Author Topic: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach v2  (Read 53779 times)

Offline O2H2

  • Member
  • Posts: 3
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #40 on: 12/21/2007 04:22 PM »
Thank you for the complement.  Let me respond to the heavy or high-volume demands for exploration.  

Several years ago we undertook an in house effort looking at what the actual size and shape of lunar and Mars exploration vehicles should be. We presented some of these concepts in papers which showed how a common thin-gage fully monocoque tank with a new innovative common bulkhead could act as the anchor for an economically viable exploration system.  By this I mean that ALL the launcher hardware was directly useable by DoD and commercial customers.  This vehicle with a propellant capacity of roughly 50 tons( with growth to 70 tons), powered initially by RL-10's, could perform all major propulsive and depot functions required to go to the moon save lunar ascent.  ALL but one.  Think of the number of contraptions that are being proposed in the existing architecture.

This stage performed the role of upper stage to a launcher, executed TLI and TEI burns and did the lunar descent.  It did not need a new engine - in fact the history and background of RL10 was pivotal to the whole concept.  It was designed from day one for long duration cryogenic storage.  Modular construction enabled the mods for each particular role.  Those mods were things like landing gear, ECLSS, habitats, even science instruments etc.  All the proper focus of NASA engineering.  All of these configurations fit within a 7.2m payload fairing.  Easily.

This upper stage was matched with a common-diameter booster which was powered by twin RD-180 engines.  This entire stack could be configured much like the Atlas and Delta today.  You can  join three boosters together for the heaviest lift configuration while preserving the single core for more mundane tasks.  This system was essentially IDENTICAL in most dimensions to the existing Delta IV HLV.  From a distance you could not tell them apart. But due to the effects of LO2/kerosene on system density it would have nearly three times the lift capacity.  What I am saying is that these systems were compatible with existing launch pads with minimal mods and made from subassemblies that are in rate production TODAY.  

Depending on upper stage engine complement these vehicles were capable of up to 80 mT to LEO - which if you pick the right architecture is plenty.  If on the other hand you pick the wrong one you can convince yourself that you need launchers far larger.  We recommended that this 70-80 mT range was commercially optimal from a fabrication, economics and launch system standpoint.  We also showed larger versions that could lift 140 mT but just like Direct or the present NASA architecture they forced non-common solutions, and heavy launch pad mods with associated high costs.  We thought that sensible heads would prevail and choose the economic optimum.  Needless to say we were shocked and disappointed at the present turn of events.

It is quite true that eventually you will need to lift objects that are larger than say 7m in diameter.  However this boundary need not be crossed for years.  And the designs I have described above can be readily adapted to larger payload diameters at the cost of more serious ground system mods.  I have personally done a lot of layout work of habitats and other objects at 7m and I can tell you that 7m makes for a damn big habitat.  As for all the other objects that are being described such as diggers etc I suggest that their function can be readily obtained with a packing envelope of 7m.  In other words the demand for immediate large diameter cargo volumes is spurious.  It just serves people who are in love with External Tank.  

The bottom line is this: there exist vehicle concepts that do not demand new engines, factories or launch pads.  They are innovative rearrangements of existing hardware with new novel capabilities.  When nature does this it is called evolution-we like that approach too.  Who's to argue with a few billion years of success under often trying bio-economic conditions.

 There are matching architectures that engage with all of industry and can get us to the moon years earlier.  All we have to do is make our choices based on the reality on the ground and not what a handful of essential newbies desire.  As engineers this is really our creed and to act otherwise is a betrayal of our profession.  I am reminded of that old saying: "An engineer is someone who can do for a dime what any damn fool can do for a dollar".  Those engineers out there who are worth their salt owe it to the American people to stop acting irrationally, declare the emperor to have no clothes and uphold the public trust.  Keep in mind that the wages of the alternative behavior can be very grave indeed.

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10626
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2785
  • Likes Given: 1066
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #41 on: 12/21/2007 08:02 PM »
Quote
O2H2 - 21/12/2007  12:22 PM

We presented some of these concepts in papers which showed how a common thin-gage fully monocoque tank with a new innovative common bulkhead could act as the anchor for an economically viable exploration system. By this I mean that ALL the launcher hardware was directly useable by DoD and commercial customers.

This is the same approach for the upper stage that the DIRECT architecture follows. It was worked out in conjunction with the Atlas Advanced Systems Group. We essentially adopted the concept and techniques of the Wide Body Centaur (ICES technology) and designed it to initially run with the RL-10s. Only we made it the same diameter as the existing STS ET - 8.4m to provide sufficient volume for lunar infrastructure construction. In addition we made it adaptable to be capable of using the anticipated J-2X engine when (if) it comes on-line. But for all intents and purposes, the Jupiter’s upper stage is a Wide Body Centaur, built on and employing Centaur technology.

Quote
This upper stage was matched with a common-diameter booster which was powered by twin RD-180 engines. This entire stack could be configured much like the Atlas and Delta today. You can join three boosters together for the heaviest lift configuration while preserving the single core for more mundane tasks.

Here we have the identical philosophy, but took different tracks to implement it. You use existing flight articles for your heavy lift variant, and so does DIRECT. The only truly new item in the Jupiter launch vehicle is the common thrust structure, patterned after the Centaur Common Thrust Structure. As for the more “mundane” tasks, your approach appears to leave them to the unaltered Atlas and Delta launch vehicles. DIRECT does exactly the same thing! There are many things in VSE implementation that do not require heavy lift, and we prefer to assign those things to the standard Atlas and Delta families, because those launchers are a much better fit.

Quote
What I am saying is that these systems were compatible with existing launch pads with minimal mods and made from subassemblies that are in rate production TODAY.

This is exactly the same philosophy that drives DIRECT. We do not want to build anything new that does not have to be built. We reuse what is already in use today.

Quote
We also showed larger versions that could lift 140 mT but just like Direct or the present NASA architecture they forced non-common solutions, and heavy launch pad mods with associated high costs.

Here you have made the mistake of lumping DIRECT and Ares into the same pot and blame both based on the multiple and sinful failures of just one, the Ares. DIRECT was designed to negate all those shortcomings and has done so. To your specific statement:

* Ares forces a LOT of non-common solutions; while DIRECT does NOT. DIRECT goes out of its way to make as much use of commonality as is physically possible. DIRECT draws from both the EELV and STS world, making common use of as much as possible from each, to create a launch vehicle family that does not stand apart from existing EELV capability or STS infrastructure and flight articles, but rather maintains commonality to both worlds.
* Ares forces a LOT of heavy launch pad mods; while DIRECT does NOT. DIRECT uses the launch infrastructure “almost” as is, with minimal upgrades to handle the in-line launcher vs. the side-mount orbiter.

Quote
It is quite true that eventually you will need to lift objects that are larger than say 7m in diameter. However this boundary need not be crossed for years. And the designs I have described above can be readily adapted to larger payload diameters at the cost of more serious ground system mods. … {snip} … I have personally done a lot of layout work of habitats and other objects at 7m and I can tell you that 7m makes for a damn big habitat.

You are assuming that years from now the funding to do this will be available. To the contrary I believe that years from now the funding will most likely not be available for this kind of thing. Our children and grandchildren will be busy paying off the huge deficit that was created to fund the Iraq war. The war is being waged on borrowed money, and it is our kids and grandkids that will have to foot the bill, right about at the time you would envision creating this “new” capability. The only time we can be assured of having the funding to even make heavy lift possible is in this short window of opportunity of transition from Shuttle to Constellation. If we don’t take advantage of the funding while it actually IS available, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to get it back. We will end up being stuck with lunar missions that can not do much more than place 7m diameter habitats on the surface here and there. There will be no true infrastructure creation, and the entire lunar “adventure” will go the same way as Apollo. Yes, 7m is a good size camp-out habitat. But it is not big enough for factories, hangers, assembly plants, power plants and ISRU operations on a scale large enough to create anything bigger than a campsite. Something that small is not what I picture as a “permanent” presence on the moon, but that is all we will be capable of without heavy lift.


Quote
As for all the other objects that are being described such as diggers etc I suggest that their function can be readily obtained with a packing envelope of 7m. In other words the demand for immediate large diameter cargo volumes is spurious. It just serves people who are in love with External Tank.

Almost anything can be made to fit inside a 7m aeroshell if you make it complicated enough. Do you really think that things like cranes and tracked trucks, excavators, nuclear power plants and such can be folded up enough to fit there without becoming so complex that maintaining those things one quarter million miles away from the nearest maintenance facility will be easy or inexpensive? No. They must be as simple as possible; otherwise their usable life drops with the square of their use.

Quote
The bottom line is this: there exist vehicle concepts that do not demand new engines, factories or launch pads. They are innovative rearrangements of existing hardware with new novel capabilities. When nature does this it is called evolution-we like that approach too. Who's to argue with a few billion years of success under often trying bio-economic conditions. … {snip} … There are matching architectures that engage with all of industry and can get us to the moon years earlier.

What you have just described "to a tee" with that statement is exactly the DIRECT architecture. It is an innovative rearrangement of existing hardware with new novel capabilities. It does not demand new engines, factories or launch pads because it reuses all existing ones. By following this approach, DIRECT engages all of industry and gets us to the moon years earlier.

Once again, you have looked at the failures of Ares and then declared DIRECT incapable because of them. Please separate Ares from DIRECT, because DIRECT is no more like Ares than an Atlas or Delta is like Ares. It is a completely different concept and architecture. Respectfully I ask you – have you even read the 130 page AIAA paper?


Quote
All we have to do is make our choices based on the reality on the ground and not what a handful of essential newbies desire.

If you as an engineer (I’m assuming you are one) had Double-Day publish a book on fluid dynamics that you wrote for example, how would it make you feel if other engineers refused to accept it because Doubleday personnel were not engineers? Your use of the term “newbies” is somewhat akin to this. The DIRECT architecture is the product of thousands and thousands of hours of intense evaluation, analysis, theorizing, investigations and testing by NASA and NASA contractor engineers. This architecture and launch vehicle design has its genesis at MSFC following the loss of Challenger, and was conceived in the minds of NASA design engineers. Twice in the past NASA attempted to have the Congress fund this concept as a shuttle replacement but Congress would not pony up the cash. The DIRECTLauncher team is somewhat akin to the Double-Day publisher, except that some of us actually ARE engineers who are or have worked on launch vehicle design with or for NASA. I would politely ask you to refrain from the use of a term like that. It is inaccurate, incorrect and somewhat troubling.

The only real difference between the approach you suggest and the approach that DIRECT takes, is that DIRECT creates the heavy lift now, while we can afford it and the funding is available, while you defer creation of the heavy lift until latter, when the funding availability is dubious at best. With your approach we may or may not ever get a heavy lift capability back again because you are advocating doing exactly the same thing NASA did pre-shuttle; dismantling and discarding an existing heavy lift capability. That is a mistake of history that we must not repeat. People in that previous era pre-shuttle might be forgiven for being so shortsighted because we had never been in that situation before, but to do the same thing again, with the benefit of hindsight (which is always 20/20) would be incredibly unforgivable.

The DIRECT architecture deliberately includes the EELV family in VSE implementation for the express purpose of maximizing the investment already made in that capability. We went to extreme pains, in spite of intense pressure to do otherwise, to NOT duplicate what the EELV family is already good at. We could easily have fielded a Jupiter-110 design for example that does exactly what the EELVs currently do; thus cutting the EELVs completely out of the VSE picture. We considered that to be both wasteful and stupid, so we baselined the bottom of the Jupiter launch vehicle performance envelope to begin where the EELV leaves off. EELV technology is built into the core of the Jupiter design and makes extensive use of EELV technology and capability, carefully merged and incorporated with STS infrastructure and hardware to create a launch vehicle family that expresses the best of both worlds, and is common to both worlds, in a deliberate attempt to create as much commonality with the EELV families as possible for the nations medium and heavy lift capability.

Quote
As engineers this is really our creed and to act otherwise is a betrayal of our profession. I am reminded of that old saying: "An engineer is someone who can do for a dime what any damn fool can do for a dollar". Those engineers out there who are worth their salt owe it to the American people to stop acting irrationally, declare the emperor to have no clothes and uphold the public trust. Keep in mind that the wages of the alternative behavior can be very grave indeed.

We publicly declared the emperor to be naked almost 18 months ago. With the architecture we published and the launch vehicle that was designed to support it, we proposed a way to get far more from the public funding that is allocated to NASA for the VSE and at the same time make sure that the EELV capabilities, which are many and manifold, are properly utilized in a combined and correctly sized American space program. We did exactly what you say we should have done. We took what NASA wanted to spend a dollar on and showed how to do the same thing for a dime, just like any good engineer should.

The only real difference between what you suggest and what we suggest is that your approach leaves open the possibility that we will never get heavy lift. Your insistence that we go for everything with the EELV fleet “now” begins a potentially devastating funding spiral downward to the point where the heavy lift launch vehicle, so vital for a healthy and functional VSE, will likely never be built. Your approach potentially kills the VSE altogether. The DIRECT approach on the other hand, guarantees both heavy lift and a proper and vibrant use of EELV launch capabilities in the implementation of the VSE. Heavy lift is going to be a necessary element of VSE, and this is the only guaranteed opportunity we are likely to have for a very, very long time to get it. Without it, VSE will not amount to anything more than a visitation program. Of all the possible architectures that have been proposed, including the current Ares architecture, DIRECT stands alone in ensuring that that necessary element of American lift capacity actually comes to fruition. Without it, the VSE will die.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8537
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 362
  • Likes Given: 157
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #42 on: 12/21/2007 08:05 PM »
Quote
O2H2 - 21/12/2007  5:22 PM
Several years ago we undertook an in house effort looking at what the actual size and shape of lunar and Mars exploration vehicles should be. We presented some of these concepts in papers which showed how a common thin-gage fully monocoque tank with a new innovative common bulkhead could act as the anchor for an economically viable exploration system.  By this I mean that ALL the launcher hardware was directly useable by DoD and commercial customers.  This vehicle with a propellant capacity of roughly 50 tons( with growth to 70 tons), powered initially by RL-10's, could perform all major propulsive and depot functions required to go to the moon save lunar ascent.  ALL but one.  Think of the number of contraptions that are being proposed in the existing architecture.

This stage performed the role of upper stage to a launcher, executed TLI and TEI burns and did the lunar descent.  It did not need a new engine - in fact the history and background of RL10 was pivotal to the whole concept.  It was designed from day one for long duration cryogenic storage.  Modular construction enabled the mods for each particular role.  Those mods were things like landing gear, ECLSS, habitats, even science instruments etc.  All the proper focus of NASA engineering.  All of these configurations fit within a 7.2m payload fairing.  Easily.

This upper stage was matched with a common-diameter booster which was powered by twin RD-180 engines.  This entire stack could be configured much like the Atlas and Delta today.  You can  join three boosters together for the heaviest lift configuration while preserving the single core for more mundane tasks.  This system was essentially IDENTICAL in most dimensions to the existing Delta IV HLV.  From a distance you could not tell them apart. But due to the effects of LO2/kerosene on system density it would have nearly three times the lift capacity.  What I am saying is that these systems were compatible with existing launch pads with minimal mods and made from subassemblies that are in rate production TODAY.  

Depending on upper stage engine complement these vehicles were capable of up to 80 mT to LEO - which if you pick the right architecture is plenty.  {snip}

I do not know whether this rocket is an EELV or not.

Are there any documents or webpages that can be linked to for additional information?

Have the cost estimates and time scales been published and where?

Does the proposed rocket have a name?

Offline Free2Think

  • Member
  • Posts: 35
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #43 on: 12/22/2007 11:26 AM »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 21/12/2007  11:05 AM
I do not know whether this rocket is an EELV or not.

Are there any documents or webpages that can be linked to for additional information?

Have the cost estimates and time scales been published and where?

Does the proposed rocket have a name?

The following paper provides an overview:
http://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/publications/Atlas/Evolved_Atlas_To_Meet_Space_Transportation_Needs_2005-6815.pdf

Atlas Phase 2; Delta had a similar evolution path.

From previous posts it was clear that development costs would be ~20% of Direct and and ~5% of the current Ares 1 & V, consistent with the Atlas V development costs.  Just as importantly recuring infrastructure costs would be a fraction of the alternatives and further reduced through cost sharing with DoD.

Offline Marsman

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 310
  • U.S.
  • Liked: 19
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #44 on: 12/22/2007 02:18 PM »

Guys, can we keep this on topic? In response to comments here and from others, I have altered the achitecture to use a partially expendable lander system. The Centaur EDS is used as a "drop stage" for the lunar descent, and the actual lander only takes over with about 600 m/s to go in the descent. This enables lunar missions to be launched at only 3-4 EELV class launches from Earth, while meeting and even exceeding NASA's requirements in many areas.

Further study will include a NEO mission, Mars mission, fully reuseable landers, and evlauating L2. 


Offline kraisee

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10484
  • Liked: 419
  • Likes Given: 19
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach v2
« Reply #45 on: 12/22/2007 05:44 PM »
Marsman,
You need to pin your mass numbers down.   Averaging things out to the nearest ton or half ton (Centaur masses for example) leaves too much margin for error and my preliminary implementation of the architecture just isn't achieving your performance.   If you would send me the detailed mass breakdowns of what you have right now (PM or e-mail), I'd like to pin down the performance of the system using the same tools we've used for DIRECT.   I'm obviously a skeptic, but I'm still an open-minded one! :)

Further, how do you replace the disposable Service Module for the Lander every mission?   I don't see where it has been included in the Earth>EML1 mission payload manifest yet.

On a related issue, what is the mass breakdown for the Crew and Service Modules of the lander?

And how are you proposing to mitigate the larger risk effects of all the extra docking/separation events?      Each one adds about 4% additional risk, and there are a couple of extra ones here compared to the ESAS baseline.   Just sucking-it-up or do you have any options?

Need more data :)

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Marsman

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 310
  • U.S.
  • Liked: 19
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach v2
« Reply #46 on: 12/22/2007 05:50 PM »
Ross,
Can you PM me an email to sned to?

Offline Marsman

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 310
  • U.S.
  • Liked: 19
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach v2
« Reply #47 on: 12/22/2007 05:53 PM »
Got it.
With the round number mass numbers, that just happens to be the way that it turned out in some cases.

Offline meiza

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3068
  • Where Be Dragons
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #48 on: 12/22/2007 11:16 PM »
Quote
clongton - 21/12/2007  9:02 PM
As for the more “mundane” tasks, your approach appears to leave them to the unaltered Atlas and Delta launch vehicles. DIRECT does exactly the same thing! There are many things in VSE implementation that do not require heavy lift, and we prefer to assign those things to the standard Atlas and Delta families, because those launchers are a much better fit.

Emphasis mine.

It's not a requirement, but a choice. Or what do you think requires heavy lifters? I still haven't gotten an answer why some magical limit exists... ESAS hardware is small 25 t or smaller chunks. No heavy lifter needed.


And btw, I don't endorse O2H2:s plan if it ties NASA to yet another custom rocket (50 t to LEO this time) that only flies for VSE, even if some ground facilities and some factory tools with DoD rockets can be shared.

If you go to the logical conclusion of a flexible architecture, you want every launch to be launchable by any rocket that is big enough and you want many choices to be flexible and cost effective.

Offline kraisee

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10484
  • Liked: 419
  • Likes Given: 19
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach v2
« Reply #49 on: 12/22/2007 11:39 PM »
The only realistic options IMHO are to use variants of existing hardware.

In the EELV camp that means new upper stages for the existing boosters, and *perhaps* stretches to development of the Atlas Phase 2 instead of the Atlas V Heavy.   I think ULA would be better off proposing this approach with an RS-84 engine though because of technical and political issues surrounding RD-180.

In the SDLV camp I think Ares-I is too difficult a design to get realistic performance out of for the Lunar missions and I thin kAres-V is too big a leap too.   Something much closer to the existing STS can be made for much lower cost and offer all the same benefits, hence the work on DIRECT.

What I fear currently is that NASA is backing itself into a corner and either it develops new vehicles which it can't afford to use them (same key problem as Shuttle) or ends up with half the program (Ares-V) being completely canceled before ever becoming operational.   That would leave NASA in a politically untenable position and with a massive dose of dis-credit.   That would leave us back in LEO for the next 30 years and the Chinese won't ever have to look over their shoulder in their plans to reach the moon, and later Mars.

If either Ares were to be canceled *by Congress* the only possible recourse would be a much smaller scale program using unmodified EELV assets - likely to be two humans for 3 days again, just like Apollo.   That is where this plan seems to fit - but its a very uncomfortable position to find NASA in given the realistic chance of a much more robust program.   I just pray they don't continue to squander the current political good-will to do the VSE.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline meiza

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3068
  • Where Be Dragons
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach v2
« Reply #50 on: 12/22/2007 11:49 PM »
The ESAS architecture is already launchable by 25 t EELV:s. It just has to be admitted.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8537
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 362
  • Likes Given: 157
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #51 on: 12/23/2007 12:02 AM »
Quote
meiza - 22/12/2007  12:16 AM

It's not a requirement, but a choice. Or what do you think requires heavy lifters? I still haven't gotten an answer why some magical limit exists... ESAS hardware is small 25 t or smaller chunks. No heavy lifter needed.

Any lunar pay loads heavier than 22mT need heavy lift.

The EELV can lift ~27mT to LEO but the depot is at Lagrangian point 1.  LEO to L1 needs an additional delta-v  of 3.77 km/s (or 3116m/s).  The Centaur can deliver 2mT to L1.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v_budget

The first cargo lunar lander may be limited to 16mT.

Offline kraisee

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10484
  • Liked: 419
  • Likes Given: 19
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #52 on: 12/23/2007 12:36 AM »
Quote
meiza - 22/12/2007  7:16 PM

Quote
clongton - 21/12/2007  9:02 PM
As for the more “mundane” tasks, your approach appears to leave them to the unaltered Atlas and Delta launch vehicles. DIRECT does exactly the same thing! There are many things in VSE implementation that do not require heavy lift, and we prefer to assign those things to the standard Atlas and Delta families, because those launchers are a much better fit.

Emphasis mine.

It's not a requirement, but a choice.

That's all any "requirement" is though - a choice.   We could "choose" to do a Lunar program or not.   The "requirement" is to do it currently.   We could choose to do such missions in one flight, two flights, 4 flights or 56 flights.   The current choice/requirement is 2 flights.   This is the main "requirement" which drives the "need" for Heavy Lift in the equation - because just two 25 ton launchers don't cut sufficient mustard - by anyone's measure.

Everything in the program is about choices.   We "choose" whether to provide contingency safety equipment for crews or not.   Shuttle currently doesn't offer much in the way of such equipment, but Orion is "required" to offer a whole lot more.   This was because CAIB made the official recommendation to not compromise the crew launch vehicle for any reason; cost, performance, schedule or anything.   NASA currently "chose" that this recommendation would form the backbone of the "requirements" for the new program.   That led them (amongst other thing) to the two-stage, two-engine'd Ares-I - although that particular poor technical "choice" appears to have now, 2 years later, come back to bite them on the butt.

There are many other technical, economic, schedule and political "requirements" too.   Many.   It is a political requirement to keep the Shuttle Workforce as intact as possible.   It is a technical requirement to not send the Orion spacecraft to the Lunar surface.   There is a schedule requirement to service ISS as soon as possible after Shuttle retires - with a Presidential directive to do so within 4 years - by the end of 2014, but which NASA is finding technically and economically difficult to comply with.   All of these are requirements, and choices.


There are three main issues at work in favour of all SDLV solutions which are currently keeping EELV out of the equation...

1) Political.   There is a lot of profit (mostly in terms of employment producing local economic benefit) to be made by many states who currently support the Space Shuttle Program.   Also there are weapon system cost benefits to the DoD through the sharing of costs for Solid propellant systems.    Ditching any of that architecture has lots of job repercussions in many districts and the politicians representing these areas are strongly against any options proposing to do that.   Many of these folk are on the appropriate committees too, so their opinions hold quite a bit of power.

2) "Brain Drain".   NASA and the Contractor base lost a most of the talent after Apollo.   They were unable to get the bulk of the talent back again when Shuttle was eventually ready.   It took the agency more than a decade to rebuild a similar level of skill within the program - though to this day there are still gaping holes with regard to Lunar missions.   NASA is 100% firmly against any similar thing happening now during this transition.   The Contractor networks are also bringing significant pressure to bear to make sure they too don't lose their current funding base provided by Shuttle.   They are also strongly against the idea of having to delete whole departments of knowledgeable staff from their ranks.

2b) Re-creating the Internal Skill-base within NASA.   NASA has, since Mike Griffin took the reins, spent a great deal of effort rebuilding internal capabilities like they had during Apollo - instead of always relying upon the contractors.   Go off and examine for yourself any of NASA's Budget documents from the last few years to get a feel for exactly how seriously the agency is about this.   NASA faced decades of criticism for relying upon the contractors for all of its technical skills.   It has decided to change that, and Congress (and I, for what little it is worth) support this.   Like it or not, there is no mistaking that NASA administration is making *vast* efforts to ensure that the skill set for Constellation is not placed entirely in the contractors hands.   NASA wants the field changed and the skills and knowledge to be retained in-house.

3) Technical.   From a purely technical basis, NASA wants to reduce the number of flights required for the missions to the minimum possible.   The additional launches, additional dockings and additional logistics surrounding missions with 3 or more flights are considered "excessive" with current data in-hand.   Agree or not, the ESAS Report argued its case and NOBODY has ever presented a case against this assessment.   There's lots of "talk", but N*O*T*H*I*N*G in writing to indicate this may be wrong.   NASA still stands by those arguments and has no competing justification against it.

3b) Further, I have been able to confirm independently the cost issues surrounding multi-launch options using EELV's.   Given all the data I have been able to uncover, I feel there *are* critical issues with a "many small flights" vs. any 2-launch solutions.   Some don't wish to believe the cost data I've offered, but there really doesn't appear to be any way to discourage that - the Internet has always had folk like that, its just a fact of life.   If the hard accounts are not enough to convince people, I don't think its my place to try to convince them.


EELV's won't get a look-in until their proponents make clear precisely how they intend to address these three issues.   They can't get political support until they resolve issue #1.   They won't get NASA's support until they address both issues #2 and #3.   Without political and agency support the EELV's get no traction at all.   It's up to their proponents to change this or not.   Right now, they haven't actually tried, so it's no surprise to me that they haven't made any ground.   Burying heads in the sand and ignoring this isn't going to change anything either.


As for Heavy Lift reasoning:   If cost isn't enough, I would suggest that spacecraft footprint and landing stability are major issues for a lunar lander and I have yet to see the slightest evidence that an Apollo-LM style solution is in any way "worse" than Lockheed's concepts - which appear to be the only other game in town at present.   Until I see at least one independent analysis of the Lockheed designs I remain unconvinced of there being any 'advantage' at all over an already-proven concept - especially as their own document says it doesn't represent a good final configuration.   Therefore I believe it very sensible for NASA to issue the current "requirement" to duplicate Apollo's proven success - albeit larger.   There's a long way to go before an LM-style concept arrangement is going to be considered "better".   So with a large Apollo-style lander that means a form factor at least 7.4m diameter, maybe 8.7m.   *That* drives the physical size "requirement" for a launcher too.   I have yet to see any Atlas-V or Delta-IV with a 10m shroud proposal.

And another issue which EELV proponents conveniently ignore is Mars.

500 ton missions will never lend themselves to 25 ton lift architectures.   We can't seriously plan to launch another "ISS" sized spacecraft in order to go to Mars!!!   That's just plain stupidity IMHO and I'm not even factoring in the idea of fully automated assembly (yeah, right) or the CLV flights needed for assembly.

Instead, we have some real political will right now - for the first time in 30 years - to build a new Heavy Lifter which we can use for all future Lunar and Mars missions.   We also have a Heavy Lifter right now - Shuttle - which can be modified to suit the new purpose for not a very vast cost if done correctly (Ares-I + Ares-V is *not* cost effective IMHO though).

If we squander this golden opportunity it will be at the very serious risk of *never* making it to Mars while watching other nations make those moves around us.   It is my personal opinion that ignoring or missing this single opportunity would be the worst mistake in the US space program since abandoning Apollo - even including the Challenger and Columbia mistakes.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Rose

  • Member
  • Member
  • Posts: 8
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #53 on: 12/23/2007 11:53 AM »
Quote
kraisee - 22/12/2007  7:36 PM
And another issue which EELV proponents conveniently ignore is Mars.

500 ton missions will never lend themselves to 25 ton lift architectures.   We can't seriously plan to launch another "ISS" sized spacecraft in order to go to Mars!!!   That's just plain stupidity IMHO and I'm not even factoring in the idea of fully automated assembly (yeah, right) or the CLV flights needed for assembly.

Ross.

Even with SDLV one will need 7 or more missions to enable the 500 T number above for a Mars mission.  A propellant depot or similar capability will appear very attractive at that point.  Why not start that capability now for the lunar mission.  It is not at all clear that using SDLV is better suited for Mars missions than competitively bid commercial launches, especially at high launch rates.  

The cost numbers that you keep touting show a possible benefit at higher launch rates for SDLV, but only with a lot of assumption and ignoring the non-recurring.  For example, you assume that if the EELV launch rate over doubles the cost only comes down by 10%.  Others here have argued that this may well be closer to 50%, at which point an EELV architecture is much less expensive than any SDLV.  And what about the possibility of competition, new vehicles coming on line further reducing the cost.  That is to me what is so attractive with competitively bidding out this market, 10 years down the road we have the hope for much better costs.  With SDLV the US will only have finished development of the SDLV rocket, just starting lunar missions and be stuck for another 20 years with an unchanging solution that likely will make Mars unaffordable.

Offline rsp1202

  • Elite Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1083
  • 3, 2, 1 . . . Make rocket go now
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #54 on: 12/23/2007 05:11 PM »
I haven't heard that the Cape's weather is going to improve much over the next few decades. Multiple launches of time-critical components will be a crap-shoot.

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10626
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2785
  • Likes Given: 1066
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #55 on: 12/23/2007 05:29 PM »
Quote
rsp1202 - 23/12/2007  1:11 PM

I haven't heard that the Cape's weather is going to improve much over the next few decades. Multiple launches of time-critical components will be a crap-shoot.
Ares-I is probably the MOST weather sensitive launch vehicle that we have EVER contemplated flying. It could very easily keep the crew on the ground while the LH2 just boiled away in the EDS and LSAM above them. More "pressure" to launch - just like Challenger.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline kraisee

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10484
  • Liked: 419
  • Likes Given: 19
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #56 on: 12/23/2007 11:24 PM »
Quote
Rose - 23/12/2007  7:53 AM

Even with SDLV one will need 7 or more missions to enable the 500 T number above for a Mars mission.  A propellant depot or similar capability will appear very attractive at that point.  Why not start that capability now for the lunar mission.

Agreed.   You won't find any argument from me on this issue at all.   We need a propellant depot architecture if we are serious about going beyond LEO with anything significantly more than sortie missions to the moon.

And we need Heavy Lift.    Although it's actually only 5 launches for a 100mT launcher, that is still asking a lot for *any* single project.   But asking 20 launches for every Mars mission, on top of routine Lunar missions, would be utterly ridiculous IMHO.   You're talking about figuring out a way to launch the whole ISS each time - and assembling it automatically.   I think that's just asking far too much and introducing too many risks into the logistics to make it practical.

Mars missions will never happen with 25mT lift capability as the maximum ceiling.


Quote
It is not at all clear that using SDLV is better suited for Mars missions than competitively bid commercial launches, especially at high launch rates.

It is only unclear to the majority of people because the majority of people have never seen the internal costing numbers for either Shuttle, the SDLV alternatives, existing EELV's nor proposed advanced EELV's.

My extensive work on DIRECT has put me in a position to speak with a LOT of people from across the whole industry and I *DO* have the real numbers.   I have even attempted to present them here in an understandable fashion.   There isn't much I can do if people refuse top believe them though.   All I can say is for people to go chase the numbers for themselves.   It's difficult - but I have proven its not impossible.


Quote
The cost numbers that you keep touting show a possible benefit at higher launch rates for SDLV, but only with a lot of assumption and ignoring the non-recurring.  For example, you assume that if the EELV launch rate over doubles the cost only comes down by 10%.  Others here have argued that this may well be closer to 50%, at which point an EELV architecture is much less expensive than any SDLV.

Forgive me, but in the spirit of the famous card game:   I call "bullsh*t" on anyone claiming they can drop costs by 50% by simply doubling existing production.   No production facility or market in *history* has ever been able to do that.

The biggest drop in cost occurs when you make a *second* item on top of the first each accounting period (financial year) - but even then it isn't *EVER* 50%.   You cut your fixed costs by 50% in this one case, but your materials costs *always* push it to worse than that.

The *third* item in the production line only offers a 33% reduction in fixed costs alone.   Again though, you have to pay for its materials.   So by the time you're producing a third item your only improving the costs now by about 17% compared to two production units.   That's okay, but nowhere near what "some folk" here are trying to BS you with here.

The fourth item in the production line drops fixed costs to 25% per unit.   That's an 8% improvement.

Fifth = 20% - a 5% difference.

Notice the trend?   50% difference, then 17%, 8%, 5%...   It's called a "law of diminishing returns".


Now each EELV program is typically already flying about four units per year.   That means they are already beyond the realm of greatest reduction in cost (which would never be 50% anyway).

I'm sorry, but there isn't an economist in the world who would agree with those folk.   I fell more than comfortable challenging them to present their FACTS.   I have done so already with numbers sourced from the programs themselves.   Believe it or don't, it makes little difference to me.   But I would be real careful about ever putting your faith in unsubstantiated "claims".

If you doubt it, ask yourself what sounds plausible in a somewhat similar market...   If Boeing sells a single 747 in a year, do you believe that the second plane on the production line is going to cost half that of the first?   You'd be nuts to think that.   If they sell 40 units, the cost for each might drop to around half though.   That's fairly logical - but that's 10 times the original number - not double.

If I go to my local car dealer and try to buy two cars instead of one, will I get the second car for half price?   Is anyone stupid enough to believe that?   Even if I were a business in the market to buy 20 cars, and offered to buy 40 instead - do you think I'd get all 40 for the same price as the 20?   Of course not.   If I'm really lucky I might get each of the 40 cars for about half the cost of the single car though...   But again, we're talking 40 times the number, not double.


Quote
And what about the possibility of competition, new vehicles coming on line further reducing the cost.  That is to me what is so attractive with competitively bidding out this market, 10 years down the road we have the hope for much better costs.  With SDLV the US will only have finished development of the SDLV rocket, just starting lunar missions and be stuck for another 20 years with an unchanging solution that likely will make Mars unaffordable.

If NASA persists with the highly expensive pair of Ares systems, I agree with you.   But that's not the only SDLV option.   There are *far* more cost effective SDLV solutions than Ares-I followed by Ares-V.

As for "competitive" solutions, I tend to agree.   But NASA is not about providing commercial interests a money earner.   It's about achieving a goal in the best way it thinks it can be done.

Commercialization of space is for commercial operations to exploit WITHOUT NASA.   If the market doesn't want such services, or that their products are not affordable for the commercial customers to pay for - I'm sorry, but that's not NASA's fault nor problem.

Space-X are trying to open this market up though, because the "big boys" are currently too expensive for most customers.   I hope they succeed, but I'm not willing to wait for them to go back to the moon.   NASA should continue to do it this way until that market is fully established and can offer what the customers actually want.

If Lockheed or Boeing wants to build a 100+mT launcher commercially, it is quite possible NASA would choose to use it instead of Ares-V.   If they don't wish to offer the product though, they can't b*tch that NASA doesn't want to use their 25 ton "mini" rockets - it's simply not the PRODUCT the CUSTOMER wants.   Sorry, but that's real commercialization in a nutshell.   If LM/Boeing don't like it, then need to actually *DO* something to change it or be left out in the cold.

If LM think they can build an Atlas-V Phase 3B to replace Ares-V, or if Boeing think they can do similar with a large variant of Delta for half the cost - they should go off and damn well do so.    Even if it shows NASA up.   If they aren't willing to put their money where their mouth is, they have no recourse for whining.   At that point they need to produce what the customer wants.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10626
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2785
  • Likes Given: 1066
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach
« Reply #57 on: 12/23/2007 11:55 PM »
Ross brings up a very important and very overlooked (or ignored) KEY point. The only "lunar" customer there is, is NASA. They are the customer and the customer does not want 25mT solutions to a lunar mission. The only "lunar" customer there is wants 100mT solutions to lunar missions.

Contractors have no business trying to tell a customer what they want. It's the other way around. The customer tells the contractor what IT wants. If the contractor wants a piece of the action, then it needs to get off its lazy butt and provide what the customer wants. If it's not willing to do that for whatever reason, then the contractor needs to shut its mouth and get out of the way.

EELV variants of 100mT certainly are possible. So let's see it. That's what this thread is supposed to be about; EELV solutions for the lunar missions. But bear in mind, the customer does not want to see 25mT or even 50mT solutions. It doesn't want fancy architectures which can let the 25mT launchers shoehorn stuff into the VSE. It has bigger fish to fry. It wants an honest-to-God 100mT Heavy Lift and said so right from the beginning.

EELV heavy lift is possible. So let's see it! And when you do, show us your numbers, all your numbers; including all the costs for development, fielding, infrastructure creation or modification and maintainence. Include an IMS with it and show us how you can get us to the moon not later than 2017 and how much that will cost. Show us how many lunar missions per year you can fly with your heavy lift and what the delivered tonnage on the lunar surface is. And make sure that you don't spend one dime more than NASA's budget already is. Less would be better, like DIRECT did.

NASA didn't select SDLV for its lunar missions so much because it's necessarily better; it selected it because shuttle derived was the only Heavy Lift that was offered. And NASA had made it clear from the beginning of ESAS that Heavy lift was a prerequisite. EELV didn't want to play that game. If they had done that we might be seeing different things happening.

I would love to see another (EELV) Heavy Lift (100mT to LEO) solution be offered up for NASA's consideration. So let's see it. The gauntlet is thrown down. Who will pick it up? Who has the brass to pick it up? I'm not looking to pick a fight here. I want to see some real competition. I don't want Shuttle Derived to win by default. If it wins at all, I would much rather it win because it proved itself against the competition. If it looses an honest heavy-lift competition, then we would all be better off for that because a better solution would have proved itself.

I'm all for competing this. But remember - the game is Heavy Lift. Nothing else will do because that is what the customer has specified; 100mT to LEO.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline kraisee

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10484
  • Liked: 419
  • Likes Given: 19
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach v2
« Reply #58 on: 12/24/2007 12:02 AM »
Just my opinion, but the EELV camp would be better off proposing an RS-84 powered Atlas-V Phase 2 as a CLV with an Atlas-V Phase 3B *with Shuttle SRB's* to make a 160-170mT Heavy Lifter to fly out of LC-39.

Add in an upgrade path for Propellant Depot in LEO initially (L1 or L2 to follow later) and that would be a combination I don't think NASA or Congress could ignore - especially if LM put the Phase 2 into production next year and it was ready before Shuttle Retired.   That would put an awful lot of political pressure on NASA to use it.

But the 25mT 'pop guns' just aren't going to convince anyone.   The customer (NASA) just isn't interested and just like Betamax, the customers will decide the shape of the future - not the production company.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10626
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2785
  • Likes Given: 1066
Re: To the Moon and Beyond–Examining the EELV-L1 Approach v2
« Reply #59 on: 12/24/2007 12:30 AM »
Quote
kraisee - 23/12/2007  8:02 PM

{snip} especially if LM put the Phase 2 into production next year and it was ready before Shuttle Retired.   That would put an awful lot of political pressure on NASA to use it. {snip}

Ross.
There is nothing stopping LM from doing this except the decision to do it. The question is: will they?
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Tags: