Author Topic: EELV Solutions for VSE  (Read 97676 times)

Offline kraisee

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RE: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #20 on: 10/28/2007 07:23 AM »
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CuddlyRocket - 28/10/2007  2:28 AM

(DIRECT also meets both, though I think it has other political problems.)

Would you mind expanding on that last bit - but do so over on the DIRECT 2 thread please?   I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on that.

Ross.
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #21 on: 10/28/2007 08:01 AM »

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kraisee - 28/10/2007 4:25 PM So, the burning question of the day: What do we do about the thousands of people who lose their jobs at all the Centers with this solution? Ross.

SUMMARY: Which is why I think a Delta IV Heavy derivation, with it's so-called 'Black Zones' eliminated, should be seriously considered as the CLV for Orion -- no need to develop a new booster there -- and a Shuttle-derived launcher, preferably Direct, for the heavy lift solution. Once again, as Ross, Chuck and the others have pointed out: using the Shuttle ET, launchpads and standard SRB infrastructure will preserve many of the jobs and assets in place and give plenty of cargo 'grunt' capability to boot. And if they wanted to skim the money even more -- even an improved, optimised side-mounted 'Shuttle C' arrangement offering 85-90 tons to LEO would be quick(ish) to field and certainly be better than nothing, which is what we're all worried is going to happen if something isn't done and soon...

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Offline William Barton

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #22 on: 10/28/2007 09:42 AM »
Isn't a cross-feed DIVH equivalent to a Jupiter 232 core? Assuming it would be more or less impossible to add two RSRMs to a DIVH, that would point to the Jupiter core being sellable as "in the Delta IV upgrade path."

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #23 on: 10/28/2007 11:14 AM »

Equivalent in a functional sense but I'm not sure what the performance comparison would be. With propellant cross-feed, aluminium/lithium structures, uprated 106% percent RS-68s, an upper stage with 2x RL-10B-2 engines or better yet -- (nearly developed) RL-60 engines would allow more than 40 tons to be placed in LEO. And these upgrades wouldn't need significant changes to the Delta launchpad infrastructure. If further upgrades were needed, the often talked-about regeneratively-cooled version of the RS-68 could be developed. With modifications to the pads, strapping 6x 250k-thrust Aerojet solid boosters to the vehicle -- the same type as on the Atlas V-552 -- would push the payload past 50 tons. This is about the same ability as Jupiter 120, it should be pointed out and a size of booster China intends to stretch the Long March series to, so as to put Taikonauts on the Moon.

***50 metric tons to LEO ability should be considered the minimum useful benchmark of launcher from which to build an exploration architecture from.

With an all-new upper stage, powered by 1x J-2X or 4x RL-60s and using a 5-common core stage cluster, with added Aerojet solids, payload would climb past 60 tons. Then, there's a 7-Core design with a big payload fairing: combine that with the big upper stage and you'd exceed 80 tons. Also, a super-heavy 'Delta', based on clustering 3x 8.4m Shuttle ET-derived corestages, each powered by 4x upgraded RS-68s would give you a block-busting, genuine 140+plus tons to LEO. Add 8x Aerojet 250k-thrust solids to the corestage, or even 2x Shuttle 4-Segment RSRM in addition to the flanking 8.4m stages, would boost payload to about 170 tons to LEO...

That's one approach which, if using Atlas V Phase 2 clustered stages, would give similar results. Though I'm (sort of) pushing RS-68 engines because they're indigenous American engines.

And as the Direct team has showed us, the Jupiter 332(?) with stretched corestage, uprated regen RS-68s, 5-Segment solids and a big, 2x J-2X upperstage would give you more than 130 tons to LEO. Replace the solids with optimised hydrocarbon boosters (powered by 3x uprated RD-180 or RS-84) and you'd field a genuine, 150 ton to Low Earth Orbit class booster. And as pointed out, with relatively minimal changes to Pads 39A & B.

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Offline EE Scott

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #24 on: 10/28/2007 11:16 AM »
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kraisee - 28/10/2007  1:33 AM

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hyper_snyper - 28/10/2007  1:13 AM

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kraisee - 28/10/2007  12:25 AM

So, the burning question of the day:   What do we do about the thousands of people who lose their jobs at all the Centers with this solution?

Ross.

I hate to sound heartless, and I'm not advocating an RIF of this magnitude.  But wouldn't less overhead be a good thing for NASA overall?  A more cost effective architecture means more money to NASA's missions.  I know this isn't workable politically but in the end NASA isn't a jobs program.  Or then again maybe it is, I don't know.

No.

Reducing NASA expenses only means one thing to politicians: It allows NASA's budget to be reduced by the same amount - and the cash difference to be used to fund their other pet projects instead.   NASA has *always* been treated in this fashion - does anyone here *really* think now will be any different?

In point of fact, happening this close to an election, it is even more likely to turn into a complete re-direction of NASA's mission into an LEO-only mission instead of continuing the VSE.


In the end though, all this does is put thousands of both highly & moderately trained engineers and managers (from the Contractor base mainly) out of work just at the time of significant national economic difficulties.

That means many of those folk become a burden on the social security system, and that means that the savings Congress gets by cutting NASA's budget only go to pay the same people, just in a different (and far less economically sound) way - but the real loss is that NASA loses all of its STS infrastructure in the process and can never get those staff back.   You try asking an experienced engineer back after you threw him out a few years earlier.   You'll be lucky just to get the bird back.


The mistakes of shutting Apollo down in precisely this same way in the mid-70's should have taught us very clearly that throwing away a perfectly usable Heavy Lift system is a RIDICULOUSLY STUPID IDEA that only serves to screw the space ambitions of the entire nation for multiple decades afterward.

God help the US if this path is taken IMHO.   You'll be handing China the red carpet all the way to Mars.

Ross.


Ross, EELV utilization doesn't reduce NASA's overall expenses at all (in the short run). All it does is reduce the cost to develop the CLV. Savings realized in the endeavor is put toward the development of the CaLV, work on which can be pushed forward from its current schedule. For near term budgets, it is just a shift of budgetary outlays, not a reduction.

Additionally, those highly/moderately train engineers, etc., are not needed.  They are skilled workers, and as such are not in need of a jobs program just for them.  The fact that the current VSE implementation seems to have been designed to keep a bunch of folks employed seems to be guaranteeing us hugely expensive, much delayed mediocrity -- as a best case scenario.

If it is politically naive to want VSE to be implemented in the best way possible, than so be it.  However to capitulate to the "political reality" to to capitulate to waste and immorality.
Scott

Offline Jim

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RE: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #25 on: 10/28/2007 12:25 PM »
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A_M_Swallow - 27/10/2007  11:03 PM

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EE Scott - 28/10/2007  2:07 AM

{snip}Too bad some funding source just couldn't appear to develop it independently, as a concurrent contrast to Ares I development.

Possibly ULA or Boeings director's will raise the enhancement money to win Bigelow's contract.

ULA doesn't build spacecraft.  LV's are not Bigelow's issue, a suitable spacecraft is

Offline A_M_Swallow

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RE: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #26 on: 10/28/2007 02:08 PM »
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Jim - 28/10/2007  2:25 PM

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A_M_Swallow - 27/10/2007  11:03 PM

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EE Scott - 28/10/2007  2:07 AM

{snip}Too bad some funding source just couldn't appear to develop it independently, as a concurrent contrast to Ares I development.

Possibly ULA or Boeings director's will raise the enhancement money to win Bigelow's contract.

ULA doesn't build spacecraft.  LV's are not Bigelow's issue, a suitable spacecraft is

Bigelow needs a suitable spacecraft and a suitable launch vehicle.  Both have to be man rated.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #27 on: 10/28/2007 02:15 PM »
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kraisee - 28/10/2007  6:33 AM
Reducing NASA expenses only means one thing to politicians: It allows NASA's budget to be reduced by the same amount - and the cash difference to be used to fund their other pet projects instead.   NASA has *always* been treated in this fashion - does anyone here *really* think now will be any different?

In point of fact, happening this close to an election, it is even more likely to turn into a complete re-direction of NASA's mission into an LEO-only mission instead of continuing the VSE.


In the end though, all this does is put thousands of both highly & moderately trained engineers and managers (from the Contractor base mainly) out of work just at the time of significant national economic difficulties.

Since EELV, DIRECT and Ares will all result in a loss of jobs I have start a thread on "More missions and jobs" in the General Discussion section.
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=10505&posts=2&start=1

Offline Nick

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #28 on: 10/28/2007 02:26 PM »
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kraisee - 28/10/2007  5:25 AM

So, the burning question of the day:   What do we do about the thousands of people who lose their jobs at all the Centers with this solution?

Ross.
I normally just lurk, but I couldn't let this one pass. To be honest, I'm amazed to see the question even asked in the context of the US economy. Redeploy and reskill them if that's possible and desirable, otherwise you sack them. If you like euphemisms, then call it early retirement, downsizing, restructuring, RIF, but basically they're out the door. It's called capitalism & the free market.

Providing or retaining a heavy lift capability is a fine objective in terms of exploring space - but it should be done in the most cost-effective way, not as a job preservation program. There is no place for sentimentality over either existing infrastructure assets or workforce.

The minute you start thinking of a spending agency as an instrument of your social security program, you're lost in terms of achieving your objectives efficiently and cost effectively. Sub-optimal decisions lurk at every turn.

We in the UK learnt that lesson the hard way in the 70s and 80s. Russia learnt it the really hard way in the 90s. China learnt it post-Mao.

The more I read this and similar threads, the more it seems that people who should know better in the US think that the global economic realities  preached to everyone else don't apply to them.

Sorry if that gives offence. I don't mean it to. But it seems to me that many of the objections to Ares ultimately spring from the fact that its conception was deeply rooted in a political decision over the retention of STS workforce and assets, which forced engineering compromises that may now be coming home to roost. Be warned - any other course of action that looks over its shoulder to the same sort of political driver will likely run into a similar quagmire.

Nick

Offline EE Scott

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RE: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #29 on: 10/28/2007 02:28 PM »
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CuddlyRocket - 28/10/2007  2:28 AM

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EE Scott - 28/10/2007  2:07 AM

One thing that gets me so uptight about current NASA management is how relatively straightforward it seems to be to take the current EELV upgrade path...
I don't think NASA had much to do with it - this was a mandate from Congress (and the Administration) to preserve the jobs of those working on the STS as much as possible (worded as re-utilising STS hardware etc).

Personally, I also think that the solid-fuel production facilities at ATK are considered a national security strategic asset, and so the replacement for STS had to continue to utilise them.

Taken together, an upgraded EELV is unacceptable to Congress (and the Administration) and NASA management would be well aware of that fact (as would Boeing and LM, which is why you've heard nothing from them).

(DIRECT also meets both, though I think it has other political problems.)

I can't agree with the fact that Congress mandated the preservation of the STS workfore.  I can see how some members of Congress lobbied for STS workforce preservation, and that this kind of political pressure can be quite significant.  This is different than Congress sending a memo to Griffin saying, "whatever you do, you must utilize the standing army of people who are employed in the STS program (NASA people and the larger army of contractors)".  Not that you are saying that.  I would also be surprised if the importance of the ATK solid fuel production facilities is all that important in the grand scheme of things.  Are the RSRM's that similar to what is used in the military's solid fuel ordinance?  If so, that should be explicitly stated as an advantage to the continued use of this component in VSE implementation.

Sorry, I continue to stray off topic.
Scott

Offline kraisee

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RE: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #30 on: 10/28/2007 08:02 PM »
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CuddlyRocket - 28/10/2007  2:28 AM
Personally, I also think that the solid-fuel production facilities at ATK are considered a national security strategic asset, and so the replacement for STS had to continue to utilise them.

That is actually a proven fact.

ATK produces a large portion of the solid propellant for use in a very wide range missiles and rockets used currently by all branches of the US military.

DoD commissioned a report when Titan was shut down into the cost impacts if Shuttle ever stopped flying SRB's also.

Apparently ATK's production of solid propellant for Shuttle now constitutes the bulk of their production, and deleting that proportion would raise the cost of all other delivered solutions by 200-300%.

As it was, the ending of the Titan program already drove the cost of nearly all air-to-ground and ground-to-air missile assets up considerably.


The military have therefore been fighting a winning battle in Congress via the Pentagon to ensure NASA retains the SRB's, and ATK have been levering that support in the halls of power.   We are well aware that even without strong Utah-based political figures in most of NASA's oversight and appropriations committee's ATK has been weilding an extraordinary amount of political force.

I believe it is this Pentagon support which really explains their strength and which explains why O'Keefe was shown the door when he continued to promote a non-SDLV solution for the VSE.

Ross.
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Offline CFE

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RE: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #31 on: 10/28/2007 09:42 PM »
The view that continued SRB production benefits the military is true, but I think you're taking that view a bit too far.  I don't know specifically what the underlying logic behind the DoD-NASA launch vehicle agreement was, but I think part of it had to do with DoD not wanting NASA missions to hold up their launch facilities and launch manifest.

ATK doesn't necessarily need to produce SRB's to meet DoD munitions cost targets.  ATK could produce solid rockets of a different design for some other program, as long as the same quantity of propellant is being poured.  Of course, with the development of EELV's already paid for, it's not like ATK is going to develop a Delta II-class or EELV-class solid launcher.  There's just no demand.
"Black Zones" never stopped NASA from flying the shuttle.

Offline EE Scott

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #32 on: 10/28/2007 10:23 PM »
Very interesting points.  I can appreciate all these perspectives.
Scott

Offline kraisee

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #33 on: 10/29/2007 05:13 AM »
CFE,
Sure ATK *could* produce solid propellant products for other customers.   But where are those other customers?

If there are other customers looking for solid propellant in the quantities Shuttle and Titan Programs wanted it in wouldn't they already be knocking at the door?   Wouldn't ATK have already sene out reps to try to get their business already?   Interestingly, wasn't that actually "Doc's" job at ATK before he took over Constellation?

No 'new customers' appeared out of the woodwork to pick up the 'slack' when Titan went away.   Why would anyone pick up the slack if Shuttle SRB also went away?

DoD would just be stuck with significant price increases.   Actually the situation almost mirrors the situation DoD faced with the EELV program when the commercial sat market went bone-dry.   Their products more than doubled in cost to the DoD and they had to just suck it up.

There just aren't sufficient customers for either of these "products" outside of government programs and DoD is pushing *very* hard behind the scenes to make sure NASA sticks with large solids in their new program.

Ross.
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Offline mars.is.wet

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #34 on: 10/29/2007 05:29 PM »
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kraisee - 29/10/2007  2:13 AM

DoD would just be stuck with significant price increases.   Actually the situation almost mirrors the situation DoD faced with the EELV program when the commercial sat market went bone-dry.   Their products more than doubled in cost to the DoD and they had to just suck it up.

There just aren't sufficient customers for either of these "products" outside of government programs and DoD is pushing *very* hard behind the scenes to make sure NASA sticks with large solids in their new program.

Ross.

Take a look at the total government cost of solid rocket propellant and you will likely find it is a very small (tens of millions of dollars) cost to maintain.  If one customer head to carry the entire production cost (assuming lower production isn't possible) it would be a hit, but almost inconsequetional if a non-SRB solution were cheaper by enough.

For example, Perchlorate is one of the primary elements of an SRB, and you can see what the sales of the vendor were

http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/78/78284/ar2006.pdf

There are a lot of environmentalists that would not be unhappy if the cost of perchlorate tripled and the production rate dropped by a third.  It is nasty stuff.


Offline kraisee

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #35 on: 10/29/2007 05:52 PM »
ATK would seem to be doing fairly well in a "tens of millions of dollars" business, what with having posted $3.6 billion in sales for FY 2007.

Of which Shuttle SRB represents about 17% of their business, but which also represents over 55% of their solid propellant supplies.

Ross.
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Offline McDew

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RE: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #36 on: 10/29/2007 05:59 PM »
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CuddlyRocket - 28/10/2007  2:28 AM

Personally, I also think that the solid-fuel production facilities at ATK are considered a national security strategic asset, and so the replacement for STS had to continue to utilise them.


NASA totally embraced this logic in support of their ESAS "cost studies".  Any solution which was not shuttle derived using ATK RSRMs was penalized $2B for the cost of ATK industrial support.  Got to love that revolving door!!

Offline edkyle99

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #37 on: 10/29/2007 06:05 PM »
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kraisee - 29/10/2007  1:13 AM

CFE,
Sure ATK *could* produce solid propellant products for other customers.   But where are those other customers?

U.S. Missile Defense Agency.  U.S. Navy.  U.S. Air Force.  U.S. Army.  U.S. allied military organizations.  Contractors that sell to same.  Numerous law enforcement entities.  Missile motors and ammunition, especially ammunition, which accounts for the largest ATK sales segment

 - Ed Kyle

Offline kraisee

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #38 on: 10/29/2007 06:20 PM »
Aren't they already being supplied to full capacity?

You're talking about 6,000 tons of solid propellant which the Shuttle uses in a "typical" year.   If the military wanted more supplies than they are currently getting, they'd already be knocking down ATK's door to get it.

But they aren't.

Ross.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: EELV Solutions for VSE
« Reply #39 on: 10/29/2007 07:46 PM »
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kraisee - 29/10/2007  2:20 PM

Aren't they already being supplied to full capacity?

You're talking about 6,000 tons of solid propellant which the Shuttle uses in a "typical" year.   If the military wanted more supplies than they are currently getting, they'd already be knocking down ATK's door to get it.

But they aren't.

Ross.

The latest quarterly report said that they are.  Ammo sales up almost 17% last quarter, for example.  Company on track for more than $4 billion in sales this year, with the Launch Systems Group accounting for less than one-third of that total - and Launch Systems includes Minuteman III ICBM motor rework, etc..  

ATK stock price is up 140% since 9/11/01, versus only 40% for the S&P500 - a period that has seen only a few space shuttle flights, but U.S. involvement in two major wars.

http://atk.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=735

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