Author Topic: “Plan D for Outer Space” - NASA updates EM-2 mission baseline  (Read 11438 times)

Online Lar

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Also the backup plan for SpaceLab? Close the door and stay in the Shuttle. So, not quite the same thing.

NASA can do what it wants... subject to the orders from its paymasters, which don't include (almost all of) us. But some of the decisions do seem a bit hypocritical. This has been pointed out before so not sure how much value rehashing that actually is. We do have a lot of threads that seem to cover some of the same ground re SLS.
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Offline woods170

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The difference with Shuttle or Apollo ECLSS is that they were first tested for days in LEO where the mission could abort at any time if there was a malfunction. For Apollo, there had been several LEO flights to certify the system before Apollo 8.

Emphasis mine.

Incorrect. Before Apollo 8 there had been only one LEO flight to certify the system: Apollo 7.

The Apollo 4 and Apollo 6 missions don't count as they didn't carry a representative ECLSS environment. Courtesy of no humans being aboard on those missions.
« Last Edit: 12/19/2018 12:36 pm by woods170 »

Offline woods170

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Also the backup plan for SpaceLab? Close the door and stay in the Shuttle. So, not quite the same thing.

NASA can do what it wants... subject to the orders from its paymasters, which don't include (almost all of) us. But some of the decisions do seem a bit hypocritical. This has been pointed out before so not sure how much value rehashing that actually is. We do have a lot of threads that seem to cover some of the same ground re SLS.

Emphasis mine:

Minor nit: the alternative was close the door and terminate the mission. Without the payload being available there was no purpose in remaining on orbit. The mission would be cut short.

Offline woods170

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The difference with Shuttle or Apollo ECLSS is that they were first tested for days in LEO where the mission could abort at any time if there was a malfunction. For Apollo, there had been several LEO flights to certify the system before Apollo 8.

If there is an ECLSS malfunction after the Earth departure burn, there is no abort capability.

An EM-1.5 long-duration manned flight to LEO to test not only  ECLSS, but also other human factors (equipment interaction, waste management, manned operations, user interface, EVA, comms, and so on) seems like a no-brainer to me before committing to a BEO shakedown cruise. It could even dock with the ISS for safety and to test RV and docking procedures.


That maybe a no-brainer to you but given the available funding and the projected SLS flight-rate there is not going to be such a mission. So, there is only the current EM-2 compromise: stay in Earth Orbit for the first roughly 36 hours, before committing to TLI.

Online Lar

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Also the backup plan for SpaceLab? Close the door and stay in the Shuttle. So, not quite the same thing.

NASA can do what it wants... subject to the orders from its paymasters, which don't include (almost all of) us. But some of the decisions do seem a bit hypocritical. This has been pointed out before so not sure how much value rehashing that actually is. We do have a lot of threads that seem to cover some of the same ground re SLS.

Emphasis mine:

Minor nit: the alternative was close the door and terminate the mission. Without the payload being available there was no purpose in remaining on orbit. The mission would be cut short.
well yeah. but the point being that if there was a fail the shuttle ECLSS itself was still working and the mission could return safely. If there is a fail in Orion and you're 3 days out, not much you can do, is there? Is there enough spare mass and volume to take a full blown rebreather system or similar to allow people to stay suited?

There are those that argue that  BFS has so much spare mass/volume that you can take enough supplies that the ECLSS doesn't have to work, or work well. backup systems and bottled oxygen and scrubber canisters can take up the slack, even for months. Please don't start talking about BFS, it's a throwaway comment to point out that spare mass gives you a lot more freedom of action.
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Online A_M_Swallow

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If either of the unmanned flights of Dragon 2 or CST-100 have the ECLSS switched on then EM-2 needs to go without any problems with life support. The general public knows the hypocritical saying "Do as I say not do as I do".

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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As pointed out by Lar, the lack of ECLSS testing in microgravity before committing to the Moon has been discussed before. I agree that it is a risk, with the EM-2 profile only partly mitigating that risk. A simple solution is to launch Orion uncrewed on a Delta 4 Heavy to ISS. Crew board it and then it spends two weeks in LEO testing all the systems out.
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Offline freddo411

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{snip}
Simply put: testing an ECLSS on board an unmanned spacecraft is like testing the driving experience of a car without the car rolling so much as an inch: it is pointless.

Hence all the crap the ASAP was making about the original flight profile of EM-2. The first manned flight of Orion, with a brand-new, not-flight-tested ECLSS. And it was to go straight to the Moon. The compromise they have now come up with is not committing to TLI until more than 24 hours after launch. If the ECLSS throws a fit the crew will simply not perform the TLI burn and reenter as soon as possible.

That is why the test sequence I gave in reply #8 starts with people locked up in an Orion for 2 weeks. All the parts of the ECLSS have to work, if something fails then it is easy to get them out. The second part of the test ensures that flying the ECLSS does not cause any problems without risking any lives. Even empty temperature controls and fans still have to work. The third part tests Orion and ECLSS with people inside.

The second part (all-up ECLSS on an uncrewed orbiting vehicle) will absolutely not happen on Orion: they go straight from people-in-the-loop testing on the ground to all-up manned test in orbit.

There is no in-between step in this case, given that EM-1 carries only a partial ECS, without most of the systems needed for an all-up ECLSS.

Which is fine btw. given that unmanned testing of a full-up ECLSS didn't happen either on Mercury, Gemini and Space Shuttle.

I'm of the opinion it is not FINE.   Building out and integrating the ECLSS and then flying it in zero G would be a good test.   We just don't know what problems might turn up.   You are correct that it would be a good idea to have something consuming the the LSS ... dog? monkey? a small custom built test rig?

It's wasteful to fly a couple billion dollar test without, ahem, testing things.

Quite frankly I don't understand what gets you ticked off on this one. It is very simple: NASA doesn't plan on testing its full-up ECLSS system for Orion on unmanned missions.

That's it.

What you think of it is completely irrelevant. So is what I think of it.

...snip ...

Granted, my humble opinion is just that.  Also, I don't worry about the system too much, as I expect that engineering will have lots of heritage, and undergone lots of on the ground testing.   We probably agree broadly on that.

My big beef is with the test launch theatre.   Why bother to have an EM-1 if you aren't testing/flying (most|all) real components?   It's a very expensive missed opportunity for no good reason that I can fathom.   There's a small chance there will a flaw in the design, construction or integration of the system that might become apparent on this flight.   

Hubble's mirror troubles come to mind as an example of missing the chance to do all up testing....   

Offline niwax

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My big beef is with the test launch theatre.   Why bother to have an EM-1 if you aren't testing/flying (most|all) real components?   It's a very expensive missed opportunity for no good reason that I can fathom.   There's a small chance there will a flaw in the design, construction or integration of the system that might become apparent on this flight.

Now don't start making logical arguments and asking questions here, this is SLS we're talking about. If you want an example of how NASA would like to do testing, look at commercial crew. Drop tests, abort tests, full uncrewed mission with the final design. I don't doubt they'd do the same on SLS if they could. That would require a system that they'd actually finished designing and building before flying though.
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Offline clongton

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As pointed out by Lar, the lack of ECLSS testing in microgravity before committing to the Moon has been discussed before. I agree that it is a risk, with the EM-2 profile only partly mitigating that risk. A simple solution is to launch Orion uncrewed on a Delta 4 Heavy to ISS. Crew board it and then it spends two weeks in LEO testing all the systems out.

But, but, but Steven - everybody says that Orion is not launch vehicle agnostic, that only the SLS can launch it. So that is not a correct statement?
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Offline woods170

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As pointed out by Lar, the lack of ECLSS testing in microgravity before committing to the Moon has been discussed before. I agree that it is a risk, with the EM-2 profile only partly mitigating that risk. A simple solution is to launch Orion uncrewed on a Delta 4 Heavy to ISS. Crew board it and then it spends two weeks in LEO testing all the systems out.

Not only is that solution not simple, it is also very expensive and politically dangerous given that it would show (again) that Orion can launch on something other than SLS (when given enough money to modify it to be able to fly on a non-SLS launch vehicle).
« Last Edit: 12/20/2018 12:32 pm by woods170 »

Offline woods170

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I'm of the opinion it is not FINE.   Building out and integrating the ECLSS and then flying it in zero G would be a good test.   We just don't know what problems might turn up.   You are correct that it would be a good idea to have something consuming the the LSS ... dog? monkey? a small custom built test rig?

It's wasteful to fly a couple billion dollar test without, ahem, testing things.

Quite frankly I don't understand what gets you ticked off on this one. It is very simple: NASA doesn't plan on testing its full-up ECLSS system for Orion on unmanned missions.

That's it.

What you think of it is completely irrelevant. So is what I think of it.

...snip ...

Granted, my humble opinion is just that.  Also, I don't worry about the system too much, as I expect that engineering will have lots of heritage, and undergone lots of on the ground testing.   We probably agree broadly on that.

My big beef is with the test launch theatre.  Why bother to have an EM-1 if you aren't testing/flying (most|all) real components?  It's a very expensive missed opportunity for no good reason that I can fathom.   There's a small chance there will a flaw in the design, construction or integration of the system that might become apparent on this flight.   

Hubble's mirror troubles come to mind as an example of missing the chance to do all up testing....   

Emphasis mine.
That's the whole point. Almost ALL systems of Orion will be tested on EM-1. The exception being the crew instrument panel and the full-up ECLSS. But those constitute only a very small portion of all systems on Orion. EM-1 will carry a rudimentary ECS.

EM-1 is comparable in nature to the Apollo 6 mission, with the difference being that Apollo 6 remained in Earth Orbit, while EM-1 goes all the way to the Moon. As such, EM-1 is a much more ambitious unmanned test mission than any of the unmanned Apollo missions ever was.

Online llanitedave

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Many of the functions of the Orion's ECLSS can be tested on the Earth by locking people into a capsule on the ground for 2 weeks. Give then some books to read. Running the ECLSS in space in an empty capsule will show that nothing falls off during launch or re-entry.

There is the small matter of micro gravity and how does one simulated it on Earth for the dirtside ECLSS test results to be valid.  ::)


We do have a manned orbital laboratory somewhere out there.  I forget what it's called...
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Offline Rocket Science

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Testing Orion on anything else but SLS defeats the purpose of ordering more SLS hardware...
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Online Lar

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As pointed out by Lar, the lack of ECLSS testing in microgravity before committing to the Moon has been discussed before. I agree that it is a risk, with the EM-2 profile only partly mitigating that risk. A simple solution is to launch Orion uncrewed on a Delta 4 Heavy to ISS. Crew board it and then it spends two weeks in LEO testing all the systems out.
That's just crazy talk. WAY too logical, and also undercuts the "we must have SLS" narrative.

Testing Orion on anything else but SLS defeats the purpose of ordering more SLS hardware...

Exactly!
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Online A_M_Swallow

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To make EM-2 into a full flight test of both Orion and SLS.

Launch an unmanned Orion on the SLS to the ISS.
Dock to the ISS, astronauts board and spend a week checking out all the Orion's systems.
Refill the Orion's consumables.
Manned Orion goes on its Moon trip.
Astronauts return to Earth's surface in the Orion.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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But, but, but Steven - everybody says that Orion is not launch vehicle agnostic, that only the SLS can launch it. So that is not a correct statement?

Considering that Orion has already flown on Delta IV Heavy, albeit with a dummy SM, that's about as incorrect as it gets. CST-100 also couldn't fly on Atlas-V, but the payload and vehicle was adapted to make it work (the shroud at the base of the CST-100 SM). The same adaption could be done for Falcon Heavy, Ariane V and Proton!
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Offline freddo411

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My big beef is with the test launch theatre.   Why bother to have an EM-1 if you aren't testing/flying (most|all) real components?   It's a very expensive missed opportunity for no good reason that I can fathom.   There's a small chance there will a flaw in the design, construction or integration of the system that might become apparent on this flight.

Now don't start making logical arguments and asking questions here, this is SLS we're talking about. If you want an example of how NASA would like to do testing, look at commercial crew. Drop tests, abort tests, full uncrewed mission with the final design. I don't doubt they'd do the same on SLS if they could. That would require a system that they'd actually finished designing and building before flying though.

I hear the sarcasm.   And I'm in sympathy with it too.

However, let's be serious here for a minute.    Is it a wise idea to *not* all up test a complete Orion?   Can I get an opinion on that from Bridenstine?  from the ASAP committee?    All up testing seems to be the gold standard as applied to both CC vehicles.

I've referred specifically to the lack of ECLSS, but I also understand that EM-1 won't fly a working LAS.   

Anyone else like to mention other things that are different on EM-1 vs. EM-2 and other manned Orion flights?

Test like you fly, fly like you test.   
« Last Edit: 12/21/2018 06:20 am by freddo411 »

Offline woods170

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My big beef is with the test launch theatre.   Why bother to have an EM-1 if you aren't testing/flying (most|all) real components?   It's a very expensive missed opportunity for no good reason that I can fathom.   There's a small chance there will a flaw in the design, construction or integration of the system that might become apparent on this flight.

Now don't start making logical arguments and asking questions here, this is SLS we're talking about. If you want an example of how NASA would like to do testing, look at commercial crew. Drop tests, abort tests, full uncrewed mission with the final design. I don't doubt they'd do the same on SLS if they could. That would require a system that they'd actually finished designing and building before flying though.

I hear the sarcasm.   And I'm in sympathy with it too.

However, let's be serious here for a minute.    Is it a wise idea to *not* all up test a complete Orion?   Can I get an opinion on that from Bridenstine?  from the ASAP committee?    All up testing seems to be the gold standard as applied to both CC vehicles.

I've referred specifically to the lack of ECLSS, but I also understand that EM-1 won't fly a working LAS.   

Anyone else like to mention other things that are different on EM-1 vs. EM-2 and other manned Orion flights?

Test like you fly, fly like you test.   

On the differences between EM-1 and EM-2
- Partial ELCSS only on EM-1 (ECS).
- No crew provisions on EM-1, such as the instrument panel, waste management system (toilet), personal hygiene facilities. Most crew seats are lacking as well as well as most of the crew storage lockers.
- No working LAS on EM-1, only a working LAS jettison engine for nominal jettison of the LAS tower.
- Only partial ECLSS tankage on the ESM (such as no tank for potable water and only one crew oxygen tank)
- Single fault tolerance on many ESM tank valves in stead of dual fault tolerance.
- Single fault tolerance on many ESM electronic systems in stead of dual fault tolerance.
- Zero fault tolerance on a limited number of ESM systems in stead of single fault tolerance.
- No docking hardware present (won't likely be there either on EM-2).

Offline clongton

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On the differences between EM-1 and EM-2
- Partial ELCSS only on EM-1 (ECS).
- No crew provisions on EM-1, such as the instrument panel, waste management system (toilet), personal hygiene facilities. Most crew seats are lacking as well as well as most of the crew storage lockers.
- No working LAS on EM-1, only a working LAS jettison engine for nominal jettison of the LAS tower.
- Only partial ECLSS tankage on the ESM (such as no tank for potable water and only one crew oxygen tank)
- Single fault tolerance on many ESM tank valves instead of dual fault tolerance.
- Single fault tolerance on many ESM electronic systems instead of dual fault tolerance.
- Zero fault tolerance on a limited number of ESM systems instead of single fault tolerance.
- No docking hardware present (won't likely be there either on EM-2).

Wow, I was not aware that much was missing/incomplete. As far as I am concerned that is unacceptable - as in not flyable. I would have expected the Delta-IV launch to be carrying that incomplete a spacecraft, not EM-1. That pretty much turns the whole flight into a very bad joke.
« Last Edit: 12/21/2018 03:38 pm by clongton »
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