billion.

It's rather nutty for the HEOMD people to start penciling-in a mission for another directorate that it is impossible for that directorate to afford. That's essentially assuming that the Science Mission Directorate would spend an entire decade's worth of procurement on a single mission. Not realistic at all.

I completely agree, however justification of flight schedule (and the number of assignable flights) is likely the over-arching goal at this stage. If they can't build momentum to back a minimum number of flights (as noted in the article), then SLS cancellation comes front & center in a constrained fiscal environment. If enough people want to go to Europa, or get a quick Mars sample return mission in, it's harder to cancel.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: muomega0 on 11/04/2014 01:21 pm

IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

That will likely be my next article. That is changing.
Chris, you are such a tease.  Ha ha
Now I'm going to be checking hourly until I see the story.
Europa and Mars with SLS (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/11/sls-manifest-europa-mars-sample-return-missions/)
Quote
A new internal manifest portrays a tag team approach, alternating SLS between crewed missions for Orion and major flagship science missions that includes sending a spacecraft to Europa and conducting a Mars Sample Return mission, all before the middle of the next decade.

The beginning of the end...The number of certification flights required for SLS for crew, obtaining flights and the costs of these certification flights where there are zero missions is the 100 ft, not 10 ft hurdle, the programs are facing...in a common configuration.

The 2018 slip avoids the embarrassment of having SLS sitting around with no payloads.  It would be fantastic if everyone agreed to cancel SLS while utilizing the remaining hardware for a practical one time mission or two (not EM-1 or -2), (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35455.msg1248742#msg1248742) but politically this will not happen as the SLS side will use it as a foot in the door to keep itself alive.

But its too late for that.   No one will pay 3B/yr for 10 years for two missions....oh wait.....Senate control again....with no changes envisioned in the flip flop (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35833.msg1279731#msg1279731)...from the group that promotes the 'American Dream' and  'executive leadership skills' and cannot let go of a bag of rocks. Pathetic...

The direction is Mars and beyond, with a new reuseable, launch vehicle independent architecture (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35833.msg1278002#msg1278002)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: woods170 on 11/04/2014 02:01 pm


IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

That will likely be my next article. That is changing.

Chris, you are such a tease.  Ha ha

Now I'm going to be checking hourly until I see the story. 

Sorry! ;D I agreed to a news embargo on that. Not sure when it will be released, I'm hoping real soon, but when a company is responsive and then asks a favor (wasn't really a demand embargo, more a cooperation embargo) then I'm always going to agree.

SLS with Raptor or BE-4 engines of course... xD Better shut up now, this is how rumors get stared.  :-X
Not gonna be either one of those engines.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: veblen on 11/04/2014 02:23 pm

IRRC there is only enough RS-25 on hand for 3 or 4 flights. So the production have to be restarted by about 2020 if there is going to be SLS flights after the RS-25 supply get used up.

That will likely be my next article. That is changing.
Chris, you are such a tease.  Ha ha
Now I'm going to be checking hourly until I see the story.
Europa and Mars with SLS (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/11/sls-manifest-europa-mars-sample-return-missions/)
Quote
A new internal manifest portrays a tag team approach, alternating SLS between crewed missions for Orion and major flagship science missions that includes sending a spacecraft to Europa and conducting a Mars Sample Return mission, all before the middle of the next decade.

The beginning of the end...The number of certification flights required for SLS for crew, obtaining flights and the costs of these certification flights where there are zero missions is the 100 ft, not 10 ft hurdle, the programs are facing...in a common configuration.

The 2018 slip avoids the embarrassment of having SLS sitting around with no payloads.  It would be fantastic if everyone agreed to cancel SLS while utilizing the remaining hardware for a practical one time mission or two (not EM-1 or -2), (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35455.msg1248742#msg1248742) but politically this will not happen as the SLS side will use it as a foot in the door to keep itself alive.

But its too late for that.   No one will pay 3B/yr for 10 years for two missions....oh wait.....Senate control again....with no changes envisioned in the flip flop (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35833.msg1279731#msg1279731)...from the group that promotes the 'American Dream' and  'executive leadership skills' and cannot let go of a bag of rocks. Pathetic...

The direction is Mars and beyond, with a new reuseable, launch vehicle independent architecture (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35833.msg1278002#msg1278002)

the 2018 thing I thought you were linking to some juicy quote from a govt official/industry expert, but you are linking to your own rhetorical comment(s) only. oh well.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Bubbinski on 11/04/2014 03:21 pm
Very good article Chris, enjoyed the graphics and description of the manifest.

How far away from earth would the Orion be if it's used to rendezvous with the MSR mission?  And could the returning MSR orbit earth and rendezvous/dock with ISS instead? (If it's stlll up in 2024, maybe that's why a rendezvous with Orion is planned instead due to ISS availability concerns?)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/04/2014 03:35 pm
Very good article Chris, enjoyed the graphics and description of the manifest.

How far away from earth would the Orion be if it's used to rendezvous with the MSR mission?  And could the returning MSR orbit earth and rendezvous/dock with ISS instead? (If it's stlll up in 2024, maybe that's why a rendezvous with Orion is planned instead due to ISS availability concerns?)

Thanks very much! Nathan is such a talent with the graphics.

I'm asking about Orion's location for the the capture of the MSR capsule, although if Blackstar's cost estimate is correct, then they may as well build a huge boom and just grab the samples off Mars that way. Probably cheaper.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Todd Martin on 11/04/2014 04:18 pm
SLS is the Saturn V of the 21st Century and everyone loves the Saturn V, so they should love SLS. 

Arguments that it is too expensive can only be valid if there is an alternative launch vehicle that can do the job for comparison. 

It makes sense to put NASA flagship missions on SLS.  They won't fill the 1 flight per year cadence by themselves, since a flagship mission only happens about once every 10 years.  But it helps.  A flagship mission should be designed around a HLV.  Mars Sample Return becomes a lot easier with that kind of lift.  SMD doesn't have to pay full freight for the LV, they could pay 1/2 the cost and let HEOMD pick up the rest as part of their overhead to maintain LV cadence.

SLS should also be used for major ISS component replacement & upgrades.  Use some of that $3B/year ISS budget to pay for a human size centrifuge module to test human response to partial gravity. 

For those that say NASA does not have the budget to pay for 1 SLS flight / year with a cargo, then remember that NASA used to fly Shuttle 6 times a year with payloads, building ISS. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: notsorandom on 11/04/2014 05:05 pm
Very good article Chris, enjoyed the graphics and description of the manifest.

How far away from earth would the Orion be if it's used to rendezvous with the MSR mission?  And could the returning MSR orbit earth and rendezvous/dock with ISS instead? (If it's stlll up in 2024, maybe that's why a rendezvous with Orion is planned instead due to ISS availability concerns?)

Thanks very much! Nathan is such a talent with the graphics.

I'm asking about Orion's location for the the capture of the MSR capsule, although if Blackstar's cost estimate is correct, then they may as well build a huge boom and just grab the samples off Mars that way. Probably cheaper.
Very unlikely to be in low Earth orbit, especially if SLS/Orion are used. In terms of getting a sample capsule back to Earth from Mars the lowest Delta V option is to enter the atmosphere directly like Stardust and Genesis did. That eliminates the need to use a rocket to slow down from the heliocentric transfer orbit. The second best is to not come very near Earth, an L point can be reached from the transfer orbit with comparatively little Delta V.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/04/2014 06:52 pm
1. SLS is the Saturn V of the 21st Century and everyone loves the Saturn V, so they should love SLS. 

2.  Arguments that it is too expensive can only be valid if there is an alternative launch vehicle that can do the job for comparison. 

3.  It makes sense to put NASA flagship missions on SLS.  They won't fill the 1 flight per year cadence by themselves, since a flagship mission only happens about once every 10 years.  But it helps.  A flagship mission should be designed around a HLV.  Mars Sample Return becomes a lot easier with that kind of lift.  SMD doesn't have to pay full freight for the LV, they could pay 1/2 the cost and let HEOMD pick up the rest as part of their overhead to maintain LV cadence.

4.  SLS should also be used for major ISS component replacement & upgrades.  Use some of that $3B/year ISS budget to pay for a human size centrifuge module to test human response to partial gravity. 

5.  For those that say NASA does not have the budget to pay for 1 SLS flight / year with a cargo, then remember that NASA used to fly Shuttle 6 times a year with payloads, building ISS. 

A lot is wrong here and way off base

1.  Saturn V was designed to meet a national mandate.  Once the mandate was met, the love for it was gone.   It was too expensive to do the other things.

2.  Totally wrong.  Somethings can be too expensive in the first place(like SLS) if there is no real need for it.  This is independent of any alternatives.  But in this case, there are cheaper and more affordable alternatives that leverage existing capabilities.

3.  It makes no sense to risk flagships on a vehicle that has a low flight rates.  Even 1/2 the cost of SLS is too high.

4.  With what money?  the $3billion is just to operate the ISS.  Also, what upgrades?  There is no need for them.

5.  False logic.    NASA wasn't paying for SLS, Orion and ISS costs at the same time.  Some of the shuttle payloads were logistics.   
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/04/2014 07:05 pm
1. SLS is the Saturn V of the 21st Century and everyone loves the Saturn V, so they should love SLS. 

2.  Arguments that it is too expensive can only be valid if there is an alternative launch vehicle that can do the job for comparison. 

3.  It makes sense to put NASA flagship missions on SLS.  They won't fill the 1 flight per year cadence by themselves, since a flagship mission only happens about once every 10 years.  But it helps.  A flagship mission should be designed around a HLV.  Mars Sample Return becomes a lot easier with that kind of lift.  SMD doesn't have to pay full freight for the LV, they could pay 1/2 the cost and let HEOMD pick up the rest as part of their overhead to maintain LV cadence.

4.  SLS should also be used for major ISS component replacement & upgrades.  Use some of that $3B/year ISS budget to pay for a human size centrifuge module to test human response to partial gravity. 

5.  For those that say NASA does not have the budget to pay for 1 SLS flight / year with a cargo, then remember that NASA used to fly Shuttle 6 times a year with payloads, building ISS. 

A lot is wrong here and way off base

1.  Saturn V was designed to meet a national mandate.  Once the mandate was met, the love for it was gone.   It was too expensive to do the other things.

2.  Totally wrong.  Somethings can be too expensive in the first place(like SLS) if there is no real need for it.  This is independent of any alternatives.  But in this case, there are cheaper and more affordable alternatives that leverage existing capabilities.

3.  It makes no sense to risk flagships on a vehicle that has a low flight rates.  Even 1/2 the cost of SLS is too high.

4.  With what money?  the $3billion is just to operate the ISS.  Also, what upgrades?  There is no need for them.

5.  False logic.    NASA wasn't paying for SLS, Orion and ISS costs at the same time.  Some of the shuttle payloads were logistics.   

I was just getting ready to post a response that said many of the same things you stated Jim, so I'll just go with what you posted.

I would also add in response to Todd's post that the SLS is an HLV, and it requires HLV-sized payloads in order to justify it's use.  EELV payloads can be lofted by less expensive EELV launchers, and soon the even less expensive (and more capable than EELV) Falcon Heavy will be available for NASA mission planners.

In order to fully utilize the SLS I think NASA's budget would have to be increased by at least $10B per year, and likely more.  And that is every year going forward.  Is there support for that in Congress?  Is there interest in Congress for the missions the SLS can support?  Not yet, and that is what will determine whether the SLS becomes operational - whether Congress wants to financially support the ecosystem the SLS requires in order to justify it's existence.

But with the current trend in Congress there would have to be some widely recognized need in order to justify such a big increase, and so far asteroids, the Moon and Mars have failed to generate any bipartisan support.  What would change that?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Pheogh on 11/04/2014 07:12 pm
This question is kind of indirectly about the article but I am wondering about the artwork. What Block of the vehicle are we looking at in the lead image?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: veblen on 11/04/2014 07:12 pm
Blackstar has noted that the Chinese lunar sample return mission used orbits more akin to a human flight to luna, and a return cannister that is way bigger than needs be to bring back a few kg of moon rocks . Maybe learning some of EM's testing initiatives (do one thing and simultaneously practice for something else)? New space race?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/04/2014 07:22 pm
4.  With what money?  the $3billion is just to operate the ISS.  Also, what upgrades?  There is no need for them.

What is the need for any of it really? We send up some humans into space, and then what? Where is the economic payoff, and we are wealthy enough as is, so what is the point of the 3rd car and 2nd house if there was some huge economic payoff. I suppose it would hurt our "image" to not be going out there like some other countries, but who cares what others think about us? Our obvious image obsession is hurting our image with its apparent insecurity.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: PahTo on 11/04/2014 07:57 pm
This question is kind of indirectly about the article but I am wondering about the artwork. What Block of the vehicle are we looking at in the lead image?

1B with EUS.  The Block 1 appears in the "Opportunity:  Science Payloads on SLS" box farther down the article.
(Nice article, thanks Chris).
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Todd Martin on 11/04/2014 08:01 pm
A lot is wrong here and way off base

1.  Saturn V was designed to meet a national mandate.  Once the mandate was met, the love for it was gone.   It was too expensive to do the other things.

2.  Totally wrong.  Somethings can be too expensive in the first place(like SLS) if there is no real need for it.  This is independent of any alternatives.  But in this case, there are cheaper and more affordable alternatives that leverage existing capabilities.

3.  It makes no sense to risk flagships on a vehicle that has a low flight rates.  Even 1/2 the cost of SLS is too high.

4.  With what money?  the $3billion is just to operate the ISS.  Also, what upgrades?  There is no need for them.

5.  False logic.    NASA wasn't paying for SLS, Orion and ISS costs at the same time.  Some of the shuttle payloads were logistics.   
[/quote]

1.  Poll the American people regarding the Saturn V, you will find a vast majority have fond memories of the launch vehicle.  There is still a lot of National pride in that rocket.  It is "way off-base" to suggest Americans no longer care for the Saturn V.  Once SLS flies, the American people can again take pride in having the largest launch vehicle in the world.

2.  It is "way off-base" to compare launch costs between a vehicle that can do the intended job and one that cannot.  The only fair comparison to SLS so far is the Saturn V.  "NASA SLS deputy project manager Jody Singer at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama stated in September 2012 that $500 million per launch is a reasonable target cost for SLS, with a relatively minor dependence of costs on launch capability.[1] By comparison, the cost for a Saturn V launch was US$185 million in 1969 dollars,[74] which is roughly US$1.2 billion in 2014 dollars."

3.  SLS will be man-rated.  If it is "way offbase" to risk a robotic spacecraft on SLS, then it is "way offbase" to risk a crew.  Further, you use circular reasoning in attacking SLS:  You shouldn't increase the flight rate because the payloads are at risk due to the low flight rate.

4.  $3B a year to operate ISS can be re-prioritized to include new modules & structural components if there is the political will to make it happen.  Currently, ISS work is spread out over too many centers & include a lot of people that are not critical to safe & continuous ISS operations.  Note also that cargo & crew costs will decline once the new contracts go into effect.

5.  The fact remains that the NASA budget paid for Shuttle operations & the building of ISS at the same time.  SLS will be cheaper to fly then Shuttle plus building ISS.  Orion does not have to be the budget buster or primary payload for SLS - there are alternatives to consider to that program.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 11/04/2014 08:13 pm
Buzz kill from the usual crowd.

Complain for lack of missions. Complaining about proposed missions. Can't win.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: veblen on 11/04/2014 08:16 pm
1. SLS is the Saturn V of the 21st Century and everyone loves the Saturn V, so they should love SLS. 

2.  Arguments that it is too expensive can only be valid if there is an alternative launch vehicle that can do the job for comparison. 

3.  It makes sense to put NASA flagship missions on SLS.  They won't fill the 1 flight per year cadence by themselves, since a flagship mission only happens about once every 10 years.  But it helps.  A flagship mission should be designed around a HLV.  Mars Sample Return becomes a lot easier with that kind of lift.  SMD doesn't have to pay full freight for the LV, they could pay 1/2 the cost and let HEOMD pick up the rest as part of their overhead to maintain LV cadence.

4.  SLS should also be used for major ISS component replacement & upgrades.  Use some of that $3B/year ISS budget to pay for a human size centrifuge module to test human response to partial gravity. 

5.  For those that say NASA does not have the budget to pay for 1 SLS flight / year with a cargo, then remember that NASA used to fly Shuttle 6 times a year with payloads, building ISS. 

A lot is wrong here and way off base

1.  Saturn V was designed to meet a national mandate.  Once the mandate was met, the love for it was gone.   It was too expensive to do the other things.

2.  Totally wrong.  Somethings can be too expensive in the first place(like SLS) if there is no real need for it.  This is independent of any alternatives.  But in this case, there are cheaper and more affordable alternatives that leverage existing capabilities.

3.  It makes no sense to risk flagships on a vehicle that has a low flight rates.  Even 1/2 the cost of SLS is too high.

4.  With what money?  the $3billion is just to operate the ISS.  Also, what upgrades?  There is no need for them.

5.  False logic.    NASA wasn't paying for SLS, Orion and ISS costs at the same time.  Some of the shuttle payloads were logistics.   

Lets suppose there is a mandate. How quickly can a Europa s/c be cut into the line of already planned and fabricated robots "at the plant". I think it must happen sometimes because of lom's for eg. and the need to get a replacement launched.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: enkarha on 11/04/2014 08:28 pm
Pride's the reason we spend billions on NASA now. No reason for doing it besides that Americans more or less think we should be doing it.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/04/2014 08:31 pm

Lets suppose there is a mandate. How quickly can a Europa s/c be cut into the line of already planned and fabricated robots "at the plant". I think it must happen sometimes because of lom's for eg. and the need to get a replacement launched.

There is no assembly line or even a "plant".  This spacecraft has yet to be designed.  It really is just powerpoint.  And it is a one of a kind spacecraft.   The spacecraft and rover for Mars 2020 is going to use MSL as a basis.  All the drawings will be reviewed and updated.  They will order the parts from the vendors.  But structural items will be made to orders.  All the handling equipment for MSL would have to taken out of storage or remade, and cleaned up.  The spacecraft assembly facility will have to be cleaned up.  It was used for other programs.  EGSE would have be assembled and retested.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jgoldader on 11/04/2014 09:04 pm
Buzz kill from the usual crowd.

Complain for lack of missions. Complaining about proposed missions. Can't win.

A very expensive launcher is being designed without a clear mission, and there is no money to build payloads to give it a mission.  This is not a recipe for success. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Star One on 11/04/2014 09:10 pm

Pride's the reason we spend billions on NASA now. No reason for doing it besides that Americans more or less think we should be doing it.

Very interesting point I wonder if you'll get any of the naysayers to come up with an answer to it.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: redliox on 11/04/2014 09:41 pm

Pride's the reason we spend billions on NASA now. No reason for doing it besides that Americans more or less think we should be doing it.

Very interesting point I wonder if you'll get any of the naysayers to come up with an answer to it.

Pride alone isn't the reason behind space travel.  Wonder is an even better one.

I'd put faith in the SLS.  The real question to ask is whether or not there'll be a competent NASA or Congress to manage it well.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 11/04/2014 09:42 pm
I would only counter this point in that the basis for using SLS for Mars Sample Return was to reduce the time it takes to get to Mars.

I believe you're thinking of the Europa mission rather than Mars Sample Return.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: veblen on 11/04/2014 09:47 pm
Buzz kill from the usual crowd.

Complain for lack of missions. Complaining about proposed missions. Can't win.

A very expensive launcher is being designed without a clear mission, and there is no money to build payloads to give it a mission.  This is not a recipe for success. 

There is no money for planetary science missions that possibly can be launched by SLS? That seems unlikely to me.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: robertross on 11/04/2014 09:49 pm
I would only counter this point in that the basis for using SLS for Mars Sample Return was to reduce the time it takes to get to Mars.

I believe you're thinking of the Europa mission rather than Mars Sample Return.

Ooop! Thanks.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: veblen on 11/04/2014 09:56 pm
Expensive launchers? The TitanIVB/Centaur that launched Cassini in 1997 was not cheap. But I will grant, no monthly bills keeping an aging space station alive then, unless you count the joint MIR/Shuttle program.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Steven Richardson on 11/04/2014 10:08 pm
Buzz kill from the usual crowd.

Complain for lack of missions. Complaining about proposed missions. Can't win.

I'd be careful, those handful of people have been saying SLS would be cancelled by 2013. Someone even made a bet to that effect on the now dead space politics site.

So until SLS gets past 2013, I will take their outside opinions as fact.

;)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: redliox on 11/04/2014 10:12 pm
Buzz kill from the usual crowd.

Complain for lack of missions. Complaining about proposed missions. Can't win.

A very expensive launcher is being designed without a clear mission, and there is no money to build payloads to give it a mission.  This is not a recipe for success. 

There is no money for planetary science missions that possibly can be launched by SLS? That seems unlikely to me.

*cough* Enter the X-factor called POLITICS and you'll be surprised...  ;)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: redliox on 11/04/2014 10:12 pm
Presuming SLS becomes launcher for MSR...what changes might happen to the mission design?

First there was to be a lander and an orbiter/sample-return-vehicle.  Next that became orbiter/SRV, lander, and cache rover.  It now looks like the 2020 rover will fulfill the third element and, like Curiosity, will be sent to Mars via Atlas V like it's predecessor; given how the two rovers are essentially twins that makes enough sense.  So now, with SLS entered into the equation, we have the means to launch what was 2 separate elements in one sitting.  Should there still be separate elements, or instead a single element (something akin to SpaceX's Red Dragon concept) sent to land, retrieve, and then directly return to Earth?

However it works, the 2020 Mars rover will have a full cache waiting by 2024, meaning between now and then there's just under a decade to revise the scheme.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/04/2014 10:31 pm

*cough* Enter the X-factor called POLITICS and you'll be surprised...  ;)

Politics doesn't add money to planetary science, it only takes it away
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/04/2014 10:44 pm
Getting rowdy on here. Calm it down.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: M_Puckett on 11/04/2014 11:08 pm
Expensive launchers? The TitanIVB/Centaur that launched Cassini in 1997 was not cheap. But I will grant, no monthly bills keeping an aging space station alive then, unless you count the joint MIR/Shuttle program.

There was plenty of money being spent on ISS in 1997.  Metal was being bent.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Billium on 11/05/2014 01:48 am
I really like that someone is coming up with missions for SLS. Maybe this will be a mechanism for a real political discussion about where this program is headed. In January the first Orion flight will be done, commercial crew protest done (I hope) and new politicians will be in their chairs. NASA can say "look our program is on track, now we need some missions! What is the point of this shiny new rocket without missions?"

The best result is more money for NASA to fund missions (which could also be flown on Falcon Heavy). Second best result is SLS gets cancelled to pay for missions (I like FH but all those reasons are for another thread). Worst result is some drastic cuts elsewhere in NASA to pay for missions (ie. Spash ISS).

I guess realistically it's going to be status quo until 2017 with a new president and when the public sees the crewed dragon and FH flying and the first SLS flight is coming up and people start to get real. I just want to see some missions flown.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/05/2014 05:32 am
Pride alone isn't the reason behind space travel.  Wonder is an even better one.

We're all space proponents here, but we don't write the checks for the expensive space hardware to enable that "wonder" - politicians write them.  And it's been pretty obvious since the end of Apollo that our politicians have not been interested in doing much beyond LEO, so they don't seem to have a sense of "wonder" about space travel.  So the question is what will change that now?

Quote
I'd put faith in the SLS.

That's like saying "I'd put faith in an o-ring", or "I'd put faith in a CPU chip".  They are just pieces of technology, and meaningless without a purpose.

The Europa and MSR missions could use an HLV, but they alone are not enough to support the minimum safe operational flight requirements for an HLV transportation system.  And that minimum is, per NASA, a flight cadence of at least one SLS launch every 12 months.

So this is not some theoretical debate, Congress either provides enough funding for building and launching an SLS and SLS-sized payloads every year, or NASA will be forced to mothball or cancel the SLS for safety reasons.  You can put your faith in that.

Quote
The real question to ask is whether or not there'll be a competent NASA or Congress to manage it well.

I'd say NASA is normally competent given the political constraints it has to work with.  With regards to Congress, what's to say a "competent" Congress would support HSF more than the current "incompetent" one?  How well funded do you think NASA would be without the political pork it currently gets?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/05/2014 06:05 am
I've talked to a number of people in the planetary science community that are rather pleased at the prospect of Europa Clipper hitching a ride on the SLS as it would drop the cruise duration by around two thirds, but they seem to think that they'll be getting a SLS launch for 'free'. Given the direction that money tends to flow between the PSD and the rest of NASA, I am always puzzled by their enthusiasm... Perhaps they are banking on John Culberson following through on his vision for NASA when he (almost certainly) becomes chair of the CJS appropriations subcommittee.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Star One on 11/05/2014 06:26 am

I've talked to a number of people in the planetary science community that are rather pleased at the prospect of Europa Clipper hitching a ride on the SLS as it would drop the cruise duration by around two thirds, but they seem to think that they'll be getting a SLS launch for 'free'. Given the direction that money tends to flow between the PSD and the rest of NASA, I am always puzzled by their enthusiasm... Perhaps they are banking on John Culberson following through on his vision for NASA when he (almost certainly) becomes chair of the CJS appropriations subcommittee.

I could imagine that's only in the circumstances of a free flight that you would find the Europa Clipper on SLS. Otherwise I don't see the money being there to pay for such a launcher especially with the planetary science budget being what it is.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: a_langwich on 11/05/2014 08:32 am

*cough* Enter the X-factor called POLITICS and you'll be surprised...  ;)

Politics doesn't add money to planetary science, it only takes it away

Overstated.
New Horizons Pluto would never have launched if it hadn't gotten such an influx of money.  I'll agree with you that Congress isn't going to dump in billion-dollar plus increments for flagship-sized missions, but there has definitely been SOME support for planetary science in Congress, with greater-than-requested amounts done for NH and the Europa investigational funding. 

I'm sure there are other examples, too, where Congress specifically appropriated more money to SMD and warned NASA not to move it to other uses.  Congress has proven sympathetic to planetary science lobbying, more than the executive branch and NASA (which as intimated by other posters is strongly human spaceflight driven).  Obviously the CA delegation, which includes several members who have JPL in their district, is especially sympathetic to planetary science.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: GClark on 11/05/2014 11:58 am
I'm going to channel Blackstar here...

Congress can be sympathetic all year long.  Unless someone can convince OMB to fund a new start, this is merely an interesting powerpoint.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Star One on 11/05/2014 01:59 pm

There are in fact other planetary missions that could be done with SLS. Here's an example of a lunar sample return option.

That might suddenly become politically popular in relation to Chinese plans in this area.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/05/2014 02:36 pm

*There is one other aspect that I left out so it wasn't distracting: cost for integrating the spacecraft with the vehicle. This includes a lot of different things. It could include nuclear-rating the SLS so that it can carry RTGs. It could also include all the trajectory analysis work. And it could include other stuff like special mods to the rocket, or even an upper stage. Those kinds of things can add up to tens of millions of dollars. Even if SLS is provided "free," it is likely that the human side would charge the science division for all the specific costs of the launch. That could get expensive.

There was a similar related case with including ASRG (nuclear) power sources in the last Discovery call. NASA agreed to provide these for "free" to the mission designers. However, I heard grumbling that the deal was only that the equipment would be free, but that there would be a number of other costs that the mission designers had to include that were specific to using that equipment.

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

There are even more expenses related to a proposed nuclear mission, namely budgeting for being sued *every* time the craft is anywhere near Earth. Fortunately, current EC designs seem to be sticking with gargantuan solar arrays à la JUNO and JUICE so that shouldn't be an issue. Of course, this is assuming that the mission ever flies (at least in a form that is even worth sending), which I am not at all sure of considering that John Grunsfeld wants to look at a New Frontiers class mission.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/05/2014 04:00 pm

1-They shouldn't get charged anything for that. The government has attorneys on the payroll and defending against lawsuits is part of what they do. It's not going to cost extra.

2-No decision about the power system for Europa Clipper has been made yet. The decision will ultimately be made at NASA headquarters when they decide to approve the mission.

3-It's more complex and subtle than that. It's hard to explain, but probably the best way to understand it is that NASA asked the community to identify possible Europa missions that could be done for approximately $1 billion. The community supplied some proposals, and now all of that stuff has vanished without a trace. That does not mean that any of those missions are viable, or even that anybody in the government wants to do any of them. They were just exploring the trade space.

1. I know for a fact that team-X at JPL does consider legal costs associated with nuclear powered missions.

2. This is based on conversations with people who are involved in instrument proposals. I am aware that no official decision has been made (how could it have been?).

3. There is a long history of NASA wanting studies of Europa missions. They seem to do it so that they don't have to actually fund a mission (personal opinion).
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/05/2014 04:16 pm
2009: 5 shuttle flights, ISS construction and operation, Constellation program, OCO, Kepler, WISE, LRO.

2013: Landsat, Maven, Iris, TDRS, 2 Cygnus, 1 Dragon, Constellation program by another name.

NASA is just hibernating. They can afford 1 SLS per year and science missions at the same time. I'll leave the inter-department squabbling between planetary and HEO for people in those respective departments.

There is likely going to be extra cargo space available on SLS/Orion missions. It would be best if sceince missions simply hitched a ride which means the different departments need to start working together and all the conspiracy theorists about HEO trying to screw planetary need to bury the hatchet.  It is all one organization.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: tesla on 11/05/2014 04:47 pm
Lots of excitement here!  ;D I'm very excited too. As Chris has already said, we live in an incredible interesting time in the field of spaceflight.

Great article chris. Thank you very much.

I love to check NSF when I come home from work. There is always something new here. :D
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/05/2014 05:17 pm
2009: 5 shuttle flights, ISS construction and operation, Constellation program, OCO, Kepler, WISE, LRO.

2013: Landsat, Maven, Iris, TDRS, 2 Cygnus, 1 Dragon, Constellation program by another name.

NASA is just hibernating. They can afford 1 SLS per year and science missions at the same time..


2013, you are omitting the ISS ops and the amount of money the "Constellation program by another name" is using.

The budget is $1B less now
2009 - $17.8B   Science - 4.5B  Exploration - 3.5B  Space Ops - 5.8B Aero and Space Tech - .5B
2013 - $16.9B   Science - 4.9B  Exploration - 3.7B  Space Ops - 3.7B Aero and Space Tech - 1.1B

There is no hibernating.   Where is the money for the SLS flights and payloads.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/05/2014 05:34 pm
2009: 5 shuttle flights, ISS construction and operation, Constellation program, OCO, Kepler, WISE, LRO.

2013: Landsat, Maven, Iris, TDRS, 2 Cygnus, 1 Dragon, Constellation program by another name.

NASA is just hibernating. They can afford 1 SLS per year and science missions at the same time..


2013, you are omitting the ISS ops and the amount of money the "Constellation program by another name" is using.

The budget is $1B less now
2009 - $17.8B   Science - 4.5B  Exploration - 3.5B  Space Ops - 5.8B Aero and Space Tech - .5B
2013 - $16.9B   Science - 4.9B  Exploration - 3.7B  Space Ops - 3.7B Aero and Space Tech - 1.1B

There is no hibernating.   Where is the money for the SLS flights and payloads.

Adjusted for inflation, it is more like a decrease of 2.5 billion between 2009 and 2013, but 2.5 billion out of 20 billion(2014 dollars) is 12.5% which means you get the same money in 410 days vs 365. They can do the same things, just a bit slower. If not 1 SLS flight per year, 1 SLS flight every 14 months.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Todd Martin on 11/05/2014 06:13 pm
SLS costs in 2014 are about $1.7 Billion, Orion is about another $1 Billion.  It will not cost that much to fly them once the development costs are complete. 

If an SLS flight at 1/yr costs $1 Billion, there is $1.7 Billion per year available for payloads.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/05/2014 06:17 pm
SLS is replacing a couple shuttle flights from 2009. Well, actually, the current plan is Cygnus, Dragon, CST-100 and SLS/Orion is replacing Shuttle. Obviously, there is a problem when you are replacing an expensive vehicle with 4 different vehicles involving 4 spacecraft and 4 launch vehicles. Something has got to give eventually and it is starting to with potentially the 4 spacecraft and 4 launch vehicles going to 4 spacecraft and 3 launch vehicles with Cygnus launching on a different vehicle. The next thing to give will probably be only 1 commercial crew vehicle funded and I doubt SLS will be the thing to give with Republicans controlling Congress.

Anyways, a lot depends on the economics/politics going forward when NASA might potentially be able to come out of hibernation and return to the budget profile of 2008/2009/2010.I am not going to pre-judge the economics of 2017+. Obviously, the politics can vary wildly ranging from Newt Gingrich being president in 2016 to Mitt Romney to Hillary Clinton. Not going to pre-judge that either.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/05/2014 06:21 pm
SLS costs in 2014 are about $1.7 Billion, Orion is about another $1 Billion.  It will not cost that much to fly them once the development costs are complete. 

If an SLS flight at 1/yr costs $1 Billion, there is $1.7 Billion per year available for payloads.


Not quite so bad math.  Still need to pay for Orion whether it flies or not each year.   Both will be over 2 billion per year.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/05/2014 06:22 pm

Anyways, a lot depends on the economics/politics going forward when NASA might potentially be able to come out of hibernation

That more likely not going to happen no matter who is in office. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/05/2014 06:25 pm

Anyways, a lot depends on the economics/politics going forward when NASA might potentially be able to come out of hibernation

That more likely not going to happen no matter who is in office. 

Really? Even if Bill Nye is elected president and then orchestrates a coup giving him dictatorial powers?

It may seem far-fetched, but these two look like they are up to something...

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/25/US_Navy_110505-N-PO203-205_Bill_Nye_stands_with_the_Chief_of_Naval_Research_Rear._Adm._Nevin_Carr_following_the_presentation_of_a_powered_by_Naval.jpg/220px-US_Navy_110505-N-PO203-205_Bill_Nye_stands_with_the_Chief_of_Naval_Research_Rear._Adm._Nevin_Carr_following_the_presentation_of_a_powered_by_Naval.jpg)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: enkarha on 11/06/2014 01:39 am
Here's a chart I whipped up in Excel that shows how the money has flowed to different directorates over time. The numbers are all "actual" spent numbers, not enacted or proposed, and they're adjusted for inflation by the New Start Index. There's a marked decrease in total funding that's evident since 2010, and we've gone from more than $20.1 billion 2014 equivalent to maybe $17.3B.  The decrease is from the shutdown of Shuttle, but it is tempered somewhat by increases in construction, space technology, and commercial crew.

If you see the 20 B number as the natural appetite from Congress/the country/whoever for space travel, and the decrease as only incidental b/c of the shutdown and lack of direction, then with a modestly solid plan from any branch of government funding payloads is possible, especially as ISS phases out, Construction is reduced, and the design elements of Exploration are closed up. I more or less do see it this way, and I hope that someone will come forward with some sort of coherent plan, some sort of building process, something,to get us out.

What makes me angry is that it would be so easy; it would take just a few words. When explaining the rationale for the ARRM, if they said that it's to begin operations that will lead to a cislunar gateway for manned-Mars missions, said explicitly that the thrusters are for testing the propulsion of an SEP tug that would operate from that gateway. Or chose some other Mars architecture, and some other current proposal, and explained how this would lead to that, and asked for funding based on that, I think they would get it.

I support SLS/Orion, but Congress won't fund smoke on the horizon. But I believe they would fund clear, non-self-licking reasons to use the SLS. The Europa proposal may meet this criterion; the Mars sample return doesn't.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 11/06/2014 09:15 am
... Congress won't fund smoke on the horizon. But I believe they would fund clear, non-self-licking reasons to use the SLS.

Why do you believe that?  Have a look at the House subcommittee's deliberations on the 2013 NASA authorization (http://science.edgeboss.net/wmedia/science/sst2013/SP071013m.wvx).  About 22 minutes in, you'll hear the chairman of the space subcommittee, Rep. Palazzo, who is a big SLS supporter, discuss at length why there's going to be no more money for NASA in the next several years.  Later on, other SLS-supporting members of the subcommittee make the same point.  The chairman also describes NASA's budget as "robust," suggesting pretty clearly that he thinks no more money is needed.

What's really weird is that the chairman's diatribe against boosting NASA's budget comes immediately after subcommittee member Edwards suggests, as we often hear in this forum, that, considering how small NASA spending is as a fraction of the federal budget, it ought to be possible to find a little more money for it.

I'm not so naive as to believe that the representatives' views couldn't change quickly if a president of their own party were in the White House, but I think the evidence is pretty strong that Congress would not suddenly boost the budget if the administration proposed a more interesting use of Orion/SLS.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/06/2014 12:07 pm
The politicians are aware that, in a time of lots of talk about budgetary belt-tightening and focussing on priorities, a seeming 'luxury' like NASA would be an unpopular choice for a budgetary boost. It appears to be SLS's curse that it is an expensive project that can only be justified as the launch vehicle for expensive projects at a time when expensive projects will not be funded often (if at all).

Realistically though, MSR and Europa Orbiter (or possibly even lander) are 10-20 years off. So, by all means, fund a paper study and try to get a semi-solid price to present to the OMB, Congress and the President. If, as Chris implies, someone has found a few working SSME-IIas in a warehouse or RS-25E production is to be immediately green-lighted, then SLS-05 and onwards (around 2025 and afterward) need missions.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 11/06/2014 12:31 pm
... Congress won't fund smoke on the horizon. But I believe they would fund clear, non-self-licking reasons to use the SLS.

Why do you believe that?  Have a look at the House subcommittee's deliberations on the 2013 NASA authorization (http://science.edgeboss.net/wmedia/science/sst2013/SP071013m.wvx).  About 22 minutes in, you'll hear the chairman of the space subcommittee, Rep. Palazzo, who is a big SLS supporter, discuss at length why there's going to be no more money for NASA in the next several years.  Later on, other SLS-supporting members of the subcommittee make the same point.  The chairman also describes NASA's budget as "robust," suggesting pretty clearly that he thinks no more money is needed.

What's really weird is that the chairman's diatribe against boosting NASA's budget comes immediately after subcommittee member Edwards suggests, as we often hear in this forum, that, considering how small NASA spending is as a fraction of the federal budget, it ought to be possible to find a little more money for it.

I'm not so naive as to believe that the representatives' views couldn't change quickly if a president of their own party were in the White House, but I think the evidence is pretty strong that Congress would not suddenly boost the budget if the administration proposed a more interesting use of Orion/SLS.

The Republicans (and some of the Democrats) on that committee also said they would have an easier time funding ARM if the mission was clearly defined with costs. Granted a lot of that is political against the Administration, I do believe that certain well defined missions would be funded, as long as the estimated costs are not astronomical.

In other words, I doubt there will be a paradigm shift in space policy unless the next GOP president decides to go to the moon at all costs, but there certainly is room for some missions if scoped properly.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 11/06/2014 12:53 pm
The Republicans (and some of the Democrats) on that committee also said they would have an easier time funding ARM if the mission was clearly defined with costs.

ARM's problem is not just lack of clear costs, it is lack of clear purpose. The administration has not been able to say why they want to do the mission and how it connects to broader, longer-term goals, like humans to Mars. They have made some statements about that, but not many people are convinced (because there are holes in the argument).

I don't think ARM has ever been a real program. It's a facade. The administration does not want to fund SLS or Orion, but they are stuck with them, and they have been pressured to come up with something for them to do, so they invented ARM as the imaginary goal. If they were serious about ARM, they would have funded the asteroid survey that is required to detect asteroid targets. That's the first step in any ARM campaign and they have not taken it.

Actually just said that, "clearly defined with costs."
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Star One on 11/06/2014 01:24 pm

The Republicans (and some of the Democrats) on that committee also said they would have an easier time funding ARM if the mission was clearly defined with costs.

ARM's problem is not just lack of clear costs, it is lack of clear purpose. The administration has not been able to say why they want to do the mission and how it connects to broader, longer-term goals, like humans to Mars. They have made some statements about that, but not many people are convinced (because there are holes in the argument).

I don't think ARM has ever been a real program. It's a facade. The administration does not want to fund SLS or Orion, but they are stuck with them, and they have been pressured to come up with something for them to do, so they invented ARM as the imaginary goal. If they were serious about ARM, they would have funded the asteroid survey that is required to detect asteroid targets. That's the first step in any ARM campaign and they have not taken it.

So will however is next in the Whitehouse be wielding the axe then?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 11/06/2014 01:57 pm
To ARM? Probably. To SLS/Orion?  No
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Longhorn John on 11/06/2014 02:02 pm
Some more.

These are cool! Are they from a presentation you can upload?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: arachnitect on 11/06/2014 06:44 pm
If they were serious about ARM, they would have funded the asteroid survey that is required to detect asteroid targets. That's the first step in any ARM campaign and they have not taken it.


Yeah this is a mystery to me, especially since it's probably required for *any* asteroid mission and asteroid surveys should be easy to sell to the public/"science communicator" types.

The Republicans (and some of the Democrats) on that committee also said they would have an easier time funding ARM if the mission was clearly defined with costs.

ARM's problem is not just lack of clear costs, it is lack of clear purpose. The administration has not been able to say why they want to do the mission and how it connects to broader, longer-term goals, like humans to Mars. They have made some statements about that, but not many people are convinced (because there are holes in the argument).

I don't think ARM has ever been a real program. It's a facade. The administration does not want to fund SLS or Orion, but they are stuck with them, and they have been pressured to come up with something for them to do


I'm nobody important, but I feel like a lot of the opposition to ARM has a strong "Not Invented Here" smell to it. ARM just doesn't really fit anyone's vision of what space exploration "looks like." Honestly though, pretty much any human mission that doesn't end up with a geologist walking around on another body is going to struggle to justify its existence; how is ARM so much worse than visiting an asteroid in its native orbit or doing manned lunar flybys? I can't speak to the scientific or technological merit, but I do think ARM would be a stunning achievement. Also, there are reasons we might want to move asteroids around in space...

But I guess a lot of people aren't convinced. There's one small bodies guy (Binzel) who's recently turned his annoyance with ARM into a personal anti-ARM campaign (publishing in Nature, conference talks, etc).

A lot of people I think are laboring under the assumption that they're working on a moon program but just aren't allowed to say so in polite company. They might be right... but I'd be very cautious about such assumptions. If Ares 1 was the only thing wrong with CxP would we be where we are today?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/06/2014 08:06 pm
What makes me angry is that it would be so easy; it would take just a few words. When explaining the rationale for the ARRM

They already explained it, but few in Congress are buying into it.  The one who definitely supports it is Senator Nelson, but my suspicions have been that he was the one to push for the ARRM in the first place to provide the first real use for the SLS and Orion.  I don't think it had the intended outcome he was hoping for, and the Administration continues to not care a wit about the SLS and Orion (they likely pushed it as a favor for Nelson).

Quote
...if they said that it's to begin operations that will lead to a cislunar gateway for manned-Mars missions...

There is no funding for a cislunar gateway, nor is there funding for a manned mission to Mars.  So spending money for either of those two missions would be considered both a waste and trying to backdoor the programs into the budget.

Quote
...said explicitly that the thrusters are for testing the propulsion of an SEP tug that would operate from that gateway.

Funding for SEP and other things were in the 2010 budget that Congress chose to fund the SLS and Orion instead.  They didn't care then, and I'm not sure why that would have changed.

Quote
...Or chose some other Mars architecture, and some other current proposal, and explained how this would lead to that, and asked for funding based on that, I think they would get it.

I understand your approach, and it makes sense, but Congress is not interested in anything beyond LEO right now.  The ISS is viewed, in my opinion, as part of the overall effort we have for research (i.e. space, energy, medicine, defense, etc.), but no one is ready to commit to the exploration part that comes next.

Quote
I support SLS/Orion, but Congress won't fund smoke on the horizon. But I believe they would fund clear, non-self-licking reasons to use the SLS. The Europa proposal may meet this criterion; the Mars sample return doesn't.

Neither require an HLV, but if you had a robust HLV production line going that is already supporting other needs, then using an HLV for both of them might make sense because of the far faster mission completion times.

But Congress hasn't funded ANY missions that require an HLV, and the current budget, if passed with the lame duck Congress, doesn't change that.  So there will literately be only 6 years as of next year to fund and build a yearly tempo of HLV-sized missions and launch hardware (SLS and Orion as needed) in order to avoid the one mandate that NASA has laid down for using the SLS - that is MUST launch AT LEAST every 12 months in order to maintain a safe launch cadence.

The Europa and MSR missions are not enough demand for an HLV to solve the problem, Congress needs to step up big time to fully fund the SLS in order to keep it from being mothballed before it ever gets off the ground operationally.

The longer Congress avoids fully funding the use of the SLS, the more money we are wasting building the world's newest museum displays...
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/06/2014 11:25 pm
The Republicans (and some of the Democrats) on that committee also said they would have an easier time funding ARM if the mission was clearly defined with costs.

ARM's problem is not just lack of clear costs, it is lack of clear purpose. The administration has not been able to say why they want to do the mission and how it connects to broader, longer-term goals, like humans to Mars. They have made some statements about that, but not many people are convinced (because there are holes in the argument).

I don't think ARM has ever been a real program. It's a facade. The administration does not want to fund SLS or Orion, but they are stuck with them, and they have been pressured to come up with something for them to do, so they invented ARM as the imaginary goal. If they were serious about ARM, they would have funded the asteroid survey that is required to detect asteroid targets. That's the first step in any ARM campaign and they have not taken it.

Actually just said that, "clearly defined with costs."
It is clearly defined. The fact that it's not specified down to a T is a strength, not a weakness (and those who don't understand that are showing their own lack of intelligence). Imagine if JFK had specified an exact architecture, like Direct Ascent or something. May have missed the goal of landing someone on the Moon because direct ascent requires a much larger rocket and ultimately more risk.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: enkarha on 11/07/2014 12:32 am
All I meant to express was that so many the mission proposals don't sound purposeful. The justifications for the SEP demonstrations are not "this is how we get to Mars", it's "this is something that may be used to get to Mars someday". And it's all always someday. I know they don't have funding for Mars, I know no one has interest in Congress, but that's not helped when the agency itself doesn't care about going there, about giving an honest effort to see what's actually useful and explain and ask for that in Congress explicitly. And if they don't want to go, I wish they'd stop mentioning it every SLS/Orion presser.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/07/2014 12:39 am

I am closer to these communities. I'd say that some of the opposition is because of NIH. (Humans to an asteroid was never popular at JSC back in 2006-9, but that was probably because people there saw it as a dead end, or a threat to Altair/Moon, not because they themselves had not thought of the idea.)

But I think that most of it is much more fundamental than that. Most of the opposition from the human spaceflight community comes from the fact that they see it as a dead end, a diversion, and not a mission that will develop genuinely useful technologies that they can use for other missions, like Mars. Now certainly it will develop some useful technologies, but not the ones that are highest priorities, like long-duration life support and radiation protection. So the human spaceflight community sees ARM as pointless or worse.

The asteroid science community, however, could be more enthusiastic, but they're not. Their reasons can probably be best summed up as follows:

1-A properly conducted mission requires both a survey telescope and at least one robotic precursor spacecraft. Both would be highly welcomed by the asteroid science community. The ARM architecture has neither. So there's no near-term benefit to the scientists, and nothing for them to rally for.

2-Asteroid scientists don't want a single mission to a single asteroid, they would prefer multiple missions to multiple asteroids. So even if ARM is carried out, the scientific value is negligible.

3-The most interesting asteroids are the ones that could have organics. ARM is not going to them. The program is picking an asteroid that it can reach, not one that is interesting. (This is also connected to #1 above.)

4-The scientists all expect ARM to get canceled anyway, so they have no reason to get their hopes up, or to attach any of their own plans to it.

Binzel has been vocal, and his views represent a more extreme end of the spectrum, but I think that the vast majority of the asteroid science community essentially agrees with him. It's just that they expect ARM to get canceled no matter what and see no reason to get very public about it.

These are all accurate points for why the planetary science/asteroid community is not very enthusiastic about ARM. The other reason is that the very act of capturing (at least through bagging, which is the method that tends to be in presentations I've seen) and moving the asteroid will seriously compromise scientific return. Areas that are likely to be altered by bagging include: rheology, microstructure, composition (just the fact that the bag might significantly alter the thermal environment of the asteroid could eliminate any possibility of understanding the thermal evolution of the body), distribution of surface composition (the bag rubbing all over the body), among others. I'm sure that there would be some useful results, but it just doesn't make sense from a scientific return perspective when compared to unmanned, on location missions.

I could be persuaded of the utility of ARM if they were pushing the "we want to know how to divert objects that might hit Earth" angle, but they don't seem to be. - edited to remove nested quote
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/07/2014 01:08 am
(and those who don't understand that are showing their own lack of intelligence).

There are quite a few people skeptical of this, including members of various advisory groups. You think they are stupid?
Being skeptical of the goal is fine. It may be not worth it and may be a distraction. Fair enough (though I think an interim goal before Mars makes sense). But having some flexibility at this point is a good idea, and yes, I do question the sense of people who think a brittle structure at this point is a good idea.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: sdsds on 11/07/2014 02:03 am
Here is Binzel's latest opinion piece on the subject.

Thank-you for sharing that. Just as you describe, it is an "opinion piece" so it is expected the author will use emotional language to discredit the approach he opposes. Still:
Quote
[ARM] is a multibillion-dollar stunt [using] either a huge capture bag or a Rube Goldberg contraption resembling a giant arcade-game claw [to capture an asteroid] and tug it to lunar orbit, just so that idle astronauts have somewhere to go and something to do.

There's certainly a lot wrong with ARM as NASA's first humans-beyond-LEO flagship mission. Binzel discusses bright-eyed plans for a sequence of human spaceflight "Grand Challenge" missions. Is it fair to say his description of, "each costing less than $800 million" effectively involves cancelling SLS? If so, he is putting the cart before the horse from the political perspective. ARM is a mission designed to fit the anticipated capabilities of SLS and Orion at the time of EM-2. Binzel seems to have no alternative mission that meets that "need."
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: sdsds on 11/07/2014 02:50 am
But his proposals (telescope, for starters) are not "bright-eyed." And considering that he advocated sending Orion missions to asteroids (just smaller, nearby ones), he wasn't advocating cancelling SLS.

He carefully doesn't say when he would send Orion missions to asteroids in-situ, describing only, "a steady programme of exploration to be unrolled in the late 2020s and 2030s." EM-2 is manifested for 2021. Binzel also offers no description of what Earth-departure propulsion would be required for his in-situ asteroid missions. Do you think he envisions a single Block II SLS launch? LEO rendezvous of multiple SLS launches, involving long-duration loiter of a cryogenic stage? If you found that kind of architectural discussion in his op-ed, you are better at reading such things than I!
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/07/2014 03:11 am
(and those who don't understand that are showing their own lack of intelligence).

There are quite a few people skeptical of this, including members of various advisory groups. You think they are stupid?
Being skeptical of the goal is fine. It may be not worth it and may be a distraction. Fair enough (though I think an interim goal before Mars makes sense). But having some flexibility at this point is a good idea, and yes, I do question the sense of people who think a brittle structure at this point is a good idea.

So, Binzel argues in the paper that I attached that ARM produces dead end technology that is not useful for the Mars goal. He's at MIT. He's one of the people you think lack intelligence. Is MIT slipping?
Welp, that's not what I said, was it? What I /actually/ said was:
"The fact that it's not specified down to a T is a strength, not a weakness (and those who don't understand that are showing their own lack of intelligence)."

...and I stand by that statement because it's still true no matter where you're from (assuming Binzel actually thinks that).
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Steam Chaser on 11/07/2014 03:26 am
The Planetary Science Decadal Survey document report

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/docs/Vision_and_Voyages-FINAL.pdf

estimates the cost of the Mars Sample Return components (essentially 3 Flagship missions) as:

Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher Descope - $2.4B (this has been replaced with Mars 2020, but the price tag for that is still in the same class)
Mars Sample Return Lander and Mars Ascent Vehicle - $4.0B
Mars Sample Return Orbiter and Earth Entry Vehicle - $2.1B

That's a total of $8.5B.  The Planetary Science budget can barely handle the first of the 3 parts of the mission over the next decade.  I don't see how SLS can give meaningful help for Mars Sample Return given the timeline.

If the SLS managers want to give their rocket robotic probe jobs to increase the SLS launch tempo, they should look at more affordable missions.  For example, the Decadal Survey listed Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return as one of the handful missions to compete for the next New Frontiers (~$1B) slot. This could be done as a traditional EELV and purely robotic mission, but it has also been looked at as a mission launched by SLS with Orion, with Orion perhaps allowing some telerobotics work and also picking up the sample.

Politically, SLS/Orion has been an enemy of robotic precursor missions and exploration technology demonstration missions.  However, it might make sense for the SLS/Orion forces to support Exploration funding for a handful of robotic precursor and/or technology demonstration missions.  This would fit Obama's original FY2011 push, but there would be a political compromise: the missions would be launched by SLS.  They are already considering cubesat robotic precursor missions tagging along on SLS/Orion missions, but I'm picturing missions with mass/volume that would result in more SLS launches.  They might be able to make their Exploration budget go farther if the precursor or tech demo missions involved commercial partnerships with skin in the game, partial Planetary Science funding if the robotic precursor mission has significant science content, or partial space technology funding if the tech demo mission has relevance outside Exploration.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ThereIWas3 on 11/07/2014 02:37 pm
I don't think the US congress will be interested in funding any BEO operations until they see a reason to go, that even they can understand.  Right now, they don't see any.

So what NASA could do, if they really want to go to Mars, is to spend their budget on finding reasons to go.  I propose that these reasons will not be discovered in LEO on board ISS.  Nor is SLS a good way to go looking for them.  Nor is sample return (too expensive for what you get).  The reasons are best found on the surface of Mars, by a variety of robots sent to interesting places.

Not places of interest to geologists looking for the big picture of Martian history.  This is snooze-time for politicians.  But places humans might actually want to visit.  Places with grandeur.  Besides collecting hi-res stereo imaging, the on board experiments should be looking at what is under the ground with radar and locating building and sheltering materials.  Caves?  Lava tubes?  Cliff faces?  Hard to check those in detail from orbit.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Steam Chaser on 11/07/2014 05:26 pm
So what NASA could do, if they really want to go to Mars, is to spend their budget on finding reasons to go.  I propose that these reasons will not be discovered in LEO on board ISS.  Nor is SLS a good way to go looking for them.  Nor is sample return (too expensive for what you get).  The reasons are best found on the surface of Mars, by a variety of robots sent to interesting places.

That's one reason the failure of the FY2011 attempt to revive the robotic precursor line that started with LRO/LCROSS was so disappointing.  Those precursors to potential HSF mission destinations like the Moon, asteroids, Mars, and the Martian moons were meant not mainly as science missions like the Planetary Science ones, but as missions to assess dangers for future HSF missions, and to look for resources that future HSF missions could use.  This type of mission is likely to find more reasons to go than just resources for initial scouting missions.  They could find resources that could be processed in economically useful ways, resources that could make settlement easier, clues that could generate interest in more missions from the science community, and spectacular views like canyons, crater cliffs, dune fields, giant volcanoes, and ice sheets that could get the public interested in more.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 11/07/2014 06:55 pm
... Congress won't fund smoke on the horizon. But I believe they would fund clear, non-self-licking reasons to use the SLS.

Why do you believe that?  Have a look at the House subcommittee's deliberations on the 2013 NASA authorization (http://science.edgeboss.net/wmedia/science/sst2013/SP071013m.wvx).  About 22 minutes in, you'll hear the chairman of the space subcommittee, Rep. Palazzo, who is a big SLS supporter, discuss at length why there's going to be no more money for NASA in the next several years.  Later on, other SLS-supporting members of the subcommittee make the same point.  The chairman also describes NASA's budget as "robust," suggesting pretty clearly that he thinks no more money is needed.

What's really weird is that the chairman's diatribe against boosting NASA's budget comes immediately after subcommittee member Edwards suggests, as we often hear in this forum, that, considering how small NASA spending is as a fraction of the federal budget, it ought to be possible to find a little more money for it.

I'm not so naive as to believe that the representatives' views couldn't change quickly if a president of their own party were in the White House, but I think the evidence is pretty strong that Congress would not suddenly boost the budget if the administration proposed a more interesting use of Orion/SLS.

The Republicans (and some of the Democrats) on that committee also said they would have an easier time funding ARM if the mission was clearly defined with costs. Granted a lot of that is political against the Administration, I do believe that certain well defined missions would be funded, as long as the estimated costs are not astronomical.

In other words, I doubt there will be a paradigm shift in space policy unless the next GOP president decides to go to the moon at all costs, but there certainly is room for some missions if scoped properly.

Could you identifiy a concrete instance in which a Republican representative or senator indicated support for increasing NASA's budget, even conditionally?  I ask, because I've been looking for such a thing and haven't found it.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Oli on 11/08/2014 08:00 am
Places with grandeur.

Unfortunately the surface of Mars is a rather bland looking rocky desert. The lunar surface wasn't exactly a looker either.

I think we have been spoiled by artists' illustrations.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/08/2014 08:07 am
Places with grandeur.

Unfortunately the surface of Mars is a rather bland looking rocky desert. The lunar surface wasn't exactly a looker either.

I think we have been spoiled by artists' illustrations.

The Grand Canyon is also in a rocky desert. The surface view of robotic missions are biased toward bland because NASA is targeting big flat areas to land on. None of the missions have targeted the cliff edge of Valles Marineris for obvious reasons but at 4000 km long, 200 km wide and 7 km deep..the view would be something else entirely.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: enkarha on 11/08/2014 08:19 am
Places with grandeur.

Unfortunately the surface of Mars is a rather bland looking rocky desert. The lunar surface wasn't exactly a looker either.

I think we have been spoiled by artists' illustrations.

Speak for yourself. To me at least there are few things more gorgeous than those landscapes, and even the dull yellow rock pictures from Venus or Titan amaze people more than anything from orbit.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 11/08/2014 01:40 pm
... Congress won't fund smoke on the horizon. But I believe they would fund clear, non-self-licking reasons to use the SLS.

Why do you believe that?  Have a look at the House subcommittee's deliberations on the 2013 NASA authorization (http://science.edgeboss.net/wmedia/science/sst2013/SP071013m.wvx).  About 22 minutes in, you'll hear the chairman of the space subcommittee, Rep. Palazzo, who is a big SLS supporter, discuss at length why there's going to be no more money for NASA in the next several years.  Later on, other SLS-supporting members of the subcommittee make the same point.  The chairman also describes NASA's budget as "robust," suggesting pretty clearly that he thinks no more money is needed.

What's really weird is that the chairman's diatribe against boosting NASA's budget comes immediately after subcommittee member Edwards suggests, as we often hear in this forum, that, considering how small NASA spending is as a fraction of the federal budget, it ought to be possible to find a little more money for it.

I'm not so naive as to believe that the representatives' views couldn't change quickly if a president of their own party were in the White House, but I think the evidence is pretty strong that Congress would not suddenly boost the budget if the administration proposed a more interesting use of Orion/SLS.

The Republicans (and some of the Democrats) on that committee also said they would have an easier time funding ARM if the mission was clearly defined with costs. Granted a lot of that is political against the Administration, I do believe that certain well defined missions would be funded, as long as the estimated costs are not astronomical.

In other words, I doubt there will be a paradigm shift in space policy unless the next GOP president decides to go to the moon at all costs, but there certainly is room for some missions if scoped properly.

Could you identifiy a concrete instance in which a Republican representative or senator indicated support for increasing NASA's budget, even conditionally?  I ask, because I've been looking for such a thing and haven't found it.

I don't think I need to spoon feed it. Watch the SST committee hearings for the last year.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/08/2014 06:08 pm
Could you identifiy a concrete instance in which a Republican representative or senator indicated support for increasing NASA's budget, even conditionally?  I ask, because I've been looking for such a thing and haven't found it.

Rep. John Culberson (R), who is about to become the chair of the House JCS appropriations subcommittee. See the last two questions in the interview.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/features/42029profile-us-rep-john-culberson-r-texas-member-house-appropriations-commerce?utm_content=buffer10c69&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ThereIWas3 on 11/08/2014 10:23 pm
Unfortunately the surface of Mars is a rather bland looking rocky desert. The lunar surface wasn't exactly a looker either.

NASA JPL has been targeting flat, 'boring' places because the targeting of the landing spot was very imprecise and they did not want the spacecraft to prang itself on a big rock.  But as shown with the active landing system on MSL, which includes onboard optical scene analysis, it is now possible to have a much smaller "landing elipse" and still avoid obstacles.  SO it should be possible to get a lot closer to interesting features.

Some features on Mars are so big that landing near them might be dissapointing;  Olympus Mons for example, unless you land right at the edge of the caldera, which would be a bad idea.  Likewise, landing in the middle of Valles Marineris would yield very empty views.   Note how indistinct the walls of Gale Crater look to MSL's camera.  VM at its widest is about the same width as the diameter of Gale.

Future landers need to be able to cover ground faster.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 11/09/2014 10:56 am
Could you identifiy a concrete instance in which a Republican representative or senator indicated support for increasing NASA's budget, even conditionally?  I ask, because I've been looking for such a thing and haven't found it.

Rep. John Culberson (R), who is about to become the chair of the House JCS appropriations subcommittee. See the last two questions in the interview.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/features/42029profile-us-rep-john-culberson-r-texas-member-house-appropriations-commerce?utm_content=buffer10c69&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer (http://www.spacenews.com/article/features/42029profile-us-rep-john-culberson-r-texas-member-house-appropriations-commerce?utm_content=buffer10c69&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer)

Thanks very much.  I do find that interesting, as, fuzzy though it is, it is the clearest indication I've seen of a politician -- and Republican at that -- talking about adding a significant amount of money to NASA's budget.  The relevant part of the interview is the following exchange:

Space News:  "There are those who say other missions need a friend too. Do you think it would be possible to expand NASA’s roughly $18 billion budget to $20 billion or even $22 billion some time in the next few years?"

Culberson:  "Absolutely. There’s strong support in Congress from both parties. It’s broad, deep support from both parties from all parts of the country to increase our investment in the manned and unmanned space program. I’m real optimistic."


I must, however, question his claim that the support is "deep," since the the chairman and two other members of the House space subcomomittee, all Republicans, have said the opposite.

If Culberson did manage to get the $22-billion figure tossed out by by the interviewer, after accounting for inflation that would only get NASA back to where it was in 2009 when Augustine said another $3 billion per year is needed if NASA is to send people BEO with Orion/SLS.  If anybody finds a politician acknowledging that gap, please do let me know.

I'm puzzled by a comment Culberson makes earlier in the interview:

It’s just far more productive to focus on lunar missions than it is to actually move an asteroid into one of those LaGrange points. It just doesn’t, in my mind, make financial sense when NASA’s money is so scarce and so hard to come by. I don’t think it’s productive to add another really extensive project to their plate when they’re telling the scientific community they’re short money to do top-priority missions like Europa.

I get that he doesn't think much of the asteroid heist (I don't either).  But now he wants to fund lunar missions?  Any Orion/SLS lunar mission other than an Apollo 8 repeat (not even: Orion/SLS by itself can't go to low lunar orbit) is going to cost a lot more than the heist.  So what lunar missions does he have in mind?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/09/2014 11:04 am
Quote
I get that he doesn't think much of the asteroid heist (I don't either).  But now he wants to fund lunar missions?  Any Orion/SLS lunar mission other than an Apollo 8 repeat (not even: Orion/SLS by itself can't go to low lunar orbit) is going to cost a lot more than the heist.  So what lunar missions does he have in mind?

Honestly, you dont need to transfer a human body to the surface of another planet. Robotics have surpassed the capability of the human body. The human mind is what you need and have no replacement for and so you only need to get within about 1/60th of a light second or 5,000 km for telepresence. Landing only makes sense when you have in-situ resource utilization that makes it cheaper for the human to be on planet than having to lift all those supplies.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Dasun on 11/09/2014 01:32 pm
Er no...ncb1397 you have being watching too many sci-fi movies.  It will be decades and perhaps not in this century before space worthy robotics is a flexible and fast as a human - even with real time comm.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/09/2014 02:34 pm
Er no...ncb1397 you have being watching too many sci-fi movies.  It will be decades and perhaps not in this century before space worthy robotics is a flexible and fast as a human - even with real time comm.

A human or a human in a spacesuit? There is a big difference between those in terms of speed, endurance, flexibility. If an astronauts job is simply to to drive out to some rock with a jack hammer, I don't see why you can't leave the human out of it because the machines(jack hammer, vehicle) are doing most of the work regardless. A human won't be able to out run an electric vehicle on any planet. If space robotics don't improve, you can forget human exploration regardless. Astronauts won't be walking and they won't be going 70 m/day riding on an MSL derived vehicle.

Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/09/2014 02:55 pm
I'm puzzled by a comment Culberson makes earlier in the interview:

It’s just far more productive to focus on lunar missions than it is to actually move an asteroid into one of those LaGrange points. It just doesn’t, in my mind, make financial sense when NASA’s money is so scarce and so hard to come by. I don’t think it’s productive to add another really extensive project to their plate when they’re telling the scientific community they’re short money to do top-priority missions like Europa.

I get that he doesn't think much of the asteroid heist (I don't either).  But now he wants to fund lunar missions?  Any Orion/SLS lunar mission other than an Apollo 8 repeat (not even: Orion/SLS by itself can't go to low lunar orbit) is going to cost a lot more than the heist.  So what lunar missions does he have in mind?

This is an excellent example of how the politicians that make decisions about what NASA should do are ignorant of what NASA is CAPABLE of doing within certain sized budgets.  And it's sad, really sad, to see the depth of that ignorance, since it likely indicates a continued disconnect between goals and resources.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Dasun on 11/09/2014 02:59 pm
Look at how productive the 3 J series Apollo EVA's were over 4 decades ago - mostly with test pilots and one geologist -  and compare that to any tele-presence/robotics effort on Earth or in space since.  In 3 EVA's over 3 days, 2 guys in primitive suits on an electrical vehicle did more effective surface work than all the Mars rovers combined have done in over a decade. 

Now tell me space based robotics are going to surpass that in the next 4 decades.

I can tell you conducting surface geology is much more than grabbing a jack hammer and heading out to find some poor rock to assault.  It is about careful observation of the terrain - reading it so to speak, careful selection of relevant samples within context, and the ahaa moment when you spot that little thing that does not seem to fit.  Doing that by remote control is very difficult - one of the reasons many Mars surface exploration is so slow, and who knows what they missed.  Even Squires agrees with this - check up what he has had to say.



 

Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/09/2014 03:31 pm
Look at how productive the 3 J series Apollo EVA's were over 4 decades ago - mostly with test pilots and one geologist -  and compare that to any tele-presence/robotics effort on Earth or in space since.  In 3 EVA's over 3 days, 2 guys in primitive suits on an electrical vehicle did more effective surface work than all the Mars rovers combined have done in over a decade. 

Now tell me space based robotics are going to surpass that in the next 4 decades.

I can tell you conducting surface geology is much more than grabbing a jack hammer and heading out to find some poor rock to assault.  It is about careful observation of the terrain - reading it so to speak, careful selection of relevant samples within context, and the ahaa moment when you spot that little thing that does not seem to fit.  Doing that by remote control is very difficult - one of the reasons many Mars surface exploration is so slow, and who knows what they missed.  Even Squires agrees with this - check up what he has had to say.

The human space budget is much larger than the planetary science budget. How much Mars field work have they done compared to the planetary division? You are comparing apples and oranges here. If the Mars rover work done so far had ample power like the Apollo LRV, a top speed of 11 mph and near instantaneous communication, you could get close enough to the productivity of Apollo that some extra field work time could easily compensate for it.

Just look at mass efficiency. One of those J-Class mission LEMs massed as much as 10 MSLs and about 40 Spirit/Opportunity rovers combined.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Dasun on 11/09/2014 04:07 pm
We are off topic here - so to do a Jim here is a starting point, albeit 12 years old but the conclusions are still valid.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20030032439.pdf

and something much more recent

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1203/1203.6250.pdf

Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/09/2014 05:18 pm
We are off topic here - so to do a Jim here is a starting point, albeit 12 years old but the conclusions are still valid.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20030032439.pdf

and something much more recent

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1203/1203.6250.pdf

I don't think we are off topic at all. Mars sample return using SLS with some sort of human component is on topic.

Anyways, some of the problems with the report are the simulated 2015 communication capabilities.

Quote
building on previous work in wireless exploration
networks [13], a tactical network of 802.11b
repeaters was deployed, which were in turn
connected to base camp by high-speed point-to-point
digital spread-spectrum trunk radio links [14]. A
commercially-leased 768Kbps satellite link provided
connectivity from the field camp to NASA-Ames
Research Center, and thence to the remote science
team. Including transmission, error-checking and
buffering effects, the typical data transmission times
from the rover back to NASA-Anes rar?ged fron a
few seconds for still images of specimens to 70-90
sec for 3MB 3-color panoramic images.

Modern satellite communication allows for much better data relay. Hughesnet for instance allows for 15 megabit up and 2 megabit down data links to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. Again, combined with low latency through a closer orbit, these data restrictions would be eased. For instance, at 15 megabits, it would only take about 1.6 seconds to download the 3 MB panoramic image.

Further projections for Rover limitations have been surpassed as of 2014.

Quote
Drive on rough or soft flat surfaces, not steep slopes or boulder fields

Anyways, I don't think a small experiment like this with limited robotic operation training vs a field geologist with quite a bit of experiance is comparable to a human/robotic mission to Mars to tele-operate rovers and do sample return. I think training for tele-operation would be far more extensive in that event.

Even commercially available systems like Kinect and Oculus Rift easily beat their Telepresence set up.

Quote
One-of tEt?XpeCtEd~CapfiilitZ.~o~a-20
1-5 IClas s -rover
is some degree of virtual visual presence for the
remote science team. The Future Flight Central
(FFC) facility at NASA-Ames is a full-scale (8m
diameter) virtual air traffic control tower with
computer-generated projected 360” out-the-window
visuals. For this study, the FFC consoles were used
to provide image displays to the science team, as well
as compose commands for the rover. Panoramic
images from the rover were displayed on the FFC
“windows”, creating a sense of visual immersion for
the science team.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 11/09/2014 05:46 pm
Quote
I get that he doesn't think much of the asteroid heist (I don't either).  But now he wants to fund lunar missions?  Any Orion/SLS lunar mission other than an Apollo 8 repeat (not even: Orion/SLS by itself can't go to low lunar orbit) is going to cost a lot more than the heist.  So what lunar missions does he have in mind?

Honestly, you dont need to transfer a human body to the surface of another planet. Robotics have surpassed the capability of the human body. The human mind is what you need and have no replacement for and so you only need to get within about 1/60th of a light second or 5,000 km for telepresence. Landing only makes sense when you have in-situ resource utilization that makes it cheaper for the human to be on planet than having to lift all those supplies.

So, you think Rep. Culberson has robotic lunar missions in mind?  SLS-based?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/09/2014 06:15 pm
We are off topic here - so to do a Jim here is a starting point, albeit 12 years old but the conclusions are still valid.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20030032439.pdf

and something much more recent

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1203/1203.6250.pdf

Addressing the second link that I didn't notice before.

Quote
On-the-spot decision making and flexibility, with increased opportunities for
making serendipitous discoveries;

Mitigated by being within 1/60th of a light second or 5000 km of the teleoperated robot either by relay distance or direct connection.

Quote
Greatly enhanced mobility and attendant opportunities for geological
exploration and instrument deployment (compare the 35.7 km traversed in
three days by the Apollo 17 astronauts in December 1972 with the almost
identical distance (34.4 km) traversed by the Mars Exploration Rover
Opportunity in eight years from January 2004 to December 2011);

If the MER rover Opportunity had a chassis with the capability of an Apollo LRV(11 mph top speed), a low latency connection, and depth percetion through stereoscopic 3d a remote driver could drive about the same distance as Apollo 17 in about the same amount of time.

Quote
Greatly increased efficiency in sample collection and sample return capacity
(compare the 382 kg of samples returned by Apollo with the 0.32 kg returned
 
2
by the Russian robotic sample return missions Lunas 16, 20 and 24, and the
zero kg returned to-date by any robotic mission to Mars);

This is just getting silly. The lifting capacity of the Apollo architecture for sample return had nothing to do with human capability(no one got out to push).

Quote
Increased potential for large-scale exploratory activities (e.g. drilling) and the
deployment and maintenance of complex equipment; and

Are we comparing a bulldozer sized vehicle with a 1 foot diameter drill to the Apollo Lunar Surface Drill. What are we comparing here?  Large scale is coupled to landing mass, not human vs robotic.

Quote
I get that he doesn't think much of the asteroid heist (I don't either).  But now he wants to fund lunar missions?  Any Orion/SLS lunar mission other than an Apollo 8 repeat (not even: Orion/SLS by itself can't go to low lunar orbit) is going to cost a lot more than the heist.  So what lunar missions does he have in mind?

Honestly, you dont need to transfer a human body to the surface of another planet. Robotics have surpassed the capability of the human body. The human mind is what you need and have no replacement for and so you only need to get within about 1/60th of a light second or 5,000 km for telepresence. Landing only makes sense when you have in-situ resource utilization that makes it cheaper for the human to be on planet than having to lift all those supplies.

So, you think Rep. Culberson has robotic lunar missions in mind?  SLS-based?

No idea, but it would make sense to test the concept and equipment as a precursor for Mars sample return with a manned orbiting or Phobos stationed component. There are interesting sites that Apollo didn't touch or return samples from. Planetary would effectively get a free-ride piggy backing on an Exploration mission. I know NASA is compartmentalized and worried about interdepencies between programs.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 11/09/2014 07:46 pm
A lot of stuff gets said about the value of telerobotics and it is not supported by any detailed study. There are a lot of assertions that having humans able to telerobotically operate a rover on Mars will be superior, but none of this is based upon any kind of careful analysis of current operations and how they would benefit.

For starters, there's a basic question: will humans improve the mobility of a rover, or will they improve the science that the rover can conduct once it reaches a site, or both? Answering that question requires breaking down the mobility, sensing, and science operations and asking if each of those could be individually improved by adding humans, or if perhaps additional automation or other improvements could have a greater effect.

As an example, take a look at this:

https://plus.google.com/+ScottMaxwell/posts/jQDggja1WJb

Note that near the bottom Maxwell, who operates Mars rovers for a living, says that the biggest limitation on how far the rovers can drive is actually the optics system. Improve the optics and the rovers can see farther and drive farther. Now if that kind of improvement can be made to robotic Mars rovers, does that undercut any case for telerobotics?

The argument for telerobotics is that you can reduce the latency between the operator and the machine. But although that might be desirable in general, how important is it really? And are there other improvements, like better autonomous guidance, that would be a much better investment? If your argument is that with telerobotics we could drive a rover 5 miles in one day, but the scientists really only need to go a half a mile in a day, what's the value of telerobotics?

There's one other aspect of this: the planetary science community does not currently have any stated requirement for additional rovers on Mars. They want sample return. So arguments for telerobotics at Mars are not based upon any currently defined scientific requirement. They're a solution to a problem for a requirement that does not exist.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/09/2014 08:20 pm
Actually, Rep. Culberson is a pretty big fan of the Planetary Science program and Europa in particular so I think he would want to funnel rather a lot of any increase initially into (a) mission(s) to Europa. (He has visions of underwater probes, etc. which I can't even guess the cost of given that the closest distance any credible theories put bodies of water to the surface is ~3 km down)

Also, Proponent, NASA's 2009 budget in 2014 dollars was 19.7 B, so an eventual increase to 22 B in 2014 constant dollars would get pretty close to the target budget that you mentioned.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Hungry4info3 on 11/09/2014 08:56 pm
Note that near the bottom Maxwell, who operates Mars rovers for a living, says that the biggest limitation on how far the rovers can drive is actually the optics system. Improve the optics and the rovers can see farther and drive farther. Now if that kind of improvement can be made to robotic Mars rovers, does that undercut any case for telerobotics?
No. The rover planners have to plan out a drive (i.e. "go over there"), while the rover figures out the path with its autonav. The reason the view distance is a major obstacle is because the time it takes for the data to get sent back, for the mission planners to analyse it, for commands to be drawn up and sent over when the next Deep Space Network slot is open (assuming the rovers are in the DSN LOS) is the major obstacle. Telerobotically operating the rover from, for example, Phobos would allow you to have near-real-time communication, so you would be able to drive the rover much further and in real-time, regardless of the rover optical systems. Now you'd have to get around the need to plan these drives and activities, which can take a good portion of a day anyway, so it may defeat the purpose.

Otherwise, I agree with the sentiment and point of your post. It would be very worthwhile to demonstrate whether or not teleoperating a rover does boost the science out of it, and this can be simulated on Earth just as well.

Quote from: Blackstar
There's one other aspect of this: the planetary science community does not currently have any stated requirement for additional rovers on Mars. They want sample return.
A lot of MSR architectures envision a sample retrieval rover.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ThereIWas3 on 11/09/2014 10:29 pm
the planetary science community does not currently have any stated requirement for additional rovers on Mars.

The current planetary scientists are primarily geologists I think.  To acheive the goal of getting to Mars, I do not think that the sort of geology they have been doing is the most important - in depth analysis of the top 3 cm of Mars and answering the big questions of Martian history.

Instead we need wide-ranging exploration to see what is actually around that hill, and down in that valley over there.  Things that HiRISE can't see.   And what is under the surface - WAY under the surface.  That means stringing geophones over multiple km and setting off loud noises, and ground penetrating radar.  Then picking up all those geophones, driving 30km, and doing it again.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/09/2014 11:20 pm
The current planetary scientists are primarily geologists I think.

This is inaccurate.

That means stringing geophones over multiple km and setting off loud noises,...

There will be a seismometer on InSight. Planetary scientists would absolutely love do the kind of detailed, active source mapping that you are suggesting, but budgetary constraints will not allow it.

...and ground penetrating radar.

See MARSIS on Mars Express, SHARAD on MRO, and WISDOM on the ExoMars rover.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: sdsds on 11/10/2014 12:33 am
I'm puzzled by a comment Culberson makes earlier in the interview:

It’s just far more productive to focus on lunar missions than it is to actually move an asteroid into one of those LaGrange points. It just doesn’t, in my mind, make financial sense when NASA’s money is so scarce and so hard to come by. I don’t think it’s productive to add another really extensive project to their plate when they’re telling the scientific community they’re short money to do top-priority missions like Europa.

I get that he doesn't think much of the asteroid heist (I don't either).  But now he wants to fund lunar missions?  Any Orion/SLS lunar mission other than an Apollo 8 repeat (not even: Orion/SLS by itself can't go to low lunar orbit) is going to cost a lot more than the heist.  So what lunar missions does he have in mind?

This is an excellent example of how the politicians that make decisions about what NASA should do are ignorant of what NASA is CAPABLE of doing within certain sized budgets.  And it's sad, really sad, to see the depth of that ignorance, since it likely indicates a continued disconnect between goals and resources.

I think there's a more charitable interpretation of Culberson's remarks. When he said "lunar" he probably meant "lunar vicinity" not "lunar surface." (And obviously when he referred to moving an asteroid to a Lagrange point he meant moving one to a lunar DRO.) I suspect Culberson is hinting at what he has heard: that launched on SLS, Orion will be capable of performing missions with crews in cis-lunar space and while he supports that, he would also like to see SLS launching missions without crews to destinations beyond cis-lunar space.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 11/10/2014 01:16 am

A lot of MSR architectures envision a sample retrieval rover.

Yeah, but that's generally viewed as a relatively simple fetch-and-retrieve rover. Not much sophistication.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 11/10/2014 01:21 am
the planetary science community does not currently have any stated requirement for additional rovers on Mars.

The current planetary scientists are primarily geologists I think.  To acheive the goal of getting to Mars, I do not think that the sort of geology they have been doing is the most important - in depth analysis of the top 3 cm of Mars and answering the big questions of Martian history.

Instead we need wide-ranging exploration to see what is actually around that hill, and down in that valley over there.  Things that HiRISE can't see.   And what is under the surface - WAY under the surface.  That means stringing geophones over multiple km and setting off loud noises, and ground penetrating radar.  Then picking up all those geophones, driving 30km, and doing it again.

Feel free to imagine any kind of future Mars program you want.

I was pointing out that there is no current requirement that drives telerobotics over the existing methods. So when people claim that telerobotics will improve things, that it will make things better, what is the starting point? What things? And are those things worth doing better with telerobotics than with other methods, such as improved automation?

There's a risk of advocating a technology as opposed to solving an existing problem.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/10/2014 02:55 am
I think there's a more charitable interpretation of Culberson's remarks. When he said "lunar" he probably meant "lunar vicinity" not "lunar surface." (And obviously when he referred to moving an asteroid to a Lagrange point he meant moving one to a lunar DRO.) I suspect Culberson is hinting at what he has heard: that launched on SLS, Orion will be capable of performing missions with crews in cis-lunar space and while he supports that, he would also like to see SLS launching missions without crews to destinations beyond cis-lunar space.

Well I guess we need him to provide the clarification, because you are right, there is more than one way to interpret what he said.

However sending Orion to cis-lunar space doesn't accomplish anything worthwhile by itself.  Though Orion is called an "exploration" vehicle, by itself it really can't do much - certainly nothing significantly more than what the ISS can do (and for far less $).  It's really just a transport vehicle for traveling beyond LEO, but it needs a destination.

So if Culberson was imagining that Orion would be meeting up with something in cis-lunar space, that implies a build-up of some sort beyond LEO, and that would require an agreed upon goal for activities beyond LEO.

That could be an EML station, but NASA has said recently that the ISS is the last space station it intends to own.  That stance could change of course, but if the goal is Mars, then what purpose does going to cis-lunar space fulfill?  How is it different than what we're currently doing in LEO on a fully stocked space laboratory?

And if the goal is not Mars, or at least not the "near term" goal, then what is the goal for cis-lunar space?  What's the mission, and more importantly, what's the mission launch tempo?

The launch tempo is important, because unless there is enough "demand" for the SLS, then the Europa and MSR missions won't feel confident that the SLS will be there when they need it.  And more importantly, that the SLS will have been not only tested, but proven out operationally before they risk their payloads.  Because as the Antares has shown, sometimes it takes a number of flights to find out if all the issues have been worked out of your hardware and software.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 11/10/2014 03:35 am
{snip}
That could be an EML station, but NASA has said recently that the ISS is the last space station it intends to own.  That stance could change of course, but if the goal is Mars, then what purpose does going to cis-lunar space fulfill?  How is it different than what we're currently doing in LEO on a fully stocked space laboratory?

{snip}
That statement would not rule out NASA taking a long term lease on half of a Bigelow spacestation at EML-1.  NASA would have to get the spacestation there, possibly using a SLS.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: sdsds on 11/10/2014 04:10 am
if the goal is Mars, then what purpose does going to cis-lunar space fulfill?

If the goal is reaching an icy mountain peak, what purpose does going half way up, barely past the snowline, fulfill?

Practice. Incremental expansion of capability. Building confidence. Reducing risk.

Culberson's comments are consistent with the view that while Mars is the eventual goal of NASA human spaceflight missions, the United States is better served pursuing that goal incrementally while also flying ambitious robotic missions.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 11/10/2014 09:55 am
Actually, Rep. Culberson is a pretty big fan of the Planetary Science program and Europa in particular so I think he would want to funnel rather a lot of any increase initially into (a) mission(s) to Europa. (He has visions of underwater probes, etc. which I can't even guess the cost of given that the closest distance any credible theories put bodies of water to the surface is ~3 km down)

So I gather, though I must wonder, if his interest truly is planetary exploration, why does he seem fixated on using SLS to do it?  Does he have any rational basis for believing that, all things considered, SLS is the best way to achieve planetary exploration?

Quote
Also, Proponent, NASA's 2009 budget in 2014 dollars was 19.7 B, so an eventual increase to 22 B in 2014 constant dollars would get pretty close to the target budget that you mentioned.

My point here is that several years have elapsed since the publication of the Augustine report.  If NASA's budget was $19.7 billion in FY 2009, then Augustine was suggesting a level like $22.7 billion,  Five years later, in FY 2015, the inflation-adjusted equivalent is something like $26 billion.

And note that Culberson's proposed expenditures for SLS-based robotic planetary exploration were not foreseen by Augustine.  So if a human BEO exploration program with Orion/SLS is to be adequately funded, then, by Augustine's standards, the budget is going to have to rise even more.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/10/2014 02:50 pm
{snip}
That could be an EML station, but NASA has said recently that the ISS is the last space station it intends to own.  That stance could change of course, but if the goal is Mars, then what purpose does going to cis-lunar space fulfill?  How is it different than what we're currently doing in LEO on a fully stocked space laboratory?

{snip}
That statement would not rule out NASA taking a long term lease on half of a Bigelow spacestation at EML-1.  NASA would have to get the spacestation there, possibly using a SLS.

Who are you imagining is leasing the other half?  China?  Russia?  And NASA is throwing in the transportation of the station for free?  Yes, I can see a Republican-led Congress jump at that opportunity...   ;)

At the present budget levels NASA is never going to Mars, but at least the ISS is helping us answer the questions of how humanity is going to be able to live and work in space.  I'm not sure I understand how an EML-1 station helps - what it's ROI is?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/10/2014 03:01 pm
  I'm not sure I understand how an EML-1 station helps - what it's ROI is?

It's just a bunch of nonsense.  Some people actually think NASA is going to put stations around the moon.
Anyways, if NASA is leasing a station, then it is not launching the station.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 11/10/2014 06:55 pm

That statement would not rule out NASA taking a long term lease on half of a Bigelow spacestation at EML-1.  NASA would have to get the spacestation there, possibly using a SLS.

Who are you imagining is leasing the other half?  China?  Russia?  And NASA is throwing in the transportation of the station for free?  Yes, I can see a Republican-led Congress jump at that opportunity...   ;)

At the present budget levels NASA is never going to Mars, but at least the ISS is helping us answer the questions of how humanity is going to be able to live and work in space.  I'm not sure I understand how an EML-1 station helps - what it's ROI is?

I assume Bigelow would lease the other half of the spacestation to Europe and/or a Middle Eastern oil state.

Where the mass exceeds the payload of the Falcon Heavy transportation is provided by NASA or nobody.

Commercial launchers can get spacestations to LEO, any further is likely to require a space tug which we do not have at the moment.  The USA doing something in space that the Russians cannot may bring a smile to the faces of the Republicans.

An EML-1 spacestation would be an Operations run transport hub rather than a science vehicle.  Where astronauts leave capsules with heat shields to enter deep space transfer vehicles for trips to the Moon and Mars.

A space rated Morpheus Lander acting as an ascent stage could probably lift about 2 tons of payload from the Moon's surface to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO).  (The 500 kg payload limit allows for propellant being used for TLI.)  In LLO the spacecraft can either be discarded, like the LEM, or parked for reuse at a lunar spacestation.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/10/2014 08:03 pm
So I gather, though I must wonder, if his interest truly is planetary exploration, why does he seem fixated on using SLS to do it?  Does he have any rational basis for believing that, all things considered, SLS is the best way to achieve planetary exploration?

I believe that his support for SLS is based on a combination of politics and (perhaps) a lack of appreciation for the costs involved on a per launch basis. I would characterize him as an enthusiast, rather than someone who has an involved understanding of planetary exploration. That being said, enthusiasts who actually want to move the budget upwards are thin on the ground, so I am appreciative of his support.

My point here is that several years have elapsed since the publication of the Augustine report.  If NASA's budget was $19.7 billion in FY 2009, then Augustine was suggesting a level like $22.7 billion,  Five years later, in FY 2015, the inflation-adjusted equivalent is something like $26 billion.

And note that Culberson's proposed expenditures for SLS-based robotic planetary exploration were not foreseen by Augustine.  So if a human BEO exploration program with Orion/SLS is to be adequately funded, then, by Augustine's standards, the budget is going to have to rise even more.

The 2009 budget (in 2009 dollars) was 17.8 B, the number I gave was in inflation adjusted terms. Working from the 2009 number, the Augustine Report's recommendation would indicate a $20.8 B funding level. This is 22.6 B in 2014 dollars, meaning that Rep. Culberson's number is only $600 M short of the report's recommended funding level.

I couldn't comment on the budgetary impact of including planetary SLS launches, as I do not know what flight rate the report assumed and I do not know what the envisioned planetary science budget was in the report.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/10/2014 08:13 pm
I assume Bigelow would lease the other half of the spacestation to Europe and/or a Middle Eastern oil state.

Are Middle Eastern oil states planning on going to Mars too?

Quote
Where the mass exceeds the payload of the Falcon Heavy transportation is provided by NASA or nobody.

Commercial launchers can get spacestations to LEO, any further is likely to require a space tug which we do not have at the moment.

Bigelow has stated that his notional BA2100 could fit on a Falcon Heavy.  And as for the space tug, it would be far less expensive to develop a transfer stage than to use the SLS.  In fact we probably wouldn't even have to develop one, since a ULA Centaur could be flown up on a separate flight and dock to it in orbit.

Quote
The USA doing something in space that the Russians cannot may bring a smile to the faces of the Republicans.

If that were true you'd see Republican's clamoring to propose things to do today to embarrass Putin/Russia, but they are not.  Republican's care more about embarrassing Obama, regardless how it affects the country (today's conversation about net neutrality being a good example).

Quote
An EML-1 spacestation would be an Operations run transport hub rather than a science vehicle.  Where astronauts leave capsules with heat shields to enter deep space transfer vehicles for trips to the Moon and Mars.

OK, fair enough.  But that also means we don't need a transportation hub until we have ships leaving for Mars, and as I mentioned before at NASA's current budget level it will NEVER leave for Mars (experts have testified to this).  So in effect we don't need the EML-1 station at all.

Quote
A space rated Morpheus Lander acting as an ascent stage could probably lift about 2 tons of payload from the Moon's surface to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO).  (The 500 kg payload limit allows for propellant being used for TLI.)  In LLO the spacecraft can either be discarded, like the LEM, or parked for reuse at a lunar spacestation.

Yes, and NASA could get into chicken farming in space too.  There are lots of "what ifs" for NASA, but no money.  Let's focus on what NASA can do with the money it does get.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: savuporo on 11/10/2014 08:21 pm
how about someone put forth a few proposals for the same missions here using existing launchers ( without invoking fantasies ) that will be faster/better and more realistic in terms of getting past the funding hurdles.

MSR has been an unsolved riddle for decades, including international efforts, hasn't gone anywhere.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/10/2014 09:46 pm
He has a pretty good understanding of planetary science. In fact, he probably has the best understanding of it of any member of Congress. That doesn't mean that his opinions are correct (and he's not a scientist), but I've heard him talk and he is quite well read on the subject. I'd also add that his interest in planetary science is not connected to his political interests. He doesn't benefit from a Europa mission in any way. He simply thinks it is a good idea.

When you get right down to it, it is pretty amazing to have a politician interested in a subject that does not benefit him in any way. It's the total opposite of pork.*

He is unquestionably well versed on the subject compared to his colleagues. Furthermore, I was not implying that his interest in planetary science is politically motivated, but rather that his support for SLS is politically motivated. I greatly admire that he is a member of Congress that has an active interest in an area of science, and (as I said) I appreciate his support for planetary science.

I was, however, comparing his knowledge to that of people in the field of planetary science when I said that he is an enthusiast. A consequence of this is that he might not appreciate that by putting money into an SLS launch for Europa Clipper, he could be diminishing scientific return for the planetary science program as a whole.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 11/10/2014 11:30 pm
Furthermore, I was not implying that his interest in planetary science is politically motivated, but rather that his support for SLS is politically motivated.

Why?

If his interest in planetary science is not politically motivated, isn't it possible that his interest in SLS is also not politically motivated? It is not being built in his district.

Why assume that the only support for SLS is based upon pork/political interest? Isn't it possible for somebody to support SLS because they think it is an important asset for going beyond low Earth orbit?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 11/11/2014 12:22 pm
The 2009 budget (in 2009 dollars) was 17.8 B, the number I gave was in inflation adjusted terms. Working from the 2009 number, the Augustine Report's recommendation would indicate a $20.8 B funding level. This is 22.6 B in 2014 dollars, meaning that Rep. Culberson's number is only $600 M short of the report's recommended funding level.

I believe NASA's 2009 budget was over $19 billion in FY 2009 dollars.

My calculation is attached.  "NNSI" refers to the NASA New-Start Inflation Index, downloaded from NASA (attached).  The raw budget figures are from OMB (also attached).  OMB provides "outlays," which always differ a bit from appropriations, but not by a lot (if anybody can explain exactly what the difference is, I'd be grateful).  All numbers from FY2014 are in italics to indicate that they are estimates.

Comparing NASA outlays since 2009 with the 2009 budget plus $3 billion, inflated at the NNSI, I find shortfalls of over $5 billion every year.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/11/2014 12:37 pm
Europa? 

Checked my knee.  It's not jerking.  This destination will be kicked down the road unless Hillary has an eight year term.  And even then....  From reading the title alone of the OP, I'd say that there won't be all that much HSF in the manifest.  Instead, we'll get RSF.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/11/2014 01:50 pm
As some of us expected, schedule slippage to the right is now publicly acknowledged, and blamed on other parties.  It's one thing to blame the Europeans, but quite another to blame members of one's own team.

EM-1 has slipped into 2018. Internal information, ... shows Orion is the driver for what is now a manifested slip to September 30, 2018. (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/11/sls-manifest-europa-mars-sample-return-missions/)

One wonders at the lack of certification flights before these ambitious exercises in complex hardware are undertaken.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/11/2014 01:50 pm
...

Nice article Chris - is their any indication about funding from NASA or congress for these science missions?

And I actually read the article, unlike Brightlight

I don't want to belabor this but has someone in either the House or Senate made positive suggestions for funding either a Mars return or Europa mission? - I didn't see that in the article.

No, BrightLight, to answer your question in a forthright manner.  As you may have inferred from the article, there is no indication of funding for these missions:

The main problem is obviously related to the funding... (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/11/sls-manifest-europa-mars-sample-return-missions/)standpoint, given this spacecraft remains without the major budget allocation.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/11/2014 01:51 pm
... who wants to explain to the public why the sample return capsule couldn't just parachute into the desert, like Stardust?  This mission really sounds like make-work.

It is a jobs program, and difficulty is added for the sake of difficulty alone.  The USG has no need for the sample return.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/11/2014 01:51 pm
If enough people want to ... get a quick Mars sample return mission in, it's harder to cancel.

Pretty much agree with the general sentiment of your post, but the idea of a "quick" Mars sample return mission appears to be a typo.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/11/2014 01:51 pm
SLS is the Saturn V of the 21st Century and everyone loves the Saturn V, so they should love SLS. 

Arguments that it is too expensive can only be valid if there is an alternative launch vehicle that can do the job for comparison. 

It's not a love affair.  Of course the past is full of "fond memories" of Saturn V.  You must think that the American body politic is only concerned that "size matters".  SLS is still a "faith based" launch system.

Build SLS and use it in its seventy ton incarnation (Block 1A) [Edit:  Whatever...] to build on the directive of establishing a permanent human presence in space.

Your expense argument in invalid, since it can only result in no cost cap at all.  Projects of no pragmatic utility are simply too expensive.  The two missions have little pragmatic utility but for those who profit from them.

Creating an off-world economy has great pragmatic utility.

I see that other posters have also responded.  I offer a slightly different version of their observations.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 11/11/2014 04:58 pm
SLS is the Saturn V of the 21st Century and everyone loves the Saturn V, so they should love SLS. 

Arguments that it is too expensive can only be valid if there is an alternative launch vehicle that can do the job for comparison. 

It's not a love affair.  Of course the past is full of "fond memories" of Saturn V.  You must think that the American body politic is only concerned that "size matters".  SLS is still a "faith based" launch system.

Build SLS and use it in its seventy tone incarnation (Block 1A) to build on the directive of establishing a permanent human presence in space.

Your expense argument in invalid, since it can only result in no cost cap at all.  Projects of no pragmatic utility are simply too expensive.  The two missions have little pragmatic utility but for those who profit from them.

Creating an off-world economy has great pragmatic utility.

I see that other posters have also responded.  I offer a slightly different version of their observations.

There will be no such thing as Block 1A and it was baselined at 105 tons not 70.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/11/2014 06:54 pm
SLS is the Saturn V of the 21st Century and everyone loves the Saturn V, so they should love SLS. ...

It's not a love affair. ...
Build SLS and use it in its seventy ton [whatever] incarnation ...

There will be no such thing as Block 1A and it was baselined at 105 tons not 70.

I see now that SLS will be fully funded and that all the missions proposed will fall exactly on the deadlines mentioned in the article, but for my sloppiness in Block nomenclature.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: llanitedave on 11/11/2014 08:37 pm
Take more care in your nomenclature and you might take more care in the logic of your argument as well.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/12/2014 03:47 am
Why?

If his interest in planetary science is not politically motivated, isn't it possible that his interest in SLS is also not politically motivated? It is not being built in his district.

Why assume that the only support for SLS is based upon pork/political interest? Isn't it possible for somebody to support SLS because they think it is an important asset for going beyond low Earth orbit?

I doubt it, but it's possible.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/12/2014 04:56 am
I believe NASA's 2009 budget was over $19 billion in FY 2009 dollars.

My calculation is attached.  "NNSI" refers to the NASA New-Start Inflation Index, downloaded from NASA (attached).  The raw budget figures are from OMB (also attached).  OMB provides "outlays," which always differ a bit from appropriations, but not by a lot (if anybody can explain exactly what the difference is, I'd be grateful).  All numbers from FY2014 are in italics to indicate that they are estimates.

Comparing NASA outlays since 2009 with the 2009 budget plus $3 billion, inflated at the NNSI, I find shortfalls of over $5 billion every year.

The enacted FY 2009 budget authority for NASA was $17.8 B. The ARRA added $1 B to this. However, I've gone over the Augustine Report and their additional $3 B number is from the FY 2010 guidance, not from the 2009 enacted budget. This guidance is based on the White House FY 2010 budget request of $18.7 B.

While the inflationary effect is marginally less, the significant increase of a FY 2010 projected budget baseline vs. a FY 2009 enacted budget baseline does result in a larger shortfall than I had thought. It still only reaches $1.4 B by 2019, however. I've attached an amended version of your spreadsheet.

(I feel your pain when it comes to parsing what was project/requested/enacted/spent.)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/12/2014 06:00 am
how about someone put forth a few proposals for the same missions here using existing launchers ( without invoking fantasies ) that will be faster/better and more realistic in terms of getting past the funding hurdles.

MSR has been an unsolved riddle for decades, including international efforts, hasn't gone anywhere.

For MSR, it is pretty easy to speculate on better, faster, cheaper mission architectures because the goal is quite clear-cut: get some material from the surface of Mars. The only proposal I've seen that seems fiscally possible to me for MSR is Red Dragon (I am not commenting on the technical feasibility, as it relies on 1 or 2 FH's, a heavily modified Dragon 2, and an undesigned small return craft. I am also not commenting on the political feasibility.)

As for Europa, it is much more difficult to give an answer because there are many possible 'levels' of scientific goals. They range from checking plume material for composition, to mapping the subsurface structure with ground penetrating radar, to exploring the subsurface ocean/melt pockets. Below I've listed some possible mission designs.

The most basic mission would entail a spacecraft that is in orbit around Jupiter and does a series of flybys near Europa.

Then there is a craft in orbit around Europa. This is much harder both from a fuel budget perspective and from a radiation environment perspective (Europa is not in a pleasant area of the Jovian magnetosphere).

Then there is a lander/rover (I haven't actually seen anyone suggest a rover, probably because the chaos terrains are where it is expected that there could be subsurface melt pockets). EDL adds complexity/cost. You also still have the radiation problem.

Sample return is probably next in terms of difficulty.

I think that trying to actually get into a melt pocket with a submersible is the most difficult option that is actually possible given current technology (silver lining is that once the submersible is below the ice it is shielded from radiation).

A multiple flyby mission that could analyze plume material, check for extent/salinity of the ocean, and determine what is actually happening below the chaos terrains using ice penetrating radar--what I would consider to be the bare minimum for making a dedicated mission worthwhile--might be doable for ~ $2-2.5 billion. Such a mission could be launched on anything from an Atlas V 551 to the SLS, with cruise duration being the notable difference. Provided it flies and proves to be reliable, the Falcon Heavy would do very nicely as a launch vehicle. As far as launch time, 5-7 years from when the instrument RFP is announced is a reasonable estimate, given that it would be a flagship class mission.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/12/2014 01:28 pm
For MSR, it is pretty easy to speculate on better, faster, cheaper mission architectures...

As for Europa, it is much more difficult to give an answer because there are many possible 'levels' of scientific goals...

Sample return is probably next in terms of difficulty...

What I would consider to be the bare minimum for making a dedicated mission worthwhile--might be doable for ~ $2-2.5 billion...

Who knows how the speculation you make will turn out.  They will probably be faster and less expensive than you think, given the track record for robotic missions.

However, it is absolutely clear that there is no need for humans in space.  Money for the Orion capsule and its associated hardware could be transferred to planetary science.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/13/2014 05:21 pm
The question I was addressing was not "what is the current assumed plan for these missions". It was: "are there any suggestions for these missions that are feasible". I do not believe that the baseline MSR plan, as described in the most recent Decadal Survey, is feasible. Even now that Mars 2020 is cost capped at $2 B, rather than the Decadal survey's estimate of $3.5 B, I would still be utterly shocked if the total cost for all three missions was less than $5 B. I stated that I was not commenting on the technical or political feasibility of Red Dragon, just that it is the only architecture that has a price envelope that seems tenable.

As for the Europa mission, you'll notice that my minimum mission is basically what is being called for with Europa Clipper (not the ~ $1 B proposals that NASA is now soliciting). However, I wanted to demonstrate the range of mission architectures and launch vehicles that were possible in regard to investigating Europa.

OPAG meetings are quite enjoyable when everyone isn't busy being angry/depressed.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ThereIWas3 on 11/13/2014 05:34 pm
Then there is a lander/rover (I haven't actually seen anyone suggest a rover, probably because the chaos terrains are where it is expected that there could be subsurface melt pockets). EDL adds complexity/cost. You also still have the radiation problem.

Europa is tidally locked with Jupiter.  I wonder if the radiation is less on the 'outward' side.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Dasun on 11/13/2014 06:19 pm
I am sorry John but IT IS NOT

"....absolutely clear that there is no need for humans in space....."

Check

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1203/1203.6250.pdf

And Squyres hearing testimonies and articles
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/13/2014 07:28 pm
Europa is tidally locked with Jupiter.  I wonder if the radiation is less on the 'outward' side.

That is quite a good point. Unfortunately, it is neither radiation directly emitted from Jupiter nor the corotational plasma that causes the radiation hazard at Europa. The issue is energetic particles. These particles are engaged in bounce motion along magnetic field lines in Jupiter's dipolar field (they travel up and down along a field line over and over). This means that they are on average moving towards Europa from the poles. I say on average because the particles are so energetic that their gyroradii are much larger than the radius of Europa. As a result, the dangerous radiation hitting Europa is basically isotropic.  -typo
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/13/2014 09:38 pm
Where does the decadal survey say that?

The $3.5 B number is quoted on the following pages: ES-4, S-9 (twice), 9-14, and 9-15. It is also mentioned that a version of the mission that has been descoped and decoupled from ExoMars is doable for under $2.5 B (the price point for Mars 2020 matches up with this). While we're on the topic of Decadal Survey estimated mission costs, I've never met anyone who knew where they got $4.7 B for JEO.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/14/2014 02:07 am
Europa is tidally locked with Jupiter.  I wonder if the radiation is less on the 'outward' side.

That is quite a good point. Unfortunately, it is neither radiation directly emitted from Jupiter nor the corotational plasma that causes the radiation hazard at Europa. The issue is energetic particles. These particles are engaged in bounce motion along magnetic field lines in Jupiter's dipolar field (they travel up and down along a field line over and over). This means that they are on average moving towards Europa from the poles. I say on average because the particles are so energetic that their gyroradii are much larger than the radius of Europa. As a result, the dangerous radiation hitting Europa is basically isotropic.  -typo

Not according to this paper:

Quote
These spectra show a previously undetected distinct signature of magnesium sulfatesaltson Europa, but themagnesium sulfate is confined to the trailing hemisphere and spatially correlated with the presence of radiation products like sulfuric acid and SO2. On the leading, less irradiated, hemisphere, our observations rule out the presence of many of the proposed sulfate salts, but do show the presence of distorted water ice bands.

http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/papers/ps/europa-osiris.pdf

The following article shows an electron radiation energy map of Europa ranging from 100 KeV to 10 MeV( I think compiled by Mike Brown as well): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2386745/Could-humans-day-live-EUROPA-Nasa-experts-believe-Jupiters-moon-habitable.html
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Vultur on 11/14/2014 04:20 am
Red Dragon is a fantasy idea that has been looked at by only a few people and doesn't originate with anybody who has actually done Mars missions before.

Why is it fantasy? In 2-3 years (according to current plans) SpaceX will have both Dragon v2 and Falcon Heavy. Are you saying Dragon v2 can't in fact land on Mars? Or is the problem something else?

And every agency that's gone to Mars had a "first" mission. (Admittedly they didn't jump straight to landing... but if SpaceX already has the hardware developed for another purpose...)

Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/14/2014 05:46 am
The $3.5 billion was for the two-rover concept, including the European rover. And the $3.5 billion was not a cost cap for MAX-C. The decadal survey capped it at $2.5 billion. You were comparing apples and cabbages.

The $3.5 B was the cost to NASA of the dual rover landing system. The additional cost relative to MSL is attributed to significant redesigns required to the MSL EDL. So, no I was not comparing apples to cabbages as you say. I was giving the cited cost for delivering a sample caching rover to Mars in the manner described by the MAX-C concept. Here is the excerpt:

Quote
At an estimated cost of $3.5 billion as currently designed,
however, MAX-C would take up a disproportionate share of the NASA’s planetary budget. This high
cost results in large part from the goal to deliver two large and capable rovers—a NASA sample-caching
rover and the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover—using a single entry, descent, and landing
(EDL) system that is derived from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) EDL system. Accommodation of
two such large rovers would require major redesign of the MSL EDL system, with substantial associated
cost growth.

It goes on to say that in order to reduce cost to NASA to below $2.5 B the landed mass must be significantly reduced:

Quote
It is likely that a significant reduction in mission scope will be needed to keep the cost of MAX-C
below $2.5 billion. A key part of this reduction in scope is likely to be reducing landed mass and volume.
In particular, it is crucial to preserve, as much as possible, both the system structure and the individual
elements of MSL’s EDL system. A significant reduction in landed mass and volume can be expected to
lead to a significant reduction in the scientific capabilities of the vehicles delivered to the surface.

Now that the sample caching rover is landing stag, the mass is lower and it can be done for under $2.5 B.

The $4.7 billion was the CATE estimate, done in the same manner as all the other CATE estimates. Jupiter Europa Orbiter was not a cheap mission.

I should have used different phrasing here. No one I've talked to agrees with the cost given. Total mission cost for Cassini-Huygens was $3.3 B (2000 dollars) the US contribution was $2.6 B. This included launch vehicle cost of ~$400 M, resulting in $2.2 B for the cost to NASA (this is important because the Decadal Survey's cost estimates are exclusive of launch costs). Using the NNSI index, this is $3.2 B in 2014.

I recognize that IPR is both expensive and a data hog, but where does the extra $1.5 B come from? It's as if they ran a completely unscrubbed mission through the cost model.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JH on 11/14/2014 08:05 am

Not according to this paper:

http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/papers/ps/europa-osiris.pdf

The following article shows an electron radiation energy map of Europa ranging from 100 KeV to 10 MeV( I think compiled by Mike Brown as well): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2386745/Could-humans-day-live-EUROPA-Nasa-experts-believe-Jupiters-moon-habitable.html

The papers by Mike Brown which identify surface deposition through spectroscopic analysis are referring to cold, corotational ions. These are preferentially deposited on one hemisphere.

The electron rad map is from Patterson et. al (2012) and also shows a hemispherical preference for radiation exposure.

Energetic ions, however, will not exhibit the same behavior. This is because for equal kinetic energy and charge, a particle's gyroradius will scale with mass. See Cooper et al. (2001) for more detail.

However, the relative ease of blocking energetic ions versus energetic electrons would probably give a hemispherical advantage. I am not sure if secondary particles resulting from energetic ion impacts would make this irrelevant.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 11/14/2014 01:40 pm

Why is it fantasy? In 2-3 years (according to current plans) SpaceX will have both Dragon v2 and Falcon Heavy. Are you saying Dragon v2 can't in fact land on Mars? Or is the problem something else?
{snip}

A manned system needs to be able to take off again, the Dragon V2.0 cannot do that.  For an unmanned mission the vehicle contains too many human support systems, for instance the door on the side is not needed for cargo.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 11/22/2014 02:44 am
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 11/22/2014 02:46 am
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 11/22/2014 02:48 am
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 11/22/2014 02:50 am
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 11/22/2014 06:56 am
Thanks BlackStar. I like their Lunar landing proposal, but I don't think it can work using only one SLS Block IB launch, as it can only put 105 t into LEO. Saturn V could put 118 t into LEO, but it only had to carry a 6 t capsule, compared to 10.4 t for Orion. A way it could work is to launch the lander on SLS (105 t) and Orion on Delta-IV (26 t). That gets you to 131 t, which is just enough to do a Lunar landing with the EUS performing TLI, LOI and staged Lunar descent.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: redliox on 11/22/2014 08:23 am
I like their Lunar landing proposal, but I don't think it can work using only one SLS Block IB launch, as it can only put 105 t into LEO. Saturn V could put 118 t into LEO, but it only had to carry a 6 t capsule, compared to 10.4 t for Orion.

I agree with you on that.  Both the lander and Orion could be launched together but not with an upper stage.  More likely, they could be launched individually (the lander unmanned) and rendezvous in high lunar orbit; I notice they advocate a lot about Distant Retrograde Orbit, so with or without a Deep Space Habitat there that seems the region they meet up at.  So we end up with a modified version of lunar orbit rendezvous with the vehicles in lunar orbit itself.

Reiterating myself, there's a lot of advocating for DRO/high lunar orbit.  Offhand that comes off as surprising given Obama's "We've already been there" stance against Luna, yet it makes a little sense when you want a spot easy to reach, easy to return from, and still getting similar radiation exposure to Mars or an asteroid.  Whenever the ISS is dumped, this presumably would be the next orbit to place one although its functions will far differ from ISS...and hopefully more streamlined in assembly.

I'm tempted to get behind the idea of EAM, since it could play numerous roles from a Lunar observation post,
storage port, and perhaps a SEP engine, but it will be difficult convincing Congress to pay for a new vehicle unless it is truly useful and the price of a song.  If the Moon is involved, I'd say spend that money instead on a lander; the robotic lander suggestions could be an obvious example of prototype testing.  We'll eventually need a Martian lander, so a vehicle that can actually land on a planetary body has to be developed sooner or later.  Ideally, I'd actually want both something like EAM and Lander, but I wager only one or the other could be developed (after Orion) within a ten year span...so I have to side with Team Lander on that matter.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/22/2014 10:55 am
Thanks BlackStar. I like their Lunar landing proposal, but I don't think it can work using only one SLS Block IB launch, as it can only put 105 t into LEO. Saturn V could put 118 t into LEO, but it only had to carry a 6 t capsule, compared to 10.4 t for Orion. A way it could work is to launch the lander on SLS (105 t) and Orion on Delta-IV (26 t). That gets you to 131 t, which is just enough to do a Lunar landing with the EUS performing TLI, LOI and staged Lunar descent.

10,400 kg for Orion, 12,300 kg for the service module and 15,200 kg for a lunar module(taken from apollo) and you get 37,900 kg which the 105 mt SLS is supposed to be able to put through TLI(39,000 kg) with 1,100 kg of margin. Orion is heavier than the command module but the Orion service module is significantly lighter than the Apollo Service Module.  Not sure why the huge difference between the service module masses between the two architectures but it likely has something to do with Aluminum vs AL-Li construction, solar vs fuel cell, battery technology improvements, waste water recycling, improved electronics, etc.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/22/2014 01:43 pm
waste water recycling,

Actually, this part weighs more. 
a.  Apollo and shuttle never recycled waste water, it was dumped overboard
b.  Apollo and shuttle got the water for "free", it was part of electrical production
c.  Orion will have to carry all the water its needs from the beginning.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 11/22/2014 01:44 pm

10,400 kg for Orion, 12,300 kg for the service module and 15,200 kg for a lunar module(taken from apollo) and you get 37,900 kg which the 105 mt SLS is supposed to be able to put through TLI(39,000 kg) with 1,100 kg of margin. Orion is heavier than the command module but the Orion service module is significantly lighter than the Apollo Service Module.  Not sure why the huge difference between the service module masses between the two architectures

Because the SM doesn't do the LOI burn, the LM does and hence it has to  larger than Apollo's. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: mike robel on 11/22/2014 01:49 pm
Also, the SM was originally sized to lift Apollo from the moon and return it directly to Earth for Apollo Direct.

Would have been dicey...
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 11/23/2014 06:23 am
Thanks BlackStar. I like their Lunar landing proposal, but I don't think it can work using only one SLS Block IB launch, as it can only put 105 t into LEO. Saturn V could put 118 t into LEO, but it only had to carry a 6 t capsule, compared to 10.4 t for Orion. A way it could work is to launch the lander on SLS (105 t) and Orion on Delta-IV (26 t). That gets you to 131 t, which is just enough to do a Lunar landing with the EUS performing TLI, LOI and staged Lunar descent.

You may have to rearrange the payloads.  If the Orion has people in it then it has to go up on a man rated launch vehicle.  There are other options such as man rating the Delta-IV or picking the astronauts up at the ISS.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 11/23/2014 06:54 am
Actually, this part weighs more. 
a.  Apollo and shuttle never recycled waste water, it was dumped overboard

Not all of the waste water was directly dumped overboard on Apollo. The Apollo Lunar Module collected water from the air which was then used for cooling the electronics. See page 12 of

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19720013195.pdf

Because the SM doesn't do the LOI burn, the LM does and hence it has to  larger than Apollo's.

That was Constellation. The Boeing LM looks too small to put itself and Orion into Lunar orbit. I'm not sure what Boeing's Lunar architecture is. The EUS could send Orion and the LM on TLI, but there would not be enough propellant left in the EUS to perform LOI. Another possibility is that after LEO insertion, a tanker fills up the EUS stage with at least 25 t of additional propellant. That would allow the EUS to perform TLI and LOI.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Oli on 11/23/2014 01:13 pm

The lander might use CH4 or there might be some refueling going on at the EAM...
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: metaphor on 12/02/2014 04:35 pm
On a lunar surface mission, Orion's service module could do orbit insertion into DRO for both itself and the lander, which takes a delta-v of about 300 m/s and probably around 4-5 tons of propellant.  Then the lander itself could do the deorbit burn (100 m/s) plus low lunar orbit circularization (800 m/s) plus landing (1800 m/s), and back up (another 100+800+1800 m/s) for a total of 5400 m/s.  Using CH4/LOX with an Isp of 320s, that comes out to a 18% mass ratio.  So the lander could be something like 16 tons full and 3 tons empty, which comes out to about 38.5 tons TLI for the SLS, doable with one launch without refueling.  The consumables on the lander could come from the DRO station, which would save some mass.  It would still be pretty hard to make a lander with such a large full:empty mass ratio.

About the proposed SLS Europa mission:  would it use the initial SLS configuration with the ICPS (about 4-5 tons to Jupiter) or the Exploration Upper Stage (about 8 tons to Jupiter)?  It seems like the EUS would be available by the proposed launch date, but the Europa mission studies I've seen assume the lower payload of the ICPS to Jupiter.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/02/2014 04:57 pm
They made a big deal about launching Europa Clipper on SLS at the briefing just now.....
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Drkskywxlt on 12/02/2014 05:10 pm
They made a big deal about launching Europa Clipper on SLS at the briefing just now.....

They keep saying this to try and justify SLS and I just am baffled if they do this with a straight face.  WHERE is the money going to come from pay for a ~$1B SLS launch for a SMD mission!? 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 12/02/2014 05:33 pm
On a lunar surface mission, Orion's service module could do orbit insertion into DRO for both itself and the lander

Why use a DRO for a landing mission?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: llanitedave on 12/02/2014 05:35 pm
They made a big deal about launching Europa Clipper on SLS at the briefing just now.....

They keep saying this to try and justify SLS and I just am baffled if they do this with a straight face.  WHERE is the money going to come from pay for a ~$1B SLS launch for a SMD mission!?

I've set aside the cost of a couple of movie tickets.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/02/2014 05:45 pm
They made a big deal about launching Europa Clipper on SLS at the briefing just now.....

They keep saying this to try and justify SLS and I just am baffled if they do this with a straight face.  WHERE is the money going to come from pay for a ~$1B SLS launch for a SMD mission!?

SMD budget is about 5 billion per year. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 12/02/2014 05:53 pm
They made a big deal about launching Europa Clipper on SLS at the briefing just now.....

They keep saying this to try and justify SLS and I just am baffled if they do this with a straight face.  WHERE is the money going to come from pay for a ~$1B SLS launch for a SMD mission!?

http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/#.VH4KcdXF-T0

It's all there, read.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Drkskywxlt on 12/02/2014 05:53 pm
SMD budget is about 5 billion per year.

All of which is fully subscribed for the foreseeable future. The Planetary budget is about $1.2-$1.5B per year.  So what in that $5B or $1.5B is worth scrapping so Europa Clipper can arrive 4 years faster?   
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Drkskywxlt on 12/02/2014 05:56 pm


http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/#.VH4KcdXF-T0

It's all there, read.

 :D  No it's not.  Even if you believe the 5-year "notional" budget outline there's no money in the 2015-19 period for an extra SLS for Europa Clipper.  Particularly as there's no money in that budget for Europa Clipper itself. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 12/02/2014 06:02 pm


http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/#.VH4KcdXF-T0

It's all there, read.

 :D  No it's not.  Even if you believe the 5-year "notional" budget outline there's no money in the 2015-19 period for an extra SLS for Europa Clipper.  Particularly as there's no money in that budget for Europa Clipper itself.

You're right, there is no money for an extra SLS, and this mission would not use an extra one.

They haven't even finished the trade studies showing the cost, how do you know the money won't be there? Right now we know it can't be done for under $1B according to those studies. That's it. The SMD has a good budget.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/02/2014 06:02 pm


http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/#.VH4KcdXF-T0

It's all there, read.

 :D  No it's not.  Even if you believe the 5-year "notional" budget outline there's no money in the 2015-19 period for an extra SLS for Europa Clipper.  Particularly as there's no money in that budget for Europa Clipper itself. 

So, I am guessing the congressional supporters for SLS and the Europa mission will have to pony up?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Drkskywxlt on 12/02/2014 06:09 pm
You're right, there is no money for an extra SLS, and this mission would not use an extra one.

They haven't even finished the trade studies showing the cost, how do you know the money won't be there? Right now we know it can't be done for under $1B according to those studies. That's it. The SMD has a good budget.

SMD's budget is not particularly healthy, particularly planetary.  I'm not going to speculate on what the SMD or Planetary budget will be in 2023-25, but given history, it seems pretty hard to envision SMD ponying up $1B+ for the sole purpose of cutting a few years in cruise time. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Drkskywxlt on 12/02/2014 06:11 pm
So, I am guessing the congressional supporters for SLS and the Europa mission will have to pony up?

Bingo.  But rather than do that, if they insist Europa Clipper (if it ever exists) has to fly on a SLS, they'll probably just decide that NASA and SMD have to figure out how to pay for that out of hide via the slashing of other projects. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: muomega0 on 12/02/2014 06:17 pm
http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/#.VH4KcdXF-T0
It's all there, read.
:D  No it's not.  Even if you believe the 5-year "notional" budget outline there's no money in the 2015-19 period for an extra SLS for Europa Clipper.  Particularly as there's no money in that budget for Europa Clipper itself.
"The FY15 budget includes $15 million for pre-formulation work on the architecture for a potential Europa mission" from the  NASA's Budget Estimates from 2015 to 2019 (http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/508_2015_Budget_Estimates.pdf)   It appears that the launch is "free" since SLS, Orion, and Ground Ops are funded each year (1.4B+1.1B+0.4B /yr)  and the first crewed Orion will not launch till 2024. (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36183.0)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/02/2014 06:20 pm
You're right, there is no money for an extra SLS, and this mission would not use an extra one.

They haven't even finished the trade studies showing the cost, how do you know the money won't be there? Right now we know it can't be done for under $1B according to those studies. That's it. The SMD has a good budget.

SMD's budget is not particularly healthy, particularly planetary.  I'm not going to speculate on what the SMD or Planetary budget will be in 2023-25, but given history, it seems pretty hard to envision SMD ponying up $1B+ for the sole purpose of cutting a few years in cruise time.

In about 5 minutes, the cost of an SLS went from "~$1B" to "$1B+". Do we need to coin a term for this new stage of inflation beyond hyperinflation?

Notional costs:
SLS: 1 billion
cruise: 2 years at 30 million/year(60 million)

Atlas V(one of the heavier variants I am assuming): 200 million
cruise: 6 years at 30 million/year(180 million)

The cost differential using these numbers would be 680 million.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Drkskywxlt on 12/02/2014 06:23 pm
"The FY15 budget includes $15 million for pre-formulation work on the architecture for a potential Europa mission" from the  NASA's Budget Estimates from 2015 to 2019 (http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/508_2015_Budget_Estimates.pdf)   It appears that the launch is "free" since SLS, Orion, and Ground Ops are funded each year (1.4B+1.1B+0.4B /yr)  and the first crewed Orion will not launch till 2024. (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36183.0)

$15M in one year isn't worth much for a mission that will cost over $1B.  Europa Clipper may get a new start next year with Culbertson taking over the House committee, but that's still TBD.  No, the launch won't be "free" and the cost will be well after this notional FY15-19 time period.   
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Drkskywxlt on 12/02/2014 06:27 pm
In about 5 minutes, the cost of an SLS went from "~$1B" to "$1B+". Do we need to coin a term for this new stage of inflation beyond hyperinflation?

Notional costs:
SLS: 1 billion
cruise: 2 years at 30 million/year(60 million)

Atlas V(one of the heavier variants I am assuming): 200 million
cruise: 6 years at 30 million/year(180 million)

The cost differential using these numbers would be 680 million.
::) $1B or greater than or equal to $1B. 

Not sure where you get those cruise costs (that's really high for a SMD mission, even a flagship mission, that's not doing science ops), but even if they're accurate, it's much easier to swallow the cruise costs each year than try and swallow the elephant of a $1B cost in one year. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 12/02/2014 06:52 pm
Coincidently, I recently enquired about cruise costs in another thread.  The answer supplied there was OPAG has discussed $7-10 million per year for an outer-planet mission (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27871.msg1293653#msg1293653).
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/02/2014 07:01 pm
In about 5 minutes, the cost of an SLS went from "~$1B" to "$1B+". Do we need to coin a term for this new stage of inflation beyond hyperinflation?

Notional costs:
SLS: 1 billion
cruise: 2 years at 30 million/year(60 million)

Atlas V(one of the heavier variants I am assuming): 200 million
cruise: 6 years at 30 million/year(180 million)

The cost differential using these numbers would be 680 million.
::) $1B or greater than or equal to $1B. 

Not sure where you get those cruise costs (that's really high for a SMD mission, even a flagship mission, that's not doing science ops), but even if they're accurate, it's much easier to swallow the cruise costs each year than try and swallow the elephant of a $1B cost in one year.

It is actually probably low. Take NASA's "Cross Agency Support"(centers, etc.) budget line item of ~2.8 billion and divide it between say, 50 projects, and you get 56 million per year.

Coincidently, I recently enquired about cruise costs in another thread.  The
answer supplied there was OPAG has discussed $7-10 million per year for an outer-planet mission (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27871.msg1293653#msg1293653).

The context for that was a Discovery class mission while this would be a Flagship/New Frontiers class mission. Anyways, I will revise my cost model somewhat and use more accurate numbers:

SLS: 1 billion
cruise: 2.5 years @ 14 million/year(35 million)
total: 1035 million

Atlas 541: 226 million
cruise: 7.5 years @ 14 million/year(105 million)'
total: 331 million

difference: 704 million

sources:
Quote
If NASA does choose to proceed with Europa Clipper, it will defer a choice of launch vehicle for several years. One mission design could use an existing rocket, such as the workhorse Atlas 5. In that scenario, Europa Clipper would launch in mid-2022 and, after a series of gravity assist flybys of Venus and Earth, arrive at Jupiter in early 2030.
http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/42121europa-clipper-opts-for-solar-power-over-nuclear

Quote
In 2013, the cost for an Atlas V 541 launch to GTO (including launch services, payload processing, launch vehicle integration mission, unique launch site ground support and tracking, data and telemetry services) was about $223 million (inflation adjusted $226 million in 2014).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_V

Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/02/2014 08:48 pm
They made a big deal about launching Europa Clipper on SLS at the briefing just now.....

They keep saying this to try and justify SLS and I just am baffled if they do this with a straight face.  WHERE is the money going to come from pay for a ~$1B SLS launch for a SMD mission!?

I don't really know exactly how NASA funds its' various projects. It strikes me that this could easily be promoted to 'flagship' status, at least in terms of political importance (much like JWST, MSL and Mars-2020). On this basis, what are the chances that the politicians might set aside money for an extra SLS-Cargo?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: topsphere on 12/02/2014 09:13 pm


The context for that was a Discovery class mission while this would be a Flagship/New Frontiers class mission. Anyways, I will revise my cost model somewhat and use more accurate numbers:

SLS: 1 billion
cruise: 2.5 years @ 14 million/year(35 million)
total: 1035 million

Atlas 541: 226 million
cruise: 7.5 years @ 14 million/year(105 million)'
total: 331 million

difference: 704 million


Try factoring into account inflation, discount rates and interest rates and you will get a different story. Obviously SLS will cost more, but I doubt the difference in cost will be as great as you say here :)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: llanitedave on 12/03/2014 01:01 am
You're right, there is no money for an extra SLS, and this mission would not use an extra one.

They haven't even finished the trade studies showing the cost, how do you know the money won't be there? Right now we know it can't be done for under $1B according to those studies. That's it. The SMD has a good budget.

SMD's budget is not particularly healthy, particularly planetary.  I'm not going to speculate on what the SMD or Planetary budget will be in 2023-25, but given history, it seems pretty hard to envision SMD ponying up $1B+ for the sole purpose of cutting a few years in cruise time.

In about 5 minutes, the cost of an SLS went from "~$1B" to "$1B+". Do we need to coin a term for this new stage of inflation beyond hyperinflation?

Notional costs:
SLS: 1 billion
cruise: 2 years at 30 million/year(60 million)

Atlas V(one of the heavier variants I am assuming): 200 million
cruise: 6 years at 30 million/year(180 million)

The cost differential using these numbers would be 680 million.

That assumes the probes are identical in each case.  I would think an SLS-launched probe can be more capable.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: notsorandom on 12/03/2014 08:59 pm
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Steven Richardson on 12/03/2014 09:42 pm
I think what I always remember is NASA have now officially confirmed this is what they are working on.

No amount of "internet experts" saying "no" will change or beat the above fact.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: QuantumG on 12/03/2014 09:44 pm
I think what I always remember is NASA have now officially confirmed this is what they are working on.

No amount of "internet experts" saying "no" will change or beat the above fact.

Heh, the ratio of stuff NASA "works on" to stuff that actually happens is pretty high.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: robertross on 12/04/2014 02:03 am


http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/#.VH4KcdXF-T0

It's all there, read.

 :D  No it's not.  Even if you believe the 5-year "notional" budget outline there's no money in the 2015-19 period for an extra SLS for Europa Clipper.  Particularly as there's no money in that budget for Europa Clipper itself. 

I don't know why everyone is so up on this.

WHILE (value of science >= cost of a launch vehicle)
    OR (need to maintain a politician's district employment base > any other project they can think up or are working on)
    OR (need for this politician to get re-elected >= the other politician)
    OR (politician can spin a new program to make it work for STEMS, economy, jobs)
DO (push the agenda AND appropriate necessary funds)

;)

If they want it bad enough, it will happen.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Endeavour_01 on 12/04/2014 05:46 pm
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

Exactly.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Star One on 12/04/2014 07:43 pm

The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

Seems logical & sensible, be good publicity for the whole program as well.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 12/05/2014 03:05 pm


The context for that was a Discovery class mission while this would be a Flagship/New Frontiers class mission. Anyways, I will revise my cost model somewhat and use more accurate numbers:

SLS: 1 billion
cruise: 2.5 years @ 14 million/year(35 million)
total: 1035 million

Atlas 541: 226 million
cruise: 7.5 years @ 14 million/year(105 million)'
total: 331 million

difference: 704 million


Try factoring into account inflation, discount rates and interest rates and you will get a different story. Obviously SLS will cost more, but I doubt the difference in cost will be as great as you say here :)

Except that there's an important difference in a big, up-front capital cost vs. longer spread-out operational costs. That up-front cost hits a finite budget. So it's not an easy cost comparison.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jongoff on 12/05/2014 04:14 pm


The context for that was a Discovery class mission while this would be a Flagship/New Frontiers class mission. Anyways, I will revise my cost model somewhat and use more accurate numbers:

SLS: 1 billion
cruise: 2.5 years @ 14 million/year(35 million)
total: 1035 million

Atlas 541: 226 million
cruise: 7.5 years @ 14 million/year(105 million)'
total: 331 million

difference: 704 million


Try factoring into account inflation, discount rates and interest rates and you will get a different story. Obviously SLS will cost more, but I doubt the difference in cost will be as great as you say here :)

Time value of money will actually make the Atlas option look even better--expenses in out years (operations) get discounted compared to costs up front (launch).

~Jon
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 12/05/2014 04:49 pm
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: notsorandom on 12/05/2014 05:50 pm
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?
If you are the SMD do you want to pay for the launch vehicle? The money saved by using a gifted launch vehicle can be used to on reducing schedule and technology risk or a better scientific payload. The EUS as planned right now is breaking no new technological ground. It powered by 4 existing engines, and built using well known techniques and methods.

SLS has a certain future, more so than any Europa mission. It continues to progress along within budget and schedule. By 2017 when the new president and congress are sworn in it will be will be within a year of initial operating capability. It is doubtful it is going to run into any developmental problems, and its funding is pretty much secure at least until then. It will be hard to cancel a successful program it when it is so close to being ready.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Star One on 12/05/2014 06:00 pm

The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?
If you are the SMD do you want to pay for the launch vehicle? The money saved by using a gifted launch vehicle can be used to on reducing schedule and technology risk or a better scientific payload. The EUS as planned right now is breaking no new technological ground. It powered by 4 existing engines, and built using well known techniques and methods.

SLS has a certain future, more so than any Europa mission. It continues to progress along within budget and schedule. By 2017 when the new president and congress are sworn in it will be will be within a year of initial operating capability. It is doubtful it is going to run into any developmental problems, and its funding is pretty much secure at least until then. It will be hard to cancel a successful program it when it is so close to being ready.

Well in that case why are people who should be in the know like Jim for example so adamant that the program is dead in the water?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jgoldader on 12/05/2014 06:13 pm



Well in that case why are people who should be in the know like Jim for example so adamant that the program is dead in the water?

People say that because while NASA can afford the launcher, there's no money allocated to building payloads for it. 

It'll almost certainly fly.  But I'm not excited about hearing the PAO callout: "Launch of the Space Launch System, carrying the heaviest ballast ever into space!"
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: llanitedave on 12/05/2014 09:11 pm

The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?
If you are the SMD do you want to pay for the launch vehicle? The money saved by using a gifted launch vehicle can be used to on reducing schedule and technology risk or a better scientific payload. The EUS as planned right now is breaking no new technological ground. It powered by 4 existing engines, and built using well known techniques and methods.

SLS has a certain future, more so than any Europa mission. It continues to progress along within budget and schedule. By 2017 when the new president and congress are sworn in it will be will be within a year of initial operating capability. It is doubtful it is going to run into any developmental problems, and its funding is pretty much secure at least until then. It will be hard to cancel a successful program it when it is so close to being ready.

Well in that case why are people who should be in the know like Jim for example so adamant that the program is dead in the water?

How can anybody be "in the know" about something like that?  Congress doesn't even know.  The president doesn't even know.

Jim, and others, know their jobs and their areas of study extremely well.  Beyond that, they know rumors and scuttlebutt.  And they pad those extracurricular bits of information, as we all do, with a generous supply of personal bias, wishful thinking, assumption, confirmation bias, and conclusion-jumping.  They are human, just like the rest of us, and that's what we humans do.

Nobody's word is gospel with respect to the future of SLS.  We all have opinions and preferences, and we're all entitled to promote them and try to recruit others to agree with them.  But still, we need to be able to tell the difference between fact and opinion, and even the smartest of us sometimes fail in that goal.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/06/2014 02:17 am
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?

You are talking about Atlas V or SLS?

Anyways, the only alternative to flight test a HLV is a dummy payload. Not sure that makes much sense either. You certainly aren't proposing that instead of risking a Europa mission for a flight test of the EUS, it would be preferrable to be flying a crewed Orion? Most of the money for the payload is in development anyways and a replacement can be made at a lower cost.

There is a reason that NASA is one agency rather than all the directorates being individual agencies. SMD has management above it that will be able to find areas of overlap where the two programs can converge in common interest. HEO needs a payload for an unmanned flight and SMD needs a launch vehicle.

Being able to reach Jupiter in 2 years is an exciting prospect. I hope in the future the cost of heavy lift decreases to the point that you can do that with all missions to the outer solar system. Otherwise, finding life on Europa may look like the following

5 years development of fly by vehicle, 8 years of cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of orbiter, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of lander, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of rover, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of drilling rig, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations

That puts discovering life living in the oceans of Europa into the next century.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: arachnitect on 12/06/2014 02:43 am
If SLS is really solving dV challenges for SMD, why isn't Solar Probe Plus getting one?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jgoldader on 12/06/2014 04:43 pm
Being able to reach Jupiter in 2 years is an exciting prospect. I hope in the future the cost of heavy lift decreases to the point that you can do that with all missions to the outer solar system. Otherwise, finding life on Europa may look like the following

5 years development of fly by vehicle, 8 years of cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of orbiter, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of lander, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of rover, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of drilling rig, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations

That puts discovering life living in the oceans of Europa into the next century.

You're still looking at very long development timescales, exclusive of cruise times.  5 years is unrealistically short IMO, better think 8-10 years.  There won't be budget for anything faster, that will be the bottleneck even if tech isn't.

I'd like to imagine someday there will be good enough SEP that you could cut down the travel times, but  I won't be around to see it.

"Be depressed.  Be very depressed."  :(
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 12/06/2014 04:54 pm
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?

You are talking about Atlas V or SLS?

That the US will require a launch vehicle of Atlas V's capability for years to come is a certainty, whereas SLS's future is cloudy.

Quote
Anyways, the only alternative to flight test a HLV is a dummy payload. Not sure that makes much sense either. You certainly aren't proposing that instead of risking a Europa mission for a flight test of the EUS, it would be preferrable to be flying a crewed Orion? Most of the money for the payload is in development anyways and a replacement can be made at a lower cost.

The payload for an EUS flight test isn't and shouldn't be SMD's problem.  I'm just pointing out that it doesn't make sense for that payload to be an expensive planetary probe.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 12/06/2014 05:01 pm

The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?
If you are the SMD do you want to pay for the launch vehicle? The money saved by using a gifted launch vehicle can be used to on reducing schedule and technology risk or a better scientific payload. The EUS as planned right now is breaking no new technological ground. It powered by 4 existing engines, and built using well known techniques and methods.

SLS has a certain future, more so than any Europa mission. It continues to progress along within budget and schedule. By 2017 when the new president and congress are sworn in it will be will be within a year of initial operating capability. It is doubtful it is going to run into any developmental problems, and its funding is pretty much secure at least until then. It will be hard to cancel a successful program it when it is so close to being ready.

Well in that case why are people who should be in the know like Jim for example so adamant that the program is dead in the water?

How can anybody be "in the know" about something like that?  Congress doesn't even know.  The president doesn't even know.

Jim, and others, know their jobs and their areas of study extremely well.  Beyond that, they know rumors and scuttlebutt.  And they pad those extracurricular bits of information, as we all do, with a generous supply of personal bias, wishful thinking, assumption, confirmation bias, and conclusion-jumping.  They are human, just like the rest of us, and that's what we humans do.

Nobody's word is gospel with respect to the future of SLS.  We all have opinions and preferences, and we're all entitled to promote them and try to recruit others to agree with them.  But still, we need to be able to tell the difference between fact and opinion, and even the smartest of us sometimes fail in that goal.

Because you can see the rot in the program
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Oli on 12/06/2014 06:10 pm

The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?
If you are the SMD do you want to pay for the launch vehicle? The money saved by using a gifted launch vehicle can be used to on reducing schedule and technology risk or a better scientific payload. The EUS as planned right now is breaking no new technological ground. It powered by 4 existing engines, and built using well known techniques and methods.

SLS has a certain future, more so than any Europa mission. It continues to progress along within budget and schedule. By 2017 when the new president and congress are sworn in it will be will be within a year of initial operating capability. It is doubtful it is going to run into any developmental problems, and its funding is pretty much secure at least until then. It will be hard to cancel a successful program it when it is so close to being ready.

Well in that case why are people who should be in the know like Jim for example so adamant that the program is dead in the water?

How can anybody be "in the know" about something like that?  Congress doesn't even know.  The president doesn't even know.

Jim, and others, know their jobs and their areas of study extremely well.  Beyond that, they know rumors and scuttlebutt.  And they pad those extracurricular bits of information, as we all do, with a generous supply of personal bias, wishful thinking, assumption, confirmation bias, and conclusion-jumping.  They are human, just like the rest of us, and that's what we humans do.

Nobody's word is gospel with respect to the future of SLS.  We all have opinions and preferences, and we're all entitled to promote them and try to recruit others to agree with them.  But still, we need to be able to tell the difference between fact and opinion, and even the smartest of us sometimes fail in that goal.

Because you can see the rot in the program

Where's the rot, Jim? It seems to move along as planned.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 12/06/2014 07:32 pm
Look at the costs and number of people and the lack of any real progress
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/06/2014 07:34 pm
If you are the SMD do you want to pay for the launch vehicle? The money saved by using a gifted launch vehicle can be used to on reducing schedule and technology risk or a better scientific payload.

Gifted launch vehicle?  Haven't you heard of TNSTAAFL?

The money for building a SLS has to come out of NASA's budget somewhere, unless you think the National Park Service is going to be "gifting" some of their budget over to cover the costs.  So if the Science directorate that would be building and operating the Europa mission doesn't pay for the launcher, that means the Exploration directorate has to, which means that much less money for them to use for future SLS development (i.e. the 130mt version mandated by Congress).

But there is more to the Europa decision than just cost (although that's pretty significant in itself), and that would be potential availability of the launcher when the Europa mission payload is ready.  They already know that they can launch on an EELV and do the mission, and there is pretty much zero risk in relying on an EELV because if one is not available the mission could be changed to another (yes, not easy, but doable).  But if the SLS is not available, for whatever reason, there are no alternatives.  That's a big risk for the Europa mission to take.

Quote
SLS has a certain future, more so than any Europa mission.

The best that can be said is that the development of the SLS is going well.  But without real users that makes it's operational future very uncertain.

Quote
By 2017 when the new president and congress are sworn in it will be will be within a year of initial operating capability.

No, the first full-up SLS launch is not until 2021, which is when the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) will have it's first flight.  So the earliest NASA could declare the SLS operational is then, assuming two test flights are enough to certify the SLS as being operational.

Quote
It is doubtful it is going to run into any developmental problems...

Given enough time and money our aerospace industry can do anything.  To me that's not the issue.  I have no doubt the SLS can be made to fly, and fly safely.  It's whether we actually NEED an HLV at this time, and for the cost it will take, that are the real questions.  And so far the answer from Congress has been "No" to funding uses for the SLS.

Quote
It will be hard to cancel a successful program it when it is so close to being ready.

Most of my career has been working for government contractors supporting military products, and Congress cancels programs all the time before they become operational, and sometimes after they have become operational.  Congress has no long term memory about their actions, and they have no compunction about undoing what a previous Congress has done.  No program is safe.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/06/2014 07:57 pm
Quote
The best that can be said is that the development of the SLS is going well.  But without real users that makes it's operational future very uncertain.

That is the interesting thing about the government, they can create both the demand and supply. No other entity has the resources and the motive. Eventually, the private sector will see dollar signs and be the supply and eventually the supply could lead to other users(demand).

If this all seems rather circular, that is because it is, by design. Saying no payloads should use SLS because it will be cancelled due to lack of payloads is just as circular.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Oli on 12/06/2014 10:41 pm
Look at the costs and number of people and the lack of any real progress

Do you think it could be done better given the schedule and budget constraints?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: 93143 on 12/07/2014 04:16 am
The money for building a SLS has to come out of NASA's budget somewhere, unless you think the National Park Service is going to be "gifting" some of their budget over to cover the costs.  So if the Science directorate that would be building and operating the Europa mission doesn't pay for the launcher, that means the Exploration directorate has to, which means that much less money for them to use for future SLS development (i.e. the 130mt version mandated by Congress).

Aren't you the one who keeps complaining about how SLS is in dire need of missions?

They have to pay the fixed costs of the program regardless, and it's only a few hundred million at most to add a launch when the manifest is this thin.  Not much (or perhaps any) more expensive than an EELV.

That's if they have to add a launch at all, and this talk of dummy payloads (not to mention the preferred once-a-year launch cadence, which I trust you'll recall) suggests that they may very well not.  If they're going to have to launch an SLS whether or not there's anything useful on board, putting EC on it really is effectively free...
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Vultur on 12/07/2014 06:02 am
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?

You are talking about Atlas V or SLS?

Anyways, the only alternative to flight test a HLV is a dummy payload. Not sure that makes much sense either. You certainly aren't proposing that instead of risking a Europa mission for a flight test of the EUS, it would be preferrable to be flying a crewed Orion? Most of the money for the payload is in development anyways and a replacement can be made at a lower cost.

There is a reason that NASA is one agency rather than all the directorates being individual agencies. SMD has management above it that will be able to find areas of overlap where the two programs can converge in common interest. HEO needs a payload for an unmanned flight and SMD needs a launch vehicle.

Being able to reach Jupiter in 2 years is an exciting prospect. I hope in the future the cost of heavy lift decreases to the point that you can do that with all missions to the outer solar system. Otherwise, finding life on Europa may look like the following

5 years development of fly by vehicle, 8 years of cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of orbiter, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of lander, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of rover, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of drilling rig, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations

That puts discovering life living in the oceans of Europa into the next century.

Or just throw the flyby vehicle through a (very thin part of a!) plume, collect a sample a la Stardust, and give it instruments to find life in the sample.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/07/2014 10:29 am
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?

You are talking about Atlas V or SLS?

Anyways, the only alternative to flight test a HLV is a dummy payload. Not sure that makes much sense either. You certainly aren't proposing that instead of risking a Europa mission for a flight test of the EUS, it would be preferrable to be flying a crewed Orion? Most of the money for the payload is in development anyways and a replacement can be made at a lower cost.

There is a reason that NASA is one agency rather than all the directorates being individual agencies. SMD has management above it that will be able to find areas of overlap where the two programs can converge in common interest. HEO needs a payload for an unmanned flight and SMD needs a launch vehicle.

Being able to reach Jupiter in 2 years is an exciting prospect. I hope in the future the cost of heavy lift decreases to the point that you can do that with all missions to the outer solar system. Otherwise, finding life on Europa may look like the following

5 years development of fly by vehicle, 8 years of cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of orbiter, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of lander, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of rover, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of drilling rig, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations

That puts discovering life living in the oceans of Europa into the next century.

Or just throw the flyby vehicle through a (very thin part of a!) plume, collect a sample a la Stardust, and give it instruments to find life in the sample.

2 possible outcomes in that scenario:

The flyby yields a negative result. In which case, would scientists then positively say that miles below the surface, there is no life? I don't think so.

The flyby yields a positive result. In which case, the list of missions posted above are more likely to happen because the question of life on Europa isn't binary: yes or no. What does it eat? How does it survive? What is it made of? Does it use DNA/RNA? Are there bigger multicellular life forms(there aren't fish shooting out of the plume I presume)?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jgoldader on 12/07/2014 11:52 am

That puts discovering life living in the oceans of Europa into the next century.

One last thought on this--

If some goal is important enough, you get serious about it.

NASA has shown it is serious about exploring Mars.  There always seems to be a mission in the works, and there's a fairly reliable orbiter-lander-orbiter-etc cadence going.  There has been an inability to close the technical/money case on sample return, and I doubt that a fistful of dirt and pebbles is going to tell us whether or not Mars had life in the past.  Better to spend money looking for Mars meteorites in Antarctica, you get way more mass and variety of samples per dollar.  (And as the response to the Curiosity extension proposal indicated, NASA had better pay more attention to the science case for landers.)

If NASA was serious about Europa, you'd see a similar cadence, and it's not there.  Mission times are very long, costs are very high, and power and radiation are much more significant obstacles than on Mars missions.  The only reason Europa is being looked at now is to give SLS something to do.  I'd be happy to see a Europa mission happen, but if one does, it is likely to be a one-off, very limited, and done on a shoestring budget.  There is no sign of a sustained program of exploration there.  And of course, no money has been allocated for a Europa spacecraft.

In the end, it's all about money.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/07/2014 12:06 pm

That puts discovering life living in the oceans of Europa into the next century.

One last thought on this--

If some goal is important enough, you get serious about it.

NASA has shown it is serious about exploring Mars.  There always seems to be a mission in the works, and there's a fairly reliable orbiter-lander-orbiter-etc cadence going.  There has been an inability to close the technical/money case on sample return, and I doubt that a fistful of dirt and pebbles is going to tell us whether or not Mars had life in the past.  Better to spend money looking for Mars meteorites in Antarctica, you get way more mass and variety of samples per dollar.  (And as the response to the Curiosity extension proposal indicated, NASA had better pay more attention to the science case for landers.)

If NASA was serious about Europa, you'd see a similar cadence, and it's not there.  Mission times are very long, costs are very high, and power and radiation are much more significant obstacles than on Mars missions.  The only reason Europa is being looked at now is to give SLS something to do.  I'd be happy to see a Europa mission happen, but if one does, it is likely to be a one-off, very limited, and done on a shoestring budget.  There is no sign of a sustained program of exploration there.  And of course, no money has been allocated for a Europa spacecraft.

In the end, it's all about money.

Things change. Once upon a time, there was a huge moon exploration program but eventually we got bored and haven't sent a lander(robotic or manned) since. Mars appears to be the fad at the moment, but it won't necessarily stay that way. Ceres makes a good target for human exploration as it is water rich. If there are water volcanoes on Ceres, there very well could be liquid water as well. That could just as well be the next fad, or Europa or something else.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jgoldader on 12/07/2014 12:46 pm
The good news is, we'll know a lot more about Ceres in just a few months!  :)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Steam Chaser on 12/07/2014 02:29 pm
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

Not everyone wins.  Wouldn't ULA or some other launch provider lose in this case?  Aren't there restrictions on NASA competing with the U.S. commercial launch industry?  I don't think NASA could make the case that it can only do Europa Clipper with SLS.

Also, SMD could also lose in this scenario.  Normally NASA would use a launcher with a lot of flight history before using it for a flagship mission like Europa Clipper.  Is it prudent to risk such a mission on an early flight of SLS?

Also, might NASA Planetary Science lose by being pressured into the Europa Clipper mission by SLS supporters in the first place?  Right now, the future for New Frontiers missions isn't looking so good, in part because a lot of funding is going into studying a Europa Clipper mission that isn't approved.  Even setting aside the cost of SLS, the full cost of Europa Clipper might be so much that NASA could fund 2 New Frontiers missions and still have money left over for a chunk of a Discovery mission, or SMD might be able to fund ~4 Discovery missions.  From the point of view of Planetary Science, it could be the case that the larger number of smaller missions would give more science results, or a better "mix" of science results.  From the point of view of the U.S. commercial launch industry, obviously several smaller missions is better than 1 mission on SLS.  The larger number of smaller missions might be better for the Planetary Science industrial/academic base of probe/instrument makers and researchers, too.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 12/07/2014 06:08 pm
Right now, the future for New Frontiers missions isn't looking so good, in part because a lot of funding is going into studying a Europa Clipper mission that isn't approved.

New Frontiers is not in good shape at the moment, but you cannot really blame that on Europa Clipper.

Also, things can change.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 12/07/2014 06:11 pm
NASA has shown it is serious about exploring Mars.

SNIP

If NASA was serious about Europa, you'd see a similar cadence, and it's not there.  Mission times are very long, costs are very high, and power and radiation are much more significant obstacles than on Mars missions.

You're contradicting yourself. Even if NASA was "serious" about Europa, all those physical factors remain in place that would limit the cadence of Europa missions. Mars is an attractive target for exploration, but it is also an easier target for exploration. It is possible to send a mission there, gather the data, and then design a new mission based upon that data and send it only a few years later. In fact, with Mars it is possible to do this several times a decade.

In contrast, it takes so long to get out to Jupiter that you have to wait a long time before you can incorporate what you learn into a new mission.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Vultur on 12/07/2014 06:31 pm
The SMD is not going to be paying for an SLS. If the SMD had to pay for the launch vehicle the Europa mission would fly on an Atlas. The SLS would be paid for in large part by other parts of NASA. The EUS needs an uncrewed test flight anyway, better a probe than re-fly EM-1. From a budget perspective everyone wins, that is the logic here.

On the other hand, if you are SMD, do you really want to risk a very expensive payload on the first flight of EUS?  Do you really want to tie a very expensive program to a launch vehicle with an uncertain future?

You are talking about Atlas V or SLS?

Anyways, the only alternative to flight test a HLV is a dummy payload. Not sure that makes much sense either. You certainly aren't proposing that instead of risking a Europa mission for a flight test of the EUS, it would be preferrable to be flying a crewed Orion? Most of the money for the payload is in development anyways and a replacement can be made at a lower cost.

There is a reason that NASA is one agency rather than all the directorates being individual agencies. SMD has management above it that will be able to find areas of overlap where the two programs can converge in common interest. HEO needs a payload for an unmanned flight and SMD needs a launch vehicle.

Being able to reach Jupiter in 2 years is an exciting prospect. I hope in the future the cost of heavy lift decreases to the point that you can do that with all missions to the outer solar system. Otherwise, finding life on Europa may look like the following

5 years development of fly by vehicle, 8 years of cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of orbiter, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of lander, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of rover, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations
5 years development of drilling rig, 8 years cruise, 4 years of science operations

That puts discovering life living in the oceans of Europa into the next century.

Or just throw the flyby vehicle through a (very thin part of a!) plume, collect a sample a la Stardust, and give it instruments to find life in the sample.

2 possible outcomes in that scenario:

The flyby yields a negative result. In which case, would scientists then positively say that miles below the surface, there is no life? I don't think so.

The flyby yields a positive result. In which case, the list of missions posted above are more likely to happen because the question of life on Europa isn't binary: yes or no. What does it eat? How does it survive? What is it made of? Does it use DNA/RNA? Are there bigger multicellular life forms(there aren't fish shooting out of the plume I presume)?


Sure, it wouldn't answer everything. But I think it is more than worth trying.

(And I think you could answer the DNA/RNA type questions by analyzing flyby collected samples).

And if you knew there was life, you might go straight to drilling through the ice (or sending a probe down the geyser), and there would probably be a LOT more funding.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Steam Chaser on 12/08/2014 02:15 am
SLS management wants to bulk up the SLS manifest by having it launch Planetary Science missions, but Europa Clipper and Mars Sample Return are really expensive ones, so they will be difficult to fund.  What SLS needs to fill its manifest is lots of missions, and it's hard to see NASA being able to make more than 1 of these flagships happen in a decade.

What about the idea of using SLS and Orion to periodically service an observatory (or observatories)?  A few years ago there were lots of discussions of a telescope designed to be serviced by astronauts occasionally at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point reachable by Orion that could move itself back and forth to an Earth-Sun Lagrange point for its operational mission.  Depending on the details, this might offer SLS a launch job for the telescope (and perhaps some sort of servicing kit) similar to the Europa Clipper and Mars Sample Return missions.  It also might require an SLS/Orion mission for initial setup.  Every few years, another SLS/Orion mission might be expected to maintain the observatory, outfit it with new instruments, etc.

If an observatory servicing mission is being done anyway, you could also imagine scenarios where other jobs could be done by the astronauts during the servicing missions that might not by themselves justify another SLS/Orion mission, like:

- deploying cubesats beyond LEO
- (re)visiting the ARM asteroid
- Orion-assisted variations of sample return missions like Genesis, MoonRise, Stardust, OSIRIS-REx, Comet Surface Sample Return, etc (presumably ones that are less ambitious/expensive than MSR)
- doing lunar telerobotics technology demos
- deploying/retrieving materials test samples comparable to MISSE but beyond LEO
- initial testing of Orion or other capabilities as they come online
- servicing multiple observatories per mission
- doing ISS-like work but beyond LEO if a hab/station with some subset of ISS capabilities is available

The NASA branch that comes to mind first with such an observatory is Astrophysics, following the servicing tradition of Hubble.  You might also imagine Heliophysics, Planetary Science, or even Earth Science making use of an astronaut-serviced observatory.  Politically, this could combine the interests of SLS/Orion, SMD, and Mikulski's satellite servicing group.  Given the backgrounds of Bolden and Grunsfeld, the idea must have been considered, but presumably it was rejected. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: notsorandom on 12/08/2014 04:03 am
If you are the SMD do you want to pay for the launch vehicle? The money saved by using a gifted launch vehicle can be used to on reducing schedule and technology risk or a better scientific payload.

Gifted launch vehicle?  Haven't you heard of TNSTAAFL?

The money for building a SLS has to come out of NASA's budget somewhere, unless you think the National Park Service is going to be "gifting" some of their budget over to cover the costs.  So if the Science directorate that would be building and operating the Europa mission doesn't pay for the launcher, that means the Exploration directorate has to, which means that much less money for them to use for future SLS development (i.e. the 130mt version mandated by Congress).

But there is more to the Europa decision than just cost (although that's pretty significant in itself), and that would be potential availability of the launcher when the Europa mission payload is ready.  They already know that they can launch on an EELV and do the mission, and there is pretty much zero risk in relying on an EELV because if one is not available the mission could be changed to another (yes, not easy, but doable).  But if the SLS is not available, for whatever reason, there are no alternatives.  That's a big risk for the Europa mission to take.
Gifted the launcher means that HSF picks up the tab or part of it for that particular SLS and SMD isn't stuck with paying for all of it. They are both part of NASA therefor its not a problem legally. They made deals like this with probes and the Shuttle a number of times. There was a while where the cost charged for a Shuttle launch was the marginal cost of the flight rather than picking up the proportional total systems cost.
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SLS has a certain future, more so than any Europa mission.
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The best that can be said is that the development of the SLS is going well.  But without real users that makes it's operational future very uncertain.
Lets just for the sake of argument and say that SLS is useless (its not of course). The F-35 needs two types of engines right? That is a billion dollar program which is happily cranking along with no real use. Lack of a need has never stood in the way of politics.

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By 2017 when the new president and congress are sworn in it will be will be within a year of initial operating capability.

No, the first full-up SLS launch is not until 2021, which is when the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) will have it's first flight.  So the earliest NASA could declare the SLS operational is then, assuming two test flights are enough to certify the SLS as being operational.
Yes, when SLS launches in 2018 it be a full up flight. There will be no battleship stages on it. It will fling Orion out beyond LEO.
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It is doubtful it is going to run into any developmental problems...

Most of my career has been working for government contractors supporting military products, and Congress cancels programs all the time before they become operational, and sometimes after they have become operational.  Congress has no long term memory about their actions, and they have no compunction about undoing what a previous Congress has done.  No program is safe.
The same actors and dynamics between them who lead to SLS's creation years ago are still in place. They will be till 2017. No one new has been elected who has the power to kill SLS. It is also logical to assume that people will continue to act in the same way as they have been previously. I doubt Sen. Shely is going to wake up one morning and think "wow I have made a terrible mistake".
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/08/2014 06:29 am
Gifted the launcher means that HSF picks up the tab or part of it for that particular SLS and SMD isn't stuck with paying for all of it. They are both part of NASA therefor its not a problem legally.

Yes, I said as much previously.

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They made deals like this with probes and the Shuttle a number of times. There was a while where the cost charged for a Shuttle launch was the marginal cost of the flight rather than picking up the proportional total systems cost.

I doubt they shifted the full amount over though, since at the time NASA really didn't keep track of Shuttle costs.  Regardless, it doesn't matter how much they shift around, it still comes out of NASA's overall budget - and so far the budget has not been increased to account for flying the SLS operationally.

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Lets just for the sake of argument and say that SLS is useless (its not of course). The F-35 needs two types of engines right? That is a billion dollar program which is happily cranking along with no real use. Lack of a need has never stood in the way of politics.

The F-35 is a deterrence system, just like virtually every other weapon system our military has.  And so far Congress has indeed agreed with the need for the F-35 and they have provided the funding to make the F-35 operational.  Congress so far has not approved any funds for operational flights of the SLS.

How does this missions like Europa?

For the program manager it creates uncertainty.  Will the unique launch vehicle that I am committing to be there when I need it?

But the SLS has been approved (so far) for development, why wouldn't it be there for operational use?  If not enough users are identified and funded, then Congress could decide to mothball or cancel the program.  And potential users know this.  But that level of uncertainty doesn't happen if they go with an EELV.  Program managers have to weigh those odds when making their choices.

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Yes, when SLS launches in 2018 it be a full up flight. There will be no battleship stages on it. It will fling Orion out beyond LEO.

The 2018 flight will be using the interim upper stage, so no it's not the first full-up flight.

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The same actors and dynamics between them who lead to SLS's creation years ago are still in place. They will be till 2017. No one new has been elected who has the power to kill SLS. It is also logical to assume that people will continue to act in the same way as they have been previously. I doubt Sen. Shely is going to wake up one morning and think "wow I have made a terrible mistake".

You are right, for the next two years the political status quo will be the same.  But remember that not everyone on the Republican side likes the SLS, and so far the only funding has been for development, not operational use.  Shelby and other SLS supporters have to fight a whole new battle to fund both the once-per-year operational SLS flights, AND the funding for the missions and payloads those SLS will fly.  So far that has not been debated, and every year that goes by raises the cost of those programs (i.e. they are already late in funding missions that launch in 2021).  Plus there will be a new President in two years, and they may not support the SLS anymore than Obama has, and possibly even less.

For me though, as it usually is in politics, you have to watch the flow of money.  If it doesn't materialize to use the SLS, it will be cancelled.  If it does materialize, it won't.  Pretty simple.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jgoldader on 12/08/2014 09:59 am
NASA has shown it is serious about exploring Mars.

SNIP

If NASA was serious about Europa, you'd see a similar cadence, and it's not there.  Mission times are very long, costs are very high, and power and radiation are much more significant obstacles than on Mars missions.

You're contradicting yourself. Even if NASA was "serious" about Europa, all those physical factors remain in place that would limit the cadence of Europa missions. Mars is an attractive target for exploration, but it is also an easier target for exploration. It is possible to send a mission there, gather the data, and then design a new mission based upon that data and send it only a few years later. In fact, with Mars it is possible to do this several times a decade.

In contrast, it takes so long to get out to Jupiter that you have to wait a long time before you can incorporate what you learn into a new mission.

There are unavoidable things, like long travel times.   However, it's been a long time since Galileo.  There has been no rush to do a follow-on mission.  Maybe there's just nothing useful that can be done for less than a billion dollars; or maybe there hasn't been the interest or will or need to find a way to do it more cheaply.  (That may be changing.) There have been cool animations of submersibles, but those are for the distant future.

But if you're not planning (expect to fund) a lander, you don't really need the radar data, then...
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 12/08/2014 12:30 pm
A friend of mine used to run NASA's astronomy division. He has said that even if the launches were given to him for free he had a hard time paying for the payloads.

The same applies here--all this talk about using SLS for science mission makes the assumption that the science directorate is going to magically be able to pay for the mission. Might as well assume unicorns.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Mark S on 12/08/2014 12:41 pm
Well, unicorns or no, SLS is Congress's baby. And if SLS needs payloads, then Congress will mandate payloads. Heck, they might even be persuaded to pay for them.

There is a House hearing on the 10th to review progress on SLS and MPCV. I expect to hear questions from Congress on how NASA can pick up the pace on SLS, not how to kill it. Especially after the resounding success of EFT-1, both in actual technical terms, and in public relations terms.

Cheers!
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/08/2014 12:43 pm
Well, unicorns or no, SLS is Congress's baby. And if SLS needs payloads, then Congress will mandate payloads. Heck, they might even be persuaded to pay for them.

My worry? They will demand payloads and deploy much rhetoric and threats of detailed investigations into how NASA is being run to support those demands. The one thing they won't actually do is provide funding for them. Because I suspect that many of them secretly think that NASA already gets more than enough money and is just malingering for some reason.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: JasonAW3 on 12/08/2014 03:43 pm
I can just see it...

     "Mr. Chairman, I propose that we send a 1 meter by 4 meter by 9 meter block of black obsidian stone, to the Moon, and more precisely Tycho Crater..."

     "Mr. Senator from California, why should we sent this block of stone to the moon and what purpose would it serve."

     "Mr. Chairman, it would be a dedication to Stanley Kubrick and Sir Arthur C. Clarke and the movie they both worked on, "2001: A Space Odyssey"".

     "Mr Senator, would it not actually be a better monument to these brilliantly foresighted people to actually establish a working Moon Base, say around Copernicus Crater?"

     "Perhaps it would, Mr. Chairman, but this project has the advantage of providing thousands of jobs, being vastly cheaper than a Moon Base, and it would be really cool."

     "Mr. Senator, I think perhaps the "Coolness Factor" is perhaps the deciding factor here.  All infavor of the project as proposed?..."
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Will on 12/08/2014 04:55 pm
I can just see it...

     "Mr. Chairman, I propose that we send a 1 meter by 4 meter by 9 meter block of black obsidian stone, to the Moon, and more precisely Tycho Crater..."

     "Mr. Senator from California, why should we sent this block of stone to the moon and what purpose would it serve."

     "Mr. Chairman, it would be a dedication to Stanley Kubrick and Sir Arthur C. Clarke and the movie they both worked on, "2001: A Space Odyssey"".

     "Mr Senator, would it not actually be a better monument to these brilliantly foresighted people to actually establish a working Moon Base, say around Copernicus Crater?"

     "Perhaps it would, Mr. Chairman, but this project has the advantage of providing thousands of jobs, being vastly cheaper than a Moon Base, and it would be really cool."

     "Mr. Senator, I think perhaps the "Coolness Factor" is perhaps the deciding factor here.  All infavor of the project as proposed?..."

You know what would be great? A private mission to Tycho Crater to secretly deploy an inflatable monolith. And then photograph it.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/08/2014 05:34 pm
They made deals like this with probes and the Shuttle a number of times. There was a while where the cost charged for a Shuttle launch was the marginal cost of the flight rather than picking up the proportional total systems cost.

I doubt they shifted the full amount over though, since at the time NASA really didn't keep track of Shuttle costs.  Regardless, it doesn't matter how much they shift around, it still comes out of NASA's overall budget - and so far the budget has not been increased to account for flying the SLS operationally.

Why would the construction of additional cores be funded before a test flight occurs? You could simply be building a lot of flawed rockets. All you have to do is extrapolate the SLS budget out forever and there will be some cadence to the launches just as the current budget profile allows for a flight in 2018. NASA is funded on an annual basis, and so looking for money that would be spent 4 years+ out in the current budget is the reason you aren't seeing the money.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 12/08/2014 05:48 pm

I doubt they shifted the full amount over though, since at the time NASA really didn't keep track of Shuttle costs.  Regardless, it doesn't matter how much they shift around, it still comes out of NASA's overall budget - and so far the budget has not been increased to account for flying the SLS operationally.



This is a straw man argument.

Once core development (by far the most expensive) winds down the money will be there within the appropriated budget. No one is planning on any substantial increase. The Upper Stage and Advanced Boosters if ever RFP'd will not come close to the overall expensive of initial vehicle development.

Once STS was built they found ways to build and fly things. Anyone who thinks it is not possible again has their head in the sand.

Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 12/08/2014 06:04 pm

Once STS was built they found ways to build and fly things. Anyone who thinks it is not possible again has their head in the sand.

It still was sucking the life out of other NASA programs.  The "continuing" development cycle is just a way of keeping MSFC busy.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: llanitedave on 12/08/2014 06:15 pm
Launching would be a good way of keeping them busy too.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: ncb1397 on 12/08/2014 06:22 pm

Once STS was built they found ways to build and fly things. Anyone who thinks it is not possible again has their head in the sand.

It still was sucking the life out of other NASA programs.  The "continuing" development cycle is just a way of keeping MSFC busy.

If HSF wasn't being carried out, legislators would probably see NASA as simply a smaller agency like ESA. Shuttle was funded under its own line item. Taking shuttle away doesn't magically enduce legislators to think other areas of NASA need more money to accomplish the tasks they want them to. Cancelling SLS/Orion doesn't lead a legislator to all of a sudden think we need to pour 3 billiion a year into heliophysics instead. Ok, we aren't sending humans to space, therefore we need to understand the sun better. It just doesn't compute. It is just as likely to go to some other agency or leave the budget altogether to accomplish deficit reduction.

Somehow a big portion of current legislators got it into their heads that HSF = national prestige. A lot of them were probably kids during the Apollo era which might have something to do with it. You simply can't claim to be a Super Power without some sort of manned space flight capability and hopefully better than anyone else...the internal logic must go. So, they spend .5% of the federal budget on NasaSpaceFlight.com's userbase's collective hobby. I don't see what the fuss is about. Ok, a big rocket lights some senator's shorts on fire. How does the saying go: don't look a gift horse in the mouth?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 12/08/2014 11:19 pm
Well, unicorns or no, SLS is Congress's baby. And if SLS needs payloads, then Congress will mandate payloads. Heck, they might even be persuaded to pay for them.


Except that if they are not already paying for human spacecraft payloads for SLS, why does anybody think they will pay for science payloads for SLS?

And just to repeat something that I've said here before, Europa Clipper and Mars Sample Return are not actually equal in terms of affordability or programmatics. Europa Clipper could happen and could fly on SLS. But the Mars 2020 rover is ALREADY starting NASA's sample return campaign (and won't be using SLS), and the reason that NASA has adopted a multi-mission sample return campaign is because it is unaffordable (and unwise) to do sample collection, ascent from Mars, and return to Earth all in one single mission. That's a many billion dollar mission that cannot fit into the planetary science budget if it all happens at once. That's why they want to spread it out. So when the SLS office fits a single big sample return mission onto their notional schedule, they're completely ignoring what it is possible for the planetary side of NASA to do.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/09/2014 08:04 pm
I doubt they shifted the full amount over though, since at the time NASA really didn't keep track of Shuttle costs.  Regardless, it doesn't matter how much they shift around, it still comes out of NASA's overall budget - and so far the budget has not been increased to account for flying the SLS operationally.
This is a straw man argument.

Once core development (by far the most expensive) winds down the money will be there within the appropriated budget. No one is planning on any substantial increase.

This is speculation of course, since no one in the political world that is responsible for providing NASA with funding has stated that NASA's budget will not be decreased as development winds down on the SLS.  And the only way to they would increase funding would be by approving a mission or payload for the SLS, and so far they have not seriously considered any.

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Once STS was built they found ways to build and fly things. Anyone who thinks it is not possible again has their head in the sand.

I'm not sure you realize the difference between the Shuttle and the SLS, and how that affects the future of the SLS.

The Shuttle was a transportation system that was planned to provide frequent, low-cost access to space for payloads up to about 20mt, which satisfied the needs of just about every commercial, military and NASA product and program.  Customers were building payloads for the Shuttle well in advance of the Shuttle becoming operational.  Just a few examples:

- The first commercial payload launch on the Shuttle (SBS 3) was ordered in 1977 and launched on STS-5 (11/11/82).

- NASA's first TDRS satellite was launched on STS-6 (4/4/83).  Don't know when construction started, but it was 3 more years until the second of seven ordered was ready for launch.

- The Hubble was funded in 1978 and initially planned to fly on the Shuttle in 1983.  It was delayed until 1990, which is another cautionary tale for the SLS.

Just look at the list of Shuttle missions on this Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Space_Shuttle_missions) and you'll see that customers were not waiting for the Shuttle system to proven before they committed to flying on it.  Which was pretty ballsy considering no one had ever created a manned, reusable spaceplane before.  By comparison there is virtually no technical risk concerning the SLS - the U.S. aerospace industry has been building rockets for decades, and is pretty good at it.

But the SLS is not being built to provide frequent, low-cost access to space, nor is it supposed to be the primary transportation system that commercial, military and NASA will use.  NASA will not even use it for every need they have, since it's too expensive.

So while the answer for the question "who will use the Shuttle" was "EVERYONE", the answer to the question of "who will use the SLS" is "only users that have HLV-sized payloads or need high-energy transport beyond Earth".  See the difference?

The pool of potential payloads for the SLS is rather limited without substantially increased funding by Congress for new NASA missions such as going to the Moon/Mars, and the Europa and Mars sample return missions are not enough need to justify the SLS by themselves (and who knows when they will eventually launch anyways).

At this point the SLS is a niche solution for a need that has not been proven.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/09/2014 08:30 pm
If HSF wasn't being carried out, legislators would probably see NASA as simply a smaller agency like ESA.

It's a possibility.  Although part of the reason we are doing what we're doing today, and the way we're doing it, is that NASA has a very large facility and industrial base (what I'll call the "NASA Industry Complex") that relies on continued funding - doing whatever.  That was definitely part of the thinking for why the SLS and Orion/MPCV were created out of the ashes of the Constellation program, since NASA did not ask for them.

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Cancelling SLS/Orion doesn't lead a legislator to all of a sudden think we need to pour 3 billiion a year into heliophysics instead. Ok, we aren't sending humans to space, therefore we need to understand the sun better. It just doesn't compute.

You are right.  If that were all that was to considered, it would not compute or equate.  But we have the "NASA Industry Complex" to take into consideration.  Can you see a politician like Shelby voting to significantly reduce the size of the Marshall Space Flight Center - for any reason?  How do you think Boeing and Lockheed Martin would react to a significant reduction in contracts coming from NASA?  Lots of people care about these topics, and not for the reasons you or I would.

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It is just as likely to go to some other agency or leave the budget altogether to accomplish deficit reduction.

If politics was not involved that may be true.  But for the good or bad, politics is heavily involved, so it's hard to predict what would happen.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: mike robel on 12/09/2014 09:21 pm

You are right.  If that were all that was to considered, it would not compute or equate.  But we have the "NASA Industry Complex" to take into consideration.  Can you see a politician like Shelby voting to significantly reduce the size of the Marshall Space Flight Center - for any reason?  How do you think Boeing and Lockheed Martin would react to a significant reduction in contracts coming from NASA?  Lots of people care about these topics, and not for the reasons you or I would.


I suspect Companies would react the same way they do when military projects are cut.  Take the cancellation fee, fire a bunch of people, bitch through their lobbyists, and look for new work and/or try to self off non-productive portuons of the company, or pursue mergers.

Politicians of all sorts vote to shut down military facilities.  Such a program could benefit NASA through consolidation of similar functions at different locations.  For example (although this would probably not be done now cause it would be way expensive, even if someone provided an excellent reason) move all functions of JSC to KSC.  Control facilities would be centralized, all training would take place at KSC, travel between JSC and KSC would be saved, and I am sure there would be other benefits.  Perhaps even movement of MSFC to KSC would result in further savings and consolidation.

Balenced against this, from NASA's view would be the further erosion of their political support base.

But there is undoubtedly a little pork fat that could be trimmed from other centers and merged.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 12/09/2014 10:34 pm
I doubt they shifted the full amount over though, since at the time NASA really didn't keep track of Shuttle costs.  Regardless, it doesn't matter how much they shift around, it still comes out of NASA's overall budget - and so far the budget has not been increased to account for flying the SLS operationally.
This is a straw man argument.

Once core development (by far the most expensive) winds down the money will be there within the appropriated budget. No one is planning on any substantial increase.

This is speculation of course, since no one in the political world that is responsible for providing NASA with funding has stated that NASA's budget will not be decreased as development winds down on the SLS.  And the only way to they would increase funding would be by approving a mission or payload for the SLS, and so far they have not seriously considered any.

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Once STS was built they found ways to build and fly things. Anyone who thinks it is not possible again has their head in the sand.

I'm not sure you realize the difference between the Shuttle and the SLS, and how that affects the future of the SLS.

The Shuttle was a transportation system that was planned to provide frequent, low-cost access to space for payloads up to about 20mt, which satisfied the needs of just about every commercial, military and NASA product and program.  Customers were building payloads for the Shuttle well in advance of the Shuttle becoming operational.  Just a few examples:

- The first commercial payload launch on the Shuttle (SBS 3) was ordered in 1977 and launched on STS-5 (11/11/82).

- NASA's first TDRS satellite was launched on STS-6 (4/4/83).  Don't know when construction started, but it was 3 more years until the second of seven ordered was ready for launch.

- The Hubble was funded in 1978 and initially planned to fly on the Shuttle in 1983.  It was delayed until 1990, which is another cautionary tale for the SLS.

Just look at the list of Shuttle missions on this Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Space_Shuttle_missions) and you'll see that customers were not waiting for the Shuttle system to proven before they committed to flying on it.  Which was pretty ballsy considering no one had ever created a manned, reusable spaceplane before.  By comparison there is virtually no technical risk concerning the SLS - the U.S. aerospace industry has been building rockets for decades, and is pretty good at it.

But the SLS is not being built to provide frequent, low-cost access to space, nor is it supposed to be the primary transportation system that commercial, military and NASA will use.  NASA will not even use it for every need they have, since it's too expensive.

So while the answer for the question "who will use the Shuttle" was "EVERYONE", the answer to the question of "who will use the SLS" is "only users that have HLV-sized payloads or need high-energy transport beyond Earth".  See the difference?

The pool of potential payloads for the SLS is rather limited without substantially increased funding by Congress for new NASA missions such as going to the Moon/Mars, and the Europa and Mars sample return missions are not enough need to justify the SLS by themselves (and who knows when they will eventually launch anyways).

At this point the SLS is a niche solution for a need that has not been proven.

Thanks for the history lesson. Considering I was involved in shuttle this was a good laugh.

The point, which you once again sidestepped, is that it is speculation that a budget increase is required to fly anything.

Didn't you say you were in operations? You should know it's common place to see reduced operational cost as a product's life cycle moves from development to operational use.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 12/10/2014 01:13 am
Launching would be a good way of keeping them busy too.

no, launching  doesn't use development people
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: muomega0 on 12/10/2014 02:21 am
Considering I was involved in shuttle this was a good laugh.
The point, which you once again sidestepped, is that it is speculation that a budget increase is required to fly anything.
Didn't you say you were in operations? You should know it's common place to see reduced operational cost as a product's life cycle moves from development to operational use.
One would intuitively think that, but not with NASA LV and vehicle programs:  the budget request shows no reductions in total costs. 

The development of shuttle ended decades ago, operations were fairly constant 2007 to 2010, and not being reduced at all.
Also in the attached     FY2007       FY2008   FY2009     FY2010      FY2011
Total Space Shuttle     3,215.3      3,266.7    2.981.7    2.983.7          95.7

In the transition to *developing* a super HLV, using off the shelf hardware, the development costs are about the same as the Shuttle operational costs in 2011 and forward (~3B)

Per the 2015 Bill (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34827.msg1300577#msg1300577), SLS must be operational by Dec 2017 and loft 130 mT, and is funded at 2.1B and Orion 1.1B.

Per last years request (http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/508_2015_Budget_Estimates.pdf) (so values are ~), the budget is still  ~3.1B  level after 2017. 
                                  FY  13      FY14    FY2015     FY2016     FY2017   FY2018   FY 2019
ISS                                    3.7      3.8           3.9           3.9            4.0          4.1           4.6
Onion                                1.1      1.2            1.1           1.1            1.1          1.1           1.1
SLS                                   2.0      2.0            2.1          2.1            2.1          2.1          2.1     
Ground                             0.35    0.32          0.35         0.4            0.43       0.44         0.45   
Missions                                0         0               0             0               0             0               0    0  0           

2011 to 2021:  30B will be spent and still no missions, perhaps only a one test flight with crew, and funding for non-HSF Europa and Mars is TBD.
Due to economic reasons driven by politics and policy, SLS/Orion/existing EELV is not taking Astronauts anywhere important (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36258.msg1300333#msg1300333)                                 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Endeavour_01 on 12/10/2014 02:57 am

But the SLS is not being built to provide frequent, low-cost access to space, nor is it supposed to be the primary transportation system that commercial, military and NASA will use.  NASA will not even use it for every need they have, since it's too expensive.

So while the answer for the question "who will use the Shuttle" was "EVERYONE", the answer to the question of "who will use the SLS" is "only users that have HLV-sized payloads or need high-energy transport beyond Earth".  See the difference?

Why should SLS be designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space? That is what the commercial companies are for. SLS is designed to be the BEO heavy lifter which we need if we want to fly anything large beyond LEO.

We have payloads that are being designed and funded right now (namely Orion and Cygnus (and Bigelow modules too)). Even if the worst case scenario comes to pass and nothing besides Orion is developed as a payload we could still get a ~40 day mission in cis-lunar space with just two Orions docked with each other.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/10/2014 03:07 am
Quote
Per last years request (http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/508_2015_Budget_Estimates.pdf) (so values are ~), the budget is still  ~3.1B  level after 2017. 
                                  FY  13      FY14    FY2015     FY2016     FY2017   FY2018   FY 2019
ISS                                    3.7      3.8           3.9           3.9            4.0          4.1           4.6
Onion                                1.1      1.2            1.1           1.1            1.1          1.1           1.1
SLS                                   2.0      2.0            2.1          2.1            2.1          2.1          2.1     
Ground                             0.35    0.32          0.35         0.4            0.43       0.44         0.45   
Missions                                0         0               0             0               0             0               0    0  0           
Thanks for that.  Part of the answer for "where's the money for missions?" is clearly right there. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/10/2014 03:55 am
Thanks for the history lesson.

You're welcome.

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Considering I was involved in shuttle this was a good laugh.

My answers are not specifically directed at any one person, and not everyone that would be reading what I wrote would be steeped in Shuttle history.

As to your history with the Shuttle, apparently there wasn't anything that you cared to refute, so...

Quote
The point, which you once again sidestepped, is that it is speculation that a budget increase is required to fly anything.

I said no such thing.  Since you were "involved" with the Shuttle you should know that it took two separate funding streams in order to launch something to space on the Shuttle:

1.  Funding for the Shuttle system itself, which was running at $200M/month at the end of the program (per John Shannon), regardless if the Shuttle flew or not.

2.  Funding for the missions and payloads, which may or may not have been paid for by the U.S. Government, or even NASA.

And if you go back and read what I wrote you'll see that I only addressed the mission and payload side of the equation, not the operations side.  Because if there is no funding for missions and payloads for the SLS, then there is no need for the operation of the SLS.  Pretty simple.

Quote
Didn't you say you were in operations? You should know it's common place to see reduced operational cost as a product's life cycle moves from development to operational use.

Yes, manufacturing operations, so my area of expertise would be on the cost side of building things like the SLS and the payloads, and not the launch operations side.  And yes, costs should go down for the SLS on a per unit basis as it moves from development to production and more units are built, but the SLS will still be the most expensive rocket in the U.S. to use.  Most capable too, but it's unknown at this point if that's a real need at this point in time.

And again, the point of my previous post was to show that unlike the SLS, there were payloads being built at the same time as the Shuttle was being developed - customers/users had already committed to using the Shuttle.  And when the Shuttle was done with it's test program there was a constant stream of payloads from multiple users for the Shuttle to launch.

So unless there was some doubt as to whether the SLS could fly safely - which I doubt there is - the only reason why payloads aren't being developed in anticipation of the SLS becoming operational is that there is no need for an HLV at this time.  With the long development times that an HLV-sized mission/payload will need, what other explanation could there be?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: enkarha on 12/10/2014 04:51 am
The spending on exploration(SLS/Orion/CxP) was going on long  before Shuttle cancellation. The cancellation still leaves us with something like a 2.5 billion gap in inflation adjusted terms. Initial funding for a Europa mission now looks likely, and the NASA budget will be $550 million higher than the President requested. The fervor to cut doesn't seem to be focused on NASA in the least. What I don't understand is the assertion, made so surely, that Congress would rather let this money and work fizzle out (It would be the largest cancellation of an unfulfilled program in NASA history) than just give more money to Boeing to refit the node STA, Raffaello, an existing airlock, and some other elements to make something that could work to facilitate exploration to any destination you could want, give SLS a mission and Orion a recurring destination. That's just the minimum expenditure case, but I think it's still more likely than outright cancellation, especially in increasingly fat times with a viable program.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/10/2014 05:10 am
SLS is designed to be the BEO heavy lifter which we need if we want to fly anything large beyond LEO.

Well sure.  How often do we need a BEO heavy lifter?

The Europa mission would supposedly be about $2.1B, and was thought to be able to be ready by 2021 if funded in FY15.  That's about 5 years, which is really fast for NASA, but is likely because of the design attributes that have allowed for such a small budget (it's pretty simple).

The Mars Sample Return mission is not fully defined yet, and the funding for it too has not been allocated.  I'd say it's a safe bet that it will be far more than the Europa mission though - maybe even as much as JWST?  And pretty complicated too, so likely not just 5 years to develop, build and test.

This type of budget, not the SLS operations one, is the challenge.  For every mission/payload it has to have money allocated years in advance, and since the SLS has to launch no less than every 12 months that means a succession of payloads like Europa or the Mars Sample Return adds up to $Billions/year.  And that doesn't account for the budget needed to build and operate the SLS and Orion.

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We have payloads that are being designed and funded right now (namely Orion and Cygnus (and Bigelow modules too)).

The Orion is a transportation element - it job is to transport the crew to/from some sort of destination.  So a ride on the Orion doesn't do anything other than prove it's safe to ride in (which is supposed to be done during development, not operational use).  And yes, I guess you could dock it up to a Cygnus, but for what reason?  How does it solve the issues we need solved to get to Mars (or wherever)?  Congress doesn't like the ARM for just that reason, that it's not part of a coordinated effort to get us to Mars.

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Even if the worst case scenario comes to pass and nothing besides Orion is developed as a payload we could still get a ~40 day mission in cis-lunar space with just two Orions docked with each other.

Yes, we could do that too, but it still requires Congress to allocate the funding to build the Orion spacecraft years in advance (the SLS too).  And how does that support our ultimate goals in space?

And if we need an HLV so badly, why are we scrounging to find reasons to launch it?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: enkarha on 12/10/2014 05:12 am

2.  Funding for the missions and payloads, which may or may not have been paid for by the U.S. Government, or even NASA.


The last 83 missions - 19 years- were basically pure NASA. The last 35-ish were just to the ISS/Spacehab/Hubble.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: 93143 on 12/10/2014 06:03 am
And if we need an HLV so badly, why are we scrounging to find reasons to launch it?

Because people are desperately ignoring the obvious.  I have repeatedly pointed out that a lunar surface mission requires, strictly speaking, only one element that isn't already funded, and could support pretty much arbitrarily high flight rates going forward from that, with additional elements and missions added as the funding becomes available.

I also don't think the lander has any business costing $10B or taking ten years, not when options like Xeus are on the table and companies like SpaceX are providing a good example.

The asteroid mission is a one-off, or at best a very low-rate program that doesn't allow the launcher and capsule to be properly exercised.  The same is true of planetary probe missions, except that they don't even use the capsule.  An L-point station by itself is a bit of a self-licking ice cream cone.  Mars is too far in the future, and leaves us scrambling for something to do with the launcher and capsule while the rest of the architecture is being funded and developed.  I think a lunar surface mission is the only near-term mission that makes sense as an 'anchor tenant' for SLS/Orion, and I think Congress knows this, which is why they keep mentioning it in legislation.

The only thing standing in the way is the current Administration, which seems to be pretty solidly opposed to the idea for no good reason I can see.  And even that doesn't seem to be preventing NASA from producing lunar surface mission plans any more.

...

I will note that I am not working from detailed documents here.  NASA might well come up with a roadmap that fully utilizes SLS right up until the first manned Mars shot without setting a single boot on the moon or resorting to make-work missions, or blowing past their funding cap to speed up development.  But it seems like a stretch to me.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Oli on 12/10/2014 03:34 pm
An L-point station by itself is a bit of a self-licking ice cream cone.

I think a lunar surface mission is the only near-term mission that makes sense as an 'anchor tenant' for SLS/Orion, and I think Congress knows this, which is why they keep mentioning it in legislation.

Self-licking ice cream is exactly what NASA needs ;)

According to the NRC report an operationally viable Moon to Mars pathway will allow for lunar sorties in the late 2020s at the earliest (assuming ISS is retired in 2020). That pathway though foresees a lunar outpost a few years after the sorties, so I'm not sure how early the budget would allow for lunar sorties without an outpost later down the road.

The ARM to Mars pathway on the other hand allows for a first mission to the Martian moons in 2030. It also allows for missions to cis-lunar space from the mid 2020s until 2030.

Personally I find the Martian moons more exciting than a repetition of the Apollo missions.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: vulture4 on 12/10/2014 04:41 pm
I think it makes more sense to start with the Moon since there is at least some prospect of building a permanent base there whereas a mission directly to the Marian moons would be viewed as a one-off spectacular. Also the Orion was designed for the 28-day lunar mission. However I agree that the Marian moons make reasonable next step, though I think we should at least plan a robotic lander first. I don't see any prospect of getting the funding increase that would be needed to use SLS/Orion for this. On any mission of more than one month the Orion serves only for launch and entry and remains in storage the rest of the time, so the Dragon is in play as well. Regarding the Europa and MSR missions, IMHO the money for the launch should be allocated to the Science budget to spend as they see fit. If they want to get a cheaper booster and spend more on one or more payloads that is their choice. As Heinlein said, "There's no such thing as a free launch."
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Oli on 12/10/2014 04:54 pm
I think it makes more sense to start with the Moon since there is at least some prospect of building a permanent base there whereas a mission directly to the Marian moons would be viewed as a one-off spectacular. Also the Orion was designed for the 28-day lunar mission. However I agree that the Marian moons make reasonable next step, though I think we should at least plan a robotic lander first. I don't see any prospect of getting the funding increase that would be needed to use SLS/Orion for this. On any mission of more than one month the Orion serves only for launch and entry and remains in storage the rest of the time, so the Dragon is in play as well. Regarding the Europa and MSR missions, IMHO the money for the launch should be allocated to the Science budget to spend as they see fit. If they want to get a cheaper booster and spend more on one or more payloads that is their choice. As Heinlein said, "There's no such thing as a free launch."

In the ARM to Mars pathway there would be 3 missions to the Martian Moons (one every 2 years) preceding the Mars landing in 2037 .

In the Moon to Mars pathway there would be 6 lunar outpost missions in the 2030s (one every year) preceding a Mars landing in 2041. The outpost would not be permanent, it would only be operated for 6 years.

Both scenarios assume the same annual budget increase and ISS retirement in 2020.

Regarding Orion, it is part of every Mars mission design coming from NASA, so I don't see your point.


 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: TomH on 12/10/2014 09:49 pm
Personally I find the Martian moons more exciting than a repetition of the Apollo missions.

Ditto. Phobos rendezvous should be first thing we do after manned test flight.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: 93143 on 12/10/2014 10:13 pm
The ARM to Mars pathway on the other hand allows for a first mission to the Martian moons in 2030.

Yeah, but it doesn't launch often enough before then, even with a large budget boost:
Quote
Operational tempo in the schedule-constrained scenario is in general excellent for all the
pathways, except for ARM-to-Mars, where the technology development “cliff” imposes delay.

Regarding the Europa and MSR missions, IMHO the money for the launch should be allocated to the Science budget to spend as they see fit. If they want to get a cheaper booster and spend more on one or more payloads that is their choice. As Heinlein said, "There's no such thing as a free launch."

So you'd rather force reality to fit the pronouncements of a science fiction author than let part of NASA take advantage of a free launch?

Why should HSF give SMD a few hundred million dollars for nothing, never mind a billion?  It's not like they can save the money on SLS if SMD doesn't end up giving it back...
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Oli on 12/11/2014 12:36 am
The ARM to Mars pathway on the other hand allows for a first mission to the Martian moons in 2030.

Yeah, but it doesn't launch often enough before then, even with a large budget boost:
Quote
Operational tempo in the schedule-constrained scenario is in general excellent for all the
pathways, except for ARM-to-Mars, where the technology development “cliff” imposes delay.

The schedule-driven scenario is considered unrealistic by the authors (page 62). In the operationally viable scenario the ARM to Mars pathway offers 9 crewed flights including the Mars mission in 2037. The Moon to Mars pathway allows for 9 crewed flights with the Mars mission in 2041. So with ARM to Mars there would actually be the same number of crewed flights in a shorter time.

What I'm not 100% sure of is where the 5 flights in the 2020s are supposed to go to. One will be ARM obviously and the rest I think will go to a L2 outpost.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: redliox on 12/11/2014 01:32 am
Personally I find the Martian moons more exciting than a repetition of the Apollo missions.

Ditto. Phobos rendezvous should be first thing we do after manned test flight.

Likewise although I think this line of talk belongs in a different thread.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: 93143 on 12/11/2014 01:52 am
The schedule-driven scenario is considered unrealistic by the authors (page 62).

And it has the highest flight rates and fastest pace of development of any of the presented alternatives.

Quote
What I'm not 100% sure of is where the 5 flights in the 2020s are supposed to go to. One will be ARM obviously and the rest I think will go to a L2 outpost.

Nope.  There's a "lunar orbital outpost" in the other two pathways, but not ARM-to-Mars.  Either ARM involves several missions to the same asteroid, or those missions are just Orion tooling around in free space with nothing to do.

The "cliff" means a Mars mission can't happen right away, regardless of funding.  But a moon mission could.  In fact I think the lander could be done for a lot less money, and thus faster, than the report assumes, but even if it can't, a funded line item within the next few years should basically eliminate the gap.

Also, IIRC they did say costs should come down with further analysis...

EDIT:  butters has a point.  This is off topic...
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: butters on 12/11/2014 02:10 am
What's the burnout acceleration like on an EUS upper stage pushing a Europa Clipper?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: 93143 on 12/11/2014 02:33 am
A few gees, I'd imagine.  The spacecraft and upper stage combined should weigh at least 12 tonnes at burnout based on the JUS specs, or more if they go with a more conservative design with a worse mass fraction, and with only four RL-10s the acceleration can't get super extreme.

Considering the sheer mass of the upper stage, I'd imagine a kick stage would be a good idea...
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: sdsds on 12/11/2014 04:42 am
NASA Receives $18 Billion in Omnibus Spending Bill by Jeff Foust — December 10, 2014
http://spacenews.com/nasa-receives-18-billion-in-omnibus-spending-bill/

The bill sets aside $100 million of that funding for a proposed Europa mission, for which the White House had requested just $15 million.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Oli on 12/11/2014 10:36 am
The schedule-driven scenario is considered unrealistic by the authors (page 62).

And it has the highest flight rates and fastest pace of development of any of the presented alternatives.

The moon campaign benefits from a lack of near-term budget constraints.

Quote
What I'm not 100% sure of is where the 5 flights in the 2020s are supposed to go to. One will be ARM obviously and the rest I think will go to a L2 outpost.

Nope.  There's a "lunar orbital outpost" in the other two pathways, but not ARM-to-Mars.  Either ARM involves several missions to the same asteroid, or those missions are just Orion tooling around in free space with nothing to do.

The "cliff" means a Mars mission can't happen right away, regardless of funding.  But a moon mission could.  In fact I think the lander could be done for a lot less money, and thus faster, than the report assumes, but even if it can't, a funded line item within the next few years should basically eliminate the gap.

Also, IIRC they did say costs should come down with further analysis...

EDIT:  butters has a point.  This is off topic...

The report is rather vague about what constitute missions to cis-lunar space. In any case, the L2 outpost it by far the cheapest item so I guess it would fit into the ARM to Mars pathway.
 
I guess if you don't plan to build a lunar outpost and merely want to fly a few sorties with a small lander then you could be right. Still, I think NASA wants to avoid doing that.

Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/11/2014 03:23 pm
The asteroid mission is a one-off, or at best a very low-rate program that doesn't allow the launcher and capsule to be properly exercised.  The same is true of planetary probe missions, except that they don't even use the capsule.

So payloads exist to serve the needs of the SLS and Orion?  You don't see that as backwards?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: 93143 on 12/11/2014 04:46 pm
There are things we could do with SLS/Orion that are worthwhile in themselves, and there are things we could do with SLS/Orion that don't result in an unacceptably low flight rate in the near term.  The question is, is there a mission that meets both criteria?

I contend that the answer is yes.  This shouldn't be surprising, because SLS (ie: Ares x Jupiter) and Orion were originally designed for that mission.

I guess if you don't plan to build a lunar outpost and merely want to fly a few sorties with a small lander then you could be right. Still, I think NASA wants to avoid doing that.

Why shouldn't an outpost be built?  Once the lander is ready, there's no rush; we can simply keep sending sorties until the base is ready.  And I don't agree that the lander would need to be small.

I guess if you don't see any value in lunar exploration as such, you'd be just as happy to pick up and leave as soon as we've practiced a bit for Mars; hence the rush to get a base down and then abandon it right away...

I'm out on a limb here and would like to close this down; it is not, after all, what the thread is supposed to be about.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Endeavour_01 on 12/11/2014 07:15 pm
A page or two back someone made the argument that the EC shouldn't be launched on the first SLS with a EUS because it would be launched on an unproven stage. I don't know if this was mentioned earlier but given the fact that ULA is changing engines in Atlas V both the new Atlas V and SLS IB would be unproven. If I was in SMD and I had to choose between two unproven launchers I would pick SLS since it is being designed to carry humans (less tolerance for failure) and would most likely be at least majority paid for by HEOMD.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 12/11/2014 07:24 pm
A page or two back someone made the argument that the EC shouldn't be launched on the first SLS with a EUS because it would be launched on an unproven stage. I don't know if this was mentioned earlier but given the fact that ULA is changing engines in Atlas V both the new Atlas V and SLS IB would be unproven. If I was in SMD and I had to choose between two unproven launchers I would pick SLS since it is being designed to carry humans (less tolerance for failure) and would most likely be at least majority paid for by HEOMD.

Atlas wouldn't be unproven, it will have launched many times before then and also will still being using existing stages.  Also, it will be carrying humans also. 

SLS will carry humans but it isn't much better than Atlas.  It was found that Constellation wouldn't might the human rating standards put forth in the early 2000's and they were rewritten. 

Atlas will be flying from a proven team, SLS will still be going through growing pains. 

So, your arguments don't hold water.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/11/2014 07:31 pm
A page or two back someone made the argument that the EC shouldn't be launched on the first SLS with a EUS because it would be launched on an unproven stage. I don't know if this was mentioned earlier but given the fact that ULA is changing engines in Atlas V both the new Atlas V and SLS IB would be unproven. If I was in SMD and I had to choose between two unproven launchers I would pick SLS since it is being designed to carry humans (less tolerance for failure) and would most likely be at least majority paid for by HEOMD.

Atlas V is on track to be human rated, and it's successor (Atlas "X"?) no doubt will be human rated too since one of ULA's owners needs a human rated launcher for their spacecraft (i.e. Boeing and their CST-100).  When that changeover occurs is unknown at this point, but it's pretty certain it will happen.

And if Atlas "X" was not an option then SMD could choose Delta IV Heavy, or by that point Falcon Heavy might be available.  And though Delta Heavy is not human rated, it is already certified for carrying what is arguably our nations most valuable payloads - spy satellites, and not humans.  And we know SpaceX will be pushing Falcon Heavy to get Air Force certified as quickly as possible to start taking away Delta IV Heavy payloads from ULA, so it might be certified enough by that point to be an option.

The SLS has a challenge in proving it's reliability since as a system (i.e. all parts flying together at the same time) it launches so infrequently.  But if the price is right SMD could be swayed, or even if the price isn't right but they are told to use SLS...

And I see Jim's less verbose post has made it out before mine, but amazingly we seem to be of like mind...  ;)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: butters on 12/11/2014 07:43 pm
SLS will likely be a rougher ride for the little probe in terms of vibration environment because of the big solids. As for taking the first ride on EUS, for all we know at this point, that might be the first SLS launch as well.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: muomega0 on 12/11/2014 08:12 pm
A page or two back someone made the argument that the EC shouldn't be launched on the first SLS with a EUS because it would be launched on an unproven stage. I don't know if this was mentioned earlier but given the fact that ULA is changing engines in Atlas V both the new Atlas V and SLS IB would be unproven. If I was in SMD and I had to choose between two unproven launchers I would pick SLS since it is being designed to carry humans (less tolerance for failure) and would most likely be at least majority paid for by HEOMD.

Atlas V is on track to be human rated, and it's successor (Atlas "X"?) no doubt will be human rated too since one of ULA's owners needs a human rated launcher for their spacecraft (i.e. Boeing and their CST-100).  When that changeover occurs is unknown at this point, but it's pretty certain it will happen.

And if Atlas "X" was not an option then SMD could choose Delta IV Heavy, or by that point Falcon Heavy might be available.  And though Delta Heavy is not human rated, it is already certified for carrying what is arguably our nations most valuable payloads - spy satellites, and not humans.  And we know SpaceX will be pushing Falcon Heavy to get Air Force certified as quickly as possible to start taking away Delta IV Heavy payloads from ULA, so it might be certified enough by that point to be an option.
Why would you certify  Atlas/Delta for crew?  Isn't one US vehicle (Falcon) enough in the short term (not FH)?
   a) its going to be replaced with a new LV with a new domestic engine
   b) the current single crew delivery system to ISS is fine
   c) Falcon can loft the ISS crew vehicle in a few years
   d) there are no BEO missions for at least a decade
   e) violates the 2005 Policy that says keep them separate  What part of "NASA is not allowed to touch this engine" don't you understand? The engine was developed with USAF money and belongs to the USAF. They are not interested in the slightest in making their "unmanned LV engine" into a more expensive "human rated engine". (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36258.msg1300295#msg1300295)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Endeavour_01 on 12/11/2014 08:52 pm
A page or two back someone made the argument that the EC shouldn't be launched on the first SLS with a EUS because it would be launched on an unproven stage. I don't know if this was mentioned earlier but given the fact that ULA is changing engines in Atlas V both the new Atlas V and SLS IB would be unproven. If I was in SMD and I had to choose between two unproven launchers I would pick SLS since it is being designed to carry humans (less tolerance for failure) and would most likely be at least majority paid for by HEOMD.

Atlas wouldn't be unproven, it will have launched many times before then and also will still being using existing stages.  Also, it will be carrying humans also. 

SLS will carry humans but it isn't much better than Atlas.  It was found that Constellation wouldn't might the human rating standards put forth in the early 2000's and they were rewritten. 

Atlas will be flying from a proven team, SLS will still be going through growing pains. 

So, your arguments don't hold water.

Of course the current Atlas is being human rated and has flown many times. The future Atlas will also be human rated but it will not have flown very long by the time EC is ready.


And if Atlas "X" was not an option then SMD could choose Delta IV Heavy, or by that point Falcon Heavy might be available.  And though Delta Heavy is not human rated, it is already certified for carrying what is arguably our nations most valuable payloads - spy satellites, and not humans.  And we know SpaceX will be pushing Falcon Heavy to get Air Force certified as quickly as possible to start taking away Delta IV Heavy payloads from ULA, so it might be certified enough by that point to be an option.

The SLS has a challenge in proving it's reliability since as a system (i.e. all parts flying together at the same time) it launches so infrequently.  But if the price is right SMD could be swayed, or even if the price isn't right but they are told to use SLS...


From what I understand though Delta IV Heavy may also be modified. Also I concur that Falcon Heavy could do the job pretty well. All I was pointing out was that the ULA launchers are being modified and that the risk of failure launching on one of them vs. SLS would be roughly similar.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: vulture4 on 12/11/2014 09:34 pm
It also appears likely to me that unless the supply of RD-180 engines is actually cut off manrating of the Atlas V will continue. The new ULA/Blue vehicle is years from first flight and will, like Falcon, require some operational experience before being accepted for human launch. I doubt any effort will be made to manrate the Delta IV since this would be expensive, the field is already rather crowded and the Delta will likely be supplanted by the new ULA/Blue Origin concept.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/11/2014 11:58 pm
Why would you certify  Atlas/Delta for crew?  Isn't one US vehicle (Falcon) enough in the short term (not FH)?

Regardless how reliable one launch system may be, it makes sense - for a number of reasons - to have more than one launch provider.

Atlas V is going to be around long enough that Boeing will be able to use it for the CST-100, and the new Atlas will not come online soon enough to satisfy NASA's needs for starting Commercial Crew flights in 2017.  And regardless whether it's the current Atlas or the future Atlas they will both use the same upper stage, which is part of the reliability equation too.

However for non-crew payloads that need to get to space in the 2020's, the new Atlas should be an option as well as Falcon Heavy.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 12/12/2014 02:20 am
Why would you certify  Atlas/Delta for crew?  Isn't one US vehicle (Falcon) enough in the short term (not FH)?
   a) its going to be replaced with a new LV with a new domestic engine
   b) the current single crew delivery system to ISS is fine
   c) Falcon can loft the ISS crew vehicle in a few years
   d) there are no BEO missions for at least a decade
   e) violates the 2005 Policy that says keep them separate  What part of "NASA is not allowed to touch this engine" don't you understand? The engine was developed with USAF money and belongs to the USAF. They are not interested in the slightest in making their "unmanned LV engine" into a more expensive "human rated engine". (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36258.msg1300295#msg1300295)

Because Boeing won a contract and they are using Atlas
a.  And your point is?
b.  No, it isn't.
c.  So can Atlas
d.  Not relevant to this discussion
e.     Again, your circular/nested links don't support your point.  That policy is OBE and still wouldn't apply to commercial crew anyways.   Your basic premise is wrong and so your argument is a house of cards.
Anyway, the "engine" does not belong the USAF and it was not develop with USAF money.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: muomega0 on 12/12/2014 01:56 pm
Why would you certify  Atlas/Delta for crew?  Isn't one US vehicle (Falcon) enough in the short term (not FH)?
   a) its going to be replaced with a new LV with a new domestic engine
   b) the current single crew delivery system to ISS is fine
   c) Falcon can loft the ISS crew vehicle in a few years
   d) there are no BEO missions for at least a decade
   e) violates the 2005 Policy that says keep them separate  What part of "NASA is not allowed to touch this engine" don't you understand? The engine was developed with USAF money and belongs to the USAF. They are not interested in the slightest in making their "unmanned LV engine" into a more expensive "human rated engine". (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36258.msg1300295#msg1300295)

Because Boeing won a contract and they are using Atlas
a.  And your point is?
b.  No, it isn't.
c.  So can Atlas
d.  Not relevant to this discussion
e.     Again, your circular/nested links don't support your point.  That policy is OBE and still wouldn't apply to commercial crew anyways.   Your basic premise is wrong and so your argument is a house of cards.
Anyway, the "engine" does not belong the USAF and it was not develop with USAF money.
The point is:
a1)  How many LVs are required to provide crew to ISS
        - Shuttle and Russia were fine for ISS for decades
        - russia will have solely closed the gap for 7 years till 2017
        - if ISS splashdown occurs in 2015, 2017, 2020, 2024 ?
        - DOD:  one LV and a second LV with a two year supply was fine for Class A payload (which is crew)
           Now add the constraint:         given the lack of money for other exploration hardware?

a2)    How many U.S. LVs are required in NASA LV independent architecture for BEO and when?
       - BEO was solely based on SLS/Orion seems quite illogical
       - If the answer to a1 is two (russia and falcon), why not spend the cash on a next gen LV instead
          o Given the higher fight rate of the single core LV (?), why fly crew on the heavy variant of any EELV or SLS which has less flights?
         
b1)  yes it is since it will be 7 years with single provider....
b2)  There is a crew escape plan, and many ships can maintain ISS in orbit in the event of a contingency

c)  yes, but do you need 3! for ISS?  is not a more economical LV more important?  Not if you work on Atlas?

d) sure it is ...if ISS splashdown occurs "soon", even 2024 what is the point of having 3 LV to ISS?

e)  With Delta, having LH2 and RS25/RS68 tied at the hip, too expensive, not in future plans (?), it does not appear to add much to the equation crew rating Delta.    With Atlas, it appears to have a better case than Delta, but with solids makes it an expensive line and has the RD-180 being replaced.   *incorrectly* (conveniently) , the policy said no crew rating--its not *my* premise---Is not a depot centric architecture with the existing fleet 60B cheaper than the SLS/Orion alternative for the same 15 missions over 20 years, where the same LVs carry crew and cargo?   *Unfortunately*, the EELV option was still too expensive (86B) for the current budget (FH was 10 B cheaper) and the mission set still does not fit within the budget--has this study been updated?

So while folks tried to fit the depot and the smaller existing fleet within the budget box, the data says:  SLS/Orion/existingEELV is not taking Astronauts to anywhere important (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36258.msg1300333#msg1300333)   EELV needs an upgrade  to be more cost effective...  let old space shine...is there a way to think differently about all this?   Yes...a multiple LV independent architecture with the goal of reuse and/or reduced costs and more mission hardware and technology development.

So policy, the inability to incrementally update hardware over decades, wrong priorities (mis allocated budget), lack of oversight and too much oversight....AncientU said it best "What a mess".

Why would you certify  Atlas/Delta for crew?  Isn't one US vehicle (Falcon) enough in the short term (not FH)?
Regardless how reliable one launch system may be, it makes sense - for a number of reasons - to have more than one launch provider.  Atlas V is going to be around long enough that Boeing will be able to use it for the CST-100, and the new Atlas will not come online soon enough to satisfy NASA's needs for starting Commercial Crew flights in 2017.  And regardless whether it's the current Atlas or the future Atlas they will both use the same upper stage, which is part of the reliability equation too.
However for non-crew payloads that need to get to space in the 2020's, the new Atlas should be an option as well as Falcon Heavy.
Yes, but with such a limited budget, is not economic access to space a more pressing need than a third LV provider to ISS?   Does not a reuseable "RL10" negate the upper stage certification?  Perhaps some real rocket scientists should start working this all out within the budget and all the priorities?
It also appears likely to me that unless the supply of RD-180 engines is actually cut off manrating of the Atlas V will continue. The new ULA/Blue vehicle is years from first flight and will, like Falcon, require some operational experience before being accepted for human launch. I doubt any effort will be made to manrate the Delta IV since this would be expensive, the field is already rather crowded and the Delta will likely be supplanted by the new ULA/Blue Origin concept.
   
Delta...see e) above, so yes field is too crowded.   Can this new LV be certified by starting with propellant deliveries to the LEO depot?  Again, Why have "3" providers to ISS?

So even if these two sample return missions are flown by SLS, with such a low flight rate, should not Class A cargo ( including crew)  be carried on common configurations (crew and cargo) with the highest flight rate (implying higher demonstrated reliability)?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 12/12/2014 03:11 pm
its not *my* premise---Is not a depot centric architecture with the existing fleet

No, because cost is not the overriding requirement.  Political realities can't be ignored.  That is where *your* premise fails.  NASA has to have its own (SLS), see congress about that.   DOD, ULA and SMD want nothing to do with SLS.  There is no synergy with any of its hardware.   Anyways, ULA has a plan for vehicle to compete with Spacex that will serve DOD, SMD and commercial.  If you want depots to replace SLS, that is fine.  The fleet:  Falcon, Antares, Delta and Atlas can exist with SLS or without SLS.  Or better yet, the fleet can exist with or without manned BLEO missions.  Just don't mess with Falcon, Antares, Delta and Atlas, leave as is and let the market sort it out.   If they are needed for manned BLEO and depots, then have NASA just contract out the launch services and not engineer the launch vehicles.  Don't combine SLS with Atlas or Delta in any discussions (like you have in the past "SLS/Atlas/Delta"), they are separate and unrelated.  And when you do talk Atlas and Delta, you also have to include Falcon and Antares, as they are part of the same fleet. 
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: muomega0 on 12/12/2014 05:17 pm
Don't combine SLS with Atlas or Delta in any discussions (like you have in the past "SLS/Atlas/Delta"), they are separate and unrelated.
The RS-25 and 68 are tied at the hip with the same folks who provide the RL-10 for these vehicles..not separate and not unrelated.    Carrying blue engines for EELV and old space engines for SLS is not cost effective...so if you do not combine NASA's BEO and LEO needs with DODs, one will not reduce cost to space (along with several other items mentioned earlier).   

Yes the engines may be substituted and increased/decreased in number from another provider, but clearly this has not occurred.  Recall also that in LV design, it about the engine and it takes center stage.    Having the same folks work on mulitiple product lines cuts costs too.  So SLS/Atlas/Delta {engines} should be consolidated with the goal of resuse, and may be replaced my newspace engines.  Old space may surprise here..time will tell.

The reality is that NASA does not require a HLV nor a Super HLV.  I expect some very creative bookkeeping to occur with SLS/Orion to stave off cancellation.  Wait for it  ;)
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Jim on 12/12/2014 05:22 pm

1. The RS-25 and 68 are tied at the hip with the same folks who provide the RL-10 for these vehicles..not separate and not unrelated.    Carrying blue engines for EELV and old space engines for SLS is not cost effective…

2. so if you do not combine NASA's BEO and LEO needs with DODs, one will not reduce cost to space (along with several other items mentioned earlier).   



Wrong again.

1.  RS-68 is going away.   So they are not related and doesn't play into long term planning

2.  Again, SLS has nothing do with reducing cost to space.  It doesn't happen enough to matter
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 12/12/2014 07:24 pm
None of this has to do with the subject of this thread. It's just the typical "SLS vs [fillintheblank]" discussion that can be found in a million other places on this site and throughout the interwebs.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: muomega0 on 12/12/2014 08:35 pm
Political realities can't be ignored.  That is where *your* premise fails.  NASA has to have its own (SLS), see congress about that.   DOD, ULA and SMD want nothing to do with SLS.  There is no synergy with any of its hardware.   Anyways, ULA has a plan for vehicle to compete with Spacex that will serve DOD, SMD and commercial.     
If you want depots to replace SLS, that is fine. {snip}  leave as is and let the market sort it out.
No cash no depot...."Market" no want depots..no depots...the market is quite complex.  To infinity and beyond....infinity is the time scale.

None of this has to do with the subject of this thread. It's just the typical "SLS vs [fillintheblank]" discussion that can be found in a million other places on this site and throughout the interwebs.
SLS and Orion represent are the centerpieces of all that is wrong with the process and actually restate the obvious:  "One thing you can count on however, is that they will increase spending on their political interests and cut taxes for the same."  "its all about the base"
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jtrame on 12/12/2014 10:05 pm
Political realities can't be ignored.  That is where *your* premise fails.  NASA has to have its own (SLS), see congress about that.   DOD, ULA and SMD want nothing to do with SLS.  There is no synergy with any of its hardware.   Anyways, ULA has a plan for vehicle to compete with Spacex that will serve DOD, SMD and commercial.     
If you want depots to replace SLS, that is fine. {snip}  leave as is and let the market sort it out.
No cash no depot...."Market" no want depots..no depots...the market is quite complex.  To infinity and beyond....infinity is the time scale.

None of this has to do with the subject of this thread. It's just the typical "SLS vs [fillintheblank]" discussion that can be found in a million other places on this site and throughout the interwebs.
SLS and Orion represent are the centerpieces of all that is wrong with the process and actually restate the obvious:  "One thing you can count on however, is that they will increase spending on their political interests and cut taxes for the same."

Talk about Mars and Europa or be gone
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: jongoff on 12/12/2014 11:11 pm
Political realities can't be ignored.  That is where *your* premise fails.  NASA has to have its own (SLS), see congress about that.   DOD, ULA and SMD want nothing to do with SLS.  There is no synergy with any of its hardware.   Anyways, ULA has a plan for vehicle to compete with Spacex that will serve DOD, SMD and commercial.     
If you want depots to replace SLS, that is fine. {snip}  leave as is and let the market sort it out.
No cash no depot...."Market" no want depots..no depots...the market is quite complex.  To infinity and beyond....infinity is the time scale.

None of this has to do with the subject of this thread. It's just the typical "SLS vs [fillintheblank]" discussion that can be found in a million other places on this site and throughout the interwebs.
SLS and Orion represent are the centerpieces of all that is wrong with the process and actually restate the obvious:  "One thing you can count on however, is that they will increase spending on their political interests and cut taxes for the same."

Talk about Mars and Europa or be gone

As much as I agree with mu0mega on depots and the wastefulness of SLS/Orion, I agree with jtrame that this isn't the thread for that discussion.

~Jon
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 01/02/2015 05:48 pm
This is a 1969 paper on how the Saturn V could be used in the 1970s for various missions, including planetary missions.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: vulture4 on 01/04/2015 10:46 pm
This is a 1969 paper on how the Saturn V could be used in the 1970s for various missions, including planetary missions.
I remember those times. Unfortunately those who advocated this approach were unable to develop the level of grassroots public support needed to bring about the large investment to continue Saturn production, establish lunar bases, and develop HLV-based planetary probes. Even the proposal for a second Skylab was dropped.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 01/06/2015 06:19 pm
This is a 1969 paper on how the Saturn V could be used in the 1970s for various missions, including planetary missions.
I remember those times. Unfortunately those who advocated this approach were unable to develop the level of grassroots public support needed to bring about the large investment to continue Saturn production, establish lunar bases, and develop HLV-based planetary probes. Even the proposal for a second Skylab was dropped.

They didn't need grassroots support. They needed presidential support and they didn't get it (Nixon was tired of lunar missions and wanted to cancel many of the rest of them, and his people wanted to solve a budget problem and carve a lot of money out of NASA). John Logsdon's book, on Nixon's space policy, is due out in spring 2015 and has a lot of information on this.

Congress was also wary and cut NASA's budget, but Nixon's people went after it with an axe.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: redliox on 01/06/2015 09:45 pm
This is a 1969 paper on how the Saturn V could be used in the 1970s for various missions, including planetary missions.
I remember those times. Unfortunately those who advocated this approach were unable to develop the level of grassroots public support needed to bring about the large investment to continue Saturn production, establish lunar bases, and develop HLV-based planetary probes. Even the proposal for a second Skylab was dropped.

They didn't need grassroots support. They needed presidential support and they didn't get it (Nixon was tired of lunar missions and wanted to cancel many of the rest of them, and his people wanted to solve a budget problem and carve a lot of money out of NASA). John Logsdon's book, on Nixon's space policy, is due out in spring 2015 and has a lot of information on this.

Congress was also wary and cut NASA's budget, but Nixon's people went after it with an axe.

No kidding on everything you both said.  All my generation of the '80s was left with was an explosive winged firecracker and a series of incrementally less impressive space stations on paper.  I still remember when the 25th Apollo Moon landing anniversary came how the newspaper ran a political cartoon showing "Then" with a classic shot of an astronaut with flag on the Moon and "Now" showing a dumpy shuttle with the word bubble 'Oh look!  Guppies having sex!' that mocked the Columbia's then-occurring biology mission.

...you can guess I was the one kid during the Kennedy Space Center tours that'd loudly point out "But it doesn't GO anywhere!"  Mr. Bolden would have loathed to have been my guide.  ;)

Seriously though, I do hope there is some sincerity amid the arguments for SLS in learning from STS and trying to apply the best from it.  I'd argue over where the best destination to go is, but SLS feels like something worth putting some faith in.

Getting back to topic and the previously mentioned "what-ifs" of Saturn V being applied for probes, I do remember the Martian Voyager concept being proposed to launch by S-V but with no luck.  For SLS unmanned, unless its a precursor or cargo flight it is a bit overkill for most Mars missions, save only MSR; I recall Zubrin pointing out MSR could use small Deltas if fuel production was used but NASA never applied that.  For probes the outer planets need something of SLS' class badly, especially for Saturn and beyond.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: deltaV on 01/08/2015 05:04 am
Time value of money will actually make the Atlas option look even better--expenses in out years (operations) get discounted compared to costs up front (launch).

That's true if the two potential programs have the same start date, but IMHO a fairer comparison is between two programs with the same science date. For a fixed science date the SLS-based mission can delay construction and launch and their costs by a few years. This would ordinarily reduce costs once you correct for time value of money, but the unusually high aerospace inflation rate may actually exceed the unusually low US government interest rate so the relevant real interest rates may be negative and hence the ordinary rule that later is cheaper may not apply here.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: savuporo on 01/08/2015 05:09 am
Is there a serious update on how MAV is supposed to be built for this SLS powered MSR ? Because i went looking, and i found little. I saw some mentions of resurrecting XLR-132 as the ascent engine - hydrazine ftw ?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 01/08/2015 12:45 pm
Is there a serious update on how MAV is supposed to be built for this SLS powered MSR ? Because i went looking, and i found little. I saw some mentions of resurrecting XLR-132 as the ascent engine - hydrazine ftw ?

Don't you think it's a little early for that? They just finished the baseline on the instruments for the 2020 Rover.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: savuporo on 01/08/2015 03:39 pm
Is there a serious update on how MAV is supposed to be built for this SLS powered MSR ? Because i went looking, and i found little. I saw some mentions of resurrecting XLR-132 as the ascent engine - hydrazine ftw ?

Don't you think it's a little early for that? They just finished the baseline on the instruments for the 2020 Rover.

Well, someone must have done at least a spreadsheet calculating some basics for this single-short MSR, and baselined some sort of MAV in there, with some return payload capability. The scientific value of such would hinge a lot on the proposed return capability.
Some previous well developed MSR plans, even though programmatically and financially somewhat viable, did not go anywhere precisely because the return capability was simply not worth it.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: TaurusLittrow on 01/11/2015 12:53 pm
OK, is anyone else confused with the SLS manifest? Is it just me?

So EM-2, ostensibly ARM, has been delayed to the mid 2020s. Right? But EM-3, supposedly the second flight of a crewed Orion, is slated for late 2023.

Presumably, the ARM mission will have to be renumbered, but that still leaves a crewed EM-2 flight to be defined – unless EM-2 will be directed to an uncrewed mission (Europa in 2022/23?).

Does anyone understand NASA’s current thinking about the SLS flight sequence? If so, can you please explain it in agricultural terms so us simple folk understand.


Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 01/11/2015 01:22 pm
I think this is what happens when the launch vehicle, not the mission, is the goal.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: RonM on 01/11/2015 01:23 pm
OK, is anyone else confused with the SLS manifest? Is it just me?

So EM-2, ostensibly ARM, has been delayed to the mid 2020s. Right? But EM-3, supposedly the second flight of a crewed Orion, is slated for late 2023.

Presumably, the ARM mission will have to be renumbered, but that still leaves a crewed EM-2 flight to be defined – unless EM-2 will be directed to an uncrewed mission (Europa in 2022/23?).

Does anyone understand NASA’s current thinking about the SLS flight sequence? If so, can you please explain it in agricultural terms so us simple folk understand.

ARM isn't EM-2, it's just idea to have something for the Orion crew to do other than orbit the Moon. The ARM concept doesn't seem to be popular with Congress, so it will probably never happen.

The schedule keeps changing because plans keep changing. The only thing for sure is that there will be an unmanned Orion test and a manned Orion test. Congress hasn't approved any money for other missions.

ARM is off topic for this thread. Getting back to Europa and MSR on SLS, those probably won't get funded. It seems like there are dozens of PowerPoint missions for every mission that does fly.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: llanitedave on 01/11/2015 03:40 pm
I think this is what happens when the launch vehicle, not the mission, is the goal.

Maybe, but a vehicle that is not dedicated to just one mission is the norm.  We don't manufacture any other vehicle for just a single purpose.  Automobiles and trucks have no specific mission in mind when they're built.  Neither do airliners or cargo planes.  Even large ships have quite a bit of flexibility in the kinds of missions they can take on. 

And the Atlas V and Delta IV and Falcon 9 are all multi-role launchers as well.  The Saturn V had follow-on missions envisioned that were not to the Moon.Why should the SLS be designed and built for a single mission when virtually no other means of transportation is?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 01/11/2015 07:28 pm
I think this is what happens when the launch vehicle, not the mission, is the goal.

Maybe, but a vehicle that is not dedicated to just one mission is the norm.  We don't manufacture any other vehicle for just a single purpose.  Automobiles and trucks have no specific mission in mind when they're built.  Neither do airliners or cargo planes.  Even large ships have quite a bit of flexibility in the kinds of missions they can take on.

Typically transport vehicles like the ones you cited are built based on known demand, and forecasted future demand.  Certainly when substantially larger transport vehicles have been built (like the 747, super tankers, and heavy haulers) it's been because the current systems have been demonstrated to have been tapped out capacity-wise, and are limiting future growth.

Congress determined there was a need for a government HLV, not the government customer base that needs payloads moved to & through space (i.e. NASA, DoD/NRO, etc.).  And when I say "customer base", I mean entities that have funded payloads, which does not include people sitting in offices and conferences making wishes.

Now that's not to say that users for an HLV won't eventually appear, but the Europa and MSR missions certainly haven't committed to the SLS yet, nor have any other missions been funded after the SLS becomes operational.  So what we're watching is a slow race to find out if enough users will be found before it's determined there really isn't a need for a government HLV.

Quote
And the Atlas V and Delta IV and Falcon 9 are all multi-role launchers as well.

A good example of what I talked about above, these three launchers are all busy launching for many customers.  But the heavy versions of the Delta IV and the Falcon Heavy are not in high demand, meaning that so far the market (both commercial and U.S. Government) doesn't have a big demand for these capabilities, at these prices.

Now it could be argued that even Falcon Heavy is not big enough for a potential group of users, and that they are waiting for something (like the SLS) that would provide a much larger increase in capabilities.  Evidence of that should have already been emerging in the years since the SLS has been authorized, but so far there is only proposals, but no funding.

Quote
The Saturn V had follow-on missions envisioned that were not to the Moon.

You have to keep in mind how much money an HLV launch system requires in order to operate at a safe launch cadence, which for the SLS is supposed to be no-less-than every 12 months.  With the Saturn V, our government decided not to commit to the level of activity in space that merited an HLV like the Saturn V, and instead thought that all they needed was the future Shuttle system.

So has our government decided that it's ready to spend enough on space that an HLV is required?

Quote
Why should the SLS be designed and built for a single mission when virtually no other means of transportation is?

Doesn't have to be.  But successful transportation systems are able to find customers for their niche capabilities - we're still waiting for that to happen with the SLS.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Vultur on 01/11/2015 08:19 pm
Some previous well developed MSR plans, even though programmatically and financially somewhat viable, did not go anywhere precisely because the return capability was simply not worth it.

How much does it take to be worth it? I thought it didn't take much sample these days for good science. IE OSIRIS-REX is suppose to collect a minimum of 60 grams.

Or is it different in the case of Mars since we already have meteorites?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: llanitedave on 01/11/2015 08:38 pm
I think this is what happens when the launch vehicle, not the mission, is the goal.

Maybe, but a vehicle that is not dedicated to just one mission is the norm.  We don't manufacture any other vehicle for just a single purpose.  Automobiles and trucks have no specific mission in mind when they're built.  Neither do airliners or cargo planes.  Even large ships have quite a bit of flexibility in the kinds of missions they can take on.

Typically transport vehicles like the ones you cited are built based on known demand, and forecasted future demand.  Certainly when substantially larger transport vehicles have been built (like the 747, super tankers, and heavy haulers) it's been because the current systems have been demonstrated to have been tapped out capacity-wise, and are limiting future growth.

Congress determined there was a need for a government HLV, not the government customer base that needs payloads moved to & through space (i.e. NASA, DoD/NRO, etc.).  And when I say "customer base", I mean entities that have funded payloads, which does not include people sitting in offices and conferences making wishes.

Now that's not to say that users for an HLV won't eventually appear, but the Europa and MSR missions certainly haven't committed to the SLS yet, nor have any other missions been funded after the SLS becomes operational.  So what we're watching is a slow race to find out if enough users will be found before it's determined there really isn't a need for a government HLV.

Quote
And the Atlas V and Delta IV and Falcon 9 are all multi-role launchers as well.

A good example of what I talked about above, these three launchers are all busy launching for many customers.  But the heavy versions of the Delta IV and the Falcon Heavy are not in high demand, meaning that so far the market (both commercial and U.S. Government) doesn't have a big demand for these capabilities, at these prices.

Now it could be argued that even Falcon Heavy is not big enough for a potential group of users, and that they are waiting for something (like the SLS) that would provide a much larger increase in capabilities.  Evidence of that should have already been emerging in the years since the SLS has been authorized, but so far there is only proposals, but no funding.

Quote
The Saturn V had follow-on missions envisioned that were not to the Moon.

You have to keep in mind how much money an HLV launch system requires in order to operate at a safe launch cadence, which for the SLS is supposed to be no-less-than every 12 months.  With the Saturn V, our government decided not to commit to the level of activity in space that merited an HLV like the Saturn V, and instead thought that all they needed was the future Shuttle system.

So has our government decided that it's ready to spend enough on space that an HLV is required?

Quote
Why should the SLS be designed and built for a single mission when virtually no other means of transportation is?

Doesn't have to be.  But successful transportation systems are able to find customers for their niche capabilities - we're still waiting for that to happen with the SLS.

Points all well taken.  But that has nothing to do with SLS being at a disadvantage because it doesn't have a single-mission focus.  Plus, there is a feedback system that has to work as well.  Some types of missions cannot exist until there is a vehicle capable of carrying them out, therefore there will be no demand for them, until it becomes obvious that they can be done.  Most of the aircraft used today perform missions that were unimaginable at the time of the Wright Brothers.  But their little flyer was not a single-role machine, either.  It didn't have any mission except to fly.  Once it was available, people started thinking of things for it to do.

Cost is an issue and potential obstacle, no doubt.  But I suspect, IF the system is handled properly, that a lot of demands that until now exist only in the imagination, will start coming forward.

Even if it fails due to cost and complexity, it will still serve as an illustration of what can be done with enough payload capacity, and serve as a reservoir for ideas for missions that a similarly capable but cheaper vehicle could accomplish.

I'd like to see SLS fail -- but to fail by being supplanted by economical competition, not to have its potential simply wither on the vine.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Coastal Ron on 01/11/2015 09:35 pm
Points all well taken.  But that has nothing to do with SLS being at a disadvantage because it doesn't have a single-mission focus.

In the transportation industry usually there is a launch customer for the upsized vehicles.  Pan Am for the 747 is a classic example, where they had maxed out their airport landing slots and needed a larger capacity vehicle to increase potential revenue.

For the SLS NASA is the launch customer, and because the SLS is a government vehicle it is unlikely to be used for commercial reasons (not near-term at least).  And as far as we know the DoD/NRO is not interested in relying on a NASA vehicle again, or at least not until it's been proven (i.e. the chicken & egg causality dilemma).

So though the SLS would not be limited to only one type of mission that it could support, at least for now it's limited in only supporting one customer - NASA.  So understanding what NASA will or will not be allowed to do in the near future would be a direct indication of what the future of the SLS will be.

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Plus, there is a feedback system that has to work as well.  Some types of missions cannot exist until there is a vehicle capable of carrying them out, therefore there will be no demand for them, until it becomes obvious that they can be done.

This assumes that there is a clear demarcation line between what can or can't be done in space with existing launchers and a government HLV.  I don't think there is a clear demarcation line.

For instance, can the Europa mission be done with an existing launcher?  Yes.  Sure it would take more years, but the SLS would likely cost far more than a commercial launcher, so it's likely a time vs money equation here.

As to the Mars Sample Return, no doubt having more throw-weight is an advantage, but here again there would be alternatives.  One would be if we broke up the mission elements into more than one launch using existing launchers.  This is not something we have perfected though, but it's something we do need to perfect regardless whether we have HLV's or not.

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Most of the aircraft used today perform missions that were unimaginable at the time of the Wright Brothers.  But their little flyer was not a single-role machine, either.  It didn't have any mission except to fly.  Once it was available, people started thinking of things for it to do.

With a new product/service that is true, but launching payloads to space is a pretty mature service.  We've been expounding and experimenting with ideas on what we should be doing in space for over half a century.  So we don't lack for ideas.

So what's been holding us back?  Many make the argument that what we need is lower cost access to space more than we need the ability to move more mass with one launch.  That what's been holding us back is the tremendous cost of doing things in space, not the ability to upsize what we do, and certainly the 450mt ISS shows that we can do big stuff in space using small payload chunks (i.e. less than 20mt).

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Cost is an issue and potential obstacle, no doubt.  But I suspect, IF the system is handled properly, that a lot of demands that until now exist only in the imagination, will start coming forward.

At this point NASA has to shoulder the entire burden of the SLS and it's payload eco-system, so cost is the #1 issue.  Can NASA afford to develop and operate not only the SLS and Orion, but the missions and payloads that use the SLS and Orion?  It's not just an SLS question.

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Even if it fails due to cost and complexity, it will still serve as an illustration of what can be done with enough payload capacity, and serve as a reservoir for ideas for missions that a similarly capable but cheaper vehicle could accomplish.

The U.S. has already operated an HLV launch system (i.e. Saturn V), so we already know we can build an HLV and operate it safely.  This is strictly a question of need - is there enough need for a government-owned HLV?

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I'd like to see SLS fail -- but to fail by being supplanted by economical competition, not to have its potential simply wither on the vine.

The sooner we know for sure whether a government HLV is needed the better - regardless what the answer is.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Chris Bergin on 01/11/2015 09:48 pm
Can we drop the usual (and rather boring) monotony of promoting personal opinions - to the point it only sounds like white noise after the 500th post saying the same damn thing - and get back on to the subject of this thread?

It would be REALLY appreciated.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Dalhousie on 01/12/2015 12:52 am
Some previous well developed MSR plans, even though programmatically and financially somewhat viable, did not go anywhere precisely because the return capability was simply not worth it.

How much does it take to be worth it? I thought it didn't take much sample these days for good science. IE OSIRIS-REX is suppose to collect a minimum of 60 grams.

Or is it different in the case of Mars since we already have meteorites?

Any is better than none but more is better  than less.

60 grams (~2 tablespoons of regolith) is fine for an asteroid, but is very restricting for Mars which is far more diverse than any asteroid.  Geochemists prefer to work with large samples, up to cubic metres at times.

From memory most MSR studies in the past 20 years have aimed for about 500 grams.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/12/2015 10:53 pm
A page or two back someone made the argument that the EC shouldn't be launched on the first SLS with a EUS because it would be launched on an unproven stage. I don't know if this was mentioned earlier but given the fact that ULA is changing engines in Atlas V both the new Atlas V and SLS IB would be unproven. If I was in SMD and I had to choose between two unproven launchers I would pick SLS since it is being designed to carry humans (less tolerance for failure) and would most likely be at least majority paid for by HEOMD.

Atlas wouldn't be unproven, it will have launched many times before then and also will still being using existing stages.  Also, it will be carrying humans also. 

SLS will carry humans but it isn't much better than Atlas.  It was found that Constellation wouldn't might the human rating standards put forth in the early 2000's and they were rewritten. 

Atlas will be flying from a proven team, SLS will still be going through growing pains. 

So, your arguments don't hold water.

Of course the current Atlas is being human rated and has flown many times. The future Atlas will also be human rated but it will not have flown very long by the time EC is ready.
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Nope, it will have flown MANY more times than SLS. Do the math. Atlas V currently launches, say, 7 times a year. SLS will fly once every two years. In a single year, the new Atlas will, at that point, fly more than SLS will fly in a decade.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: llanitedave on 01/13/2015 03:55 am
But will the "new" Atlas be an Atlas?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Proponent on 01/13/2015 12:00 pm
Why does it matter?  Even if it's a completely new vehicle, it will still be accumulating flight time far more rapidly than SLS.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 01/13/2015 12:27 pm
The argument is irrelevant to the forum topic.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 01/14/2015 03:06 am
I've said this before and I'll say it again, and you guys will ignore it again and debate strawmen and beat dead horses and all that stuff.

But...

Mars Sample Return for SLS is not real. It's not a real concept. Europa Clipper is a real concept--they have baselined the SLS for the ongoing Europa Clipper studies. That doesn't mean that Europa Clipper, if funded, will eventually use SLS, but it is the baseline launch vehicle for now.

Mars Sample Return is NOT real for SLS for two reasons. First, Mars 2020 is already the sample caching mission for Mars Sample Return. Thus, MSR is already started, with the Mars 2020 rover serving as the first step. Second, NASA's Science Mission Directorate CANNOT AFFORD doing a Mars Sample Return mission as a single mission on a single launcher. The cost of the cacher, ascent vehicle, and return vehicle would bust the Planetary Science Division's budget for an entire decade. That is why for over 10+ years Mars Sample Return studies have all assumed multiple missions spread out over many years launched on separate vehicles (and presumably with substantial international participation, such as having JAXA or ESA build the Earth return vehicle). The people who would actually fund Mars Sample Return (the scientists) have not assumed SLS in any of their studies, ever.

The SLS office generated the chart showing an MSR mission as a payload, NOT the people who would actually fund such a mission.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/14/2015 12:26 pm
The SLS office generated the chart showing an MSR mission as a payload, NOT the people who would actually fund such a mission.

That's the killer point, I think. SLSxP is generating lots of hot air that does not appear to be associated with reality. In itself, this is nothing unusual. It's internal office politics being played out: claiming purely fictitious synergies with already-extant or -approved projects to make it seem that your team's work is a necessary enabler of these other projects when it is not. What is odd is that this isn't an internal NASA presentation or something; it's gotten all the way to the public domain and is being presented as a serious policy.

I've said this before but, sometimes, NASA's worst enemy is its own internal politics.

FWIW, if Europa Clipper launches on anything but a tri-core version of ULA's NGLV, I'd be surprised. The TJI requirements puts it out of FH's envelope unless Musk is talking to Mitsubishi Heavy about using the MB-60 as an alternate high-energy upper stage engine.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: newpylong on 01/14/2015 12:54 pm
Where are you getting that SLS MSR is policy and not concept?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Dalhousie on 01/14/2015 08:53 pm
Why can't the 2020 rover be flown on SLS as part of a all up MSR package?  Current the 2020 rover is just a caching mission in the vague hope that a few years further down the track money will be availabel to return the samples.

ALso Mars is such a complex and diverse planet there is a need for than one MSR mission in the loong run.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Blackstar on 01/14/2015 11:55 pm
1-Why can't the 2020 rover be flown on SLS as part of a all up MSR package?  Current the 2020 rover is just a caching mission in the vague hope that a few years further down the track money will be availabel to return the samples.

2-ALso Mars is such a complex and diverse planet there is a need for than one MSR mission in the loong run.


1-Oh, it could. Now tell me: where are you going to get the extra $5-8 BILLION for the rest of the mission and do it by 2020?

2-Where's the money coming from?

Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: enkarha on 01/15/2015 02:43 am
How long would it take to return a Mars sample the way it is baselined?
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: notsorandom on 01/15/2015 03:57 pm
How long would it take to return a Mars sample the way it is baselined?
It depends on which assumptions are made. There are two more parts of the mission beyond the cashing rover. As Blackstar points out the problem with launching those parts all together is budgetary and not technical. The MSR mission outlined in the Decadal Survey has a sample return  date of late 2027. The survey is assuming a 2018 launch date for MAX-C which isn't happening. The orbiter part of the mission would launch in 2022 and the MAV and fetching rover in 2024.

The cashing rover is going to be launching in 2020, two years behind in that timeline. I don't know if that will mean the other two elements get delayed by two years as well or not. The MSR lander is supposed to start pre-phase A studies at the end of 2015 and MSR has not been committed to yet. So far the 2020 cashing rover is the only thing on the books.

I'm attaching the Decadal Survey's MSR study here. It has a lot of details in it including mass breakdowns of the various parts and hardware costs. It should be possible to play with those figures and see how launching it all on SLS changes the schedule, cost, and timeline.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/16/2015 09:11 am
The cashing rover is going to be launching in 2020, two years behind in that timeline. I don't know if that will mean the other two elements get delayed by two years as well or not.

It's a decent assumption that the slip on the rover will automatically shift the launch of the other elements rightward by the same period, just because they will still likely need the same amount of time for the rover to be ready for the other elements.
Title: Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
Post by: notsorandom on 01/16/2015 01:41 pm
The cashing rover is going to be launching in 2020, two years behind in that timeline. I don't know if that will mean the other two elements get delayed by two years as well or not.

It's a decent assumption that the slip on the rover will automatically shift the launch of the other elements rightward by the same period, just because they will still likely need the same amount of time for the rover to be ready for the other elements.
The cashing rover is launched 4 years before the next element which is the orbiter. I don't know if that is for budgetary reason or to give the rover plenty of time to find samples. Curiosity has been on Mars now for over two years and while it has been at some sites which would make good samples the best is quite likely yet to come. It would be a good argument to give the cashing rover time to do its thing. The question is is six years before the MAV lands enough or is 8 years better.