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General Discussion => Space Policy Discussion => Topic started by: mike robel on 07/06/2018 02:28 PM

Title: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: mike robel on 07/06/2018 02:28 PM
This is a conversation I started in https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45947.0 (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45947.0) and it was not within the thread boundaries and started by saying there is not gong to really be any new information presented, just an endless debate about SLS/Orion vs everythng else.

Here is my opening:

Pretty much everything useful has already been said, we are talking past each other, and anything else will likely not shed any new light on the best course of action, especially since all said vehicles are are either still on paper or being fabricated.

The National HSF Mission is ill-defined and the commercial ones mostly support the owners goals and not any national objective.  Thus there is no main effort and no unity of command/purpose.

When one or more are launched, then there can be a new debate on how to proceed.

A poor plan, executed and supported vigorously now is better than a poorly executed and supported "perfect" plan at a later date.

We have four projects, for better or worse:  SLS, Space X vehicles, Blue Origin vehicles, and Vulcan.

The national main effort is arguably SLS (because it is supported (however poorly) by the President, Congress, and the nation and is probably executing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

The others have varying amounts of support - whether it is public, private, or a combination.

We are not massing our resources in support of a main effort although we may be inadvertently be conducting economy of force because we don't know what we want to do and things may sort out in a satisfactory manner.

Manned spacecraft programs are in a similar state, with Orion, Dragon 2, CST-100, whatever Blue Origin is working on, and perhaps the DARPA space plane executing in the same manner. 

If the laws of the marketplace are allowed to operate, 2 or 3 of these competitors will likely drop out hopefully leaving us with 1 or 2 sound vehicles.  (The B-52 or C-130 of the space program, so to speak.)

I think it is reasonable to have two different boosters and two different spacecraft to provide continuous and redundant space operations.
----------- 

Perhaps we need a debate thread on just what the National Mission, Strategy, and Tactics should be and framed in 4, 8, and 12 year increments for the short term (because these are where elections align and we have trouble looking beyond them) with 25, 50 and 100 year with more long term goals that the shorter term goals can support.


Strategy is what you are going to do, tactics is how you are going to do it.  Since we don't really have a National Mission, it is difficult to define strategy and tactics to accomplish it.


As an example, had someone made the mistake of making me a national decision maker, I would have asked/directed Congress/NASA, after the loss of Columbia, to:

     *Develop a spacecraft capable of providing crew rotations every 6 months for 3 people AND a vehicle for cargo delivery to the ISS every six weeks within 8 years or sooner on existing boosters.
     *Maintain the Shuttle at a launch cadence of two - four missions per year to sustain the ISS with a crew of two or three and restrict it to other high priority programs.
     *Retire the Shuttle after 4 successful cargo missions to the ISS.
     *Contract with Russia to provide crew rotation to the ISS until we have 4 successful crew rotations to the ISS.
     *Contract with other nations to provide cargo delivery at a rate to fill any gaps between the US and Russia after the retirement of the shuttle.
    *Direct NASA to determine the need, objective, and purpose of Human Space Flight for the next 25 - 50 years to include, but not limited to, an ISS replacement, mission to the moon, or missions to Mars.
     *As these milestones were reached, ask/beg congress to transfer money from shuttle and Russian crew rotation to the new programs.

I think I am going to go find my flak jacket now... :-\

There was some debate about the difference of a goal versus a mission...

The National HSF Mission is ill-defined and the commercial ones mostly support the owners goals and not any national objective.  Thus there is no main effort and no unity of command/purpose.

The national HSF mission is very clearly defined as: "Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;". Among the 3 major commercial players, two are always aiming for the Moon, the third is also willing and eager to provide transport to the Moon. So there is no divide between national goal and commercial players' goals, they are very well aligned.

The problem is USG is ignoring their own strategic goal, instead they just want job program for NASA centers and big defense contractors.


The National HSF Mission is ill-defined and the commercial ones mostly support the owners goals and not any national objective.  Thus there is no main effort and no unity of command/purpose.

The national HSF mission is very clearly defined as: "Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;". Among the 3 major commercial players, two are always aiming for the Moon, the third is also willing and eager to provide transport to the Moon. So there is no divide between national goal and commercial players' goals, they are very well aligned.

The problem is USG is ignoring their own strategic goal, instead they just want job program for NASA centers and big defense contractors.

This is may sound semantical, but what you call a mission above is a goal and you properly reference it in your final comment.

A mission specifies who, what, when, and where and sometimes why, for example:  "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

and finally:

@SU27K:  (I have a hard time mastering quote trimming)

You ask:

Is there really that much difference? Your quote specifically said it's also a goal ("commit itself to achieving the goal"). Comparing the two the only difference I can find is the lack of when, who/what/where/why are all there.

So I say again:
The national goal or mission or whatever is there, "who/what/where/why" is not a mystery, "when" is not included probably because they couldn't commit the funding necessary to meet a "when", but that's ok as long as you're making progress towards the goal. What's not ok is the government ignoring their own goal and heading in the opposite direction.


Edit:  inserted my reply to SU27K


In my view:[/size]"When" is the key point.  Without a when and a main effort (or proper support), that is just a laundry list made by the good idea fairy, and you cannot focus your resources or planning on the most important task.[/size]We are now squarely into Space Policy and I risk censure and derailing the thread.  I will start a new thread up there named something like NASA Mission and Goals, and put my first post into it.Moderator:  I request after I create the thread, you move the posts dealing with goals and missions to that thread.




Let the games begin
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/06/2018 02:53 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway. 

The first is, of course, International Space Station and its supporting Commercial Cargo and Crew contracts.  This is NASA's main commercial incubator.  ISS won't last forever, but with so much international inertia, it might last longer than currently expected.

The second is SLS/Orion and where ever that leads, which is just beginning.  As I see it, SLS/Orion with lunar outpost (or whatever they're calling things now) could also end up being a commercial incubator.  Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: speedevil on 07/06/2018 03:05 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway.
<snip>
 Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?
Err - what?
Doesn't "I want to die on Mars, just not on impact", or  "a million people living and working in space." sound familiar?

Neither of these is very related at all to NASA, or USG plans, or 'traditional' space.
It's not going to happen at $25K/kg design/production cost for historical systems, but needs to be several orders of magnitude lower.

BFR/NA/... enable part of this with low launch costs, but another vital part is slashing cost of a human living in space by several orders of magnitude.
You're not going to do this by going to Boeing and asking them how to do it.

If your $1B/2 ton government moon rover lasts a year, for example, and the commercial alternative including launch is a hundred 10 ton rovers, for the same money, the 'old space' rover is not a winner, even though it might last 10* as long.

It is at least arguable that you can do a considerable amount more than NASA in many areas for considerably less cash, if you do not have to fund the traditional supply chain. But NASA can't do this politically.

With cheap enough launch, wealthy investors may be able to effectively outspend NASA simply as they are able to spend $10K on an off-the-shelf solution for a problem.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Jim on 07/06/2018 03:17 PM

If your $1B/2 ton government moon rover lasts a year, for example, and the commercial alternative including launch is a hundred 10 ton rovers, for the same money, the 'old space' rover is not a winner, even though it might last 10* as long.


Just stop with the hyperbole.  It is getting tiring.  The same stuff over and over to the point, it is now spam
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/06/2018 04:20 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway.
<snip>
 Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?
Err - what?
Doesn't "I want to die on Mars, just not on impact", or  "a million people living and working in space." sound familiar?
Yes.  That is inspirational hyperbole.  People like Elon are good at such things.  The inspiration is terrific, and needed (because it gets people excited, thus building support), but money  - billions to tens of billions of dollars in these cases - always decides what really happens in the end.  Falcon 9 and Dragon were developed for and funded by NASA, remember, despite similar hyperbole at that time.

Elon Musk would have driven me absolutely nuts with the big-sky talk if it weren't for the fact that he has built and led an organization that has done such superb engineering, starting from the ground up with propulsion - the true difference maker in this business.  When it comes to this discussion, about NASA goals and missions, we should be asking why it took Musk to create Merlin, rather than NASA, or some other NASA contractor.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: woods170 on 07/06/2018 04:44 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway.
<snip>
 Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?
Err - what?
Doesn't "I want to die on Mars, just not on impact", or  "a million people living and working in space." sound familiar?
Yes.  That is inspirational hyperbole.  People like Elon are good at such things.  The inspiration is terrific, and needed (because it gets people excited, thus building support), but money  - billions to tens of billions of dollars in these cases - always decides what really happens in the end.  Falcon 9 and Dragon were developed for and funded by NASA, remember, despite similar hyperbole at that time.

 - Ed Kyle

You d*mn well know that you just over-exaggerated big time. Only a very small portion of Falcon 9 development (and then only v1.0) was funded by NASA. And Falcon 9 was not exclusively developed for NASA. SpaceX was already working on F9 development before NASA awarded them the COTS contract. The prime driver for F5 (and later F9) development was entering the commercial market.


You complain about hyperbole. However, you are in fact doing hyperbole yourself. I've read you making your claim about how F9 and Dragon were developed for and funded by NASA multiple times now. It is becoming boring, particularly given the fact that large parts of your statement are false. The only thing explicitly developed for, and funded by NASA is Dragon. Falcon 9 is a very different story.
Title: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Star One on 07/06/2018 04:57 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway.
<snip>
 Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?
Err - what?
Doesn't "I want to die on Mars, just not on impact", or  "a million people living and working in space." sound familiar?
Yes.  That is inspirational hyperbole.  People like Elon are good at such things.  The inspiration is terrific, and needed (because it gets people excited, thus building support), but money  - billions to tens of billions of dollars in these cases - always decides what really happens in the end.  Falcon 9 and Dragon were developed for and funded by NASA, remember, despite similar hyperbole at that time.

Elon Musk would have driven me absolutely nuts with the big-sky talk if it weren't for the fact that he has built and led an organization that has done such superb engineering, starting from the ground up with propulsion - the true difference maker in this business.  When it comes to this discussion, about NASA goals and missions, we should be asking why it took Musk to create Merlin, rather than NASA, or some other NASA contractor.

 - Ed Kyle

Cough Tesla. All I will say is have you being reading the financial press?
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: meberbs on 07/06/2018 05:03 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway.
<snip>
 Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?
Err - what?
Doesn't "I want to die on Mars, just not on impact", or  "a million people living and working in space." sound familiar?
Yes.  That is inspirational hyperbole.
No, it is not hyperobole. They are very real goals with concrete steps being taken to achieve them.

You talk about money deciding what happens; the relevant people personally have tens of billions that they can spend, and since they can setup their operations as selling a service, they can reduce the actual amount they spend in addition to the actions they are taking to reduce costs to make the overall goals achievable.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: AndrewSmith on 07/06/2018 05:08 PM

Elon Musk would have driven me absolutely nuts with the big-sky talk if it weren't for the fact that he has built and led an organization that has done such superb engineering, starting from the ground up with propulsion - the true difference maker in this business.  When it comes to this discussion, about NASA goals and missions, we should be asking why it took Musk to create Merlin, rather than NASA, or some other NASA contractor.

 - Ed Kyle

To be fair, there is a lot of NASA and TRW heritage in Merlin.   

Musk succeeded because yes, he took ground-level technology development seriously -  but he also combined good staffing decisions (Tom Mueller) with a level of personal involvement in the day-to-day business that you only see at small-ish tech startups.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/06/2018 05:24 PM
You complain about hyperbole. However, you are in fact doing hyperbole yourself. I've read you making your claim about how F9 and Dragon were developed for and funded by NASA multiple times now. It is becoming boring, particularly given the fact that large parts of your statement are false. The only thing explicitly developed for, and funded by NASA is Dragon. Falcon 9 is a very different story.
SpaceX was working on Falcon 1 and planning Falcon 5 until September, 2005, when it announced plans for Falcon 9 to meet the needs of an unnamed government customer.  The company subsequently won its first $278 million COTS money from NASA during September, 2006, revealing the government and the customer.  SpaceX won another $1.6 billion for CRS during December 2008.  Keep in mind that at this point, SpaceX had yet to orbit any paying customer payloads on Falcon 1.  The company was running on fumes, having had to raise $20 million in outside venture capital during mid-2008 just to keep the doors open.  COTS/CRS was the springboard.  The first five Falcon 9s, and 12 of the first 20, launched NASA payloads.  Canada's space agency and the Turkish government also bought two of the first 20 Falcon 9s.  NASA has fed, or is feeding, something beyond $10 billion to Hawthorne.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Star One on 07/06/2018 05:37 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway.
<snip>
 Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?
Err - what?
Doesn't "I want to die on Mars, just not on impact", or  "a million people living and working in space." sound familiar?
Yes.  That is inspirational hyperbole.
No, it is not hyperobole. They are very real goals with concrete steps being taken to achieve them.

You talk about money deciding what happens; the relevant people personally have tens of billions that they can spend, and since they can setup their operations as selling a service, they can reduce the actual amount they spend in addition to the actions they are taking to reduce costs to make the overall goals achievable.

No it’s hyperbole where timescales seem to exist in some kind of distortion field. I am not talking about any one company here as several of them have been guilty of this.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: meberbs on 07/06/2018 05:42 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway.
<snip>
 Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?
Err - what?
Doesn't "I want to die on Mars, just not on impact", or  "a million people living and working in space." sound familiar?
Yes.  That is inspirational hyperbole.
No, it is not hyperobole. They are very real goals with concrete steps being taken to achieve them.

You talk about money deciding what happens; the relevant people personally have tens of billions that they can spend, and since they can setup their operations as selling a service, they can reduce the actual amount they spend in addition to the actions they are taking to reduce costs to make the overall goals achievable.

No it’s hyperbole where timescales seem to exist in some kind of distortion field. I am not talking about any one company here as several of them have been guilty of this.
Please read the thread again. Aggressive or unrealistic timescales have literally nothing to do with what was being discussed, only the end goals. The accusation from Ed Kyle was that the objectives themselves were hyperbole, regardless of timescale.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: woods170 on 07/06/2018 06:10 PM

Elon Musk would have driven me absolutely nuts with the big-sky talk if it weren't for the fact that he has built and led an organization that has done such superb engineering, starting from the ground up with propulsion - the true difference maker in this business.  When it comes to this discussion, about NASA goals and missions, we should be asking why it took Musk to create Merlin, rather than NASA, or some other NASA contractor.

 - Ed Kyle

To be fair, there is a lot of NASA and TRW heritage in Merlin.   

More specifically: there is NASA and TRW heritage in Merlin 1A and 1B. The current Merlin 1D is a completely new critter. No NASA heritage there, let alone TRW.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Kansan52 on 07/06/2018 06:10 PM
Okay, just looked up hyperbole. Since both statements are meant to be literal and inspirational, then hyperbole doesn't fit.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Rocket Science on 07/06/2018 07:54 PM
Okay, just looked up hyperbole. Since both statements are meant to be literal and inspirational, then hyperbole doesn't fit.
Maybe it's that "truthful hyperbole" thing that the president uses... ???
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: FinalFrontier on 07/06/2018 08:20 PM
This is a conversation I started in https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45947.0 (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45947.0) and it was not within the thread boundaries and started by saying there is not gong to really be any new information presented, just an endless debate about SLS/Orion vs everythng else.

Here is my opening:

Pretty much everything useful has already been said, we are talking past each other, and anything else will likely not shed any new light on the best course of action, especially since all said vehicles are are either still on paper or being fabricated.

The National HSF Mission is ill-defined and the commercial ones mostly support the owners goals and not any national objective.  Thus there is no main effort and no unity of command/purpose.

When one or more are launched, then there can be a new debate on how to proceed.

A poor plan, executed and supported vigorously now is better than a poorly executed and supported "perfect" plan at a later date.

We have four projects, for better or worse:  SLS, Space X vehicles, Blue Origin vehicles, and Vulcan.

The national main effort is arguably SLS (because it is supported (however poorly) by the President, Congress, and the nation and is probably executing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

The others have varying amounts of support - whether it is public, private, or a combination.

We are not massing our resources in support of a main effort although we may be inadvertently be conducting economy of force because we don't know what we want to do and things may sort out in a satisfactory manner.

Manned spacecraft programs are in a similar state, with Orion, Dragon 2, CST-100, whatever Blue Origin is working on, and perhaps the DARPA space plane executing in the same manner. 

If the laws of the marketplace are allowed to operate, 2 or 3 of these competitors will likely drop out hopefully leaving us with 1 or 2 sound vehicles.  (The B-52 or C-130 of the space program, so to speak.)

I think it is reasonable to have two different boosters and two different spacecraft to provide continuous and redundant space operations.
----------- 

Perhaps we need a debate thread on just what the National Mission, Strategy, and Tactics should be and framed in 4, 8, and 12 year increments for the short term (because these are where elections align and we have trouble looking beyond them) with 25, 50 and 100 year with more long term goals that the shorter term goals can support.


Strategy is what you are going to do, tactics is how you are going to do it.  Since we don't really have a National Mission, it is difficult to define strategy and tactics to accomplish it.


As an example, had someone made the mistake of making me a national decision maker, I would have asked/directed Congress/NASA, after the loss of Columbia, to:

     *Develop a spacecraft capable of providing crew rotations every 6 months for 3 people AND a vehicle for cargo delivery to the ISS every six weeks within 8 years or sooner on existing boosters.
     *Maintain the Shuttle at a launch cadence of two - four missions per year to sustain the ISS with a crew of two or three and restrict it to other high priority programs.
     *Retire the Shuttle after 4 successful cargo missions to the ISS.
     *Contract with Russia to provide crew rotation to the ISS until we have 4 successful crew rotations to the ISS.
     *Contract with other nations to provide cargo delivery at a rate to fill any gaps between the US and Russia after the retirement of the shuttle.
    *Direct NASA to determine the need, objective, and purpose of Human Space Flight for the next 25 - 50 years to include, but not limited to, an ISS replacement, mission to the moon, or missions to Mars.
     *As these milestones were reached, ask/beg congress to transfer money from shuttle and Russian crew rotation to the new programs.

I think I am going to go find my flak jacket now... :-\

There was some debate about the difference of a goal versus a mission...

The National HSF Mission is ill-defined and the commercial ones mostly support the owners goals and not any national objective.  Thus there is no main effort and no unity of command/purpose.

The national HSF mission is very clearly defined as: "Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;". Among the 3 major commercial players, two are always aiming for the Moon, the third is also willing and eager to provide transport to the Moon. So there is no divide between national goal and commercial players' goals, they are very well aligned.

The problem is USG is ignoring their own strategic goal, instead they just want job program for NASA centers and big defense contractors.


The National HSF Mission is ill-defined and the commercial ones mostly support the owners goals and not any national objective.  Thus there is no main effort and no unity of command/purpose.

The national HSF mission is very clearly defined as: "Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;". Among the 3 major commercial players, two are always aiming for the Moon, the third is also willing and eager to provide transport to the Moon. So there is no divide between national goal and commercial players' goals, they are very well aligned.

The problem is USG is ignoring their own strategic goal, instead they just want job program for NASA centers and big defense contractors.

This is may sound semantical, but what you call a mission above is a goal and you properly reference it in your final comment.

A mission specifies who, what, when, and where and sometimes why, for example:  "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

and finally:

@SU27K:  (I have a hard time mastering quote trimming)

You ask:

Is there really that much difference? Your quote specifically said it's also a goal ("commit itself to achieving the goal"). Comparing the two the only difference I can find is the lack of when, who/what/where/why are all there.

So I say again:
The national goal or mission or whatever is there, "who/what/where/why" is not a mystery, "when" is not included probably because they couldn't commit the funding necessary to meet a "when", but that's ok as long as you're making progress towards the goal. What's not ok is the government ignoring their own goal and heading in the opposite direction.

Let the games begin

First off let me just say thank you mike for writing that and for this thread. I think this sort of thread has been overdue for a long time now, at the very least since the severity of problems on the SLS program started to become known. I was thinking of doing this exact type of thread but this is much better.

Second, let me articulate what IMHO the goal and mission should be.

The Primary Goal should be to land humans on the surface of Mars with the intent of establishing a research beach-head there, with permanent human habitation, before the year 2050. Not maybe by, not after, not during, before. There is no technical or financial reason why this cannot be done and the astonishing amount of hardware, advancement, and work that commercial providers have managed to accomplish on their own, in a much shorter time period than NASA has had for flagship programs, proves without doubt that this CAN be done, and without breaking the bank .

The Secondary Goal should be to utilize this initial beach-head to create a colony on Mars, with the ultimate goal being nothing less than full colonization. However I am thinking more in the short term here, so for now the secondary goal would be expanding the research station overtime by adding modules and surface habitats and increasing the number of people living there full time, in a sustainable way spanning out from first landing.

These should be unified goals of the spaceflight community within the US, and NASA's role should be to lead the way on this. NASA's role should NOT be to design and build the launch vehicles, engines, or space-craft needed do this, their role should be to design and run a unified program whereby this is facilitated. As far as what NASA should design and build, they should design and build the surface modules and systems that are too expensive and complex for commercial providers to do on their own, with collaboration with said providers in order to have true joint efforts in which costs are reduced and timelines shortened.

NASA's role should also not be that of a regulator, with endless requirements for flying NASA modules or humans to Mars constantly being changed, added, or deleted. This was a major driver for cost and time increases on the commercial crew program and it is essentially the sole reason why commercial crew flights have not yet begun.

As part of this effort, NASA's management structure should be totally overhauled, as well as their processes and procedures. The way of doing things like other government agencies of endlessly testing, endlessly adding requirements, and endlessly changing designs before a flight should be done away with. The risk averse attitude of endlessly having safety design meetings and endless design cycle reviews should also be done away with, it has not made NASA anymore safe and it has contributed to programmatic failure across multiple levels of the agency. The lesson learned from Challenger and Columbia should not to endlessly tie up any effort with red tape, it should be to enact common sense and efficient designs from the start which are inherently safer than more complex more outlandish designs. KISS should be the underlying principle for any and all Mars hardware programs since anything that breaks will have to be fixed in situ. NASA's entire culture must be changed.

The role of Congress should be that of a regulator. They should mandate and fund all of these things, but they should also provide PROPER oversight for once, and ensure NASA actually performs within the letter of the law and actually delivers ON TIME and IN BUDGET. No more endlessly slipping to the right.

The culture of kickbacks and slush contracts through NASA for giant centers like MSFC and sub-contractors on cost plus contracts like Boeing should be totally removed. Contract payments and future renewals should instead be based on real world progress made and hardware delivered on time and in budget like any other large program anywhere else DOD excluded . NASA should model itself after private companies and enterprises, not behave like a massive government agency any longer. NASA is a uniqe agency and therefore should strive for a much higher standard than others.

Now. THE MISSION:
The mission of NASA should be how to accomplish these goals in the quickest and most efficient possible manner. Safety should be inherent not disregarded, but it also should not be a crippling influence, the risks should be recognized before hand and understood, some people may die trying to do this, as did many on sailing ships during the exploration and development of the Americas. No reward without cost.

NASA should contract all launch vehicle services in the same manner as the COTS program, but without down selection and without changing the requirements and goal posts as the program advances both of which add delays. Contracts should also be awarded with pre-existing capability of each company in mind, in addition to future plans by each provider. NASA should not require companies to build new launch vehicles for a specific capability, rather they should let the company build whatever architecture that company thinks is the most efficient to do the stated mission.

NASA should immediately cancel SLS and all SLS contracts should be converted to merit based (as discussed above), and re-bid for a new program. The new program should be called the Mars research systems program, and its mission should be the construction of complex surface and as needed, deep space modules. More likely than not the majority of this program would be surface modules since existing proposals show us the quickest most direct flights to the planet are probably going to be the best financially, and the less time you spend in the deep space environment the better for both hardware and humans. Certain deep space items could still include the use of DSG type SEP or SEP cyclers. Such devices could be use to help accelerate cargo only vehicles built and launched by commercial providers, to higher velocities thus cutting trip times. NASA is well equipped to provide such a service and this would be a mutually beneficial system to both the commercial parties involved and to NASA toward's its ultimate goals.

Future contracts, as well as future monies, renewals, and jobs for the districts of the bean counters in congress should be determined based on how well the commercial companies perform on each service and contract. Delays due to new technology should not be penalized but delays due to graft, incompetent management, or poor design choices should be, as should delays introduced by un-necessary complexity, as should cost over-runs as the result of any of these. No more cost plus. No more sweetheart contracts for 1.5 trillion dollar fighter plans. No more 9 billion dollars spent to build a 5 segment solid rocket motor and an Apollo reboot that can't do anything. No more PORK rockets to nowhere.

Regarding the existing situation. Boeing should immediately refund to the federal government, all costs incurred with the cancellation of the SLS program and all costs stemming from over-runs of the program. NASA managers that have been involved with SLS, particularly those at Michoud and MSFC, who are responsible for the current mess, should be identified and brought before a congressional oversight committee to testify, and if necessary congress should empower the executive branch and the DOJ to initiate investigations into the activities of these people during CXP and currently SLS. The federal government should also consider lawsuits against some involved parties if necessary to recover lost tax payer dollars. This particular paragraph will almost certainly never happen, but it should and deserves inclusion.

Finally. The near term mission should be to achieve first landing by the year 2030, with permanent habitation by 2034 at the latest. If it is technically feasible to achieve first landing by 2024-2028, that should be targeted as well.

Second. IF real progress can be shown on this new program in the first three year,s and IF the schedule is adhered to and all the parties involved prove their merit to the american public and engineering community, then NASA and Congress should consider ending the ISS program by 2025. It should be a pre-requisite however that the new POR proposed above is functioning correctly TO THE LAST DETAIL before ISS can be touched. Hardware has to already be close to flying or on its way to the red planet before ISS can be touched. We will not have a situation where a POR is years behind schedule but ISS is allowed to be thrown away, it will not be allowed.   

The entirety of this program on a national level, should be called the Mars Colonial Exploration Program, or MCEP. This my 'VSE' if you will. Within NASA MCEP would have two primary branches, one would be management and contracting of commercial services (the COTS BEO program), the other would be the Mars Research Systems Program.

P.S.
There should be no immediate goal to return to the moon. If it becomes useful to establish a way-point base either on the lunar surface or in some lunar orbit, to augment in some way the Mars (and future) programs, then and only then should anything be done with the moon. Otherwise there is no functional reason to go there. Permanent habitation of the moon could be a future goal, however Mars should take initial priority due to size and available resources.

Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: mike robel on 07/06/2018 09:01 PM



Second, let me articulate what IMHO the goal and mission should be.


The Primary Goal should be to land humans on the surface of Mars with the intent of establishing a research beach-head there, with permanent human habitation, before the year 2050. Not maybe by, not after, not during, before. There is no technical or financial reason why this cannot be done and the astonishing amount of hardware, advancement, and work that commercial providers have managed to accomplish on their own, in a much shorter time period than NASA has had for flagship programs, proves without doubt that this CAN be done, and without breaking the bank .


The Secondary Goal should be to utilize this initial beach-head to create a colony on Mars, with the ultimate goal being nothing less than full colonization. However I am thinking more in the short term here, so for now the secondary goal would be expanding the research station overtime by adding modules and surface habitats and increasing the number of people living there full time, in a sustainable way spanning out from first landing.


These should be unified goals of the spaceflight community within the US, and NASA's role should be to lead the way on this. NASA's role should NOT be to design and build the launch vehicles, engines, or space-craft needed do this, their role should be to design and run a unified program whereby this is facilitated. As far as what NASA should design and build, they should design and build the surface modules and systems that are too expensive and complex for commercial providers to do on their own, with collaboration with said providers in order to have true joint efforts in which costs are reduced and timelines shortened.




Thanks for your response.  I feared we would just continue to say "SLS Sucks, <insert program> Rocks". 


I think this is a good start on a mission defining what we want to do as a nation in HSF.  The rest of your post enters to intent and concept of the operation/execution, which is fine, but a little more broad than I really wanted to get at this point.


I would like to take the liberty to massage it a bit.


First, some assumptions.
1.  Such a lashup, as proposed below, is not unconstitutional.
2.  Congress would allot a baseline level of funding to ensure an expected level of funding, but not attempt to fund the entire cost.
3.  States, private corporations, private individuals, and other countries could join this Company and provide additional funding, perhaps with a lottery allowing 1 - 3 private individuals to be part of the team.
4.   Establishment of the base would be preceded by a "swarm" of unmanned reconnaissance probes to determine a location to provide the best science return and presence of resources to assist in making the base as self-sufficient as possible.
5.  The mission is not a one way trip.
6.  Additional revenue would be raised by the sale of artifacts returned to Earth for private persons but also for sale to organizations for research to provide some return on investment to the contributors.  (Probably "just" rocks but there could be other things we don't know about yet.)
7.  This would not prohibit other entities from crafting their own programs.
8.  No territorial claims or private ownership of land would be permitted.


NASA shall, in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and a voluntary association of private companies and donors, establish a West to Mars Exploration Company to fund, define, and execute a cooperative/coordinated program to establish a permanently staffed research science base by or before the year 2050, then expand the base to provide a permanent habitat and establish other research stations to further expand the human presence and research on the planet.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/06/2018 09:35 PM
Goals are aspirational, meaning there is a desire or wish to do something, but the particulars about the when, how and such may not be identified, and it is not being pursued fully yet. In the context of the U.S. Government, goals are not yet fully funded. The LOP-G is an example of this, since Congress has only provided funding to explore the idea, but has not committed fully to the entire program. NASA going to Mars is also a goal, with pretty much zero funding to support it and no timeline to achieving it at all.

A mission, in the context of NASA, is something that is funded to accomplish a defined goal. Creating and operating the ISS is a mission that has accomplished many interim goals, and continues to accomplish it's primary goal of doing research in space.

The SLS and Orion are not missions, but could be identified as part of a goal. For instance, the goal for the SLS could be to create a heavy-lift transportation system that can support the movement of large, bulky payloads for U.S. Government needs in space. But the SLS is just a tool that is used to achieve a mission, not a mission by itself (except for maybe a test flight to gather data).

I'm reminded of the old saying about politicians - "It doesn't matter what they say, it only matters what they fund."

Missions are funded, goals are not.

My $0.02
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/06/2018 09:52 PM
The second is SLS/Orion and where ever that leads, which is just beginning.  As I see it, SLS/Orion with lunar outpost (or whatever they're calling things now) could also end up being a commercial incubator.  Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?

Those building those "massive launch vehicles" have already stated why they are building them, but you would rather throw away their reasons and insert your own. Sorry, but you don't get to define what Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are doing, they do.

Elon Musk has his own goal, which is to make humanity multi-planetary, starting with a colony on Mars. Everyone at SpaceX knows this, and everyone (except apparently you) in the space community knows this too. Supporting Trump's nascent efforts to return government employees to the vicinity of our Moon is just a byproduct of the effort to colonize Mars, not the primary reason.

Jeff Bezos too has his own goal, and I'll quote him (https://www.geekwire.com/2016/interview-jeff-bezos/):

Quote
This is Blue Origin’s mission. Our mission is to try and put in place some of that heavy lifting infrastructure: Make access to space at much lower cost so that thousands of entrepreneurs can do amazing and interesting things, and take us into the next era. I’m very excited about it. We only need two things to be able to do it: reusability and practice.

So no, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are not building "massive launch vehicles" because the U.S. Government is building the SLS or saying it has a goal of returning to our Moon. Bezos and Musk have their own goals that are driving them, and by achieving their goals it will make other goals in space much less expensive to pursue.
Title: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Star One on 07/06/2018 10:06 PM
When it comes to human space flight, the U.S. government has two primary efforts underway.
<snip>
 Why else would several companies be working on massive launch vehicles that seemingly have no other obvious purpose?
Err - what?
Doesn't "I want to die on Mars, just not on impact", or  "a million people living and working in space." sound familiar?
Yes.  That is inspirational hyperbole.
No, it is not hyperobole. They are very real goals with concrete steps being taken to achieve them.

You talk about money deciding what happens; the relevant people personally have tens of billions that they can spend, and since they can setup their operations as selling a service, they can reduce the actual amount they spend in addition to the actions they are taking to reduce costs to make the overall goals achievable.

No it’s hyperbole where timescales seem to exist in some kind of distortion field. I am not talking about any one company here as several of them have been guilty of this.
Please read the thread again. Aggressive or unrealistic timescales have literally nothing to do with what was being discussed, only the end goals. The accusation from Ed Kyle was that the objectives themselves were hyperbole, regardless of timescale.

Trying to separate the two from each other seems a pointless activity as they are too closely linked.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: meberbs on 07/06/2018 11:28 PM
Just about everything before FinalFrontier's post is not really on topic, to make up for my contribution there I will add a couple of my thoughts.
The National HSF Mission is ill-defined and the commercial ones mostly support the owners goals and not any national objective.  Thus there is no main effort and no unity of command/purpose.

The national HSF mission is very clearly defined as: "Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;". Among the 3 major commercial players, two are always aiming for the Moon, the third is also willing and eager to provide transport to the Moon. So there is no divide between national goal and commercial players' goals, they are very well aligned.

The problem is USG is ignoring their own strategic goal, instead they just want job program for NASA centers and big defense contractors.

This is may sound semantical, but what you call a mission above is a goal and you properly reference it in your final comment.

A mission specifies who, what, when, and where and sometimes why, for example:  "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.
I have seen that speech used as an example of good requirements. It provides a clear and complete goals, not just land on the moon, but "returning him safely to Earth." It sets a timeline by which the goal needs to be achieved. The speech also gives cost estimates while indicating that the technical goal and schedule are worth whatever cost actuals end up as. The "Why" question is also answered. quoting the speech at Rice (after the "because it is hard" rhetoric):

"because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win,"

This basically means that it is a non-military way to show strength and superiority to the Russians. While good science was done by Apollo, the purpose of the spending and why it was viewed as worth it was the show of capability.

Costal Ron:
I think the word "mission" might be overloaded in this context. NASA does use it as you say, where it refers to something like a single Mars Rover (Sometimes a couple related spacecraft might be one "mission" such as Spirit and Opportunity). I believe in the OP Mike Robel is instead using "mission" at a higher level similar to the mission statement for a company, stating an overall purpose and direction for NASA.  I'd suggest "program" as an alternative for what you used, but that then creates an ambiguity between things like SLS which as you said is more of a (potential) tool for assisting with a mission, vs. something like Europa Clipper which is a mission as you used it.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Lar on 07/07/2018 01:38 AM
This thread needs less back and forth sterile debate... so far it's pretty low value, same old suspects saying the same old (in many cases wrong) things.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: FinalFrontier on 07/07/2018 05:46 AM
Coastal Ron, in response to your posts:

Good points but something I want to drill down to here. The issue that needs addressing really is the lack of a clear goal. It is not simply an issue of unfunded mandates IE unfunded goals, the issue is that really even though certain people say what the goals are they aren't actually the goals.

More to the point many policy makers and NASA managers have consistently been saying since VSE that the goal is Mars. But nothing is ever done to move in meaningful way toward this goal, and even the 2010-2011 space act does not do much toward this goal. We don't ever get any results just wasted years and wasted money.

SLS and Orion I would contend are not part of this goal, they are a mission with no purpose. What you have is funding for a few initial flights, with years of gap between them, that frankly do absolutely nothing of value. All they do is expend a huge amount of years and time and money to fly an empty spacecraft to points in space we have already been and then return it under autonomous control. These are missions without a goal.

Despite all the DRMs and the Mars path NASA has shown us they actually have no way to achieve any of it, first of all. Even if it were fully funded, it would be extremely difficult to do it on schedule and within budget because their way of doing it is excessively complex and involves very long duration deep space flights. Which brings me to the second point, this being that the way in which NASA has suggested doing Mars is fundamentally flawed. Rather than trying to do the shortest possible duration trips for cargo or people to the planet they want to build large deep space stacks and slowly cycle between earth and Mars. Everything we know about the deep space radiation environment tells us this will be extremely hard on living organisms and on the hardware, failures are very likely. On top of that you have to build much more hardware and launch all of that, and their DRMs suggest a flight rate for SLS that can never and will never be achieved. To fly the vehicle as much as they suggest, with the current contracting structure, would deplete an eye watering amount of funding, the hardware the vehicle is built to launch would never exist.

This is the problem, it's a vicious circle of flawed logic. Yes commercial providers are decreasing the cost of access to space, and soon to the red planet perhaps, but NASA has no plans to take advantage of this.

This is where goal and missions meet, and this is why simply saying "its unfunded" over and over is not enough. A case could be made to a future Congress to drastically increase the NASA budget, say to maybe 80 billion a year, and you would probably be able to actually get that money, on one condition. You have to actually show an idea and a plan with reasonable chances of results for this money, you have to make the economic and social/political case for Mars, and you have to have a mission design that actually works. This is what has been lacking, we never seem to get all the pieces of the puzzle correct, and we keep trying to do just one piece. You have to be able to show policy makers that you can really do a large amount of exceptional things with that kind of money, it is like any other investment you have to show what they get out of it for that money. What does NASA have to show right now? They have nothing. They keep asking for more and they never deliver and never manage to make it on time even when they do deliver, look no further than SMD.

Low cost access to space is great but without a national mandate to USE that capacity in a meaningful way, it means nothing. Some of the commercial guys do have a chance at succeeding in their aims to get to Mars on their own, but it is going to be MUCH harder doing it in spite of NASA instead of with them leading from the front and with a plan that actually works. This is what I was getting at and why I tied the missions and goals together the way I did.

Think of the sort of payloads NASA could build with the SLS budget. More to the point think of how many people we could send if NASA were contracting the launch vehicles, and think of how much sooner we would see HLVs operating. SpaceX and ULA the two biggest LV companies both developed alot of their initial hardware off of NASA/government contracts, Musk himself has pointed out how huge COTS 1 was for helping SpaceX get going when it was nascent. Imagine how much faster BFR, New Glenn, Vulcan could become reality if NASA were backing all of this up for BEO.

We have the capacity as a nation right now, even with all of our problems, to do a really aggressive Mars program. And even IF you increased NASA's budget to some crazy high number like 80 billion a year it would still be a far smaller expenditure than money we have wasted on a wide variety of failed policies on earth. But you should not do just one or the other. NASA, and our space mandate as a whole, should be concise, focused, and efficient to the point that it can be aggressive and get things done, and quickly, even with the existing or even smaller budget. If you can get a functioning program going within these bounds then you have REAL results you can show the American people as well as whoever your policy makers are if you want to go bigger. This is a huge disconnect we seem to have, NASA leads from behind or not at all and the space lobby expects to get endless pork despite never showing results.

I think we are on the same page here but just getting "low cost access to space", while hard, is half the problem. You have to know exactly what you are going to do with it once you have it. As it stands right now NASA and by extension our government, is going to be spending billions on a rocket and spacecraft that do nothing and go nowhere, and meanwhile at the exact same time there will be commercial HLVs operating for a fraction of the cost on philanthropy missions to BEO. This, unless something changes. This is totally insane by any metric and it MUST be changed.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: john smith 19 on 07/07/2018 07:46 AM

SLS and Orion I would contend are not part of this goal, they are a mission with no purpose. What you have is funding for a few initial flights, with years of gap between them, that frankly do absolutely nothing of value. All they do is expend a huge amount of years and time and money to fly an empty spacecraft to points in space we have already been and then return it under autonomous control. These are missions without a goal.
I think you've articulated their goals quite clearly.  :(
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: mike robel on 07/07/2018 11:06 AM

SLS and Orion I would contend are not part of this goal, they are a mission with no purpose. What you have is funding for a few initial flights, with years of gap between them, that frankly do absolutely nothing of value. All they do is expend a huge amount of years and time and money to fly an empty spacecraft to points in space we have already been and then return it under autonomous control. These are missions without a goal.
I think you've articulated their goals quite clearly.  :(

In my view, SLS and Orion are not missions.  They are programs (possibly failing) to provide tools to assist in mission accomplishment.  The problem is, we have no mission.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/07/2018 12:24 PM
In my view, SLS and Orion are not missions.  They are programs (possibly failing) to provide tools to assist in mission accomplishment.  The problem is, we have no mission.
SLS/Orion have a mission.  It is Exploration Mission 1.  It is the "first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human deep space exploration to the Moon and beyond".  EM-2 had been slated to repeat EM-1, except with astronauts, but the details have likely changed.  A third Block 1 SLS is going to launch Europa Clipper.  Then NASA will be done with Block 1 because ULA will soon have to scrap the ICPS tooling with the end of Delta 4.  I figure the larger "deep space exploration" mission will continue at that point, one way or another, whether with Block 1B or something else.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: mike robel on 07/07/2018 01:46 PM
Ed,

I disagree.  In general, things don't have a mission.  People or organizations do.  Orion and SLS are the selected hardware used to accomplish a mission, goal, or objective.  Some definitions, so we have a mutual frame of reference.  I should have done this at the first.  (I don't know whether NASA has a dictionary and didn't bother to look, because I am a little lazy this morning.  If they do, then their usage should take precedence.)

http://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/dictionary.pdf?ver=2018-07-06-092813-320 (http://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/dictionary.pdf?ver=2018-07-06-092813-320)

mission — 1. The task, together with the purpose, that clearly indicates the action to be taken and the reason therefore. (JP 3-0) 2. In common usage, especially when applied to lower military units, a duty assigned to an individual or unit; a task. (JP 3-0) 3. The dispatching of one or more aircraft to accomplish one particular task.* (JP 3-30)

mission statement — A short sentence or paragraph that describes the organization’s essential task(s), purpose, and action containing the elements of who, what, when, where, and why. See also mission. (JP 5-0)

objective — 1. The clearly defined, decisive, and attainable goal toward which an operation is directed. 2. The specific goal of the action taken which is essential to the commander’s plan. See also target. (JP 5-0)

operation — 1. A sequence of tactical actions with a common purpose or unifying theme. (JP 1) 2. A military action or the carrying out of a strategic, operational, tactical, service, training, or administrative military mission. (JP 3-0).
 
From Merriam Webster

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goal (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goal)   the end toward which effort is directed

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mission (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mission) a : a specific task with which a person or a group is charged   Their mission was to help victims of the disaster.  b (1) : a definite military, naval, or aerospace task  a bombing mission a space mission  (2): a flight operation of an aircraft or spacecraft in the performance of a mission a mission to Mars* c : a preestablished and often self-imposed objective or purpose statement of the company's mission

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objective (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objective):  a : something toward which effort is directed : an aim, goal, or end of action  b : a strategic position to be attained or a purpose to be achieved by a military operation

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operation (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operation) a usually military action, mission, or maneuver including its planning and execution  military operations for a large-scale invasion or 
a set of actions for a particular purpose

In accordance with the above usage, I suggest

The SLS program mission is to develop a booster capable of placing a manned spacecraft into LEO to be used for Low Earth Orbit and cislunar space, to deliver unmanned spacecraft to destinations in interplanetary space, and support manned operations to mars.

The Orion Program mission is to develop a manned spacecraft capable of operating in LEO or in cislunar space for periods of approximately 25 days, provide crew rotation to the ISS or interplanetary manned spacecraft, and serve as an earth return capsule or lifeboat for lunar and interplanetary missions.

I admit the astericked (*) text above supports your usage of the term “mission”.
DoD does not have a definition for goal.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/07/2018 02:35 PM
The issue that needs addressing really is the lack of a clear goal.

A clear goal for what? And how would you discriminate between a "goal" and a "clear goal"?

Quote
It is not simply an issue of unfunded mandates IE unfunded goals, the issue is that really even though certain people say what the goals are they aren't actually the goals.

It's OK to have unfunded and even unrealistic goals. Goals are targets and intentions, which can provide direction and inspiration before actually acting on them.

Quote
More to the point many policy makers and NASA managers have consistently been saying since VSE that the goal is Mars.

I want to focus on this point, because I think I lot of people get the wrong idea about things that NASA employees say.

NASA employees do NOT define goals in our form of government. They are just employees. There can be personal goal, department goals, and even agency goals, but they are really just a form of marketing, since NASA works for the President and is funded by Congress. So without the President and Congress, what is said about goals within NASA is just aspirational.

Quote
But nothing is ever done to move in meaningful way toward this goal, and even the 2010-2011 space act does not do much toward this goal. We don't ever get any results just wasted years and wasted money.

Which is why I point out that without backing from Congress in the form of committing to fully funding the goal (i.e. which now becomes a "mission"), you shouldn't get too attached to "goals". Goals without the ability to accomplish them are just marketing.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: woods170 on 07/07/2018 03:21 PM
NASA has fed, or is feeding, something beyond $10 billion to Hawthorne.

We've had this discussion before. By stating it the way you state it you paint a picture of a company that exists solely because of the government. And that is painting a false picture.

The majority of those $10B is payment for services delivered: NASA paying SpaceX for shipping cargo to the ISS on 20 missions under CRS-1. Or NASA paying SpaceX for shipping yet more cargo to the ISS under CRS-2. Or NASA paying SpaceX for shipping NASA astronauts to the ISS on (at least) six missions.

Seed money for developing the Dragons (cargo and crew versions) is in fact just $2B:
- $396 million for COTS
- $525 million for CCP up to CCiCAP
- $1.1 billion for CCtCAP, including demo missions 1 and 2.
The remaining $1.5 billion of CCtCAP is for six operational missions.

But we can't expect you to understand the above this time. Because you failed to make the distinction the last time we had this discussion.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/07/2018 10:01 PM
The SLS program mission is to develop a booster capable of placing a manned spacecraft into LEO to be used for Low Earth Orbit and cislunar space, to deliver unmanned spacecraft to destinations in interplanetary space, and support manned operations to mars.

The Orion Program mission is to develop a manned spacecraft capable of operating in LEO or in cislunar space for periods of approximately 25 days, provide crew rotation to the ISS or interplanetary manned spacecraft, and serve as an earth return capsule or lifeboat for lunar and interplanetary missions.
None of the planned or projected SLS missions put Orion into LEO, and none are projected to go to ISS.  Orion is oversized for that mission.  Commercial Crew is for ISS.  SLS/Orion is for "Beyond Low Earth Orbit", or "Deep Space", etc.

We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/07/2018 11:00 PM
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: woods170 on 07/08/2018 10:34 AM
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.

Correct. The entire system (launcher, spacecraft, launchpad, crew systems, etc.) is entirely owned by the contractors (or bought as a service from other contractors, in case of Atlas V). The only thing NASA can do, upon completion of the CCtCAP contract, is stop buying services from the contractors. But both Boeing and SpaceX are free to use their systems to fly astronauts for other purposes than ISS crew transportation.

Once the ISS goes away there will likely be no further NASA-owned in-space destination in LEO. And hence no need for NASA to buy rides to that destination. Any NASA HSF destinations beyond LEO will be reached via SLS/Orion.

But IMO the commercial crew capabilities will remain in place. If SpaceX and Boeing can get the price of a round-trip to LEO down low enough there will be plenty of wealthy people lining up for a trip to orbit.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/08/2018 02:36 PM
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.
Who are these non-NASA customers, who would be willing to spend, what is it, something like $500-700 million dollars or more per flight?  And where will they go?  Where will their non-NASA owned launch facilities be located? 

NASA will use Commercial Crew only as long as it is needed, which is to say only as long as ISS remains in orbit unless some other NASA LEO destination is created.  After that I do believe it will be shuttered because a program like that can't survive on a couple of billionaire joy rides.  It needs steady annual funding.

The reason, as this thread is meant to discuss, is that NASA's post-ISS goals and missions are not in LEO.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: RonM on 07/08/2018 03:31 PM
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.
Who are these non-NASA customers, who would be willing to spend, what is it, something like $500-700 million dollars or more per flight?  And where will they go?  Where will their non-NASA owned launch facilities be located? 

NASA will use Commercial Crew only as long as it is needed, which is to say only as long as ISS remains in orbit unless some other NASA LEO destination is created.  After that I do believe it will be shuttered because a program like that can't survive on a couple of billionaire joy rides.  It needs steady annual funding.

The reason, as this thread is meant to discuss, is that NASA's post-ISS goals and missions are not in LEO.

 - Ed Kyle

NASA is planing on using commercial space stations after ISS. They even said they would be the anchor tenant.

Congress, the current administration, and the past administration support NASA helping establish commercial use of space. NASA isn't going to "shut it all down" to support NASA programs.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: FinalFrontier on 07/08/2018 03:39 PM
In my view, SLS and Orion are not missions.  They are programs (possibly failing) to provide tools to assist in mission accomplishment.  The problem is, we have no mission.
SLS/Orion have a mission.  It is Exploration Mission 1.  It is the "first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human deep space exploration to the Moon and beyond".  EM-2 had been slated to repeat EM-1, except with astronauts, but the details have likely changed.  A third Block 1 SLS is going to launch Europa Clipper.  Then NASA will be done with Block 1 because ULA will soon have to scrap the ICPS tooling with the end of Delta 4.  I figure the larger "deep space exploration" mission will continue at that point, one way or another, whether with Block 1B or something else.

 - Ed Kyle
I don't care how many slide shows they make over at Marshall and peddle out to the rest of us. This is not a mission. There is literally nothing being done on this flight that has not been done before, except this time we aren't even bothering to send a crew it's just an empty tin can that is not re-usable in any way shape or form.

This does not "enable" anything, I would argue it in no way shape or form adequately even tests SLS as compared to EELVs or newer commercial vehicles which have flown many many many times. Where as SLS will fly in different configurations maybe only once or twice before there is a crew. You are not reducing any risk like this just wasting time and money. If they put a crew on the first mission I might feel slightly better about taking this program to first flight, but literally none of the other issues would be resolved, namely that it just repeats things we have already done only it does them worse.

Totally insane to me since you could fund a lander and surface modules with the SLS budget and then launch everything with off the shelf vehicles.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: woods170 on 07/08/2018 03:51 PM
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.
Who are these non-NASA customers, who would be willing to spend, what is it, something like $500-700 million dollars or more per flight?  And where will they go?  Where will their non-NASA owned launch facilities be located? 

Three mis-assumptions in your post.

1. Follow-on missions will be very substantially less than $500-700 million per flight. SpaceX as it is, will do Crew Dragon missions for NASA at just $400 million per mission. And that is WITH all the additional hassle that is inherent to NASA missions such as all-new boosters, all-new Crew Dragons, lotsa red-tape and mission assurance, etc.

Non-NASA missions will be substantially cheaper for multiple reasons such as not having to deal with NASA red-tape as well as re-using Crew Dragons (no need for expensive new-builds) and re-using boosters. I estimate that non-NASA missions on Crew Dragon could be as cheap as $100 million per mission. Put four rich people on-board and they will have the trip of a lifetime for less than $25 million per person. There are dozens of folks around the planet who will gladly pay $25 million to spend a few days in Earth orbit and end up having astronaut wings.

2. The destination is the same as it was for STS in its first 15 years: LEO. You don't need a frickin' space station at first. Just being in space - in orbit - for just a few days is worth it for quite a large group of rich individuals.

3. The launch site for Atlas 5 (the launcher for Starliner) is not NASA-owned. And don't expect USAF to suddenly prohibit ULA from launching Starliner just because it is not flying to ISS but carrying a bunch of rich folks.
Although LC-39A is NASA-owned SpaceX has leased it for 20 years. NASA is in no legal position to suddenly prevent SpaceX from flying non-NASA Crew Dragon missions. You seem to be forgetting that NASA actually hopes that both CCP providers find additional clients for their crew systems beyond carrying NASA astronauts to the ISS.

I've got a question for you Ed: Why are you seemingly under the impression that only government agencies are allowed to do human spaceflight?
Because you previous posts clearly indicate that you don't believe that the CCP providers can do without NASA in the post-ISS period. By extension it almost seems as if you think the CCP providers should not be allowed to do human spaceflight without NASA involvement.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: FinalFrontier on 07/08/2018 03:51 PM
Quote
It's OK to have unfunded and even unrealistic goals. Goals are targets and intentions, which can provide direction and inspiration before actually acting on them.

Thank you for posting this! You have highlighted the core problem. No it is not okay to have unfunded and unrealistic goals

We have had unfunded/underfunded and unrealistic goals for HSF since Apollo ended. How well has this logic worked out for us exactly? It hasn't. We are no closer to stepping out into our own local solar system let alone anything else than we were when we started. Square one. But your post is a perfect example of how NASA, policy makers in Congress through the decades, and even the American people have operated.

The evidence bears itself out. This has not worked, not only for space flight but a host of other industries and policies as well. This sort of thinking plays a large roll in the reasons why the USA has so many problems, deteriorating infrastructure, wealth inequality, economic mis-management and debt mis-management, and competition and trade issues. These problems were all driven by the common idea that rather than coming up with realistic and common sense goals AND real time solutions to get there in the short term, we could just shove things down the road and things would always work out long term. They haven't and it is costing our society dearly in more ways than most people can possibly imagine.

If you want to go to Mars or do literally anything else worthwhile in spaceflight you must have realistic goals and realistic ways to achieve these goals, and your funding targets must also be realistic. If you want or expect more money later you have to show proof and results first that you deserve to get it.




Quote
I want to focus on this point, because I think I lot of people get the wrong idea about things that NASA employees say.

NASA employees do NOT define goals in our form of government. They are just employees. There can be personal goal, department goals, and even agency goals, but they are really just a form of marketing, since NASA works for the President and is funded by Congress. So without the President and Congress, what is said about goals within NASA is just aspirational.

This is a great idea in theory. And legally speaking yes, this is how it SHOULD be working. But examine the history of program failures over the past 35 years and you will discover this is not how it has been working. We have seen on many occasions NASA management either out right violate the letter of the congressional mandates and even laws, or on more common occasions just bend the rules as much as possible. And the result has always been abject failure. So yes what these people say does matter look at what happened with CXP and more importantly look at SLS. SLS was supposed to fly in 2016 according to the law. Where is the vehicle? So yes when you have NASA managers saying no crewed flights for the first five flights and then trying to cover it up after it leaks to the press that's bad and it should be brought to light. And if Congress had any shred of dignity in this situation they would hold hearings on these matters same as they are doing for other matters.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: mike robel on 07/08/2018 04:11 PM


NASA is planing on using commercial space stations after ISS. They even said they would be the anchor tenant.

Congress, the current administration, and the past administration support NASA helping establish commercial use of space. NASA isn't going to "shut it all down" to support NASA programs.

Who are these companies planning to orbit a commercial space station?

On the other hand, putting the NASA  “Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway” (LOP-G) into orbit as an Extended Orbital Duration Demonstrator (EODD)* would actually make sense to me if it were used for stair stepping development as a rapid prototype for a series of space vehicle each supporting missions of six months, one year, 18 months, and two years, culminating with a three year earth to moon orbital mission (a giant series of figure 8's) ending with direct return to earth from the moon or entry into a high earth orbit and a subsequent re entry following dispatch of the "unused" rescue capsule, which would prove the vehicle capable of a three year mission to Mars, without undue risk.  (Perhaps this one would carry a Dragon or CS-100 capable of long mission storage for emergency return to Earth.)

Orbited by SLS (or perhaps a Falcon Heavy, or Vulcan) unmanned, the crew would be flown up on a Dragon 2 or CST-100 launched in sequence as we used to launch Titan-Gemini/Atlas-Agena for rapid rendezvous.  After that, a rescue capsule would be maintained in readiness (or maybe two one each with Dragon and CST-100) and used to return the crew at the end of the sortie.

* It needs a better name....
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/08/2018 04:28 PM
I've got a question for you Ed: Why are you seemingly under the impression that only government agencies are allowed to do human spaceflight?
I'm not under that impression.  I merely note that NASA has the big funding that has made this all happen.  There is no equivalent commercial customer for this service.  NASA is the only customer for Falcon 9/Dragon, Antares/Cygnus, CST-100/Atlas 5, and Dream Chaser/Atlas 5.  No one even bought the unmanned Dragon Lab missions suggested by SpaceX.  The rich people mission around the Moon seems to have gone by the wayside.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: meberbs on 07/08/2018 04:38 PM


NASA is planing on using commercial space stations after ISS. They even said they would be the anchor tenant.

Congress, the current administration, and the past administration support NASA helping establish commercial use of space. NASA isn't going to "shut it all down" to support NASA programs.

Who are these companies planning to orbit a commercial space station?
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nextstep-partnerships-develop-ground-prototypes

As implied by RonM's post NASA is helping the companies developing habitats. Forward plans for these companies vary, but multiple have explicit intent to build LEO stations. In addition to the companies listed there, Axiom Space is also working on a station, and is one of the companies interested in using an ISS port as an initial staging point. (http://spacenews.com/nasa-to-move-ahead-with-plans-to-offer-iss-docking-port-for-private-modules/)
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: mike robel on 07/08/2018 05:35 PM


NASA is planing on using commercial space stations after ISS. They even said they would be the anchor tenant.

Congress, the current administration, and the past administration support NASA helping establish commercial use of space. NASA isn't going to "shut it all down" to support NASA programs.

Who are these companies planning to orbit a commercial space station?
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nextstep-partnerships-develop-ground-prototypes

As implied by RonM's post NASA is helping the companies developing habitats. Forward plans for these companies vary, but multiple have explicit intent to build LEO stations. In addition to the companies listed there, Axiom Space is also working on a station, and is one of the companies interested in using an ISS port as an initial staging point. (http://spacenews.com/nasa-to-move-ahead-with-plans-to-offer-iss-docking-port-for-private-modules/)

Thanks.  I stand corrected in my view that there is little or no interest.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/08/2018 08:03 PM
I've got a question for you Ed: Why are you seemingly under the impression that only government agencies are allowed to do human spaceflight?
I'm not under that impression.  I merely note that NASA has the big funding that has made this all happen.  There is no equivalent commercial customer for this service.  NASA is the only customer for Falcon 9/Dragon, Antares/Cygnus, CST-100/Atlas 5, and Dream Chaser/Atlas 5.  No one even bought the unmanned Dragon Lab missions suggested by SpaceX.  The rich people mission around the Moon seems to have gone by the wayside.  Etc.

No, you're not "merely noting", you are coming to the conclusion that because no non-NASA customers yet exist that NASA now owns the Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew transportation systems. Which is completely false.

Did you miss the many congressional hearings where Boeing and SpaceX were asked if they were offering their crew transportation services to non-NASA customers? And they both said yes, and that their business cases assumed commercial customers. Boeing even has an agreement with Bigelow for crew transportation services.

All of the commercial transportation services own their own equipment, and have the right to offer their services to non-NASA customers. NASA has no ownership rights.

That there are no commercial customers besides NASA today is just a reflection of how expensive space is, not an indication that NASA owns the rights to all crew and cargo transportation to space.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: QuantumG on 07/08/2018 11:21 PM
I'm willing to bet that both systems will fly with empty seats, while there's a line of people banging on the door  telling them to shut up and take their money.

Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: AncientU on 07/08/2018 11:47 PM
I've got a question for you Ed: Why are you seemingly under the impression that only government agencies are allowed to do human spaceflight?
I'm not under that impression.  I merely note that NASA has the big funding that has made this all happen.  There is no equivalent commercial customer for this service.  NASA is the only customer for Falcon 9/Dragon, Antares/Cygnus, CST-100/Atlas 5, and Dream Chaser/Atlas 5.  No one even bought the unmanned Dragon Lab missions suggested by SpaceX.  The rich people mission around the Moon seems to have gone by the wayside.  Etc.

No, you're not "merely noting", you are coming to the conclusion that because no non-NASA customers yet exist that NASA now owns the Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew transportation systems. Which is completely false.

Did you miss the many congressional hearings where Boeing and SpaceX were asked if they were offering their crew transportation services to non-NASA customers? And they both said yes, and that their business cases assumed commercial customers. Boeing even has an agreement with Bigelow for crew transportation services.

All of the commercial transportation services own their own equipment, and have the right to offer their services to non-NASA customers. NASA has no ownership rights.

That there are no commercial customers besides NASA today is just a reflection of how expensive space is, not an indication that NASA owns the rights to all crew and cargo transportation to space.

Until the NASA certification process completes, NASA does have functional control of the two transportation systems.  Once certification is complete, and NASA crew are being flown to ISS, the two vendors will have freedom to use their returned vehicles as they choose.  There is a reportedly lots of interest from private citizens, at least according to EM and GS.

So, let's hit pause on this one until NASA's ticket is punched.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: QuantumG on 07/08/2018 11:57 PM
Once certification is complete, and NASA crew are being flown to ISS, the two vendors will have freedom to use their returned vehicles as they choose.

Heh, are you suggesting that the way to deal with high prices for seats is to make non-government customers pay for full launches?

I'll also make another prediction: neither of these vehicles will ever be allowed to go to the ISS ferrying exclusively non-government astronauts. If either system ever flies for non-government customers, which I doubt, it'll be a free-flying mission or to some other space station, but not ISS.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: mike robel on 07/09/2018 12:09 AM
I think that particular horse has already left the barn, even though the tourists flew on Soyuz.  They were not well received initially, especially by the Americans.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: QuantumG on 07/09/2018 12:15 AM
NASA will say they only have a need for three seats, then suddenly they'll find a fourth person to fly... probably an international partner... or they'll pull the seat out and fill it with cargo. Maybe one or two non-government astronauts will fly, but it'll be a herculean effort to get them into the seat.

 
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/09/2018 12:31 AM
I'll also make another prediction: neither of these vehicles will ever be allowed to go to the ISS ferrying exclusively non-government astronauts.

Commercial vehicles can't approach the ISS anyways without one of the governments approving it. Russia could do it with tourists on the Soyuz because they only used Russian assets - Russian spacecraft docking to the Russian part of the ISS. That won't work with rogue commercial vehicles trying to dock at NASA controlled docking ports.

Which means I agree with you, and only a sucker would take that bet...  ;)

Quote
If either system ever flies for non-government customers, which I doubt, it'll be a free-flying mission or to some other space station, but not ISS.

I don't think Boeing or SpaceX think otherwise.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/09/2018 01:29 AM
No, you're not "merely noting", you are coming to the conclusion that because no non-NASA customers yet exist that NASA now owns the Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew transportation systems. Which is completely false.
That is not my conclusion.  You are simply making your own, incorrect interpretation about what I wrote.  I don't know why.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/09/2018 01:42 AM
No, you're not "merely noting", you are coming to the conclusion that because no non-NASA customers yet exist that NASA now owns the Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew transportation systems. Which is completely false.
You are simply making your own, incorrect interpretation about what I wrote.

An incorrect interpretation of an incorrect statement? There is a joke in there somewhere...  ;)

Quote
I don't know why.

Because I enjoy facts. And you don't seem to dispute the facts I proffered, so I'm left to assume you are just arguing about the argument.

This is really a side discussion to the topic hand, so do you have anything to add about goals vs missions?
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: QuantumG on 07/09/2018 01:43 AM
There's a topic? I read the first post and still didn't know what y'all are talking about.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/09/2018 02:06 AM
No, you're not "merely noting", you are coming to the conclusion that because no non-NASA customers yet exist that NASA now owns the Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew transportation systems. Which is completely false.
You are simply making your own, incorrect interpretation about what I wrote.

An incorrect interpretation of an incorrect statement? There is a joke in there somewhere...  ;)
I am not saying what you are saying I am saying.  So stop.  Please.

Meanwhile, I have been asking questions about the topic of this thread, wondering about what NASA intends for LEO and beyond-LEO in the future.  My question about what becomes of Commercial Crew solicited a response that told us about NASA's recent RFQ for post-ISS era, which was interesting.  The Agency is looking for ideas, likely from those same Commercial Crew and Cargo providers among others.  It was signaling that it might be a customer for some of these services, post-ISS, but it was also signaling that the money wouldn't flow as readily, it seems to me.   See the last page of attached.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: mike robel on 07/09/2018 02:29 AM
There's a topic? I read the first post and still didn't know what y'all are talking about.


In what was obviously unclear, I am trying to drive a discussion about NASA HSF goals vs missions.  Goals and missions are not the same thing.  I tried to give a few examples of what I, if empowered, would have made as missions for NASA post Columbia and we sometimes talk about what they are, were, or could be.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: FinalFrontier on 07/09/2018 05:31 AM
There's a topic? I read the first post and still didn't know what y'all are talking about.
The topic stemmed out of ongoing arguments and discussion within the many threads pertaining to SLS and Orion. Recently, it has come to light even more how dysfunctional both programs are, and there have been quite a few people who are madly in love with both systems trying to argue against any kind of sanity.

This became a topic in lieu of the fact that there is no concise national goal or proper mission architecture to carry out said goal, and what we do have instead is a jobs program going nowhere and doing nothing. It was outside the scope of the aforementioned threads to start discussing how we might fix the underlying problem permanently, since anybody with a shred of knowledge knows that SLS is most likely doomed at this point. We would like to avoid this endless repetition of failed POR when the moment comes around again.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: FinalFrontier on 07/09/2018 05:36 AM
Quote
The Agency is looking for ideas, likely from those same Commercial Crew and Cargo providers among others.  It was signaling that it might be a customer for some of these services, post-ISS, but it was also signaling that the money wouldn't flow as readily, it seems to me.   See the last page of attached.

Yea see this is part of the issue though Ed. This is an oxymoron if ever there was one.
How can we taken any of this seriously when they are going to be spending so much money on SLS? WHY is this acceptable or allowed?

The mere fact they are doing this proves to me even more that we should be doing commercial BEO and SLS should be cancelled and its funding diverted accordingly, I articulated this more earlier in the thread. Great, they want to see who is interested in doing stuff post ISS, yet they are hamstrung doing SLS to nowhere at the same exact time they would "be a customer" for these providers. A customer for what? What payloads going where when? No bucks for anything except throwing a multi billion dollar HLV in the ocean every two years.

More like five years of throwing it away without any crew on-board if you believe Todd May was caught at an honest moment.

Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: woods170 on 07/09/2018 06:27 AM
I've got a question for you Ed: Why are you seemingly under the impression that only government agencies are allowed to do human spaceflight?
I'm not under that impression.  I merely note that NASA has the big funding that has made this all happen.  There is no equivalent commercial customer for this service.  NASA is the only customer for Falcon 9/Dragon, Antares/Cygnus, CST-100/Atlas 5, and Dream Chaser/Atlas 5.  No one even bought the unmanned Dragon Lab missions suggested by SpaceX.  The rich people mission around the Moon seems to have gone by the wayside.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

The circumlunar mission on FH/Crew Dragon has been put on hold indefinitely because SpaceX thinks they can give those folks a better ride on BFR/BFS. But, Elon was very clear on one thing: if BFR/BFS is significantly delayed the circumlunar mission will return to FH/Crew Dragon.

When Red Dragon was cancelled, courtesy of NASA giving SpaceX an extremely hard time over propulsive landing, it was not just folks at NASA JPL who were disappointed. So where folks at half a dozen universities worldwide who had hoped to fly their payloads to Mars on Red Dragon.

Atlas 5/DreamChaser has been engaged by the German space agency as well as several research institutes and universities in Europe to fly dedicated, non-ISS missions, in LEO. A contract is in place to develop those missions for DreamChaser now.

Cygnus has deployed multiple cubesats for non-NASA entities via the NanoRacks External Cygnus deployer. Those cubesats came from both institutions such as research-facilities and universities as well as purely commercial.

The examples above are just some of the indicators that there is in fact interest from non-NASA entities in making use of the Commercial Crew assets such as F9/Crew Dragon as well as Atlas 5/Starliner as well as the CRS assets such as F9/Cargo Dragon and Antares/Cygnus.

Stating that
"NASA is the only customer for Falcon 9/Dragon, Antares/Cygnus, CST-100/Atlas 5, and Dream Chaser/Atlas 5"
is therefore categorically false.
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 07/09/2018 09:34 AM
I find it useful to think in terms of aim, roadmap, strategies, objectives (goals, missions), and tactics.

The aim is the highest level. It points in a particular direction. It is generally open ended, not specifying an end state, you cannot ask the question "have I reached my aim?". Instead you can ask the questions "am I going in the direction of my aim?" and "does my aim need to change?"

A roadmap lays out the landscape go get from one place to another. So if you are in New York and the aim in get to the west coast, then the roadmap shows the ways you can get there. It has a number of interesting properties: firstly there is not a single route, there are a number with different properties (shortest, quickest, cheapest); secondly, there are intermediate waypoints which may act as short term goals; thirdly, it is not necessary to plan the entire route in advance; lastly, the goal (get to San Francisco) can change (get to LA) while the aim stays the same. The roadmap may change as new technologies come along, which give new ways of reaching your destination. Questions you can ask are "where next?"

Strategies are overall ways of achieving aims, so in the context of the roadmap above a strategy might be go to the next city west of your current position. Questions you can ask about an objective are "is it working?", or "is there a better strategy?"

Objectives are shorter term and are either met or not, you can fail to meet the objective. Questions you can ask are "is the objective achievable with the available resources?", "have I reached my objective?" and "is the mission a success?"

Tactics are ways of achieving an objective.


In terms of SpaceX:

The aim: "create a settlement on Mars (as a civilization backup)"
Roadmap: "first need a big rocket and ISRU, so start with efficient engine, then design rocket, then ISRU and early missions, then we can think about the next steps"
Strategy: "cheap launch, refuel in LEO, land ship, fuel ISRU, return entire ship", "starlink as profit center and driver for launch demand", "continue to be launch price leader"
Objectives: "create FFSC Raptor engine, create Big Falcon Ship, test ship, create Big Falcon Booster, perform LEO and cis-lunar testing and missions"
Tactics: "get a subscale Raptor working first, design full scale Raptor/BFR in parallel, pay for BFR by using it to replace F9, FH and Dragon".

In terms of USA HSF:

Aim: "Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations."
Roadmap: "big rocket + capsule, then do something in cis-lunar space, then on to Mars"
Strategy: "NASA plans everything, get commercial and international partners to fulfill minor roles", "keep various members of congress happy"
Objectives: "the various missions, EM-1, etc."
Tactics: "use legacy components and contractors", "funding for NASA centers"


I think the aim is pretty good, it is just the roadmap, strategy objectives and tactics that leave much to be desired.

There is also the unspoken aim "use HSF as a tool of american foreign policy, demonstrating soft power by doing things that other countries cannot technically or economically accomplish, why binding potential rivals into programs under american leadership".
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/09/2018 11:46 PM
I find it useful to think in terms of aim, roadmap, strategies, objectives (goals, missions), and tactics.

The aim is the highest level. It points in a particular direction. It is generally open ended, not specifying an end state, you cannot ask the question "have I reached my aim?". Instead you can ask the questions "am I going in the direction of my aim?" and "does my aim need to change?"

A roadmap lays out the landscape go get from one place to another. So if you are in New York and the aim in get to the west coast, then the roadmap shows the ways you can get there. It has a number of interesting properties: firstly there is not a single route, there are a number with different properties (shortest, quickest, cheapest); secondly, there are intermediate waypoints which may act as short term goals; thirdly, it is not necessary to plan the entire route in advance; lastly, the goal (get to San Francisco) can change (get to LA) while the aim stays the same. The roadmap may change as new technologies come along, which give new ways of reaching your destination. Questions you can ask are "where next?"

Strategies are overall ways of achieving aims, so in the context of the roadmap above a strategy might be go to the next city west of your current position. Questions you can ask about an objective are "is it working?", or "is there a better strategy?"

Objectives are shorter term and are either met or not, you can fail to meet the objective. Questions you can ask are "is the objective achievable with the available resources?", "have I reached my objective?" and "is the mission a success?"

Tactics are ways of achieving an objective.

I applaud you for trying to create a hierarchy for the different terms, but you didn't mention either of the two terms that are the subject of this thread - goals and missions.  ;)

Want to redo the list and slot them in?

Quote
There is also the unspoken aim "use HSF as a tool of american foreign policy, demonstrating soft power by doing things that other countries cannot technically or economically accomplish, why binding potential rivals into programs under american leadership".

I think it's important to remember that NASA is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, and that doing things in space is a rather recent activity for the U.S. Government. NASA was actually an outgrowth of NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which was formed 53 years before NASA.

Here we are 60 years after the formation of NASA, and NASA doesn't really focus much on the "Aeronautics" part of NASA, even though it precedes the "S" for Space in NASA. Why is that? And what does that mean for the "Space" part of NASA?

Likely Congress doesn't fund much aeronautic research because the industry has matured enough that the U.S. Government doesn't feel there is a need to provide government money for research. Some is funded, but it's not much.

So could NASA go the way of NACA and be replaced by something else? Because it's not really NASA that has a "goal" or "mission", it's the U.S. Government. NASA is just the government agency that is tasked with carrying out what is needed.

Really then what we need is a clear goal from the U.S. Government. And not just one part of government writing their name on an aspirational document. We need either the President and/or Congress to define a high level goal, and to get a consensus of support for it.

At this point in our history though, with the private sector really stepping up to lower the cost of accessing space, the U.S. Government should ensure that it is supporting the private sector, and not competing with it - regardless what the goals are.

As to "missions", they are an outgrowth of the goals, so let's define the goals first.

My $0.02
Title: Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
Post by: john smith 19 on 07/13/2018 08:03 AM
Who are these non-NASA customers, who would be willing to spend, what is it, something like $500-700 million dollars or more per flight?  And where will they go?  Where will their non-NASA owned launch facilities be located? 
It's a good point.
Quote from: edkyle99
NASA will use Commercial Crew only as long as it is needed, which is to say only as long as ISS remains in orbit unless some other NASA LEO destination is created.  After that I do believe it will be shuttered because a program like that can't survive on a couple of billionaire joy rides.  It needs steady annual funding.
I think we can all conceive Starliner going away at flank speed after ISS is shut down.

SX will now have a NASA certified crew capable capsule. Depending on schedules they will either have the FH doing launches or BFR doing launches.

So if you had a 50tonne LEO semi RLV available how big a space station could you build?
who would build it?