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SLS / Orion / Beyond-LEO HSF - Constellation => Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLV/SLS) => Topic started by: Svetoslav on 02/07/2018 12:34 pm

Title: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/07/2018 12:34 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/07/2018 12:51 pm
If you'll indulge my lightly comic touch a moment:

If Falcon Heavy flies successfully two more times before years end - with big, real payloads - then the knives could be or should be out for SLS. It would then be a LITERAL 'Emporer Has No Clothes' situation... Or more accurately; the Black Knight from 'Monty Python's Holy Grail', with Elon Musk playing the part of King Arthur and SLS/Boeing playing the part of the Black Knight....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmInkxbvlCs
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: whitelancer64 on 02/07/2018 12:55 pm
 The SLS will continue development, which would only make sense given that nearly all the flight hardware has been made for EM-1, and flight hardware is already in process for EM-2
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: speedevil on 02/07/2018 01:05 pm
The following comments were made by Musk, following the launch.

Probably twelve launches in 'three to four years'.
Certainly (barring accidents) several before EM-1. (Assuming Dec 19). And likely ten before EM-2, of a frozen configuration (mostly) after the next launch, though they are not planing on man-rating. (other non-quoted bits)


Quote
It depends on which national security mission that we need to get. How many flights depends on which mission but we have a number of commercial customers for Falcon Heavy and so I it's not gonna be in any way an impediment to acceptance of national security missions.  We'll be doing several heavy missions flights per year so, say there's a big national security satellite that's due for launch in three or four years and we're probably have like a dozen or more launches done by then.
I don't think launch number will be an inhibitor for national security stuff. And yeah so I think we've got the STP mission that's coming up which is another test mission that will go on falcon heavy block 5 and then we'll be launching block 5  single stick in a couple months so I think it's hopefully smooth sailing for qualification for national security missions.

Our investment to date probably a lot more than I'd like to admit. We tried to cancel the Falcon Heavy program three times at SpaceX because it's like 'man this is way harder than we thought'. The initial idea was just I thought you know you stick on two first stages of side boosters how hard can it be?  It's like way hard.
We have to redesign the center core completely.  We redesigned the grid fins, because well it's a long story but you've got a nose cone on the end of at the end of the booster instead of a cylinder, you lose control authority because if you if you've got a cylinder you can kind of bounce the air off of the rocket and you get like a 30% more increased control authority than if you've got a cylindrical section instead of a Ogive section at the end of the booster so we have to redesign the grid fins.  Redesigning the control system.
Vastly redesigned the thrust structure at the base to take way more load - that center boosters got to deal with over a million pounds of load coming in combined from the site boosters so it ends up being heavier so that the center core basically complete redesign, and even the side boosters has a pretty large number of parts that change. Then the launch site itself needs to change a lot.
I'm guessing our total investment is over half a billion. Probably more.

And on EM-1
Quote
Falcon Heavy opens up a new class of payload. It can launch more than twice as much payload as any other rocket in the world, so it's kind of up to customers what want. It can launch things direct to Pluto and beyond with no need for a gravity assist or anything. Launch giant satellites, it can do anything you want. You could send people back to the moon with a bunch of Falcon Heavy and an orbital refilling.  Two or three falcon heavies would equal the payload of a Saturn Five.
(full transcript in progress at https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43154.msg1784964#msg1784964 )

In the short term, little will change, hardware being bent will continue to be bent.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/07/2018 01:08 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?

No impact to SLS. Remember, Falcon Heavy hasn't just come on the scene....in fact she's years late and SLS wasn't riding along a competitive path. The only rocket that will be muttering in a disgruntled manner will be Delta IV-Heavy.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/07/2018 01:11 pm
Extremely good point, Chris. Perhaps the Python film extract is more appropriate to DIV-H, then.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Jim on 02/07/2018 01:23 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?

No impact to SLS. Remember, Falcon Heavy hasn't just come on the scene....in fact she's years late and SLS wasn't riding along a competitive path. The only rocket that will be muttering in a disgruntled manner will be Delta IV-Heavy.

The  Delta IV-Heavy isn't going to lose any missions over this.  No more orders are being taken.  Vulcan is going directly to a heavy capable configuration.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: wolfpack on 02/07/2018 02:17 pm
The only rocket that will be muttering in a disgruntled manner will be Delta IV-Heavy.

Ariane 5?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: bad_astra on 02/07/2018 03:06 pm
SLS won't look superfluous until and if BFR flies. After that, it's hard to understand its justification.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 02/07/2018 05:32 pm
It is not so much that FH exists but that it was so successful in all of it's goals for the Demo first flight.

There is now another BEO High Delta V capable launcher for those big NASA outer planet payloads that is open for business NOW (June 2018 [STP], Arabsat possibly earlier). SLS will not be at this point until June 2023 with the possible launch of EC. That is 5 years after FH. By that time There could be a BFR in test. If Elon is correct in his assertion of a Grasshopper like test of the BFS in 2019 (probably late 2019), actual orbital tests BFS [as a SSTO] and the combined full BFR/BFS demo(s) could already have happened by the time that the first SLS 1B is even ready for a launch.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: butters on 02/07/2018 05:47 pm
FH is a threat to SLS only to the extent that it lends credibility to the BFR project. It's an "if they can do this, they can probably do that" proposition. Otherwise it's not much of a threat to anybody in the industry, I think.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: ZachF on 02/07/2018 07:01 pm
$500 million to develop Falcon Heavy, compared to $2.5 billion per year on SLS development... We probably spend more money on SLS every year now than it took SpaceX to develop it's entire product line from scratch.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: RotoSequence on 02/07/2018 07:09 pm
$500 million to develop Falcon Heavy, compared to $2.5 billion per year on SLS development... We probably spend more money on SLS every year now than it took SpaceX to develop it's entire product line from scratch.

It's also probably a lot more rigorously studied, understood, and characterized than SpaceX's vehicle.

I wouldn't go so far to say it's money for nothing, but it might be a bit harder to see it as money well spent.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AncientU on 02/07/2018 07:13 pm
The only thing that could challenge SLS is someone in the USG deciding to actually start an exploration program using existing assets.  Nothing directly would happen to SLS even then... it would just accelerate its slide into irrelevance, then oblivion.

But that assumes someone in the USG actually do something; also highly unlikely to happen.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Toast on 02/07/2018 07:32 pm
The only thing that could challenge SLS is someone in the USG deciding to actually start an exploration program using existing assets.  Nothing directly would happen to SLS even then... it would just accelerate its slide into irrelevance, then oblivion.

But that assumes someone in the USG actually do something; also highly unlikely to happen.

Not just someone, but a majority of someones in congress. SLS will probably be short-lived, but it'll probably continue at least until first flight.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AS_501 on 02/07/2018 07:33 pm
I'm an SLS fan, but I wouldn't mind seeing some of the outer planet probes (e.g. Europa Clipper) moved to Falcon Heavy.  After all, if the launcher price in the overall mission budget is much lower, you can devote more $ to the probe itself (no skimming on science instruments).  In fact, couldn't low-cost delivery to the outer planets allow even more such probes to be approved?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/07/2018 07:44 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS?

The SLS was not created because the private sector could not develop a large rocket, nor because the U.S. Government had an identified need for a large rocket.

The SLS was created out of the contract for the Ares I/V (i.e. Constellation program), and it short-circuited the normal procurement processes that would have required some sort of justification for NASA building a large government-only rocket. So from that standpoint it lives on because of political support, not because there is an actual operational need for it.

Quote
Will there be consequences?

Likely not.

Quote
Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

The current budget, which has not been fully approved yet, is for FY2018, and it contains continuing funding for the SLS. The earliest fiscal year that changes could be made to that budget would be FY2019, which is supposed to be debated and created into law between now and the end of September.

Quote
Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?

The way things SHOULD work is that NASA identifies a task and then releases a Request For Proposal to industry. Based on that feedback NASA would then identify what the plan is they want to go with for transportation, which would include whether the SLS is assumed to be available or not. As of today NASA would have to assume that it is the transportation method of choice for NASA hardware (i.e. Orion, lunar lander, DSG elements, etc.), so I think the private sector would only have a chance to bid on a small part of such an effort.

And BTW, even though I'm a SpaceX supporter I think all services should be put out to a public bid process, and that there should be more than one provider chosen. Monopolies are not good, and part of the goal of the U.S. Government should be to ensure that our private space industry as a whole is being included - and that is worth any extra costs that may entail.

My $0.02
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: RonM on 02/07/2018 08:24 pm
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.  Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.

That's right, FH is not an SLS replacement. The potential problem for SLS will be an operational BFR/BFS or lack of large payloads justifying its existence.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AncientU on 02/07/2018 08:26 pm
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.  Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.

Sorted by Payload Capability

==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1B         2021?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1          2019?    24,500 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Falcon Heavy-X     2018?   ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
Falcon Heavy       2018?    ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version


 - Ed Kyle

No true at all. 
SLS has zero payload capability, and will continue to have zero until around 2023-2024.

FH could launch 4 times per year (easily) in support of a BEO effort... that's 1,200 tonnes to LEO by the time SLS is operational, if the program picks up the pace a bit.

PowerPoints aren't real, Ed.  You should know that.
You should also know 2019 for a test flight of SLS is fiction... 2020 if they are lucky, 2021 more likely... and that carries zero useful payload.  2021 for Block1B... hahaha.

Edit: corrected tonnage -- too high by 10x
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: bob the martian on 02/07/2018 08:51 pm
SLS is a creature of politics, not engineering or economics - the only thing that will kill it is Congress deciding it's no longer worth funding, and that decision won't be made on the basis of FH (or BFR, or NG) capability. 

What will kill SLS is Senator Shelby (and other Space Coast representatives/officials) retiring, dying, or otherwise losing their positions of power, and their replacements deciding to funnel that money to something other than manned spaceflight.  The existence of one or more privately developed systems that can deliver similar payloads for a fraction of the cost won't make a dent.   

SLS is a jobs program, designed to keep certain aerospace workers employed.  Actually using it to put stuff in orbit is a nice side benefit. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/07/2018 08:56 pm
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.  Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.

Sorted by Payload Capability

==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1B         2021?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1          2019?    24,500 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Falcon Heavy-X     2018?   ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
Falcon Heavy       2018?    ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version


 - Ed Kyle

No true at all. 
SLS has zero payload capability, and will continue to have zero until around 2023-2024.

FH could launch 4 times per year (easily) in support of a BEO effort... that's 12,000 tonnes to LEO by the time SLS is operational, if the program picks up the pace a bit.

PowerPoints aren't real, Ed.  You should know that.
You should also know 2019 for a test flight of SLS is fiction... 2020 if they are lucky, 2021 more likely... and that carries zero useful payload.  2021 for Block1B... hahaha.

Four launches a year is a powerpoint too.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Darkseraph on 02/07/2018 09:00 pm
SLS-Orion will probably survive for at least another decade to perform the Lunar detour the new administration has taken.
NASA requires it for crew transport to the Deep Space Gateway and this feature is being dropped for Falcon Heavy. No other vehicles exist capable of the mission and the BFR could easily end up as delayed as Falcon Heavy was.

However the DSG benefits from new boosters like Falcon Heavy, Vulcan-ACES and New Glenn. Commercial launch of part of the gateway is currently on the cards and these vehicles can resupply and send equipment like landers to dock with it. DSG breaks up the problem of requiring Saturn V sized rockets to explore the Moon down to vehicles international partners and companies can field. Just as the ISS outlived the gargantuan Shuttle that helped construct it, a substanial Lunar infrastructure could remain in place after the SLS program ends. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AncientU on 02/07/2018 09:02 pm
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.  Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.

Sorted by Payload Capability

==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1B         2021?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1          2019?    24,500 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Falcon Heavy-X     2018?   ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
Falcon Heavy       2018?    ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version


 - Ed Kyle

No true at all. 
SLS has zero payload capability, and will continue to have zero until around 2023-2024.

FH could launch 4 times per year (easily) in support of a BEO effort... that's 12,000 tonnes to LEO by the time SLS is operational, if the program picks up the pace a bit.

PowerPoints aren't real, Ed.  You should know that.
You should also know 2019 for a test flight of SLS is fiction... 2020 if they are lucky, 2021 more likely... and that carries zero useful payload.  2021 for Block1B... hahaha.

Four launches a year is a powerpoint too.

No, it's not.  What physical constrain is there if the USG ordered four FH's per year?
They might not have that many booked, but surely could fly them if a customer requested.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Lar on 02/07/2018 09:16 pm
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.  Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.
1) distributed lift.
2) FH could be certified for crew if it was desired that it be done. Just takes money and some time, but not a lot[1]

1 - probably less time in man hours than will be spent debating SLS before it actually launches the first time.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/07/2018 09:20 pm
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.  Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.

Sorted by Payload Capability

==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1B         2021?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1          2019?    24,500 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Falcon Heavy-X     2018?   ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
Falcon Heavy       2018?    ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version


 - Ed Kyle

No true at all. 
SLS has zero payload capability, and will continue to have zero until around 2023-2024.

FH could launch 4 times per year (easily) in support of a BEO effort... that's 12,000 tonnes to LEO by the time SLS is operational, if the program picks up the pace a bit.

PowerPoints aren't real, Ed.  You should know that.
You should also know 2019 for a test flight of SLS is fiction... 2020 if they are lucky, 2021 more likely... and that carries zero useful payload.  2021 for Block1B... hahaha.

Four launches a year is a powerpoint too.

No, it's not.  What physical constrain is there if the USG ordered four FH's per year?
They might not have that many booked, but surely could fly them if a customer requested.

Well, reality is one possible consideration. I know mods hate Tesla being mentioned here, but Musk hasn't had a stellar reputation estimating what his production flows are capable of.

When they launch 4 in a year, they will have reached that capability.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: BeamRider on 02/07/2018 09:39 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: bad_astra on 02/07/2018 10:13 pm
Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.


The two people who bought tickets for that Lunar FRT flight next year aboard a Dragon 2 on a FH apparently didn't get the memo
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/07/2018 10:14 pm
It would be a Kerbal Kludge; but an SLS using 4x Falcon 9 Block 5's as strap on, flyback boosters would have extraordinary capability. Hey, Dr Steve Pietrobon; have at it! ;)
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/07/2018 10:17 pm
Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.


The two people who bought tickets for that Lunar FRT flight next year aboard a Dragon 2 on a FH apparently didn't get the memo

It's possible that Elon has an alternate plan up his sleeve. I asked the question in another thread and had it answered that it was just about possible to do the lunar tourist flight with 2x Falcon 9 Block 5 launches.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Negan on 02/07/2018 10:19 pm
Well, reality is one possible consideration. I know mods hate Tesla being mentioned here, but Musk hasn't had a stellar reputation estimating what his production flows are capable of.

When they launch 4 in a year, they will have reached that capability.

That goal post just keeps on moving. :P
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: bob the martian on 02/07/2018 10:31 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.

Again, SLS is a creature of politics, not sensibility.  It doesn't matter that competing systems are reusable.  That's not going to be a factor in deciding whether SLS will continue or not. 

And to be fair, SLS was bending metal before SpaceX started crashing boosters into the ocean; I'm not going to fault NASA for not pursuing reusability when they were clearly directed to build an expendable system in a relatively short time frame, and especially when their previous reusable system failed to live up to its promises regarding cost and turnaround time. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: bob the martian on 02/07/2018 10:41 pm
Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.

Pedant alert - you're comparing the spacecraft (Orion) to the launch vehicle (FH).

I know what you're going for, though - an FH/Crew Dragon combination will not match the estimated capability of SLS/Orion, and that's assuming SpaceX decides to man-rate the FH, which...I don't know.  The BFR announcement has kind of thrown everyone's crystal balls for a loop. 

SpaceX has to finish the Crew Dragon for their commercial crew obligations, but whether it gets used for a lunar flyby or not is an open question in my mind.  Great PR stunt (assuming everyone makes it back alive), but doesn't exactly advance the program internally. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: BeamRider on 02/07/2018 10:43 pm
My point was not to criticize SLS, but to ask if the demonstrated feasibility of using rockets multiple times just made anything not reusable irrelevant for serious space exploration and exploitation? Exceptions sure, but really isn’t F9/H the “Dreadnought” of rockets?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: hplan on 02/07/2018 11:02 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.

Any Falcon Heavy lifting a heavy payload is also throwaway. And that'll be most of them, given that F9 can loft most commercial satellites.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Lar on 02/07/2018 11:23 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.

Any Falcon Heavy lifting a heavy payload is also throwaway. And that'll be most of them, given that F9 can loft most commercial satellites.
Distributed lift. So no. I don't think ANY B5 will be deliberately expended.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/07/2018 11:37 pm
The fate of the SLS is purely in the hands of Congress.

The SLS was not created at the request of NASA or the President of that time (Obama), it was created by Congress. The current President has not yet shown any interest in taking over responsibility for the SLS, and I doubt he will, so it will remain up to Congress to determine the fate of the SLS.

Keep in mind though that the SLS is only funded for development so far. There are no operational missions that are funded - no payloads and missions that can only fly on the SLS. That means that the SLS program could come to a halt very quickly once a review is done of the SLS in Congress. So far no one has asked for one, since that would trigger a LOT of political drama, but every day we keep getting closer to a cliff, and that cliff is that there are no payloads being built for the SLS to lift.

Essentially the emperor has no clothes, and no one is ready to point that out yet. Maybe the Falcon Heavy flight will inspire a conversation about the SLS, but the politicians supporting the SLS have never cared that there were commercial alternatives, so I don't see that being a factor...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: GWH on 02/07/2018 11:47 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.

Any Falcon Heavy lifting a heavy payload is also throwaway. And that'll be most of them, given that F9 can loft most commercial satellites.
Distributed lift. So no. I don't think ANY B5 will be deliberately expended.
Or one can also use them X times then throw away. Which is a very good compromise and makes for an incredibly flexible system.  Doesn't have to be black and white.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: joek on 02/08/2018 12:04 am
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.  Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.

That begs the question... Given SLS/Orion's capabilities and price point, is it worth a tit-for-tat replacement?  I seriously doubt it.  The price-performance of SLS/Orion makes it an egregiously expensive pig; no rational reason Falcon Heavy (or any other LV) should attempt to replace/replicate it, and every reason not to replace/replicate it.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TomH on 02/08/2018 12:39 am
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.

After four flights you get to design and build a new main engine. After a dozen so you get to design and build a new booster. And really, design & appropriations on these has to start long before you run out of the old ones.

Shelby is not going to be in office forever. Hatch will not run again. Nelson benefits regardless of who is actually launching.  As freshmen, new senators from these states will not chair the committees these men have.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: ncb1397 on 02/08/2018 12:45 am
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.  Orion is crew capable.  Falcon Heavy is not.  Falcon Heavy cannot replace SLS/Orion.  It is that simple.

Sorted by Payload Capability

==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1B         2021?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
SLS Blk 1          2019?    24,500 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Falcon Heavy-X     2018?   ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
Falcon Heavy       2018?    ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version


 - Ed Kyle

No true at all. 
SLS has zero payload capability, and will continue to have zero until around 2023-2024.

FH could launch 4 times per year (easily) in support of a BEO effort... that's 1,200 tonnes to LEO by the time SLS is operational, if the program picks up the pace a bit.

PowerPoints aren't real, Ed.  You should know that.
You should also know 2019 for a test flight of SLS is fiction... 2020 if they are lucky, 2021 more likely... and that carries zero useful payload.  2021 for Block1B... hahaha.

A test version of a spacecraft is useful payload. Tesla Roadster was the mass simulator.

And if EM-1 doesn't count because it is a test flight, then Space Test Program-2 probably doesn't count either.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 02/08/2018 01:29 am
This is not meant to sound like a SpaceX fanboy, but I’m curious what would happen if SpaceX was given the billions and billions put into Orion and SLS, along the same development timeframe. I wonder if in that alternate universe what would have happened. For one thing I doubt the expendable Orion / SLS architecture based on decades old technology (Apollo/ STS) would have been the outcome.

Point being - if you think there’s even a small chance that SpaceX might have done something better, then it should give you pause about the direction Orion and SLS has gone in, and wonder at when the discussion should happen about moving forward with it. Is this really the best direction (if so, great!) or are you tossing $100s into the sewer to make going after that $1 worth it...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AncientU on 02/08/2018 01:52 am
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.

Again, SLS is a creature of politics, not sensibility.  It doesn't matter that competing systems are reusable.  That's not going to be a factor in deciding whether SLS will continue or not. 

And to be fair, SLS was bending metal before SpaceX started crashing boosters into the ocean; I'm not going to fault NASA for not pursuing reusability when they were clearly directed to build an expendable system in a relatively short time frame, and especially when their previous reusable system failed to live up to its promises regarding cost and turnaround time.

You mean like everyone else in the history of rocketry?  ...or was there a difference this time that you so conveniently forgot to mention?  Selective amnesia?  You people that cling to the impossibly outdated history of how it should be done are impossible to believe.

NASA gave up on reusability because they don't have the chops any more to engineer it.  (Hell, they cannot even build an expendable rocket.)  You who defend that failure are owners of it.

And how is that 'relatively short time frame' coming along?

Folks, the Emperor is stark naked.  Deal.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Ike17055 on 02/08/2018 02:33 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?

No impact to SLS. Remember, Falcon Heavy hasn't just come on the scene....in fact she's years late and SLS wasn't riding along a competitive path. The only rocket that will be muttering in a disgruntled manner will be Delta IV-Heavy.

The  Delta IV-Heavy isn't going to lose any missions over this.  No more orders are being taken.  Vulcan is going directly to a heavy capable configuration.

Sort of a shame, given the grandeur of the Delta IV Heavy. The triple core config, its unique ignition, with its Liquid Hydrogen fireball always makes it an exciting launch, and personally, I think there is hardly anything that matches the sight of that D4H carrying Orion aloft to stir the heart and mind. I find I revisit that on YouTube incredibly often. Seeing it rising in free flight must have been a great experience in person. A beautiful profile, that configuration. Sorry I missed that one, but I did get to make FH launch my baptism — and what a good one it was.

( And thank you Elon, for launching on schedule; i get to spend the rest of this week in the Florida sunshine, blissfully uncommitted, instead of experiencing the latest snow storm in Pennsylvania.)
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: UltraViolet9 on 02/08/2018 03:12 am
SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raptor_prototype_upper-stage_engine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raptor_prototype_upper-stage_engine)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raptor_(rocket_engine_family) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raptor_(rocket_engine_family))

If USAF follows through on a Raptor upper stage with 2x-3x the thrust of the current FH upper stage, NASA will get a highly capable injection stage for FH for free (plus the cost of certification).

If USAF does not follow through, barring a technical showstopper, it would be idiotic for NASA not to pick up the Raptor upper stage for FH.  It would be a much, much less costly and sooner option for large TLI, TMI, Europa, etc. missions than continuing SLS development or operating SLS.

And even without a Raptor upper stage, once you're above about 40 tons, it's payload delivered over time, not per mission, that matters for human lunar or human Mars campaigns.  The SLS launch rate is woefully incompetent in this respect.  It falls far short of DRM 5.0 needs or even the mission pace of the Apollo Program.

Quote
Orion is crew capable.

SLS/Orion have _worse_ LOC projections than STS did at shutdown.  If/when a NASA Administrator or White House grapples with the reality of these figures, it's doubtful crew will launch on SLS/Orion.

To the OP's question, SLS/Orion will eventually collapse under their own weight, regardless of FH or any of the other heavy lifters in design/development.  Between a poor flight safety projection, an incompetent flight rate, and a cost/budget mismatch that keeps pushing milestones over the horizon, a good NASA Administrator with White House backing can make a credible argument for termination to Congress without ever mentioning FH, especially if they could present a reasonable plan for what to do with the workforce.  With the right leadership, NASA does not necessarily have to wait for Senator Shelby to retire to remove the SLS/Orion albatross from around its neck.

What FH, NG, VH, and maybe eventually NA and BFR do is alter the conversation about what to do with the SLS/Orion workforce after termination.  If there are three providers offering up to five different heavy lift launchers, does NASA (or the USG in general) really need to be in the ETO trucking business anymore?  Or should that talent and resources be focused elsewhere?

Do you want your cryogenic rocket propulsion engineer at MSFC working on an ETO upper stage or an interplanetary transit stage?  Do you want your life support engineer at JSC working on yet another ETO capsule or a planetary surface habitat?  Do you want your plasma thermodynamics engineer at ARC or LaRC working on Earth reentry or Mars entry?

I think the emergence of FH and its kin is more important to how the NASA human space flight program is organized and focused after SLS/Orion termination than to the termination of SLS/Orion itself.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Lars-J on 02/08/2018 03:39 am
One thing is for sure - IMO - that after seeing multiple boosters/stages return for landing, the SLS is going to look mighty old fashioned as it throws away everything.

It’s not going to cause SLS to be cancelled, but it will be another straw on the camels back that is eventually going to cancel it.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Klebiano on 02/08/2018 03:49 am
I think that SLS will not be cancelled at this point, a lot of money was invested in it, so they probably gonna launch it a few times and retire. Just like a Saturn V but without the cool missions.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Patchouli on 02/08/2018 04:08 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?

ULA offered Atlas V heavy and Atlas Phase 2 would have been even more powerful than Falcon Heavy and it didn't kill Ares which become SLS.
Keep in mind FH's LEO payload includes the remaining propellant in the second stage and the limit of the payload adapter is much lower than 63 tons.
Now BFS and New Armstrong could render SLS obsolete.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Archibald on 02/08/2018 06:27 am
If you'll indulge my lightly comic touch a moment:

If Falcon Heavy flies successfully two more times before years end - with big, real payloads - then the knives could be or should be out for SLS. It would then be a LITERAL 'Emporer Has No Clothes' situation... Or more accurately; the Black Knight from 'Monty Python's Holy Grail', with Elon Musk playing the part of King Arthur and SLS/Boeing playing the part of the Black Knight....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmInkxbvlCs


hilarious. I can see Musk as King Arthur, and Shelby as the black knight. "I'm invincible ! the black SLS is invincible ! Chicken ! Chicken !"
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 02/08/2018 06:53 am
It would be a Kerbal Kludge; but an SLS using 4x Falcon 9 Block 5's as strap on, flyback boosters would have extraordinary capability. Hey, Dr Steve Pietrobon; have at it! ;)

Each F9 is roughly an F-1 engine, so yeah that should work quite well. Haven't got the time now to do that though.

Back on topic. With SpaceX cancelling the Lunar and Mars Dragon 2 missions to concentrate on BFR, I believe that has given SLS a lifeline for now. I believe BFR will take much longer than expected, more like 10 years than five. I think a Dragon 2 going around the Moon before Orion had a good chance of killing SLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/08/2018 07:55 am
I'm an SLS fan, but I wouldn't mind seeing some of the outer planet probes (e.g. Europa Clipper) moved to Falcon Heavy.  After all, if the launcher price in the overall mission budget is much lower, you can devote more $ to the probe itself (no skimming on science instruments).  In fact, couldn't low-cost delivery to the outer planets allow even more such probes to be approved?

No. Launch cost is just a small portion of what probes to outer planets cost these days. Remember, those probes are always unique, one-off designs. And as such, they are horrendously expensive. Much more expensive than the vehicles that launch them. The only exception (for now) is Europa Clipper.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/08/2018 08:11 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?

ULA offered Atlas V heavy and Atlas Phase 2 would have been even more powerful than Falcon Heavy and it didn't kill Ares which become SLS.
Keep in mind FH's LEO payload includes the remaining propellant in the second stage and the limit of the payload adapter is much lower than 63 tons.
Now BFS and New Armstrong could render SLS obsolete.
Emphasis mine.
In case you hadn't noticed: the same applies to SLS Block 1 as well as SLS Block 1B. The SLS Core Stage burns-out very near orbital velocity, with just a small burn required by the upper stage to reach orbit.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: bob the martian on 02/08/2018 02:36 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.

Again, SLS is a creature of politics, not sensibility.  It doesn't matter that competing systems are reusable.  That's not going to be a factor in deciding whether SLS will continue or not. 

And to be fair, SLS was bending metal before SpaceX started crashing boosters into the ocean; I'm not going to fault NASA for not pursuing reusability when they were clearly directed to build an expendable system in a relatively short time frame, and especially when their previous reusable system failed to live up to its promises regarding cost and turnaround time.

You mean like everyone else in the history of rocketry?  ...or was there a difference this time that you so conveniently forgot to mention?  Selective amnesia?  You people that cling to the impossibly outdated history of how it should be done are impossible to believe.

What the hell?

I agree that SLS is a stupid project.  I'm simply pointing out that it wasn't mandated to be reusable, and given its proposed flight rate, not worth the R&D dollars to make it reusable (re-use implies use in the first place).  I'm not going to fault NASA for not trying to make it reusable for those reasons.

SLS will be lucky to fly twice, maybe three times; what's the bloody point in making it reusable?

Quote
NASA gave up on reusability because they don't have the chops any more to engineer it.  (Hell, they cannot even build an expendable rocket.)  You who defend that failure are owners of it.

They certainly have the engineering chops; it simply wasn't worth doing for this particular system.

Quote
And how is that 'relatively short time frame' coming along?

CxP and SLS are why I hope the next person who seriously suggests SDLV is shot on sight.  It sounds great on paper, but we've had two projects now that have kind of blown that idea out of the water. 

Quote
Folks, the Emperor is stark naked.  Deal.

Not news to me.  Not news to most of the people here. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/08/2018 02:50 pm
Bob, there was nothing wrong SDLV as was proposed at the time by DIRECT with the then proven technology. The problems got worse when congress co-opted and bastardized it into the program we have now...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 02/08/2018 03:48 pm
{snip}
SLS/Orion have _worse_ LOC projections than STS did at shutdown.  If/when a NASA Administrator or White House grapples with the reality of these figures, it's doubtful crew will launch on SLS/Orion.

To the OP's question, SLS/Orion will eventually collapse under their own weight, regardless of FH or any of the other heavy lifters in design/development.  Between a poor flight safety projection, an incompetent flight rate, and a cost/budget mismatch that keeps pushing milestones over the horizon, a good NASA Administrator with White House backing can make a credible argument for termination to Congress without ever mentioning FH, especially if they could present a reasonable plan for what to do with the workforce.  With the right leadership, NASA does not necessarily have to wait for Senator Shelby to retire to remove the SLS/Orion albatross from around its neck.

What FH, NG, VH, and maybe eventually NA and BFR do is alter the conversation about what to do with the SLS/Orion workforce after termination.  If there are three providers offering up to five different heavy lift launchers, does NASA (or the USG in general) really need to be in the ETO trucking business anymore?  Or should that talent and resources be focused elsewhere?

Do you want your cryogenic rocket propulsion engineer at MSFC working on an ETO upper stage or an interplanetary transit stage?  Do you want your life support engineer at JSC working on yet another ETO capsule or a planetary surface habitat?  Do you want your plasma thermodynamics engineer at ARC or LaRC working on Earth reentry or Mars entry?

I think the emergence of FH and its kin is more important to how the NASA human space flight program is organized and focused after SLS/Orion termination than to the termination of SLS/Orion itself.


The general public is realising that the USA and NASA are back. The public will soon start asking "When is NASA going back to the Moon?". If the House starts demanding Moon missions then the Senate will have to follow. The obvious place to get the money for the Moon missions is by raiding the SLS/Orion budget. So the Senators for MSFC, JSC and LaRC need to get projects started in their state - permitting them to claim the saved jobs.

edit : grammar
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/08/2018 04:25 pm
SLS is a very impressive vehicle.

But I don't think you could spend more or take longer.

If it ever flies it's going to be far to expensive per flight.

Maybe it will get canceled if SpaceX and Blue Origin make Super Heavy lift routine and affordable. 

Then NASA can worry about building payloads, which I think they are better suited for anyway and closer to their mandate.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Proponent on 02/08/2018 04:59 pm
The SLS will continue development, which would only make sense given that nearly all the flight hardware has been made for EM-1, and flight hardware is already in process for EM-2

That's the sunk-cost fallacy in action. The rational question is, is it worth spending another $15-20 billion to fly those missions ($3-4 billion per year times 5ish years), or is it better to pay termination costs and stop now?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: redliox on 02/08/2018 06:46 pm
Overall, I don't think it's a fair comparison.

The FH isn't going to derail the SLS.  What truly would would be if either BFR or Armstrong come online.  I think of it as arguing a middleweight fighter trying to compete in a heavyweight class.  It will still be a while before SpaceX or Blue Origin compete directly against the SLS; and bear in mind FH is 5 years behind Elon's planned debut.  When the commercial heavyweights come online, I would agree they'll likely dethrone SLS, but in the meantime SLS likely will fly a handful of times regardless.

Personally in regards to FH I'd like to see it and SLS complement each other and use the strengths of each rocket to positive ends.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: pathfinder_01 on 02/08/2018 07:19 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.
Because when Falcon Heavy is flown in its partially reusable form (boosters and core recovered), it only gets Atlas 5-53x capability.  It is a "heavy lifter" only when it, too, is expended, and even then it falls short of even SLS Block 1.  It can't lift Orion beyond low earth orbit in a single launch, so multiple expended Falcon Heavies would be needed.  These expendable versions are going to cost substantially more than the numbers everyone sees on the SpaceX web site.

That's not to say that Falcon Heavy and other rockets won't be able to play a big role in NASA's deep space  program.  There should be plenty of opportunities for systems like these.

 - Ed Kyle

Multiple launches are not a problem because it is so much cheaper than SLS that you could afford five or six for the price of one SLS launch. You also don't need expendable versions, you simple expend a used stage.  The trouble is that there isn't much of a role for FH in NASA's current state.  How much resupply does a deep space gateway need that only gets one or two flights a year from SLS(not much)? And the only thing official so far I have seen calls for propellant deliveries only!
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Darkseraph on 02/08/2018 08:09 pm

Multiple launches are not a problem because it is so much cheaper than SLS that you could afford five or six for the price of one SLS launch. You also don't need expendable versions, you simple expend a used stage.  The trouble is that there isn't much of a role for FH in NASA's current state.  How much resupply does a deep space gateway need that only gets one or two flights a year from SLS(not much)? And the only thing official so far I have seen calls for propellant deliveries only!

The energy required to reach the Moon compared to LEO is so much higher that although the DSG is smaller than the ISS, the heaviest commercial vehicles can only lift modest amounts of payload to lunar orbit. Commercial resupply could potentially be amortized through using the same vehicles to reach the ISS and DSG.  The Moon is also different to the ISS because there are more destinations for payloads than the DSG itself, human controllerd rovers, probes and base equipment can be delivered directly to the surface. Satellites for observation, navigation and communications can be positioned in various lunar orbits to support the DSG and surface infrastructure.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: pathfinder_01 on 02/08/2018 08:18 pm

Multiple launches are not a problem because it is so much cheaper than SLS that you could afford five or six for the price of one SLS launch. You also don't need expendable versions, you simple expend a used stage.  The trouble is that there isn't much of a role for FH in NASA's current state.  How much resupply does a deep space gateway need that only gets one or two flights a year from SLS(not much)? And the only thing official so far I have seen calls for propellant deliveries only!

The energy required to reach the Moon compared to LEO is so much higher that although the DSG is smaller than the ISS, the heaviest commercial vehicles can only lift modest amounts of payload to lunar orbit. Commercial resupply could potentially be amortized through using the same vehicles to reach the ISS and DSG.  The Moon is also different to the ISS because there are more destinations for payloads than the DSG itself, human controllerd rovers, probes and base equipment can be delivered directly to the surface. Satellites for observation, navigation and communications can be positioned in various lunar orbits to support the DSG and surface infrastructure.

None of which are currently funded.... However there are lots of communications, spy and probes that go places other than the moon for commercial rockets to carry.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: SWGlassPit on 02/08/2018 09:09 pm
The SLS will continue development, which would only make sense given that nearly all the flight hardware has been made for EM-1, and flight hardware is already in process for EM-2

That's the sunk-cost fallacy in action. The rational question is, is it worth spending another $15-20 billion to fly those missions ($3-4 billion per year times 5ish years), or is it better to pay termination costs and stop now?

While this is true, since when has Congress been rational?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Khadgars on 02/08/2018 09:23 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.
Because when Falcon Heavy is flown in its partially reusable form (boosters and core recovered), it only gets Atlas 5-53x capability.  It is a "heavy lifter" only when it, too, is expended, and even then it falls short of even SLS Block 1.  It can't lift Orion beyond low earth orbit in a single launch, so multiple expended Falcon Heavies would be needed.  These expendable versions are going to cost substantially more than the numbers everyone sees on the SpaceX web site.

That's not to say that Falcon Heavy and other rockets won't be able to play a big role in NASA's deep space  program.  There should be plenty of opportunities for systems like these.

 - Ed Kyle

Well stated as always Ed.  Instead of all this useless bickering, why don't we celebrate what an exciting time we are now in!  Never has there been a better, more diverse time for Spaceflight than what we are entering.  Speaking for myself, I'm thoroughly enjoying this journey and if people would stop second guessing every decision, they might too.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: RyanC on 02/09/2018 12:51 am
SLS is now effectively dead-man-walking.

EM-1 is definitely flying, because metal is being bent on major portions.

EM-2 and the third flight? Less certain.

Regards this:

SLS, even the interim, limited Block 1 variant, has more payload capability than Falcon Heavy.[/i]

SLS Block I (which is the only one we're gonna get) places about 60 to 70 metric tons into LEO.

Falcon Heavy (Fully expendable) according to SpX, can place 63.8 metric tons into LEO.

Cost:
SLS Block I: $500M to $1+ Billion (more likely in excess of $1B.)

Falcon Heavy Expendable: $90M list price, but for purposes of calculations, assume $110M as a penalty price for dropping a recoverable launch vehicle into the ocean.

For the cost range of SLS Block I (70T into orbit), you can:

(Low End $500M): Buy four (4) FH, placing 240T into orbit.
(High End $1B): Buy nine (9) FH, placing 540T into orbit.

A distributed launch architecture is now feasible, thanks to the success of the FH Demo mission -- place your payload into orbit on flight #1, then place a fully fuelled departure stage into orbit on flight #2 to boost your payload beyond earth orbit.

Autonomous docking has only been practiced for the last few decades by the Russians, after all....
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/09/2018 01:06 am
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.
Because when Falcon Heavy is flown in its partially reusable form (boosters and core recovered), it only gets Atlas 5-53x capability.  It is a "heavy lifter" only when it, too, is expended, and even then it falls short of even SLS Block 1.  It can't lift Orion beyond low earth orbit in a single launch, so multiple expended Falcon Heavies would be needed.  These expendable versions are going to cost substantially more than the numbers everyone sees on the SpaceX web site.

That's not to say that Falcon Heavy and other rockets won't be able to play a big role in NASA's deep space  program.  There should be plenty of opportunities for systems like these.

 - Ed Kyle
You're relying on figures from the KSC ELV performance page, which has figures that are years out of date. For instance, FH can do about 16 tons through trans Mars insertion, which is about c3= 7km^2/s^2 on an *exceptionally* good opportunity. According to KSC's page, FH can only do 10t. So for high energy trajectories, FH can do about 60% better than the KSC page suggests.

And I fail to see why you'd use Orion if you had the option of cheaper and lighter Dragon... the smaller amount of on-board delta-v is compensated for by being lighter.

(Unless you put your deep space gateway in, like, a medium lunar orbit. But you shouldn't do that anyway.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: su27k on 02/09/2018 02:17 am
No direct impact, but FH in many ways cleared the way for BFR, which will have big impact on SLS.

Although just goes by some of the comments in this thread I wonder if even BFR can kill SLS, here's some of the arguments I predict we'll see when BFR flies:
1. BFR and SLS can compliment each other, why can't we have both?
2. BFR can't launch Orion, so SLS is still needed
3. SLS can send 30t+ to TLI in one launch, BFR couldn't, so SLS is superior!
4. No impact to SLS, remember BFR hasn't just come to the scene, it's x years late already...
5. But we have invested so many billions into SLS, it has hardware, we can't just cancel it
6. BFR hasn't demonstrated x number of flights per year, it's still powerpoint!

Now try replacing FH/BFR with Starship Enterprise, and most of the arguments still work, what does this tell you...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: mike robel on 02/09/2018 02:30 am

And I fail to see why you'd use Orion if you had the option of cheaper and lighter Dragon... the smaller amount of on-board delta-v is compensated for by being lighter.

(Unless you put your deep space gateway in, like, a medium lunar orbit. But you shouldn't do that anyway.

Um, because after the ISS splashes and he builds the BFR he won't be using Dragon?

I expect both programs to drift right. Orion/SLS because of funding and BFR because of unforeseen technical problems in building a booster that large.  (As an aside, Musk essentially stated he learned that rockets are not LEGOs (TM) and they had to modify the boosters to fly as a Falcon Heavy and they were not just able to slap them together and fly.)

If Musk's BFR flies first and doesn't bankrupt him, then I expect even Congress could see there is no need to continue SLS/Orion, but it won't be instantaneous and there will be a lot of caterwauling.

If Orion/SLS flies first AND we actually have goals and strategy for the Moon, Mars, or whatever, then it will probably go for a while until Musk overtakes it and the Congress determines that there is no longer a need for a government manned space program.  (As examples, consider the US Army airmail fiasco or the time needed to do away with Horse Cavalry in favor of Armored Cavalry/Armor.  Notwithstanding that sometimes even Horse Cavalry finds a niche, even today.)

In any event, the main event has not happened yet.


Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/09/2018 03:46 am
Because when Falcon Heavy is flown in its partially reusable form (boosters and core recovered), it only gets Atlas 5-53x capability.  It is a "heavy lifter" only when it, too, is expended, and even then it falls short of even SLS Block 1.  It can't lift Orion beyond low earth orbit in a single launch, so multiple expended Falcon Heavies would be needed.  These expendable versions are going to cost substantially more than the numbers everyone sees on the SpaceX web site.

That's not to say that Falcon Heavy and other rockets won't be able to play a big role in NASA's deep space  program.  There should be plenty of opportunities for systems like these.

It doesn't matter what the throw-weight is of the SLS or any other launch system, it only matters how they are used. For instance, there are really two approaches to doing human space exploration:

A. Single-launch architectures, which is what Apollo used and what the SLS is.
B. Multi-launch architectures, which allows many launch systems to be used.

For single-launch architectures the limitation is that you get diminishing returns the farther out you go, so in reality our Moon is the furthest NASA could go with humans. That was how far Apollo went, and the SLS is about the same as the Saturn V.

The other limitation is that if NASA mandates everything has to fly on the SLS, then that doesn't leave room for commercial or international partners to participate with their own transportation systems, nor does it allow for a way to reduce transportation costs as commercial and international partners innovate. And if NASA (i.e. the U.S. Government) allows partners to use their own transportation systems, then the need for the SLS is diminished.

Multi-launch architectures really are the future. The 450mT ISS was built this way, ULA is promoting it for Vulcan/ACES, and SpaceX plans to use it. No limitations on HSF architectures, and really no limitation on how far out humanity can go.

The original question is whether Falcon Heavy changes the fate of the SLS, but it's not about the Falcon Heavy or any other rocket - it's about the approach NASA (i.e. the U.S. Government) will rely upon for human spaceflight missions in the future. Maybe Falcon Heavy becomes the excuse to discuss and debate that, but I don't think anyone wants to replace one single-point-of-failure (SPOF) transportation with another one. The best way forward is to allow many launch vehicles to participate in expanding humanity out into space, and use a launch architecture that embraces that.

My $0.02
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 02/09/2018 04:54 am
Falcon Heavy Expendable: $90M list price, but for purposes of calculations, assume $110M as a penalty price for dropping a recoverable launch vehicle into the ocean.

$90M is the reusable price. Expendable is $270M according to the AST (see page 17 below). Still a lot cheaper per kg (270,000/63.8 = $4,200/kg) than SLS though ($1,000,000/93.1 = $10,740/kg).

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_AST_Compendium.pdf
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Patchouli on 02/09/2018 05:09 am
Falcon Heavy Expendable: $90M list price, but for purposes of calculations, assume $110M as a penalty price for dropping a recoverable launch vehicle into the ocean.

$90M is the reusable price. Expendable is $270M according to the AST (see page 17 below). Still a lot cheaper per kg (270,000/63.8 = $4,200/kg) than SLS though ($1,000,000/93.1 = $10,740/kg).

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_AST_Compendium.pdf

$270M would be an acceptable expense for flagship missions which cost over a billion dollars.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Proponent on 02/09/2018 12:45 pm
A. Single-launch architectures, which is what Apollo used and what the SLS is.

I agree with your general point, but even SLS-based architectures are multi-launch for missions of any significance.  An Orion/SLS lunar sortie, for example, would require multiple launches.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Proponent on 02/09/2018 12:50 pm
Multiple launches are not a problem because it is so much cheaper than SLS that you could afford five or six for the price of one SLS launch. You also don't need expendable versions, you simple expend a used stage.

I wouldn't go so far as to say multiple launches are not a problem.  Rather, I'd point out that most SLS-based missions require multiple launches anyway.  So it's not a black-and-white distinction between single and multiple-launch artitectures, but a matter of how many launches.  All other things being equal, fewer is better.  That would be a point in favor of SLS, but, of course, all other things aren't equal.  And, before anyone decided to spend billion$ & billion$ on SLS, there should have been a comparison of SLS with commercial alternatives, but there wasn't.  And for there to have been a proper comparison, there would have had to have been defined objectives, but that did not exist either, and still doesn't.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: francesco nicoli on 02/09/2018 12:56 pm
Falcon Heavy Expendable: $90M list price, but for purposes of calculations, assume $110M as a penalty price for dropping a recoverable launch vehicle into the ocean.

$90M is the reusable price. Expendable is $270M according to the AST (see page 17 below). Still a lot cheaper per kg (270,000/63.8 = $4,200/kg) than SLS though ($1,000,000/93.1 = $10,740/kg).

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_AST_Compendium.pdf

The way I interpret the data from SpaceX webiste is different.90M is for a third of the payload. The customer can chose to book the full capacity and do reusable, or book that capacity X3 and do expendable. The mistake is dividing the full R price by full capacity to have per kg costs.
The full capacity of FH to GTO is, according to the website, 26700 KG. Of this, 90M buys you 8000 kg to GTO. the full price to GTO is therefore 300,4M. The current pricing is higher than Falcon 9 it seems to me.....
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/09/2018 01:13 pm
Falcon Heavy Expendable: $90M list price, but for purposes of calculations, assume $110M as a penalty price for dropping a recoverable launch vehicle into the ocean.

$90M is the reusable price. Expendable is $270M according to the AST (see page 17 below). Still a lot cheaper per kg (270,000/63.8 = $4,200/kg) than SLS though ($1,000,000/93.1 = $10,740/kg).

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_AST_Compendium.pdf
I doubt SpaceX's internal costs for FH expendable are anywhere near $270. Bet they're closer to $150m, particularly since they can use end of life cores for the side boosters.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: francesco nicoli on 02/09/2018 01:30 pm
Falcon Heavy Expendable: $90M list price, but for purposes of calculations, assume $110M as a penalty price for dropping a recoverable launch vehicle into the ocean.

$90M is the reusable price. Expendable is $270M according to the AST (see page 17 below). Still a lot cheaper per kg (270,000/63.8 = $4,200/kg) than SLS though ($1,000,000/93.1 = $10,740/kg).

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_AST_Compendium.pdf
I doubt SpaceX's internal costs for FH expendable are anywhere near $270. Bet they're closer to $150m, particularly since they can use end of life cores for the side boosters.

I am pretty sure, but what matters for competition is not the cost, but the price...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/09/2018 01:49 pm
Falcon Heavy Expendable: $90M list price, but for purposes of calculations, assume $110M as a penalty price for dropping a recoverable launch vehicle into the ocean.

$90M is the reusable price. Expendable is $270M according to the AST (see page 17 below). Still a lot cheaper per kg (270,000/63.8 = $4,200/kg) than SLS though ($1,000,000/93.1 = $10,740/kg).

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_AST_Compendium.pdf
I doubt SpaceX's internal costs for FH expendable are anywhere near $270. Bet they're closer to $150m, particularly since they can use end of life cores for the side boosters.

I am pretty sure, but what matters for competition is not the cost, but the price...
SpaceX will likely try to get as much profit as they can while still outcompeting other comers. As they should, in order to pay back Falcon Heavy's development costs before BFR takes over.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/09/2018 02:14 pm
NASA will not develop a lunar architecture that relies on single commercial LV. Present plan for HSF to moon is via DSG with SLS/Orion being vehicles of choice to deliver crew to DSG. I can't see NASA funding SpaceX to develop FH/Dragon combination for crew delivery to DSG without also funding another company eg Blue, ULA. NB the cost of that project would fund alot of SLS launches.

If SpaceX funded FH/Dragon combination for DSG then NASA may well use it for additional missions if price was right.

Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: notsorandom on 02/09/2018 02:16 pm
Musk has stated many times now that he wants to retire the Falcons and Dragons as soon as possible. Does it make sense for NASA to start a BEO exploration program when the vendor wants to retire their product in 5 or so years? At this point the first question any proposed exploration program needs to ask is will the BRF happen? If the answer is no then the Falcon Heavy and maybe SLS likely do have an important role to play.

Lets imagine that BFR is successful and everything that SpaceX is promising with it. It would be better for NASA to wait for that to come online and buy it off the shelf. While a payload meant for the Falcon Heavy could launch on the BFR it would be underutilizing the capability of the BFR.

Imagine if NASA contracted to have a Moon lander launched on the Falcon Heavy. I doubt a lander could be made and ready to launch before the BFR, if it shows up when Musk is proposing. It would be a funny situation for the BFR to be launching a moon lander while itself being capable of landing on the moon because NASA contacted another company to build the lander.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: laszlo on 02/09/2018 02:26 pm
No direct impact, but FH in many ways cleared the way for BFR, which will have big impact on SLS.

Although just goes by some of the comments in this thread I wonder if even BFR can kill SLS, here's some of the arguments I predict we'll see when BFR flies:
1. BFR and SLS can compliment each other, why can't we have both?
2. BFR can't launch Orion, so SLS is still needed
3. SLS can send 30t+ to TLI in one launch, BFR couldn't, so SLS is superior!
4. No impact to SLS, remember BFR hasn't just come to the scene, it's x years late already...
5. But we have invested so many billions into SLS, it has hardware, we can't just cancel it
6. BFR hasn't demonstrated x number of flights per year, it's still powerpoint!

Now try replacing FH/BFR with Starship Enterprise, and most of the arguments still work, what does this tell you...

That FH/BFR is as real as the Starship Enterprise?

(There's something very Holy Grail logic lesson/witch scene here.)
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/09/2018 02:41 pm
You're relying on figures from the KSC ELV performance page, which has figures that are years out of date. For instance, FH can do about 16 tons through trans Mars insertion, which is about c3= 7km^2/s^2 on an *exceptionally* good opportunity. According to KSC's page, FH can only do 10t. So for high energy trajectories, FH can do about 60% better than the KSC page suggests.
No, I didn't use the KSC page.  I have expendable Falcon Heavy at 16.8 tonnes TMI.  SLS Block 1 would be 19+ tonnes, but of course it is only going to fly one trans-lunar mission. For TLI, I show expendable Falcon Heavy at 20+ tonnes and SLS Block 1 at 24.5 tonnes.

The real comparison is with SLS Block 1B, which is expected to be 32 and 39 tonnes to TMI/TLI, respectfully.

 - Ed Kyle
Ah! Good to know.

The real competition is about as far away as BFR is, though.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Scotty on 02/09/2018 05:41 pm
Five years ago, NASA did a study on an Apollo 11 like Lunar mission using two Falcon Heavy launches.
NOTE: That was using the then advertised 53 ton to LEO versions of Falcon Heavy.
The mission would launch the Lunar Lander to orbit around the Moon using the first Falcon Heavy launch. The Orion Spacecraft would launch on the second Falcon Heavy after the Lander was in Lunar orbit. The Orion would make a rendezvous with the Lander, dock, transfer crew. The Lander would then land on the Moon. The Ascent Stage of the Lander would launch off the Lunar surface, rendezvous and dock with Orion. The crew would transfer and use the Orion SM to leave Lunar orbit for an Apollo style Earth reentry and landing.
There also was a option of a Constellation style, two week camping trip on the Moon, using a third Falcon Heavy launch. The third Falcon Heavy would launch first, carrying a Lunar Habitat on the Lander in place of the Ascent stage.
Today's Falcon Heavy has a LEO capacity of 63 tons, making the above even more possible.

Also, SLS Block 1 as planned for EM-1 has the ability to place in excess of 90 tons into LEO.
But the undersized ICPS limits the Lunar throw weight to about 20 tons.
That is why EM-1 will only do a figure eight flyby of the moon (think Apollo 13), or at very best a high Lunar orbit insertion and departure.
ICPS is the Albatross hanging on SLS's neck at this time.

Block 1B with a proper second stage (the EUS), will unlock SLS's capabilities.
Unfortunately, Block 1B is at least 6 years into the future, at very best.

In six years, Falcon Heavy will be in the process of being phased out in favor of BFR.
New Glenn should also be operational by then, with New Armstrong on the horizon.

I doubt we will ever see a Block 2 SLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 02/09/2018 07:43 pm
Musk has stated many times now that he wants to retire the Falcons and Dragons as soon as possible. Does it make sense for NASA to start a BEO exploration program when the vendor wants to retire their product in 5 or so years? At this point the first question any proposed exploration program needs to ask is will the BRF happen? If the answer is no then the Falcon Heavy and maybe SLS likely do have an important role to play.

Lets imagine that BFR is successful and everything that SpaceX is promising with it. It would be better for NASA to wait for that to come online and buy it off the shelf. While a payload meant for the Falcon Heavy could launch on the BFR it would be underutilizing the capability of the BFR.

Imagine if NASA contracted to have a Moon lander launched on the Falcon Heavy. I doubt a lander could be made and ready to launch before the BFR, if it shows up when Musk is proposing. It would be a funny situation for the BFR to be launching a moon lander while itself being capable of landing on the moon because NASA contacted another company to build the lander.

Go with what you have. You may be able to return with something better.

NASA should build its lunar mission around the Falcon Heavy because that is what it has got.

A clause in the contract can say that as a part of the on ramping process a variant of the BFR should be able to lift payloads designed for the Falcon Heavy. (Basically a backward compatible payload adaptor.) Also the Falcon Heavy shall be kept in production until the BFR flies.

As they on ramp Vulcan/ACES and Blue could apply for lunar project payloads. The SLS can then carry extra heavy payloads and Orion.

A LEO to lunar orbit tug would also be useful.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/09/2018 07:56 pm
How can one discuss the relative merits of two rocket systems without acknowledging that one is throwaway and the other is reusable? The first SLS is going to go up in 4-5 years and then... it will be vaporized. Then you get to build another one.

Any Falcon Heavy lifting a heavy payload is also throwaway. And that'll be most of them, given that F9 can loft most commercial satellites.

Not necessarily. F9 will be reserved for lighter payloads. And FH can lift around 30 to 40 tonnes to LEO with reuse. With EOR and possibly refueling a mission of many hundreds of tonnes of IMLEO is possible. FH with reuse can support the cadence to launch much more mass faster than SLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/09/2018 08:05 pm
You're relying on figures from the KSC ELV performance page, which has figures that are years out of date. For instance, FH can do about 16 tons through trans Mars insertion, which is about c3= 7km^2/s^2 on an *exceptionally* good opportunity. According to KSC's page, FH can only do 10t. So for high energy trajectories, FH can do about 60% better than the KSC page suggests.
No, I didn't use the KSC page.  I have expendable Falcon Heavy at 16.8 tonnes TMI.  SLS Block 1 would be 19+ tonnes, but of course it is only going to fly one trans-lunar mission. For TLI, I show expendable Falcon Heavy at 20+ tonnes and SLS Block 1 at 24.5 tonnes.

The real comparison is with SLS Block 1B, which is expected to be 32 and 39 tonnes to TMI/TLI, respectfully.

 - Ed Kyle

Your FHR payloads for TLI/TMI are probably a bit underestimated. Musk said they could possibly recover all three boosters after sending Red Dragon (which between Dragon itself and the landing propellants would be at least 10 tonnes) to TMI. That is equivalent to nearly triple the 5500 kg you have for TLI.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/726820238361120768
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/09/2018 08:25 pm
... so multiple expended Falcon Heavies would be needed.  These expendable versions are going to cost substantially more than the numbers everyone sees on the SpaceX web site.

How much more, though?

And what are they launching that in more than 30 tonnes to LEO and couldn't fit on FH or later on New Glenn with reuse?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AncientU on 02/09/2018 08:48 pm
...

It doesn't matter what the throw-weight is of the SLS or any other launch system, it only matters how they are used. For instance, there are really two approaches to doing human space exploration:

A. Single-launch architectures, which is what Apollo used and what the SLS is.
B. Multi-launch architectures, which allows many launch systems to be used.

For single-launch architectures the limitation is that you get diminishing returns the farther out you go, so in reality our Moon is the furthest NASA could go with humans. That was how far Apollo went, and the SLS is about the same as the Saturn V.

This is what SLS will be in 2028-2030, if the program stays on track -- which is unlikely -- probably $30-40B down the road from here.

Quote
...
The best way forward is to allow many launch vehicles to participate in expanding humanity out into space, and use a launch architecture that embraces that.

My $0.02

Well-spent $0.02.  The impact of FH will be to start a discussion (maybe a short one) on this new way forward.  Chances of success probably less than 50/50, but maybe the seed will be planted.

Most likely outcome is that FH will be glossed over by the incumbency, maybe be given a couple token supply missions or something.  NG and Vulcan/ACES... more of the same, except that the big defense contractors will then have something to gain by allowing change. 

BFR will not be so easy brush aside.  Before SLS Block 1B flies, SLS will be head to head with a vastly more capable rocket and an approach to exploration that actually can accomplish some exploring.  We'll see how that goes.

Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TomH on 02/10/2018 03:44 am
The Orion Spacecraft would launch on the second Falcon Heavy after the Lander was in Lunar orbit. The Orion would make a rendezvous with the Lander, dock, transfer crew.

Orion SM has enough ΔV only for TEI, not enough for both LOI and TEI. FH-US cannot remain in standby mode for three days waiting to perform a LOI burn. How would you get the Orion into Lunar orbit and still have enough prop for TEI? You need aux tanks on SM or a small kick stage for LOI. Alternately, you use a lighter D2, but then you need a far more robust SM that can provide ΔV for both burns and ECLSS for 3 weeks.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/10/2018 03:52 am
Don't go into *Low* lunar orbit but instead an elliptical orbit. Way less delta-V to enter and leave. Solves a whole bunch of problems and makes logistics by a whole range of rockets easier.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 02/10/2018 05:54 am
Don't go into *Low* lunar orbit but instead an elliptical orbit. Way less delta-V to enter and leave. Solves a whole bunch of problems and makes logistics by a whole range of rockets easier.

Does an elliptical orbit result in spacecraft having to use instantaneous launches due to tiny windows?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 02/10/2018 06:17 am
Orion SM has enough ΔV only for TEI, not enough for both LOI and TEI. FH-US cannot remain in standby mode for three days waiting to perform a LOI burn. How would you get the Orion into Lunar orbit and still have enough prop for TEI? You need aux tanks on SM or a small kick stage for LOI. Alternately, you use a lighter D2, but then you need a far more robust SM that can provide ΔV for both burns and ECLSS for 3 weeks.

The Falcon Heavy upper stage does LOI. Orion does TEI. However, an expendable FH can only put 16.7 t into LLO, while Orion is 20 t, so the scheme won't work anyway.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42363.msg1782831#msg1782831

Don't go into *Low* lunar orbit but instead an elliptical orbit. Way less delta-V to enter and leave. Solves a whole bunch of problems and makes logistics by a whole range of rockets easier.

This increases the delta-V for the lander, which makes the problem worse since the delta-V increases from 4 km/s to 5 km/s. This means you need a much heavier lander.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/10/2018 06:25 am
Dr Steve; in a 2x launch scenario where an expendable Falcon 9 launches a 23 ton, hypergolically fueled Lander into LEO, then a Falcon Heavy places an upper stage with a docking collar and plenty of propellants nearby, they dock and go TLI... Would that Lander have enough delta-v to insert itself into low lunar orbit, or would the Falcon upper stage have to do it? I've been wondering if the Falcon stage would need extensive modifications to last a three day coast to the Moon, or would the Lander have to use 6-to-8 tons of it's propellant load for lunar orbit insertion?

That would leave a fueled mass of about 16 tons - about the same as the Apollo LM. Then I guess we'd have to ask ourselves if the Lander would be a single or double stage design. I imagine a single-stage would lend itself more easily to future reuse and refueling.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 02/10/2018 07:07 am
Dr Steve; in a 2x launch scenario where an expendable Falcon 9 launches a 23 ton, hypergolically fueled Lander into LEO, then a Falcon Heavy places an upper stage with a docking collar and plenty of propellants nearby, they dock and go TLI... Would that Lander have enough delta-v to insert itself into low lunar orbit, or would the Falcon upper stage have to do it?

2x22.8 t is 45.6 t, while expendable FH is 63.8 t. Expendable FH can put 16.7 t into LLO, so I don't think dual expendable F9 will work.

Quote
I've been wondering if the Falcon stage would need extensive modifications to last a three day coast to the Moon, or would the Lander have to use 6-to-8 tons of it's propellant load for lunar orbit insertion?

The N-1/L-3 plan required kerolox Blok-D stage to do LOI and staged descent. So it should be possible to modify the Falcon upper stage to also last three days.

Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/10/2018 08:13 am
On this occasion, as I have suggested recently, this would be 1x Falcon 9 and 1x Falcon Heavy used to transport a 20+plus ton spacecraft to lunar orbit. Sort of like the '1.5 launch' Constellation architecture. I was also recently curious about whether 2x Falcon 9s could accomplish the circumlunar tourist flight - I wondered if the expendable F9 block 5 would place enough propellants into LEO for a Dragon 2 to come long, dock with it and be on its way.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Proponent on 02/10/2018 02:15 pm
Don't go into *Low* lunar orbit but instead an elliptical orbit. Way less delta-V to enter and leave. Solves a whole bunch of problems and makes logistics by a whole range of rockets easier.

Does an elliptical orbit result in spacecraft having to use instantaneous launches due to tiny windows?

I don't think the windows are excessively short.  The problem I see is that an efficient TEI burn must take place at perilune and on the far side of the moon.  So it seems to me that an elliptical orbit leaves you with departure windows only once a month.  You could move perilune, but that takes delta-V.  Am I missing something?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: ncb1397 on 02/10/2018 06:24 pm
You're relying on figures from the KSC ELV performance page, which has figures that are years out of date. For instance, FH can do about 16 tons through trans Mars insertion, which is about c3= 7km^2/s^2 on an *exceptionally* good opportunity. According to KSC's page, FH can only do 10t. So for high energy trajectories, FH can do about 60% better than the KSC page suggests.
No, I didn't use the KSC page.  I have expendable Falcon Heavy at 16.8 tonnes TMI.  SLS Block 1 would be 19+ tonnes, but of course it is only going to fly one trans-lunar mission. For TLI, I show expendable Falcon Heavy at 20+ tonnes and SLS Block 1 at 24.5 tonnes.

The real comparison is with SLS Block 1B, which is expected to be 32 and 39 tonnes to TMI/TLI, respectfully.

 - Ed Kyle

Your FHR payloads for TLI/TMI are probably a bit underestimated. Musk said they could possibly recover all three boosters after sending Red Dragon (which between Dragon itself and the landing propellants would be at least 10 tonnes) to TMI. That is equivalent to nearly triple the 5500 kg you have for TLI.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/726820238361120768

With Reuse, FH is listed as 8 mT to GTO. How does it send 10 mT to Mars?

see:
http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

Falcon 9 price is listed as 5.5 mT which lines up with stage re-use. The line for FH right next to it is likely the same.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TomH on 02/10/2018 09:15 pm
On this occasion, as I have suggested recently, this would be 1x Falcon 9 and 1x Falcon Heavy used to transport a 20+plus ton spacecraft to lunar orbit. Sort of like the '1.5 launch' Constellation architecture. I was also recently curious about whether 2x Falcon 9s could accomplish the circumlunar tourist flight - I wondered if the expendable F9 block 5 would place enough propellants into LEO for a Dragon 2 to come long, dock with it and be on its way.

I have thought about this as well. Another scenario I have wondered about is a single SLS Block I and a FH or SLS Block IB with an F9 as sort of like the "1.5 launch" Constellation architecture. The first scenario could be ready sooner, but requires man-rating either iCPS or FH. The second scenario requires a longer wait, but requires no extra man-rating.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: alexterrell on 02/10/2018 10:03 pm
Don't go into *Low* lunar orbit but instead an elliptical orbit. Way less delta-V to enter and leave. Solves a whole bunch of problems and makes logistics by a whole range of rockets easier.

Does an elliptical orbit result in spacecraft having to use instantaneous launches due to tiny windows?

I don't think the windows are excessively short.  The problem I see is that an efficient TEI burn must take place at perilune and on the far side of the moon.  So it seems to me that an elliptical orbit leaves you with departure windows only once a month.  You could move perilune, but that takes delta-V.  Am I missing something?

Isn't it one launch window (from Low Earth Orbit) per lunar orbit of the lunar gateway/orbiter. That doesn;t impose a constraint on launch from Earth, assuming the upper stage can orbit for between 0 and a few days. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/11/2018 02:31 am
You're relying on figures from the KSC ELV performance page, which has figures that are years out of date. For instance, FH can do about 16 tons through trans Mars insertion, which is about c3= 7km^2/s^2 on an *exceptionally* good opportunity. According to KSC's page, FH can only do 10t. So for high energy trajectories, FH can do about 60% better than the KSC page suggests.
No, I didn't use the KSC page.  I have expendable Falcon Heavy at 16.8 tonnes TMI.  SLS Block 1 would be 19+ tonnes, but of course it is only going to fly one trans-lunar mission. For TLI, I show expendable Falcon Heavy at 20+ tonnes and SLS Block 1 at 24.5 tonnes.

The real comparison is with SLS Block 1B, which is expected to be 32 and 39 tonnes to TMI/TLI, respectfully.

 - Ed Kyle

Your FHR payloads for TLI/TMI are probably a bit underestimated. Musk said they could possibly recover all three boosters after sending Red Dragon (which between Dragon itself and the landing propellants would be at least 10 tonnes) to TMI. That is equivalent to nearly triple the 5500 kg you have for TLI.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/726820238361120768

With Reuse, FH is listed as 8 mT to GTO. How does it send 10 mT to Mars?

see:
http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

Falcon 9 price is listed as 5.5 mT which lines up with stage re-use. The line for FH right next to it is likely the same.

Triple ASDS landing with block 5. The $90M/8 t is for at most 1 ASDS landing and IMO is actually triple RTLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/11/2018 03:46 am
You're relying on figures from the KSC ELV performance page, which has figures that are years out of date. For instance, FH can do about 16 tons through trans Mars insertion, which is about c3= 7km^2/s^2 on an *exceptionally* good opportunity. According to KSC's page, FH can only do 10t. So for high energy trajectories, FH can do about 60% better than the KSC page suggests.
No, I didn't use the KSC page.  I have expendable Falcon Heavy at 16.8 tonnes TMI.  SLS Block 1 would be 19+ tonnes, but of course it is only going to fly one trans-lunar mission. For TLI, I show expendable Falcon Heavy at 20+ tonnes and SLS Block 1 at 24.5 tonnes.

The real comparison is with SLS Block 1B, which is expected to be 32 and 39 tonnes to TMI/TLI, respectfully.

 - Ed Kyle

Your FHR payloads for TLI/TMI are probably a bit underestimated. Musk said they could possibly recover all three boosters after sending Red Dragon (which between Dragon itself and the landing propellants would be at least 10 tonnes) to TMI. That is equivalent to nearly triple the 5500 kg you have for TLI.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/726820238361120768

With Reuse, FH is listed as 8 mT to GTO. How does it send 10 mT to Mars?

see:
http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

Falcon 9 price is listed as 5.5 mT which lines up with stage re-use. The line for FH right next to it is likely the same.
It doesn't say that the 8t to GTO is for reuse, that's just something you've surmised. I think that's more market segmentation than it is a strict delineation of rocket performance. SpaceX could use the extra capacity for secondaries, reuse, margin, or all three.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: alexterrell on 02/11/2018 07:40 am
It would be useful to see a price table:
- Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy
- Reusable Mode with new boosters, with used once boosters, with used twice boosters
- Expendable Mode with new boosters, with used boosters, with used twice boosters

Anyway that is beside the point of article. NASA has spent $10 billion on their Heavy Lift Rocket (and another $6 billion on Orion).

I'm not sure what the latest cost estimates are but this says a target is $500 million per launch, yo make one flight per year: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/49019843/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.UFIyOxii5i4
That is probably a gross under-estimate - can NASA really maintain the systems and capability for one launch per year at less than $1 billion per year?

And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.

The only reputed benefit over Falcon Heavy was the wider payload fairing, which might be useful for Mars entry heat shields. (Or I could see it being an advantage for large solar arrays which can't be packed so tightly). New Glenn might over come that issue.

So with hindsight, SLS should have been cancelled years ago, and the $10 billion spent on an upper stage rocket, or a space tug, or electric space tug. Orion could still be useful - and maybe a tender put out for a commercial heavy lift vehicle to carry it. Then there might be a choice of SpaceX or Boeing or New Glenn for heavy lift packages, and NASA could get completely out of the launch business and focus on space exploration.

Moving forward, can the politicians who have wasted the SLS money pay for it out their pockets?

SLS will now be completed, and have a test flight and a ceremonial flight. But then what? Every time NASA has a mission, manned or unmanned, they say it'll cost $1 billion to launch on SLS, or $180 million on Falcon Heavy. How does it work in NASA - does the top mandate the launch vehicle for every mission?

Perhaps they will be able to come up with a compromise. Falcon Heavy launches the fuel, and SLS launches the mission. But with that architecture, you don't need Block 2 in that case.

New Glenn might make it look worse for NASA. If there are two rockets able to lift >45 tons, at a fraction of the cost of SLS, who is going to be interested in using SLS?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TomH on 02/11/2018 09:28 am
How does it work in NASA - does the top mandate the launch vehicle for every mission?

I see you are from Germany. The US senate mandated the specifications for the rocket and required NASA to build it. And the senate did indeed specify that the Europa Clipper mission must fly on SLS and no other launch vehicle. SLS is simply a jobs program for companies who used to build parts for the space shuttle. Powerful senators who chair committees related to NASA and have space corporations in their own states make sure that money keeps getting spent on SLS in those states. It is what we in the US call Pork Barrel Politics. I'll let you look up the meaning of that idiom/metaphor. You can also find many threads on this site related to the US senate and SLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: alexterrell on 02/11/2018 11:08 am
How does it work in NASA - does the top mandate the launch vehicle for every mission?

I see you are from Germany.
Thanks. I'm actually from England but live in Germany and have been following NASA Space Flight for God knows how long.

I'm familiar with the pork barrel politics, but it's hard to grasp to what level it is entrenched and sets policy. I think it's strongest when there is a President who isn't bothered about NASA - ie like all Presidents since Kennedy. That allows drift in NASA, with no unifying objective other than to provide jobs in certain Senator's seats.

It also accounts for a lot of the cost difference between NASA and SpaceX and is why NASA needs to get out of the launch market, and focus on doing what only NASA can do.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/11/2018 11:21 am
Many of us overseas actually pay more attention to American politics and civics than more than a few Americans. That's not necessarily a bold statement. More than two of my American friends have told me this about myself.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: alexterrell on 02/11/2018 11:48 am
Yes, but it's hard to understand the pervasiveness of pork barrel politics from afar, just by reading international press and NASA Spaceflight :)

But you can see the effect of it if you bench mark SpaceX against NASA. Perhaps it's more obvious to non-Americans that NASA should exit the launch business (or rather, not get back into it). Then with the money saved they really could "boldly go".
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/11/2018 11:51 am
Pork barrel politics have long reigned over NASA activities. But the success of SpaceX over the last couple of years has to be having an effect.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/11/2018 12:02 pm




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.





Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: scdavis on 02/11/2018 12:34 pm




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

Your point about destination and mission are very reasonable. But method isn’t the same as mission and “single launch” feels like method. Wouldn’t it make sense to say instead: when a FH architecture can achieve the aim of launching crew to DSG (at lower cost, higher cadence, etc.) then there is a case for replacing SLS?

This leaves open number of launches and how the capability is met.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Testraindrop on 02/11/2018 01:42 pm




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

Why does it have to be a single launch?
Whats the problem of sending crew+most important life support in launch 1 and science equipment in launch 2 for ~200mio instead of all in a single launch for 500m-1B?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/11/2018 01:54 pm




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

Why does it have to be a single launch?
Whats the problem of sending crew+most important life support in launch 1 and science equipment in launch 2 for ~200mio instead of all in a single launch for 500m-1B?

Why send crew at all? A robot on an existing single stick rocket would be even cheaper.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/11/2018 03:24 pm
I'm familiar with the pork barrel politics, but it's hard to grasp to what level it is entrenched and sets policy. I think it's strongest when there is a President who isn't bothered about NASA - ie like all Presidents since Kennedy. That allows drift in NASA, with no unifying objective other than to provide jobs in certain Senator's seats.

Confusing, even for us Americans.

Set aside how something was created though, and focus on what happens after it gains what could be called "institutional momentum". The Shuttle had that, in that there was an assumption that the Shuttle was our ride to space, and so it was funded every year pretty much without question.

But after the second Shuttle accident everyone finally decided that a review of the Shuttle program was required, and lo and behold it was realized that there needed to be a defined end point to the program. So sometimes what it takes to cause a review of the original assumptions for a government program is that something causes a review of those assumptions.

Since the SLS was mandated to be built by Congress in 2010, there has been no comprehensive review of the original assumptions for the SLS, but - and this is important - the SLS has only been funded for development, and not yet for operational use. Nor have there been any programs or payloads funded that require the SLS.

Why is that important? Because even small exploration payloads can take years to build, and the SLS is supposed to become operational in 2023, 5 years from now. As an example, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL) known as Curiosity took 7 years from proposal to launch, and it only weighs 0.9mT. Human-rated hardware for SLS missions will weigh far more, and take far longer to design, test and make ready for launch - as an example the Orion spacecraft will have taken 18 years. And NASA is not getting faster at building human-rated hardware.

So there is a HUGE disconnect between hope and reality with the SLS right now, since there is nothing for it to launch during the decade of the 2020's. Yet no one is raising the alarm bells.

Quote
It also accounts for a lot of the cost difference between NASA and SpaceX and is why NASA needs to get out of the launch market, and focus on doing what only NASA can do.

The philosophy that I've heard that I agree with is that the government should only do what the private sector can't or won't do. The private sector in the U.S. is now the leader in launching mass to space, and the only justification for the SLS is that it can launch bigger payloads. However it costs so much more, and flies so infrequently that it does not provide any real benefits over using multiple-launch architectures and in-space assembly - which is what we used for the ISS and what pretty much everyone is planning to use to expand humanity out into space.

So let's hope there is a review of the SLS, and maybe the Falcon Heavy flight will trigger it. But I'm not holding my breath...  ;)
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AncientU on 02/11/2018 03:55 pm




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

No. You don't.

You need to compare the type of program the USA could have using FH plus other commercially available launchers with the type of program we can have with SLS/Orion...
*****at the same price point*****
*****on the same time line*****


Only when you constrain the parameters to a mind-boggling archaic son-of-Apollo program -- without the interesting/challenging part of actually landing and exploring -- does SLS make any sense at all.  And then it only makes sense to someone in Alabama, or Boeing, or Coalition for Deep Space Exploration*.

* Holy Cow, that title is so Orwellian I can't stand it.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Vultur on 02/11/2018 09:03 pm
If BFR actually flies (successfully) I don't expect SLS to survive. It would just be too embarrassing for NASA to be spending way more for way less capability.

I don't think Falcon Heavy alone will make that much of a difference.
SpaceX successfully flying people would be a big step.
If they do that circumlunar tourist mission, THAT might lead to the cancellation of SLS and Orion, especially if Starliner is also flying by then (2 US vehicles that could provide human access to space).

But quite likely not, because there's a lot of money and political inertia committed to SLS/Orion. I can't see even that being able to save it if BFR/BFS hardware actually lands on Mars, though.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/12/2018 12:28 am




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

Why does it have to be a single launch?
Whats the problem of sending crew+most important life support in launch 1 and science equipment in launch 2 for ~200mio instead of all in a single launch for 500m-1B?
If SpaceX offered means of delivering crew to DSG using FH that NASA didn't need to fund development of. Then I can see NASA buying missions but I can't see them cancelling SLS till there is 2nd provider.

NB FH still does offer an alternative to 8m fairings.

By way thread is SLS vs FH, BFR doesn't come into it, different debate different thread.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: QuantumG on 02/12/2018 12:40 am
If SpaceX offered means of delivering crew to DSG using FH that NASA didn't need to fund development of.

When by? Getting the astronaut office okay with Falcon Heavy would be hard. Dragon 2 beyond Earth orbit would be too.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/12/2018 12:53 am
Bet the astronaut office would be begging to go if it were the only ride. Just like the AO is fine with Soyuz...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: spacenut on 02/12/2018 03:09 am
To me Falcon Heavy is great idea, but maybe a little too late.  FH has a lot of shortcomings.  One is the fairing is too small for heavier or larger payloads like a Bigelow 330 inflatable station.  Two, the diameter of the rocket and upper stage, is only about 3 1/2 meters.  The length of the boosters with a larger or wider payload make it harder to function due to bending loads for heavier payloads especially if they need a larger fairing. 

Maybe the center core is strengthened enough to handle heavier payloads or wider payloads without problems.  They may be able to stretch the upper stage to deliver fuel for a moon or Mars destination spacecraft.  I know it can deliver larger satellites to GSO, but other than that they have no moon Dragons manned flybys or Red Dragons planned that they mentioned a few years ago.  I don't know what they plan to use it for other than satellites for now even though it has tremendous LEO capability. 

Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MaxTeranous on 02/12/2018 03:31 am
If SpaceX offered means of delivering crew to DSG using FH that NASA didn't need to fund development of.

When by? Getting the astronaut office okay with Falcon Heavy would be hard. Dragon 2 beyond Earth orbit would be too.

Pretty sure any rational decision maker would be happier flying on a rocket that’d flown say 20 times by that point than a rocket that’d flown either once or never depending on whether you consider the new upper stage different enough.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MaxTeranous on 02/12/2018 03:34 am




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

To DSG that doesn’t exist and isn’t paid for, and without a proper budget uplift cant afford to be paid for without cancelling some big line item (like SLS)
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: QuantumG on 02/12/2018 05:29 am
Pretty sure any rational decision maker would be happier flying on a rocket that’d flown say 20 times by that point than a rocket that’d flown either once or never depending on whether you consider the new upper stage different enough.

Nope. I has to pass the "insight" list.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: speedevil on 02/12/2018 11:00 am
Pretty sure any rational decision maker would be happier flying on a rocket that’d flown say 20 times by that point than a rocket that’d flown either once or never depending on whether you consider the new upper stage different enough.

Nope. I has to pass the "insight" list.

<manager hat>
What does a Mars rover have to do with it?
</manager hat>
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: cebri on 02/12/2018 03:38 pm
150M, not 270M, for expendable FH

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963076231921938432
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/12/2018 03:40 pm
A very interesting article on the Space Review:

""""SLS is simply one more government project, liberally marinated in absurdity, that continues because it has, thus far, flown below the public’s radar. Absent public outrage or, even worse, public ridicule, many such projects have soldiered on in obscurity for long periods based entirely on the politics of parochial self-interest and mutual back-scratching. But no amount of political influence tends to be able to save these things when the general public takes note. Especially when they laugh.""""

http://thespacereview.com/article/3429/1
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/12/2018 05:12 pm
Huh, I also skipped the last part... Replace SRBs, replace engines... okay.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: okan170 on 02/12/2018 05:24 pm




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

To DSG that doesn’t exist and isn’t paid for, and without a proper budget uplift cant afford to be paid for without cancelling some big line item (like SLS)

Gerst specifically noted that DSG production/flight is covered under NASA's current allocation (part of why the proposal is probably 2/year instead of something more aspirational), but things like DST or Lunar Landers would require uplifting the budget.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: speedevil on 02/12/2018 05:26 pm
Huh, I also skipped the last part... Replace SRBs, replace engines... okay.

You missed my favourite quote.
Quote
But a reusable stage also needs to be able to land. It needs legs to do so. Either SpaceX or Blue Origin would be the logical source for these.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/12/2018 05:28 pm
It would be useful to see a price table:
- Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy
- Reusable Mode with new boosters, with used once boosters, with used twice boosters
- Expendable Mode with new boosters, with used boosters, with used twice boosters

Anyway that is beside the point of article. NASA has spent $10 billion on their Heavy Lift Rocket (and another $6 billion on Orion).

I'm not sure what the latest cost estimates are but this says a target is $500 million per launch, yo make one flight per year: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/49019843/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.UFIyOxii5i4
That is probably a gross under-estimate - can NASA really maintain the systems and capability for one launch per year at less than $1 billion per year?

And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.

The only reputed benefit over Falcon Heavy was the wider payload fairing, which might be useful for Mars entry heat shields. (Or I could see it being an advantage for large solar arrays which can't be packed so tightly). New Glenn might over come that issue.

So with hindsight, SLS should have been cancelled years ago, and the $10 billion spent on an upper stage rocket, or a space tug, or electric space tug. Orion could still be useful - and maybe a tender put out for a commercial heavy lift vehicle to carry it. Then there might be a choice of SpaceX or Boeing or New Glenn for heavy lift packages, and NASA could get completely out of the launch business and focus on space exploration.

Moving forward, can the politicians who have wasted the SLS money pay for it out their pockets?

SLS will now be completed, and have a test flight and a ceremonial flight. But then what? Every time NASA has a mission, manned or unmanned, they say it'll cost $1 billion to launch on SLS, or $180 million on Falcon Heavy. How does it work in NASA - does the top mandate the launch vehicle for every mission?

Perhaps they will be able to come up with a compromise. Falcon Heavy launches the fuel, and SLS launches the mission. But with that architecture, you don't need Block 2 in that case.

New Glenn might make it look worse for NASA. If there are two rockets able to lift >45 tons, at a fraction of the cost of SLS, who is going to be interested in using SLS?
FH launch will be the 1st nail in the coffin of SLS. As soon as BFR launches successfully then SLS will be totally overpriced and obsolete. Hopefully the money wasting SLS will be cancelled long before BFR flies. Perhaps BO should announce NA which should pave the way for SLS's cancellation.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/12/2018 05:48 pm
The SLS will continue development, which would only make sense given that nearly all the flight hardware has been made for EM-1, and flight hardware is already in process for EM-2
And then be cancelled after EM-2 if it does not get cancelled before EM-2 gets off the ground. EM-1 is likely to launch but any SLS launches after that are likely highly uncertain. If SLS is cancelled before EM-2 then EM-2 hardware already built will likely to go to museums. SLS will definitely not exist once the new generation of fully reusable HLLV's enter service.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: JH on 02/12/2018 06:04 pm
Huh, I also skipped the last part... Replace SRBs, replace engines... okay.

Yeah, I can't remember the last time I read an article that went downhill that suddenly and severely.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/12/2018 06:11 pm
It would be a Kerbal Kludge; but an SLS using 4x Falcon 9 Block 5's as strap on, flyback boosters would have extraordinary capability. Hey, Dr Steve Pietrobon; have at it! ;)

Each F9 is roughly an F-1 engine, so yeah that should work quite well. Haven't got the time now to do that though.

Back on topic. With SpaceX cancelling the Lunar and Mars Dragon 2 missions to concentrate on BFR, I believe that has given SLS a lifeline for now. I believe BFR will take much longer than expected, more like 10 years than five. I think a Dragon 2 going around the Moon before Orion had a good chance of killing SLS.
BO can speed up the killing of SLS by announcing NA as an alternative to SLS for NASA. No doubt NA will have more capability than SLS at a cost comparable to BFR. Absolutely no need for SLS when both BFR and NA are in service. Could get up to around 50 launches of a mix of BFR and NA for the cost of a single SLS launch. The economics just totally stack up against SLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: rpapo on 02/12/2018 06:13 pm
It would be a Kerbal Kludge; but an SLS using 4x Falcon 9 Block 5's as strap on, flyback boosters would have extraordinary capability. Hey, Dr Steve Pietrobon; have at it! ;)

Each F9 is roughly an F-1 engine, so yeah that should work quite well. Haven't got the time now to do that though.

Back on topic. With SpaceX cancelling the Lunar and Mars Dragon 2 missions to concentrate on BFR, I believe that has given SLS a lifeline for now. I believe BFR will take much longer than expected, more like 10 years than five. I think a Dragon 2 going around the Moon before Orion had a good chance of killing SLS.
BO can speed up the killing of SLS by announcing NA as an alternative to SLS for NASA. No doubt NA will have more capability than SLS at a cost comparable to BFR. Absolutely no need for SLS when both BFR and NA are in service. Could get up to around 50 launches of a mix of BFR and NA for the cost of a single SLS launch. The economics just totally stack up against SLS.
True, but the reasons that Musk backs off from challenging the SLS directly are equally true for Bezos.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/12/2018 06:25 pm
No direct impact, but FH in many ways cleared the way for BFR, which will have big impact on SLS.

Although just goes by some of the comments in this thread I wonder if even BFR can kill SLS, here's some of the arguments I predict we'll see when BFR flies:
1. BFR and SLS can compliment each other, why can't we have both?
2. BFR can't launch Orion, so SLS is still needed
3. SLS can send 30t+ to TLI in one launch, BFR couldn't, so SLS is superior!
4. No impact to SLS, remember BFR hasn't just come to the scene, it's x years late already...
5. But we have invested so many billions into SLS, it has hardware, we can't just cancel it
6. BFR hasn't demonstrated x number of flights per year, it's still powerpoint!

Now try replacing FH/BFR with Starship Enterprise, and most of the arguments still work, what does this tell you...
1. BFR and NA replace SLS because SLS is so dammed expensive.
2. BO designs NA to launch Orion as a payload option so SLS not needed.
3. NA may be superior to SLS for TLI.
4. SLS can no way compete with BFR and NA forcing it's cancellation.
5. Just cancel SLS, give it up as a bad job to stop further money bleeding and hand over funding for BFR and NA dev.
6. US of BFR may start testing by the time EM-1 launches.

So all in all SLS needs to be cancelled now to stop billions more $ being wasted.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/12/2018 06:32 pm
Perhaps the best response to the OP is... Will anyone care..?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: RDoc on 02/12/2018 06:38 pm

1. BFR and NA replace SLS because SLS is so dammed expensive.
2. BO designs NA to launch Orion as a payload option so SLS not needed.
3. NA may be superior to SLS for TLI.
4. SLS can no way compete with BFR and NA forcing it's cancellation.
5. Just cancel SLS, give it up as a bad job to stop further money bleeding and hand over funding for BFR and NA dev.
6. US of BFR may start testing by the time EM-1 launches.

So all in all SLS needs to be cancelled now to stop billions more $ being wasted.
Unfortunately, SLS is doing precisely what it was intended to do. Spread lots of pork around to lobbyists and constituents. It's not called the Senate Launch System for nothing, and as long as the money keeps flowing, the project will continue, launch or not.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/12/2018 06:42 pm

1. BFR and NA replace SLS because SLS is so dammed expensive.
2. BO designs NA to launch Orion as a payload option so SLS not needed.
3. NA may be superior to SLS for TLI.
4. SLS can no way compete with BFR and NA forcing it's cancellation.
5. Just cancel SLS, give it up as a bad job to stop further money bleeding and hand over funding for BFR and NA dev.
6. US of BFR may start testing by the time EM-1 launches.

So all in all SLS needs to be cancelled now to stop billions more $ being wasted.
Unfortunately, SLS is doing precisely what it was intended to do. Spread lots of pork around to lobbyists and constituents. It's not called the Senate Launch System for nothing, and as long as the money keeps flowing, the project will continue, launch or not.
Perhaps Musk and Bezos should get together and force NASA to cancel SLS and to fund their HLV systems.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Kansan52 on 02/12/2018 06:46 pm
Perhaps Musk and Bezos should get together and force NASA to cancel SLS and to fund their HLV systems.

No. Bad Politics. They need the USG as a customer.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TaurusLittrow on 02/12/2018 07:07 pm
I don't think its politically feasible to cancel SLS outright (its the Senate Launch System, after all). The vested interests are just too entrenched and the pork is too widely distributed. Nor do I think NASA can be weened from SLS and shift its focus exclusively to Habs, DSG/T, and landers instead.

The best we can hope for is some type of Lunar-COTS-style arrangement (providing supplies and crew rotation to some national or international lunar-orbiting habitat) which will generate a revenue stream for SpaceX or other providers. Hopefully, that's enough, along with revenue from satellite launches, to allow SpaceX to pursue BFR development and flights to the Mars system without delay. BO is a different case and can rely on the deepest pockets on the planet assuming he has any interest in BEO travel.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/12/2018 07:11 pm
OK, let's paraphrase the question.

Could a rocket (such as SLS) continue its existence if her direct competitors offer cheaper options?

Could such a rocket exist and fly, even if it has limited use (i.e. missions to lunar orbit) and no commercial launches?

The answer should be a theoretical yes. But could it be, in this specific case?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/12/2018 07:20 pm
OK, let's paraphrase the question.

Could a rocket (such as SLS) continue its existence if her direct competitors offer cheaper options?

Could such a rocket exist and fly, even if it has limited use (i.e. missions to lunar orbit) and no commercial launches?

The answer should be a theoretical yes. But could it be, in this specific case?
BFR and NA will totally price SLS out of the market. The estimated $1 billion cost per launch of SLS is absolutely insane especially in the light of the BFR announcement last IAC. Cost of BFR per launch will be cheaper than F9 with 1st stage reuse never mind SLS and NA will likely be competitive with BFR on launch cost. Expendable launchers such as SLS won't stand a chance in a few years time as the launch market moves towards reusable systems.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: whitelancer64 on 02/12/2018 08:54 pm

1. BFR and NA replace SLS because SLS is so dammed expensive.
2. BO designs NA to launch Orion as a payload option so SLS not needed.
3. NA may be superior to SLS for TLI.
4. SLS can no way compete with BFR and NA forcing it's cancellation.
5. Just cancel SLS, give it up as a bad job to stop further money bleeding and hand over funding for BFR and NA dev.
6. US of BFR may start testing by the time EM-1 launches.

So all in all SLS needs to be cancelled now to stop billions more $ being wasted.
Unfortunately, SLS is doing precisely what it was intended to do. Spread lots of pork around to lobbyists and constituents. It's not called the Senate Launch System for nothing, and as long as the money keeps flowing, the project will continue, launch or not.
Perhaps Musk and Bezos should get together and force NASA to cancel SLS and to fund their HLV systems.

They couldn't do any such thing, even if they tried to do what you propose. A. NASA is not in charge of deciding how its budget is spent, Congress is; and B. that's not how federal funding works. If Congress cancels a project, that money isn't redistributed, it's just gone.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: spacenut on 02/12/2018 09:57 pm
On another thread they listed FH's cost.  Very cheap in comparison to SLS.  If NASA or even if SpaceX offered to use FH as a moon centric alternative, with LEO refueling or fuel depot, an L1 station using Bigelow modules.  A reusable and refuelable moon lander. 

1) Say use a stretched upper stage for a fuel depot with docking and filling connections. 
2) Design a large reusable moon lander that can fit either inside the existing or proposed widened and stretched fairing.
3) Place a Bigelow 330 module at L1 with a stretched upper stage used for fuel depot.  Also place the reusable moon lander here. 
4) Launch a Dragon II and refuel the upper stage and fly to L1 to dock at station. 
5) Lander lands on moon, delivers cargo or people for moon base work.  Has enough fuel to return to L1. 

It would make sense to use metholox architecture or maybe hydrolox.  All this would depend on help from NASA, ULA, BO, or Orbital/ATK.  All the money spent on SLS could help these launch providers develop the architecture to fit their launchers. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: darkenfast on 02/13/2018 04:33 am
The SLS is becoming the national equivalent of California's Bullet Train.  Way overpriced, benefits only the connected companies and unions that are pushing it, falling behind schedule more and more and, if it ever does becomes operational, will seldom be used because of its expense.   
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/13/2018 06:52 am
OK, let's paraphrase the question.

Could a rocket (such as SLS) continue its existence if her direct competitors offer cheaper options?

Could such a rocket exist and fly, even if it has limited use (i.e. missions to lunar orbit) and no commercial launches?

The answer should be a theoretical yes. But could it be, in this specific case?
BFR and NA will totally price SLS out of the market. The estimated $1 billion cost per launch of SLS is absolutely insane especially in the light of the BFR announcement last IAC. Cost of BFR per launch will be cheaper than F9 with 1st stage reuse never mind SLS and NA will likely be competitive with BFR on launch cost. Expendable launchers such as SLS won't stand a chance in a few years time as the launch market moves towards reusable systems.

No, they won't.
SLS will fly its first mission before BFR and NA become operational. As such, NASA won't be forced to use commercial alternatives.
SLS will be primarily used to fly government missions. As such, SLS is not competing with BFR and NA.
The primary markets for BFR and NA are commercial missions, not government work.

IMO, the fate of SLS after the debut of Falcon Heavy is that it will continue to exist and (eventually) launch, even after BFR and NA have arrived on the scene.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/13/2018 08:05 am

1. BFR and NA replace SLS because SLS is so dammed expensive.
2. BO designs NA to launch Orion as a payload option so SLS not needed.
3. NA may be superior to SLS for TLI.
4. SLS can no way compete with BFR and NA forcing it's cancellation.
5. Just cancel SLS, give it up as a bad job to stop further money bleeding and hand over funding for BFR and NA dev.
6. US of BFR may start testing by the time EM-1 launches.

So all in all SLS needs to be cancelled now to stop billions more $ being wasted.
Unfortunately, SLS is doing precisely what it was intended to do. Spread lots of pork around to lobbyists and constituents. It's not called the Senate Launch System for nothing, and as long as the money keeps flowing, the project will continue, launch or not.
Perhaps Musk and Bezos should get together and force NASA to cancel SLS and to fund their HLV systems.

They couldn't do any such thing, even if they tried to do what you propose. A. NASA is not in charge of deciding how its budget is spent, Congress is; and B. that's not how federal funding works. If Congress cancels a project, that money isn't redistributed, it's just gone.
The easiest way to get SLS cancelled is for Musk and Bezos to become members of Congress. Only then will Congress wake up to the reality of reusable rockets.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/13/2018 08:19 am
OK, let's paraphrase the question.

Could a rocket (such as SLS) continue its existence if her direct competitors offer cheaper options?

Could such a rocket exist and fly, even if it has limited use (i.e. missions to lunar orbit) and no commercial launches?

The answer should be a theoretical yes. But could it be, in this specific case?
BFR and NA will totally price SLS out of the market. The estimated $1 billion cost per launch of SLS is absolutely insane especially in the light of the BFR announcement last IAC. Cost of BFR per launch will be cheaper than F9 with 1st stage reuse never mind SLS and NA will likely be competitive with BFR on launch cost. Expendable launchers such as SLS won't stand a chance in a few years time as the launch market moves towards reusable systems.

No, they won't.
SLS will fly its first mission before BFR and NA become operational. As such, NASA won't be forced to use commercial alternatives.
SLS will be primarily used to fly government missions. As such, SLS is not competing with BFR and NA.
The primary markets for BFR and NA are commercial missions, not government work.

IMO, the fate of SLS after the debut of Falcon Heavy is that it will continue to exist and (eventually) launch, even after BFR and NA have arrived on the scene.
SLS needs to be cancelled now as the global launch market moves towards reusability. The SpaceX effect is causing everyone on Earth to look toward reusability except dumb minded Congress.

The money that Congress will waste between now and when/if SLS launches would likely be enough to fully fund BFR and NA dev. to IOC of both systems.

To say that BFR and NA won't price SLS out of the market is absurd when just one SLS launch is likely to cost the same as possibly up to 50 launches of BFR and/or NA. BFR and NA will be perfectly capable of flying gov. missions as well as commercial so no need for SLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/13/2018 09:05 am
If SLS gets cancelled now that will be end of DSG and NASA HSF BLEO. The freed up money will go back into Government coffers. NASA may buy commercial HSF services to BLEO but it won't pay for development.

SLS Orion and DSG enables HSF to BLEO. Commercial companies will eventually follow and do it cheaper allowing SLS to be cancelled.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: DJPledger on 02/13/2018 09:19 am
If SLS gets cancelled now that will be end of DSG and NASA HSF BLEO. The freed up money will go back into Government coffers. NASA may buy commercial HSF services to BLEO but it won't pay for development.

SLS Orion and DSG enables HSF to BLEO. Commercial companies will eventually follow and do it cheaper allowing SLS to be cancelled.
Cancelling SLS now will only delay DSG and NASA HSF BLEO until BFR IOC then be joined by NA a few years later. Gov. should just give the money freed up by SLS cancellation to SpaceX and BO for BFR and NA dev. respectively. Better to delay NASA BLEO HSF a few years by cancelling SLS for the dramatically reduced costs benefits of using BFR and NA. Need to force NASA to pay for commercial HLV dev. using the money saved from SLS cancellation.

Perhaps we should all get together and lobby Congress and NASA to get SLS cancelled ASAP and to divert funds towards expediting BFR and NA dev.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/13/2018 09:33 am
It's not a bad idea - pity it doesn't really work that way :(  The funds are not directly transferable by the signing of a pen or a few phonecalls. The budgetary process can be tortuous and long-winded in the first place. And common sense isn't always that common. There is more 'not invented here' syndrome to this than we can imagine. :'(
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Proponent on 02/13/2018 10:17 am
Don't go into *Low* lunar orbit but instead an elliptical orbit. Way less delta-V to enter and leave. Solves a whole bunch of problems and makes logistics by a whole range of rockets easier.

Does an elliptical orbit result in spacecraft having to use instantaneous launches due to tiny windows?

I don't think the windows are excessively short.  The problem I see is that an efficient TEI burn must take place at perilune and on the far side of the moon.  So it seems to me that an elliptical orbit leaves you with departure windows only once a month.  You could move perilune, but that takes delta-V.  Am I missing something?

Isn't it one launch window (from Low Earth Orbit) per lunar orbit of the lunar gateway/orbiter. That doesn;t impose a constraint on launch from Earth, assuming the upper stage can orbit for between 0 and a few days. 

It's leaving the Moon to return to earth that I'm worried about rather than the departure from earth.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/13/2018 11:50 am
If SLS gets cancelled now that will be end of DSG and NASA HSF BLEO. The freed up money will go back into Government coffers. NASA may buy commercial HSF services to BLEO but it won't pay for development.

SLS Orion and DSG enables HSF to BLEO. Commercial companies will eventually follow and do it cheaper allowing SLS to be cancelled.
Cancelling SLS now will only delay DSG and NASA HSF BLEO until BFR IOC then be joined by NA a few years later. Gov. should just give the money freed up by SLS cancellation to SpaceX and BO for BFR and NA dev. respectively. Better to delay NASA BLEO HSF a few years by cancelling SLS for the dramatically reduced costs benefits of using BFR and NA. Need to force NASA to pay for commercial HLV dev. using the money saved from SLS cancellation.

Perhaps we should all get together and lobby Congress and NASA to get SLS cancelled ASAP and to divert funds towards expediting BFR and NA dev.

That would be an incredibly bad idea. You see, if Congress was to give that money to SpaceX and BO they would want both companies to develop those vehicles under government supervision and to government requirements. And that would instantly make those vehicles at least an order of magnitude more expensive.

Pork barrel politics, remember...

Why do you think Bezos is developing New Glenn without NASA involvement? Why do you think Musk is developing BFR/BFS without NASA involvement?
Exactly for the reason given above.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: hektor on 02/13/2018 12:00 pm
Orion is the only exploration program which has an international participation built in. That would send a bad message to cancel it now. How would you convince ESA or JAXA to join in later initiatives ?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: speedevil on 02/13/2018 12:10 pm
If SLS gets cancelled now that will be end of DSG and NASA HSF BLEO. The freed up money will go back into Government coffers. NASA may buy commercial HSF services to BLEO but it won't pay for development.

SLS Orion and DSG enables HSF to BLEO.
It enables one sort of BLEO.
DSG enables 'fuel poor' missions, where every gram of fuel around the moon costs many dollars.

It enables lunar missions with Apollo class one ton payloads to the moon for a billion dollars. (maybe several times cheaper than this, but not much more).
Do we want this capability?

It is at least arguable that we do, if we assume none of the efforts at wholly reusable spacecraft will ever pay off, and that payload to the moon will remain at $10000/g.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Jim on 02/13/2018 01:21 pm

Perhaps we should all get together and lobby Congress and NASA to get SLS cancelled ASAP and to divert funds towards expediting BFR and NA dev.

No, they don't need the money
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Archibald on 02/13/2018 01:28 pm
A very interesting article on the Space Review:

""""SLS is simply one more government project, liberally marinated in absurdity, that continues because it has, thus far, flown below the public’s radar. Absent public outrage or, even worse, public ridicule, many such projects have soldiered on in obscurity for long periods based entirely on the politics of parochial self-interest and mutual back-scratching. But no amount of political influence tends to be able to save these things when the general public takes note. Especially when they laugh.""""

http://thespacereview.com/article/3429/1

the Space Review ain't what it used to be. Quality of the articles has become unequal along the years...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/13/2018 01:30 pm

Perhaps we should all get together and lobby Congress and NASA to get SLS cancelled ASAP and to divert funds towards expediting BFR and NA dev.

No, they don't need the money
Agreed.

And if we do find them (indirectly), the govt should bargain hard and make them work hard for every dollar through competition.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: spacenut on 02/13/2018 02:02 pm
Cots for the moon space station or moon base.  NASA should ask for proposals, then look at the cost and who would be the best to provide and narrow down to two companies.  The only requirement I think they should have is the equipment and modules be modular and be able to connect from different companies.  How they get the equipment there is their business, whether FH, NG or NA, BFR, Vulcan-ACES, or foreign contributors. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: bob the martian on 02/13/2018 02:40 pm
OK, let's paraphrase the question.

Could a rocket (such as SLS) continue its existence if her direct competitors offer cheaper options?

Everyone keeps missing the point.

SLS is not subject to any kind of market pressure.  At all.  The eventual existence of multiple commercial offerings with equivalent performance for less cost is completely, absolutely irrelevant to SLS' future.  Cost effectiveness is not the metric against which SLS' continued survival will be measured.  Keeping federal dollars flowing into specific districts is the metric against which its survival is measured.  As long as it fills that role, arguments about cost per launch, rate of launches, lack of missions, etc., will have little weight. 

Politics and nothing else will decide SLS' fate.  Certain elected officials will have to retire, die, or lose elections in order for SLS to be cancelled irrespective of the existence (or not) of FH, BFR, NA, etc.  Sure, we can argue to our elected representatives that it's a waste of money and should be cancelled, and most of them will agree and push for cancellation, but unless they're in the right positions of power, it won't happen. 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: phantomdj on 02/13/2018 02:59 pm
OK, let's paraphrase the question.

Could a rocket (such as SLS) continue its existence if her direct competitors offer cheaper options?

Everyone keeps missing the point.

SLS is not subject to any kind of market pressure.  At all.  The eventual existence of multiple commercial offerings with equivalent performance for less cost is completely, absolutely irrelevant to SLS' future.  Cost effectiveness is not the metric against which SLS' continued survival will be measured.  Keeping federal dollars flowing into specific districts is the metric against which its survival is measured.  As long as it fills that role, arguments about cost per launch, rate of launches, lack of missions, etc., will have little weight. 

Politics and nothing else will decide SLS' fate.  Certain elected officials will have to retire, die, or lose elections in order for SLS to be cancelled irrespective of the existence (or not) of FH, BFR, NA, etc.  Sure, we can argue to our elected representatives that it's a waste of money and should be cancelled, and most of them will agree and push for cancellation, but unless they're in the right positions of power, it won't happen.

Agreed.

Comparing cost to performance, SLS is untenable and is basically white-collar welfare. At best it is a back up for BFR and NG in case they do not live up to expectations or have a major failure (e.g. Challenger and Columbia). SLS will continue to be funded as long as the political Alabama (sorry, need to stop here for a second and just say that I have to use stupid words to get my point across. I know that means I must have a weak argument, but that's why I use bad words). is in Congress or the public finally complains.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: GWH on 02/13/2018 03:57 pm

Perhaps we should all get together and lobby Congress and NASA to get SLS cancelled ASAP and to divert funds towards expediting BFR and NA dev.

No, they don't need the money
Agreed.

And if we do find them (indirectly), the govt should bargain hard and make them work hard for every dollar through competition.

Yes. Don't fund boosters or upper stages directly but fund what adds new capabilities over SLS. The point of using commercial rockets is they were already developed and funded on their business case alone.

BFR as a lander or crew vehicle has significant value over SLS. ACES/Xues allow for increased stage duration and landing. New Armstrong is an unknown but if it includes some type of lander then it adds new capabilities. 
All these things can replace SLS on their own.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TaurusLittrow on 02/13/2018 06:24 pm
Spaceflightnow.com:
"NASA officials said there would be significant roles for commercial partners in the lunar exploration plan. In 2022, a power and propulsion module could be launched aboard a commercial rocket to begin the construction of a space station named the Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway. Employing solar-electric propulsion with plasma engines, the module was previously slated to launch on the NASA-owned Space Launch System"


Interesting report on today's Spaceflightnow.com based on just-released NASA budget outline. According to the report, NASA could launch the Power/Prop module of the Deep Space Gateway aboard a COMMERCIAL rocket in 2022 (instead of SLS). Commercial rockets with the lift capacity in 2022: Falcon Heavy or perhaps New Glenn.


Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/13/2018 08:08 pm
Spaceflightnow.com:
"NASA officials said there would be significant roles for commercial partners in the lunar exploration plan. In 2022, a power and propulsion module could be launched aboard a commercial rocket to begin the construction of a space station named the Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway. Employing solar-electric propulsion with plasma engines, the module was previously slated to launch on the NASA-owned Space Launch System"


Interesting report on today's Spaceflightnow.com based on just-released NASA budget outline. According to the report, NASA could launch the Power/Prop module of the Deep Space Gateway aboard a COMMERCIAL rocket in 2022 (instead of SLS). Commercial rockets with the lift capacity in 2022: Falcon Heavy or perhaps New Glenn.

DIVH and Vulcan 564 would also be able to send the PPE to TLI, if it does LOI with SEP. ACES would also be capable of LOI but is unlikely to be flying by then.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/13/2018 08:11 pm
OK, let's paraphrase the question.

Could a rocket (such as SLS) continue its existence if her direct competitors offer cheaper options?

Everyone keeps missing the point.

SLS is not subject to any kind of market pressure.  At all.  The eventual existence of multiple commercial offerings with equivalent performance for less cost is completely, absolutely irrelevant to SLS' future.  Cost effectiveness is not the metric against which SLS' continued survival will be measured.  Keeping federal dollars flowing into specific districts is the metric against which its survival is measured.  As long as it fills that role, arguments about cost per launch, rate of launches, lack of missions, etc., will have little weight. 

Politics and nothing else will decide SLS' fate.  Certain elected officials will have to retire, die, or lose elections in order for SLS to be cancelled irrespective of the existence (or not) of FH, BFR, NA, etc.  Sure, we can argue to our elected representatives that it's a waste of money and should be cancelled, and most of them will agree and push for cancellation, but unless they're in the right positions of power, it won't happen.

Even politics can't save SLS once commercial vehicles prove they can exceed its capabilities. Right now it's easy to call the other vehicles paper rockets that will never fly, and drum up support for SLS as something that NASA needs. Much harder to do that with other vehicles flying.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Kansan52 on 02/13/2018 08:21 pm
Even politics can't save SLS once commercial vehicles prove they can exceed its capabilities. Right now it's easy to call the other vehicles paper rockets that will never fly, and drum up support for SLS as something that NASA needs. Much harder to do that with other vehicles flying.

I disagree. Politics can't save the SLS if there is public uproar or the districts with SLS jobs lose their advocates in Congress. Now, the savings (if they materialize) could force an uproar...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/13/2018 08:36 pm
Would be kind of funny to see what would of happened if BFR was going to be built in Alabama... ;D
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: hkultala on 02/13/2018 09:19 pm
True, but the reasons that Musk backs off from challenging the SLS directly are equally true for Bezos.

No, they do not.

NASA is not the biggest customer of BO. BO has pockets of Jeff Bezos, who is the richest man in the world.
BO does not needs NASAs money for anything.

NASA is the biggest customer of SpaceX. SpaceX cannot annoy NASA/congress too much to in order to not risk their ISS crew and resupply contracts.

Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: QuantumG on 02/13/2018 09:24 pm
BO does not needs NASAs money for anything.

Yep, amazingly they're capable of going slower than NASA without NASA's help.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: su27k on 02/14/2018 02:38 am
B. that's not how federal funding works. If Congress cancels a project, that money isn't redistributed, it's just gone.

That's not the case for NASA, Congress cancelled Shuttle and Constellation, but the money isn't gone. True a lot of the money went back to the same contractors in the disguise of SLS/Orion, but a significant portion of the old money now goes to commercial space. Constellation supporters didn't mind big cancellation when they try to ditch ISS into the ocean in 2015, now they're worried money would be gone if SLS got cancelled? Nice try but no dice.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/14/2018 03:50 am
BO does not needs NASAs money for anything.

Yep, amazingly they're capable of going slower than NASA without NASA's help.

Rocket Science is hard, I guess - that's why they call it Rocket Science. But I too admit some pauzzlement as to why some of their aspirations are taking so long.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/14/2018 06:57 am
BO does not needs NASAs money for anything.

Yep, amazingly they're capable of going slower than NASA without NASA's help.

When was the last time NASA developed a fully reusable, rapid re-flight, crew-rated sub-orbital booster and capsule?

The answer is: never. Which makes BO infinitely faster than NASA.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/14/2018 07:01 am
BO does not needs NASAs money for anything.

Yep, amazingly they're capable of going slower than NASA without NASA's help.

Rocket Science is hard, I guess - that's why they call it Rocket Science. But I too admit some pauzzlement as to why some of their aspirations are taking so long.
There is no incentive to start earning money. So there is no "rush" to get things flying.
Remember, Blue Origin is Bezos' personal hobby. It is fully funded from his personal wealth. At the current funding level ($1 billion per year) he can continue to do so for at least another two decades.

And where Elon has set a goal of "retiring on Mars" Jeff has no such goal. So, no pressure there either.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 09:56 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 10:16 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 10:36 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 10:51 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

Imagine NASA purchasing 5 FH launches for $500mln and spending the remaining $6.5bn on payloads for them. They could fund and launch 5 missions in the Cassini/New Horizon/Juno class just from the current budget.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 11:26 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

Imagine NASA purchasing 5 FH launches for $500mln and spending the remaining $6.5bn on payloads for them. They could fund and launch 5 missions in the Cassini/New Horizon/Juno class just from the current budget.
If I'm putting people on a round trip to Mars, I want to do that with as few launches as possible. Launches are risky, and I like as few risks as possible. Especially in human spaceflight. I'd go with the SLS.

And it's not a very fair comparison to compare the entire development cost of the SLS to the speculative per launch cost of the Falcon Heavy. 

The SLS and Falcon Heavy are different rockets with different missions. The SLS has a much more ambitious objective. Putting people on a round trip to Mars. I don't expect their cost to compare.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 11:44 am
And it's not a very fair comparison to compare the entire development cost of the SLS to the speculative per launch cost of the Falcon Heavy. 

It's kind of cute that you think the $7bn are the "entire development cost of the SLS". Program cost until 2017 were about $12bn. And this doesn't include Orion...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/14/2018 11:45 am
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977 (https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977)

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

Tell me... When was the last time there was a 130 MT payload ready for SLS. Or a 105 MT payload? Or a 70 MT payload?

The answer is never.

Even the proposed DSG is being constructed of multiple chunks that weigh in at 15 MT, per piece, at most. You don't need SLS to launch those pieces to the Moon, or even Mars. One clear indicator supporting this fact is that NASA is seriously looking at having a commercial vehicle (not SLS) launch the Power & Propulsion Element of DSG to lunar orbit. In stead of SLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/14/2018 11:56 am
If I'm putting people on a round trip to Mars, I want to do that with as few launches as possible. Launches are risky, and I like as few risks as possible. Especially in human spaceflight. I'd go with the SLS.

FH can put 34 tonnes to TMI with one crewed launch, the same mass as SLS. It only requires one additional uncrewed launch, which adds basically no risk to the crew.

FH will actually have a meaningful flight rate, so its reliability can be established. SLS will not have such a flight rate, and is planned to make it's first all-up flight with crew, which is very risky.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 11:58 am
And it's not a very fair comparison to compare the entire development cost of the SLS to the speculative per launch cost of the Falcon Heavy. 

It's kind of cute that you think the $7bn are the "entire development cost of the SLS". Program cost until 2017 were about $12bn. And this doesn't include Orion...
Human expeditions to Mars are not cheap. No matter what some might tell you.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 12:03 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977 (https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977)

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

Tell me... When was the last time there was a 130 MT payload ready for SLS. Or a 105 MT payload? Or a 70 MT payload?

The answer is never.


What does that mean? We have delays in development? So what? Falcon Heavy was 5 years late. Welcome to the space business.
 
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 12:03 pm
And it's not a very fair comparison to compare the entire development cost of the SLS to the speculative per launch cost of the Falcon Heavy. 

It's kind of cute that you think the $7bn are the "entire development cost of the SLS". Program cost until 2017 were about $12bn. And this doesn't include Orion...
Human expeditions to Mars are not cheap. No matter what some might tell you.

Exactly. That's why the available funding should not be wasted on pork barrel politics.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 12:06 pm
What does that mean? We have delays in development? So what? Falcon Heavy was 5 years late. Welcome to the space business.

The point is not the delay but the utter lack of payloads that could actually use the unique capabilities of SLS.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 12:28 pm
What does that mean? We have delays in development? So what? Falcon Heavy was 5 years late. Welcome to the space business.

The point is not the delay but the utter lack of payloads that could actually use the unique capabilities of SLS.
It's true we do not know exactly what payloads the SLS will carry. That's because they haven't been built, yet, but they will be. And we do know the payloads for a Human Mars expedition are going to be heavy. Very heavy. Far, far, heavier than anything we have sent to Mars before, like the rovers.

Falcon Heavy is designed to put satellites into low earth orbit. SLS is in a different league.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: su27k on 02/14/2018 12:38 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

The "more than double the payload capacity" version of SLS is Block 2, which wouldn't be ready until 2028 at the earliest. SLS Block 1B has less than double the payload capacity, it wouldn't be ready until 2023 (i.e. 5 years from now). What is flying in 2020 is the SLS Block 1 which is 70t to LEO, about 6t more capable than FH, and just for this 6 extra tons you're willing to pay $7 billion?
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/14/2018 12:39 pm
What does that mean? We have delays in development? So what? Falcon Heavy was 5 years late. Welcome to the space business.

The point is not the delay but the utter lack of payloads that could actually use the unique capabilities of SLS.
It's true we do not know exactly what payloads the SLS will carry. That's because they haven't been built, yet, but they will be. And we do know the payloads for a Human Mars expedition are going to be heavy. Very heavy. Far, far, heavier than anything we have sent to Mars before, like the rovers.

Falcon Heavy is designed to put satellites into low earth orbit. SLS is in a different league.

SLS Block 1 and Block 1B are far too small for single-launch manned missions to the Moon or Mars surface. Even Block 2 would just barely be large enough for a Moon mission, but is still too small for Mars.

Any sustained missions to the Moon or Mars will require distributed lift. SLS with its atrocious flight rate and cost per kg has no part in any distributed lift scheme. It's much simpler and cheaper to repurpose commercial vehicles.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/14/2018 12:47 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

Imagine NASA purchasing 5 FH launches for $500mln and spending the remaining $6.5bn on payloads for them. They could fund and launch 5 missions in the Cassini/New Horizon/Juno class just from the current budget.
If I'm putting people on a round trip to Mars, I want to do that with as few launches as possible. Launches are risky, and I like as few risks as possible. Especially in human spaceflight. I'd go with the SLS.

And it's not a very fair comparison to compare the entire development cost of the SLS to the speculative per launch cost of the Falcon Heavy. 

The SLS and Falcon Heavy are different rockets with different missions. The SLS has a much more ambitious objective. Putting people on a round trip to Mars. I don't expect their cost to compare.
Ya got that backwards. If you’re launching people to Mars, you want to launch them on a rocket family that flies super often for safety reasons. If you fly a rocket once every couple years, not going to be safe enough. And for the cargo: don’t want all of your eggs in one, rarely-launched (and therefore high-risk) basket.

63tons is very close to the 70tons of the initial SLS. The 100 ton SLS won’t be flying until at least 2023 (after BFR), and the heavier SLS block 2 for 120-140 tons just got cut from future plans in the Trump budget (if I hear correctly).
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/14/2018 12:56 pm
Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977 (https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977)

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

Tell me... When was the last time there was a 130 MT payload ready for SLS. Or a 105 MT payload? Or a 70 MT payload?

The answer is never.


What does that mean? We have delays in development? So what? Falcon Heavy was 5 years late. Welcome to the space business.
 
What it means is that there are no payloads - planned or existing - other than Orion that justify the existence of SLS.
The only raison d être for SLS is Orion. Everything else can be done by existing commercial launchers given that there are no single-piece payloads (again: other than Orion) that can be lifted by SLS only.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: woods170 on 02/14/2018 01:03 pm
What does that mean? We have delays in development? So what? Falcon Heavy was 5 years late. Welcome to the space business.

The point is not the delay but the utter lack of payloads that could actually use the unique capabilities of SLS.
It's true we do not know exactly what payloads the SLS will carry. That's because they haven't been built, yet, but they will be. And we do know the payloads for a Human Mars expedition are going to be heavy. Very heavy. Far, far, heavier than anything we have sent to Mars before, like the rovers.

You state it yourself: the payloads don't exist. They are not even being designed yet. Which means that the bolded part of your post is one massive assumption.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 01:12 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

The "more than double the payload capacity" version of SLS is Block 2, which wouldn't be ready until 2028 at the earliest. SLS Block 1B has less than double the payload capacity, it wouldn't be ready until 2023 (i.e. 5 years from now). What is flying in 2020 is the SLS Block 1 which is 70t to LEO, about 6t more capable than FH, and just for this 6 extra tons you're willing to pay $7 billion?
The SLS is designed to put humans back into space. Deep space. A new opening of human space exploration. That's what it is designed for.

The Falcon Heavy is not going to carry people. Never, ever. Just satellites to LEO. That's what it is designed for.

You want to go to Mars, the Moon, or an Asteroid, with people? Then you're going on a SLS, or you're not going.

Apples and oranges.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Eerie on 02/14/2018 01:17 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

The "more than double the payload capacity" version of SLS is Block 2, which wouldn't be ready until 2028 at the earliest. SLS Block 1B has less than double the payload capacity, it wouldn't be ready until 2023 (i.e. 5 years from now). What is flying in 2020 is the SLS Block 1 which is 70t to LEO, about 6t more capable than FH, and just for this 6 extra tons you're willing to pay $7 billion?
The SLS is designed to put humans back into space. Deep space. A new opening of human space exploration. That's what it is designed for.

The Falcon Heavy is not going to carry people. Never, ever. Just satellites to LEO. That's what it is designed for.

You want to go to Mars, the Moon, or an Asteroid, with people? Then you're going on a SLS, or you're not going.

Apples and oranges.

Never, ever? Wut?

SLS is a rocket, Falcon Heavy is a rocket. Both can be certified to carry humans in space, if necessary.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/14/2018 01:21 pm
How do you think the successful flight of Falcon Heavy will impact SLS? Will there be consequences? Will development of the rocket continue as planned, will the status quo will be maintained?

Or is there any chance for the Adminstration to redirect the Lunar efforts to Falcon Heavy?
I do not think the Falcon Heavy flight will effect the SLS at all. The SLS is a much more capable rocket and should continue to move forward as planned.

Is it?

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/963493015091326977

Quote
SLS maiden launch slips to 2020. That's three years to the right, at a cost of about $7 billion. For comparative purposes, NASA could buy nearly 80 Falcon Heavy launches for that price. SpaceX might even give 'em a bulk discount.
Yes, I think so.

If Wikipedia is correct, the SLS has more than double the payload capacity to LEO. Falcon Heavy does not compete in lift capacity.

The "more than double the payload capacity" version of SLS is Block 2, which wouldn't be ready until 2028 at the earliest. SLS Block 1B has less than double the payload capacity, it wouldn't be ready until 2023 (i.e. 5 years from now). What is flying in 2020 is the SLS Block 1 which is 70t to LEO, about 6t more capable than FH, and just for this 6 extra tons you're willing to pay $7 billion?
The SLS is designed to put humans back into space. Deep space. A new opening of human space exploration. That's what it is designed for.

The Falcon Heavy is not going to carry people. Never, ever. Just satellites to LEO. That's what it is designed for.

You want to go to Mars, the Moon, or an Asteroid, with people? Then you're going on a SLS, or you're not going.

Apples and oranges.

Wrong. Falcon Heavy is designed to be human rated. It can carry crew.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 01:24 pm
The SLS is designed to put humans back into space. Deep space. A new opening of human space exploration. That's what it is designed for.

There is no deep space habitat. You can't do long duration missions in a small capsule (e.g. Orion).

The Falcon Heavy is not going to carry people. Never, ever. Just satellites to LEO. That's what it is designed for.

FH could launch people. In fact, SpaceX planned to, but is now convinced that BFR will make that obsolete. And: I doubt that FH will ever put satellites into LEO(1). It's bread and butter market are big GEO satellites.

You want to go to Mars, the Moon, or an Asteroid, with people? Then you're going on a SLS, or you're not going.

Apples and oranges.

There are New Glenn, New Armstrong and BFR in the pipeline. At least one of them will deliver.

(1) unless it's larger fairing makes StarLink launches economically viable.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 01:32 pm
Imagine NASA purchasing 5 FH launches for $500mln and spending the remaining $6.5bn on payloads for them. They could fund and launch 5 missions in the Cassini/New Horizon/Juno class just from the current budget.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/three-years-of-sls-development-could-buy-86-falcon-heavy-launches/

Quote
For the sake of argument, consider the costs of this three-year delay against the lift capability NASA could have bought by purchasing Falcon Heavy rockets from SpaceX in 2018, 2019, and 2020. That $7.8 billion equates to 86 launches of the reusable Falcon Heavy or 52 of the expendable version. This provides up to 3,000 tons of lift—the equivalent of eight International Space Stations or one heck of a Moon base. Obviously NASA does not need that many launches, but it could buy several Falcon Heavy rockets a year and have the funds to build meaningful payloads to launch on them.

Just what I said...
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 01:33 pm
The SLS is designed to put humans back into space. Deep space. A new opening of human space exploration. That's what it is designed for.

There is no deep space habitat. You can't do long duration missions in a small capsule (e.g. Orion).

The Falcon Heavy is not going to carry people. Never, ever. Just satellites to LEO. That's what it is designed for.

FH could launch people. In fact, SpaceX planned to, but is now convinced that BFR will make that obsolete. And: I doubt that FH will ever put satellites into LEO(1). It's bread and butter market are big GEO satellites.

You want to go to Mars, the Moon, or an Asteroid, with people? Then you're going on a SLS, or you're not going.

Apples and oranges.

There are New Glenn, New Armstrong and BFR in the pipeline. At least one of them will deliver.

(1) unless it's larger fairing makes StarLink launches economically viable.
People will never sit on top of a Falcon Heavy and ride it anywhere. SpaceX has already said this. It's easy to say we are going to do this and that but delivering is the thing you see.

SLS is going to deliver.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 01:37 pm
People will never sit on top of a Falcon Heavy and ride it anywhere. SpaceX has already said this. It's easy to say we are going to do this and that but delivering is the thing you see.

Let's hope there will never be a manned FH. This would mean that BFR stays on target.

SLS is going to deliver.

Once or twice.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AbuSimbel on 02/14/2018 01:43 pm
The SLS was developed under the assumption that BEO is NASA's exclusive territory. That's clearly not true anymore, and FH is not an outlier, it's just the beginning. SpaceX is not alone too.
The BEO missions that are being developed for SLS should be redesigned to leverage new commercial capabilites.

NASA has time: at the current pace those plans for cislunar space, never mind Mars won't concretize into actual launches until 2024 at best. Comparable commercial capability starts NOW with Falcon Heavy, and its redundancy and scope will keep evolving and expanding with new systems and players at a pace that will always see SLS behind.
Vulcan and New Glenn in 2020-2021, the outstanding capacity and low cost of BFR, ULA ACES in 2024: all of them are likely to come before SLS flies operationally and almost certainly before Block 2. Those have one thing in common: they're designed for reusability and sustainability, key in developing viable BEO architectures, something that NASA couldn't do with its budget and the costly SLS.

Nasa has to cancel this program and change their plans to leverage those capabilities NOW. They don't even have to pay for their development, all it takes is supporting them with BEO missions.
Not only they would accomplish the same missions as with SLS (even if it takes more launches), they would probably do so cheaper, faster and, most importantly the returns to the broader US space community would be huge.

NASA would nurture and help the development of a thriving commercial ecosystem, founded upon reusability and accessibility, with the potential of expanding way beyond what NASA envisions with SLS.
Ditching the SLS would free up resources to develop actual missions that leverage these new commercial capabilities and at the same time financing the deployment of new technologies that would usher us into a new era of spaceflight.

That's the only way we can establish a sustainable presence in cislunar space, on the moon and on Mars: with a thriving commercial ecosystem, which intrinsically provides cheap and viable architectures for BEO human spaceflight. With the SLS we are not going to Mars, we are not going to exploit cislunar space.

NASA has to play a role in this, that's what an agency that has enabling and expanding human spaceflight as a goal should do.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Deep_Space_Housecat on 02/14/2018 01:43 pm
People will never sit on top of a Falcon Heavy and ride it anywhere. SpaceX has already said this. It's easy to say we are going to do this and that but delivering is the thing you see.

Let's hope there will never be a manned FH. This would mean that BFR stays on target.

SLS is going to deliver.

Once or twice.
That would be once or twice more than a BFR will ever fly.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: jpo234 on 02/14/2018 01:47 pm
That would be once or twice more than a BFR will ever fly.

If not BFR, then New Armstrong.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/14/2018 01:58 pm
People will never sit on top of a Falcon Heavy and ride it anywhere. SpaceX has already said this. It's easy to say we are going to do this and that but delivering is the thing you see.

Let's hope there will never be a manned FH. This would mean that BFR stays on target.

SLS is going to deliver.

Once or twice.
That would be once or twice more than a BFR will ever fly.
Ever? How much are you willing to bet, and what odds would you accept? :)
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: su27k on 02/14/2018 02:59 pm
The "more than double the payload capacity" version of SLS is Block 2, which wouldn't be ready until 2028 at the earliest. SLS Block 1B has less than double the payload capacity, it wouldn't be ready until 2023 (i.e. 5 years from now). What is flying in 2020 is the SLS Block 1 which is 70t to LEO, about 6t more capable than FH, and just for this 6 extra tons you're willing to pay $7 billion?
The SLS is designed to put humans back into space. Deep space. A new opening of human space exploration. That's what it is designed for.

The Falcon Heavy is not going to carry people. Never, ever. Just satellites to LEO. That's what it is designed for.

You want to go to Mars, the Moon, or an Asteroid, with people? Then you're going on a SLS, or you're not going.

Apples and oranges.

No, SLS is going nowhere since there's no money for it, NASA's own life cycle cost analysis shows if you go to 130t SLS Block 2, there's very little money left for anything else. To quote https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008892.pdf:

Quote
Taking the Baseline Scenario forward, adding an Advanced Booster as in Figure 10, reveals how costs and ambitions increasing at a pace faster than budgets easily places a lien on 100% of any funding the end of the ISS might make available one day. This is just for the two launches per year, plus a replacement booster development in parallel, not payloads, not Mars or any mission in-space elements like habitation or landers.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: AncientU on 02/14/2018 03:14 pm
That little 'bump' for two flights per year is $3B annually...

Quote
The SLS rocket was originally supposed to launch in 2017, but now the maiden flight of the SLS booster has slipped to 2020. That is understandable; most large aerospace rockets experience delays. However, the cost of a three-year delay is $7.8 billion.

This is for the Block 1 vehicle which will fly once.  The first Block 1B vehicle will follow by around three years.  The 130ton version may happen in 2028-2030, if someone finds a plus-up of $3B annually.

Quote
That $7.8 billion equates to 86 launches of the reusable Falcon Heavy or 52 of the expendable version. This provides up to 3,000 tons of lift—the equivalent of eight International Space Stations or one heck of a Moon base.

Quote
"The question is really, why would the government continue to spend billions of dollars a year of taxpayer money for a rocket that will be unnecessary and obsolete?" Lori Garver, a deputy administrator of NASA from 2009 to 2013, told Ars. "If the US continues this travesty, it will siphon off even more funds NASA could otherwise use for science missions, transfer vehicles, or landers that actually get us somewhere."
emphasis mine

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/three-years-of-sls-development-could-buy-86-falcon-heavy-launches/
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/14/2018 03:34 pm
FH can put 34 tonnes to TMI with one crewed launch, the same mass as SLS. It only requires one additional uncrewed launch, which adds basically no risk to the crew.
The assumption in all of these discussions seems to be that the cost of developing the capability for a LEO rendezvous mission, cryogenic orbital refueling etc., is free.  It certainly is not. 

For example, you forgot to include here the extra two or three or more launches needed to refuel the trans-Mars stage in low earth orbit - assuming all are expendable launches.  If the stages are recovered, count on six or more refueling launches. 

 - Ed Kyle

Cryogenic refueling should absolutely be developed. (It would only take a total of 2 fully expendable, 3 partially expendable, or 4 fully recoverable FH to launch ~34 t to TMI)

But it isn't absolutely required. FH can get 33.6 t to TMI with 2 expendable launches in 16.8 t chunks with post-TMI rendezvous.

Or if you have two mismatched payloads, launch the heavy one (e.g. loaded deep space hab, ~22 t) to elliptical Earth orbit using all its fuel, then the light one (e.g. Crew Dragon, ~11.5 t) to rendezvous in EEO and use the remaining propellant in the crew launch vehicle to complete the remaining 1.5 km/s or so to TMI.

Or if you have one monolithic 33.6 t payload like a fueled MAV then launch 2 fully expendable FH to LEO and rendezvous, and burn the remaining propellant in one upperstage, discard it, flip around, and burn the rest of the propellant. Yes, the docking adapter has to take ~30 tonnes-force of axial load, but this would be uncrewed so there's no odd g-loads on the crew.

There are lots of options if you think outside the single launch per payload box.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/14/2018 03:43 pm
FH can put 34 tonnes to TMI with one crewed launch, the same mass as SLS. It only requires one additional uncrewed launch, which adds basically no risk to the crew.
The assumption in all of these discussions seems to be that the cost of developing the capability for a LEO rendezvous mission, cryogenic orbital refueling etc., is free.  It certainly is not. 

For example, you forgot to include here the extra two or three or more launches needed to refuel the trans-Mars stage in low earth orbit - assuming all are expendable launches.  If the stages are recovered, count on six or more refueling launches. 

 - Ed Kyle
You're not wrong. However, any Mars mission will need either orbital refueling, orbital assembly/docking, or both.

The other option (vs cryogenic) is storable/hypergolic refueling, which has already been demonstrated.

But I don't think cryogenic refueling is that much harder than hypergolic refueling or orbital assembly that we should avoid its much greater performance and cost advantages just because you can tick a box on a TRL chart right now. SLS can't single-launch a human-class mission to Mars any more than Falcon Heavy.

tl;dr: Any human Mars mission will need in-orbit rendezvous over multiple launches to complete the mission.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: envy887 on 02/14/2018 04:31 pm
None of these rockets can match the capabilities of the SLS. The SLS will go on to complete its crewed missions to Mars in the 2030s while private space companies are stuck at earth. Take it to the bank.

NASA has been saying this since the 1960s. So far they have half a rocket and even less of a cislunar capsule. The truth is they don't have the funding for it, unless they do most of the heavy lifting with commercial vehicles.
Title: Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/14/2018 04:59 pm
As pontential SLS replacement FH needs to be able to get crew to DSG and back. Havn't seen any detailed plans on how to do that from SLS critics.

I don't think Dragon comes close to Orion to support crew safely BLEO. There is also lack DV to get from TLI to DSG and return.

FH can't deliver Orion to DSG in single launch. Which leaves distributed launch. This requires totally new US which needs 2-4 weeks of operational life while waiting for crew launch. Drop tank which can hold cryogenic fuel for 2-4weeks, rendevous and fuel transfer.  Two FH launches 2-4 weeks apart, big ask for triple core LV.

There is reason NASA went down big LV path instead of DL. I think ULA DL is way to go but the technology hurdles to overcome are not simple by any means.