Author Topic: A Possible Solution: Leveraging Exisiting Capabilities for Exploration  (Read 11034 times)

Offline FinalFrontier

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There has been alot of talk now about the USAF supporting the idea of new booster, new engine development. And there also seems to be a prerequiste to make the engine reusable.
This after Obama announces that he will outsource most activitys to commercial providers when they are not ready and after shutting down the flailing Constellation Program. Certainly, building a brand new HLV and engine designed to be game changing and affordable seems counterproductive to outsourcing to commercial. Most likely the two will compete with each other.

But what happens so often is that it seems our leaders forget about what we already have. And that includes both sides of the aisle as the Ares supporters fail to realize that Ares is also brand new and expensive and the Obama supporters who fail to realize the many issues that could arise from building a brand new HLV.

It seems that CXP logic still prevails. Many ask what I mean by that. What I mean is the thought that all existing technology, engines, and launch vehicles are some how inadequate and impossible of being upgraded or modified to support new missions and to be made cheaper. That throwing away everything we have and devoting billions of dollars of taxpayer (and now apparently defense) money to simply recreating it all somewhere down the road. That "betting the farm" on totally new rockets that must be built FROM SCRATCH is some how the best way to go because its " a bold new direction and is gamechanging".

That logic is exactly what caused CXP to fail: Thinking that there was enough money and enough will to build TWO BRAND NEW ROCKETS, TWO BRAND NEW ENGINES (J2x and RS-68-B-REGEN( a more powerful and regeneratively cooled rs 68, essentially a new engine)) and a BRAND NEW SRB, rather than using what we have. Sounds alot like fy 2011 which proposes that we scrap everything and build a brand new HLV and engine for it. How much money will that cost? How far behind schedule will it fall? What design issues will crop up? (they always show up).
How can anyone logically explain that this will not result in the same exact failure as CXP 10 years or less down the road, with still more wasted time and money?


I propose that we use existing technology and scale it up in phases as needed, both from the government sector and the commercial sector. What I propose can reduce the gap, save us money, do exploration very soon, allow for game changing research and development funding in the immeadiate future, and leave the door open to build new engines or Launch Vehicles if they become needed.

Here is what I am thinking.
On  the commercial side Spacex is the biggest player in the room aside from ULA. But they are behind schedule and will need a good many flights to prove their designs and reduce costs. In the mean time we have perfectly good EELVS just waiting to be used. We also have a spacecraft, orion, that is slated to become a CRV in the bugdet. What I propose is the "capability gap reducer" as far as crew is concerned. Since STS extension appears to be slipping away, we will need something to reduce reliance on foreign nations. While dragon and Falcon 9 are certainly contenders, it could be a very long time before they are ready. If a failure occurs or there are delays, it could much longer than three years before they are ready.
So I propose to HR the Atlas 5, and direct Lockheed Martin to build a stripped down, Orion Lite leo crew taxi, specifcally designed for ISS to reduce our crew launch capability gap.
Also they should be directed to begin the development of an ACES 41 stage.
In the meant time, I recommend awarding a contract to Spacex to human rate Falcon 9 and to create a crewable dragon as soon as possible, with a target IOC of sometime in 2013.



 On the government side we already have an HLV: Two srbs, 3 SSMES, and a core (external fuel tank). So lets go ahead and simply put the pieces together. Build a SDHLV inline HLV, but not the largest one possible. Start with the j 130 and consider building a 5 diameter second stage. Since funding is limited, the pace will be slow, but the vehicle will not be needed for BEO exploration immeadietly. Also, since

When the time comes for exploration, towards the later of years of ISS that is, move to phase 2:

Build the second version of Orion for BEO.
If Atlas 5 cannot lift it, even with ACES (which is one reason for building ACES), switch to delta 4. If Spacex has a more powerful version of falcon 9 availble (such as f9h) that can lift it and is cheaper than EELV, use that. The chosen vehicle would be used to launch the Orion BEO exploration craft and its Service Module.

Meanwhile the SDHLV would be ready to come online. This vehicle would be used to lift the following things into LEO: EDS, Missions Module, Lander, Any other needed equipment. Additionalyl it would be used to lift the deep space propulison module as well as EDS (perhaps in a two launch configuration) for missions requiring signifcant in space propulsion beyond simply an EDS.  If propellant depots were used the HLV would also be used to lift them. Additionally, any other large or unsual payloads that the government (or DOD) may have in future, could fly on the HLV. The same goes for any heavy research or development test bed payloads, such as a space based solar power experiment, that might be around.

In this way, EELVs and other commercial lvs would be used to launch crew to the ISS. In future, they would be used to launch the crew up to a meet up point in orbit, where a stack launched by the HLV would be waiting. The HLV would not be human rated with this plan.


Thats one way to do it. If this situation is more constrained, then going with the EELV exploration plan that ULA proposed, using propellant depots as well as ACES and perhaps phase 2, would be more prudent. Then if in space propulsion is needed (i.e. this refers to non conventional propulsion, such as VASIMIR with a nuclear reactor, ect), a scaled EELV could loft the module. Also, if the EELVS did not have suffecient power in the future to accomplish exploration, then a new, EELV derived HLV, using a new domestic engine could be built. But only IF the scaled EELVS were not able to accomplish the tasks set to them.

Also, without a doubt the first destination BEO should be the moon. This is so the new spacecraft, and any and all new tech can be tested in Space and a destination that is farely easy to reach, that has been reached before, compared to something like EML 1,2 or a NEO ect. The moon should not, however, become the ONLY destination, it should be a stepping stone and a technology test destination, not the only or final destination.

There are many ways to leverage existing technology and what we have already paid for. The above is just one possibility. I would like to here your thoughts and ideas on this as well as other possibilitys for using what we have now, instead of throwing things away.

If we have learned anything, we should have learned that throwing away things that the money has already been spent on, things that have proved their salt, in the hope of building something new and grandiose that will "do a better job" somehow, is a sure way to failure.  CXP ought to have taught us that.

Open for debate.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2010 08:29 PM by FinalFrontier »
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Offline FinalFrontier

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There is also plenty of room for new technology in this plan. By doing SDHLV at a slow pace rather than break neck, there should quite a bit of money avaible for R&D, payloads that could fly on HLV if required (i.e. one launch of HLV carrying many different payloads on one rocket.)

Plus if you went the route of the ULA plan there would potentially be even more savings.

Keep in mind that just like EELV, the SDHLV could also be scaled up into a variety of larger launchers if needed. (see the DIRECT threads for information on the Stretched Heavy variants, for example).
« Last Edit: 04/25/2010 08:30 PM by FinalFrontier »
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Offline sdsds

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So I propose to HR the Atlas 5, and direct Lockheed Martin to build a stripped down, Orion Lite leo crew taxi, specifcally designed for ISS to reduce our crew launch capability gap.
[...]
Open for debate.

What do you imagine a human-rated Atlas V looks like?  Does it have solids?  Is it one or three cores?  What kind of track record does it have?  How much does stripping down Orion to meet a launch vehicle's capability lead to a reduction in crew safety?  Isn't that a lesson learned from Ares I?

If you were to ask me, "What does a human-rated Delta IV look like?" I would respond: it looks exactly like every other Delta IV-Heavy that's ever flown, because it would be exactly like every other Delta IV-Heavy.  It can be human-rated based on its exceptional track record ... don't change a thing!
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Offline pathfinder_01

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There has been alot of talk now about the USAF supporting the idea of new booster, new engine development. And there also seems to be a prerequiste to make the engine reusable.
This after Obama announces that he will outsource most activitys to commercial providers when they are not ready and after shutting down the flailing Constellation Program. Certainly, building a brand new HLV and engine designed to be game changing and affordable seems counterproductive to outsourcing to commercial. Most likely the two will compete with each other.

But what happens so often is that it seems our leaders forget about what we already have. And that includes both sides of the aisle as the Ares supporters fail to realize that Ares is also brand new and expensive and the Obama supporters who fail to realize the many issues that could arise from building a brand new HLV.

It seems that CXP logic still prevails. Many ask what I mean by that. What I mean is the thought that all existing technology, engines, and launch vehicles are some how inadequate and impossible of being upgraded or modified to support new missions and to be made cheaper. That throwing away everything we have and devoting billions of dollars of taxpayer (and now apparently defense) money to simply recreating it all somewhere down the road. That "betting the farm" on totally new rockets that must be built FROM SCRATCH is some how the best way to go because its " a bold new direction and is gamechanging".

That logic is exactly what caused CXP to fail: Thinking that there was enough money and enough will to build TWO BRAND NEW ROCKETS, TWO BRAND NEW ENGINES (J2x and RS-68-B-REGEN( a more powerful and regeneratively cooled rs 68, essentially a new engine)) and a BRAND NEW SRB, rather than using what we have. Sounds alot like fy 2011 which proposes that we scrap everything and build a brand new HLV and engine for it. How much money will that cost? How far behind schedule will it fall? What design issues will crop up? (they always show up).
How can anyone logically explain that this will not result in the same exact failure as CXP 10 years or less down the road, with still more wasted time and money?


I propose that we use existing technology and scale it up in phases as needed, both from the government sector and the commercial sector. What I propose can reduce the gap, save us money, do exploration very soon, allow for game changing research and development funding in the immeadiate future, and leave the door open to build new engines or Launch Vehicles if they become needed.

Here is what I am thinking.
On  the commercial side Spacex is the biggest player in the room aside from ULA. But they are behind schedule and will need a good many flights to prove their designs and reduce costs. In the mean time we have perfectly good EELVS just waiting to be used. We also have a spacecraft, orion, that is slated to become a CRV in the bugdet. What I propose is the "capability gap reducer" as far as crew is concerned. Since STS extension appears to be slipping away, we will need something to reduce reliance on foreign nations. While dragon and Falcon 9 are certainly contenders, it could be a very long time before they are ready. If a failure occurs or there are delays, it could much longer than three years before they are ready.
So I propose to HR the Atlas 5, and direct Lockheed Martin to build a stripped down, Orion Lite leo crew taxi, specifcally designed for ISS to reduce our crew launch capability gap.
Also they should be directed to begin the development of an ACES 41 stage.
In the meant time, I recommend awarding a contract to Spacex to human rate Falcon 9 and to create a crewable dragon as soon as possible, with a target IOC of sometime in 2013.



 On the government side we already have an HLV: Two srbs, 3 SSMES, and a core (external fuel tank). So lets go ahead and simply put the pieces together. Build a SDHLV inline HLV, but not the largest one possible. Start with the j 130 and consider building a 5 diameter second stage. Since funding is limited, the pace will be slow, but the vehicle will not be needed for BEO exploration immeadietly. Also, since

When the time comes for exploration, towards the later of years of ISS that is, move to phase 2:

Build the second version of Orion for BEO.
If Atlas 5 cannot lift it, even with ACES (which is one reason for building ACES), switch to delta 4. If Spacex has a more powerful version of falcon 9 availble (such as f9h) that can lift it and is cheaper than EELV, use that. The chosen vehicle would be used to launch the Orion BEO exploration craft and its Service Module.

Meanwhile the SDHLV would be ready to come online. This vehicle would be used to lift the following things into LEO: EDS, Missions Module, Lander, Any other needed equipment. Additionalyl it would be used to lift the deep space propulison module as well as EDS (perhaps in a two launch configuration) for missions requiring signifcant in space propulsion beyond simply an EDS.  If propellant depots were used the HLV would also be used to lift them. Additionally, any other large or unsual payloads that the government (or DOD) may have in future, could fly on the HLV. The same goes for any heavy research or development test bed payloads, such as a space based solar power experiment, that might be around.

In this way, EELVs and other commercial lvs would be used to launch crew to the ISS. In future, they would be used to launch the crew up to a meet up point in orbit, where a stack launched by the HLV would be waiting. The HLV would not be human rated with this plan.


Thats one way to do it. If this situation is more constrained, then going with the EELV exploration plan that ULA proposed, using propellant depots as well as ACES and perhaps phase 2, would be more prudent. Then if in space propulsion is needed (i.e. this refers to non conventional propulsion, such as VASIMIR with a nuclear reactor, ect), a scaled EELV could loft the module. Also, if the EELVS did not have suffecient power in the future to accomplish exploration, then a new, EELV derived HLV, using a new domestic engine could be built. But only IF the scaled EELVS were not able to accomplish the tasks set to them.

Also, without a doubt the first destination BEO should be the moon. This is so the new spacecraft, and any and all new tech can be tested in Space and a destination that is farely easy to reach, that has been reached before, compared to something like EML 1,2 or a NEO ect. The moon should not, however, become the ONLY destination, it should be a stepping stone and a technology test destination, not the only or final destination.

There are many ways to leverage existing technology and what we have already paid for. The above is just one possibility. I would like to here your thoughts and ideas on this as well as other possibilitys for using what we have now, instead of throwing things away.

If we have learned anything, we should have learned that throwing away things that the money has already been spent on, things that have proved their salt, in the hope of building something new and grandiose that will "do a better job" somehow, is a sure way to failure.  CXP ought to have taught us that.

Open for debate.

Here is the problem. The shuttle's systems are it's own and to create a new rocket out of it gives little advantage than to start from scratch.  For instance the shuttle's main engines are built for reuse and are more expensive than disposable ones plus there are only 15 or so left. You would need to build a new engine anyway(even if it were a cheaper disposable version of the main engine). You would also need to design a new fuel tank for an in-line configuration since the shuttle's fuel tank is not designed to be load bearing on the top.

The best thing if you are going to have to start from scratch anyway is to upgrade the EELV so that costs can be shared between the HLV and the EELV. That way you are not paying for two different launch crews for each rocket.

Offline alexw

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What do you imagine a human-rated Atlas V looks like?  Does it have solids?  Is it one or three cores?  What kind of track record does it have? 

http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/HumanRatingAtlasVandDeltaIV.pdf

    For launching lighter-weight capsules, we've been given to understand around here that it looks like an Atlas V 401. Which has a pretty good track record. To answer your question: one core, no solids. Or, possibly a 402, where the Centaur has a second RL-10-A-4-2, much like many dual-engine Centaurs did in previous decades. Unflown, but one could say a proven variant.
   The addition that it would need is an emergency detection system for sensitive realtime monitoring of the engine health, and an interlink to the capsule and the LES, to pass on the message (if ever) that it's time to say bye-bye to the back end.
    If you want to launch Orion unmanned, try an Atlas V 551/552, and for full-size Orion, manned, you would presumably want the (three-core) Heavy.
Quote
If you were to ask me, "What does a human-rated Delta IV look like?" I would respond: it looks exactly like every other Delta IV-Heavy that's ever flown, because it would be exactly like every other Delta IV-Heavy.  It can be human-rated based on its exceptional track record ... don't change a thing!
     "Exceptional track record" of three launches? The Delta IV would need all of the above as pertains to the Atlas V, and also, perhaps, some reengineering. The document above goes into a bit more detail. The 1.4x safety factor is a matter of some debate.
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Offline sdsds

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What do you imagine a human-rated Atlas V looks like?  Does it have solids?  Is it one or three cores?  What kind of track record does it have? 

http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/HumanRatingAtlasVandDeltaIV.pdf

For launching lighter-weight capsules, we've been given to understand around here that it looks like an Atlas V 401. Which has a pretty good track record.

Yes, Atlas V is a great vehicle for launching taxis to LEO.  The Boeing capsule or the SpaceDev Dream Chaser are designed to be good fits.  The LM Orion?  Not so much.  I suggest there would be considerable resistance to (further) weight reductions to that design.

Why then does LM Orion deserve consideration?  Because the design is highly mature compared with the others.  Because tooling is in place and assembly methods have been tested.  Because the features provided by its mass mean ISS missions can provide meaningful flight history for eventual BLEO missions.

Quote
Quote
If you were to ask me, "What does a human-rated Delta IV look like?" I would respond: it looks exactly like every other Delta IV-Heavy that's ever flown, because it would be exactly like every other Delta IV-Heavy.  It can be human-rated based on its exceptional track record ... don't change a thing!
"Exceptional track record" of three launches?

At least it has flown, and has experienced no events that would have triggered an abort.  Here's a metric for "human rating": would any one of the Mercury Seven have hesitated to climb aboard?

Quote
The Delta IV would need all of the above as pertains to the Atlas V, and also, perhaps, some reengineering. The document above goes into a bit more detail. The 1.4x safety factor is a matter of some debate.

Some think those modifications are needed.  A modern astronaut would certainly expect engine health monitoring tied to the LAS.  I doubt any of the Mercury Seven would have required that, though.

N.B. I do not in any way mean to suggest NASA should be cavalier regarding astronaut safety.  But almost by definition it is the job of test pilots to take risks.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2010 07:06 AM by sdsds »
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Offline Jim

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Some think those modifications are needed.  A modern astronaut would certainly expect engine health monitoring tied to the LAS.  I doubt any of the Mercury Seven would have required that, though.

Mecury Seven had it.  ASIS - Abort Sensing and Implementation System

Offline FinalFrontier

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So I propose to HR the Atlas 5, and direct Lockheed Martin to build a stripped down, Orion Lite leo crew taxi, specifcally designed for ISS to reduce our crew launch capability gap.
[...]
Open for debate.

What do you imagine a human-rated Atlas V looks like?  Does it have solids?  Is it one or three cores?  What kind of track record does it have?  How much does stripping down Orion to meet a launch vehicle's capability lead to a reduction in crew safety?  Isn't that a lesson learned from Ares I?

If you were to ask me, "What does a human-rated Delta IV look like?" I would respond: it looks exactly like every other Delta IV-Heavy that's ever flown, because it would be exactly like every other Delta IV-Heavy.  It can be human-rated based on its exceptional track record ... don't change a thing!
I agree with you. My definition of "human rated" merely means that the existing eelv (be it atlas or delta) is run through whatever tests nasa requires to meet human rating standards. If extra software or hardware is needed it is added, but were not talking about large things here, just something like, for example, a failure mitigation system, or a new sensor sweet, but only if those were needed and I'm not sure they would be.
So a human rated atlas or delta would basically be an atlas or delta that had passed whatever testing is required for human rating, with as little additional equipment added to the current LV as possible.
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Offline sdsds

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Some think those modifications are needed.  A modern astronaut would certainly expect engine health monitoring tied to the LAS.  I doubt any of the Mercury Seven would have required that, though.

Mecury Seven had it.  ASIS - Abort Sensing and Implementation System

Wow -- very cool!  Thanks for providing the search term.  Google's first hit is a 21 page dtic.mil document dated 1960.  Interesting to note the only health indicators that ASIS monitored directly related to the engines were "sustainer and booster engine fuel manifold pressures."  In total, it looks like ASIS monitored only 12 vehicle parameters, six of them the (redundant) pitch, yaw and roll rates.

I'm guessing that's an order of magnitude less than what's being proposed for Atlas V and Delta IV, but would be happy to learn otherwise.
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Quote
Here is the problem. The shuttle's systems are it's own and to create a new rocket out of it gives little advantage than to start from scratch.  For instance the shuttle's main engines are built for reuse and are more expensive than disposable ones plus there are only 15 or so left. You would need to build a new engine anyway(even if it were a cheaper disposable version of the main engine). You would also need to design a new fuel tank for an in-line configuration since the shuttle's fuel tank is not designed to be load bearing on the top.

The best thing if you are going to have to start from scratch anyway is to upgrade the EELV so that costs can be shared between the HLV and the EELV. That way you are not paying for two different launch crews for each rocket.

Not exactly. There are 17-18 engines as of STS program end. So at 3 per flight (assuming j 130 and 18 ssmes) thats 6 flights. Far more than there are actual External Tanks avaible. Plus I said a delayed pace so the first non-test flight vehicle wouldn't fly until near the end of ISS, unless the vehicle was needed sooner to help ISS (if there was a shortfall of logistics). That would allow for a staged, and lower cost approach to restarting the ET and SRB production lines as well as giving time for SSME production restart, which would not occur until sometime after the first vehicle launches. According to DIRECT the only change to the engine would be a channel wall nozzel vs. building the engine with the existing and costly brazed tubing nozzel. There would be basically no change to the rest of the engine. Its alot different than say, going from ablative to regen nozzel (like cxp wanted for rs 68). Also the materials used to make the parts of the engine would not be designed to create resuasble parts, i.e. lower cost materials. Especially lower cost if you consider that in my plan the SHDLV is not human rated, its for cargo only. That leaves commercial the role of transporting crew, and any other small cargo that is not put on the HLV.

"The best thing if you are going to have to start from scratch anyway is to upgrade the EELV so that costs can be shared between the HLV and the EELV."

Agree. Which is why HLV development would be slowed down, though it would remain Shuttle Derived so as to avoid having to build all new hardware (not to mention building a totally new launch pad instead of simply adding on to the fix service structure.)





Note: I am refering to the Inline SDHLV (see DIRECT V 3.0) not any of the sidemount designs. Sidemount has been proven to be more expensive than ANY of the other options on the table, save for continuing with cxp and the overblown ares launchers.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2010 07:14 PM by FinalFrontier »
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Some think those modifications are needed.  A modern astronaut would certainly expect engine health monitoring tied to the LAS.  I doubt any of the Mercury Seven would have required that, though.

Mecury Seven had it.  ASIS - Abort Sensing and Implementation System

Thanks Jim. A question for you: apart from this, what additional systems would be needed for Atlas V in order to make it human rated (and orion-LEO capable)?
The sad thing is that it seems like this option seems to be getting almost no attention in Congress.
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Offline Jim

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Some think those modifications are needed.  A modern astronaut would certainly expect engine health monitoring tied to the LAS.  I doubt any of the Mercury Seven would have required that, though.

Mecury Seven had it.  ASIS - Abort Sensing and Implementation System

Wow -- very cool!  Thanks for providing the search term.  Google's first hit is a 21 page dtic.mil document dated 1960.  Interesting to note the only health indicators that ASIS monitored directly related to the engines were "sustainer and booster engine fuel manifold pressures."  In total, it looks like ASIS monitored only 12 vehicle parameters, six of them the (redundant) pitch, yaw and roll rates.

I'm guessing that's an order of magnitude less than what's being proposed for Atlas V and Delta IV, but would be happy to learn otherwise.

http://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/publications/AtlasEmergencyDetectionSystem.pdf

Offline FinalFrontier

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Some think those modifications are needed.  A modern astronaut would certainly expect engine health monitoring tied to the LAS.  I doubt any of the Mercury Seven would have required that, though.

Mecury Seven had it.  ASIS - Abort Sensing and Implementation System

Wow -- very cool!  Thanks for providing the search term.  Google's first hit is a 21 page dtic.mil document dated 1960.  Interesting to note the only health indicators that ASIS monitored directly related to the engines were "sustainer and booster engine fuel manifold pressures."  In total, it looks like ASIS monitored only 12 vehicle parameters, six of them the (redundant) pitch, yaw and roll rates.

I'm guessing that's an order of magnitude less than what's being proposed for Atlas V and Delta IV, but would be happy to learn otherwise.

http://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/publications/AtlasEmergencyDetectionSystem.pdf
Thank you Jim. Are there any other additions needed? It doesn't seem like it. Also, its seems like this system would make atlas v one of, if not the safest launch vehicle around. Period.

Atlas V (since  the EELV version began flight) has never failed correct?
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Offline douglas100

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There was a slight underperformance of the Centaur on the NRO L-30 launch on June 15, 2007.
Douglas Clark

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Do you have the rockets reversed? [rhetorical]

The J130 is made up from previously man-rated parts with a great safety record and could be available quite soon (before the Orion by some accounts).

The EELVs are based upon currently non-man-rated components that require more development (for the three-core Heavy variants) and (I think) some serious launch pad improvements.

A Crew/Cargo J130 now (to replace the Shuttle's traditional role and support the ISS) and a slow development of the EELV-HLV (with launch pad upgrades and new technology) would seem a better fit under your plan.

When SpaceX (or whoever) can replace the J130, then the J130 can stand down. If the EELV-HLV proves too expensive (or underperforms or hits a back-to-square-one problem like the base heating issue), then the J130 can serve as a fall-back for a new J2xx (perhaps with Kerolox boosters if other programs bring them within the realm of practical).

[ADD: And if the J130 proves too expensive to maintain, the EELVs (not heavy) could still be man-rated to provide a cheaper replacement for crew launches.]
« Last Edit: 04/26/2010 09:11 PM by Arthur »

Offline FinalFrontier

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There was a slight underperformance of the Centaur on the NRO L-30 launch on June 15, 2007.
Yes I am aware of that hence I said of Atlas V, not of Atlas+centaur. However that event did not result in LOM. Nothing since.

Further proving why EELV CLV ought to be the FIRST thing we did when CXP was initiated. Lol, just think we would already have Orion...........
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Do you have the rockets reversed? [rhetorical]

The J130 is made up from previously man-rated parts with a great safety record and could be available quite soon (before the Orion by some accounts).

The EELVs are based upon currently non-man-rated components that require more development (for the three-core Heavy variants) and (I think) some serious launch pad improvements.

A Crew/Cargo J130 now (to replace the Shuttle's traditional role and support the ISS) and a slow development of the EELV-HLV (with launch pad upgrades and new technology) would seem a better fit under your plan.

When SpaceX (or whoever) can replace the J130, then the J130 can stand down. If the EELV-HLV proves too expensive (or underperforms or hits a back-to-square-one problem like the base heating issue), then the J130 can serve as a fall-back for a new J2xx (perhaps with Kerolox boosters if other programs bring them within the realm of practical).

[ADD: And if the J130 proves too expensive to maintain, the EELVs (not heavy) could still be man-rated to provide a cheaper replacement for crew launches.]
I do not have them reversed. I understand this, but it would appear the only thing needed to man rate atlas V is that system Jim referenced. Delta 4 I would imagine is a different story. So perhaps then if SDHLV was built and we get to a point where, with BEO orion, atlas V even with ACES cannot lift the vehicle, then we simply stick it to the top of the SDHLV.
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Offline Arthur

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Do you have the rockets reversed? [rhetorical]
I do not have them reversed. I understand this, but it would appear the only thing needed to man rate atlas V is that system Jim referenced. Delta 4 I would imagine is a different story. So perhaps then if SDHLV was built and we get to a point where, with BEO orion, atlas V even with ACES cannot lift the vehicle, then we simply stick it to the top of the SDHLV.

From the First post:
On the government side we already have an HLV: Two srbs, 3 SSMES, and a core (external fuel tank). So lets go ahead and simply put the pieces together. Build a SDHLV inline HLV, but not the largest one possible. Start with the j 130 and consider building a 5 diameter second stage. Since funding is limited, the pace will be slow, but the vehicle will not be needed for BEO exploration immeadietly.

Can a SDLV be built 'slow'?
With the tanks, SRBs and SSME out of production (or about to become so) time would seem to be the big enemy of a SDLV. Clearly the STS is too expensive to operate indefinitely just to keep spare parts available for a future program.

Although it may be that your 'slow' and the FY2011 'slow' are not even close to the same thing (in which case, I am tripping over semantics).

For what it is worth, I'd like to see a man-rated EELV and J130 both fly and generate some real vehicle and support cost and performance numbers, then fast track whichever plan would actually be more sustainable.

Offline sdsds

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it would appear the only thing needed to man rate atlas V is that system Jim referenced. Delta 4 I would imagine is a different story.

The only thing needed to human-rate Atlas V is NASA giving ULA the green light to do so.  To human-rate Delta IV-Heavy, NASA needs to first convince ULA to human-rate what would be, in ULA's opinion, the "wrong" launch system.

I suspect (offering no evidence whatsoever) that ULA leadership thinks human-rating Atlas V is optimal because:

1A) Atlas has such stunning human spaceflight lineage.  You just can't buy PR value like, "Atlas launched the first American astronaut into orbit."  1B) Atlas V would really benefit from a second VIF to alleviate congestion, and ULA wants NASA to pay for it out of the comparatively huge human spaceflight budget.  1C) ULA leadership has an irrational fear of the gaseous hydrogen fireballs that form at the base of Delta IV rockets.  1D) Lockheed Martin always was the favorite child.  (Sniffle.  Sigh.)

The counter-arguments are:

2A) NASA wants EELV-Heavy lift capability for human spaceflight, and one EELV-Heavy system is enough. 2B) By the time DIVH lifts an Orion, there will have been even more DIVH flights, enough to form a meaningfully large experience base. 2C) The existing Delta IV integration facility is not congested, so NASA wouldn't need to pay for a new one. 2D) For dual-launch missions, Atlas V (with its hefty but dangerous solid boosters) can perform the CaLV role while DIVH (with its safe liquid boosters) performs the CLV role.  Reversing the assignments wouldn't work nearly as well.

All pure speculation of course.  Any resemblance to actual vehicles is purely coincidental.  YMMV.  Burn before reading.  Et cetera.
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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@ sdsds

The obvious solution (to a lay-person like me) is to human-rate Atlas-V and use Delta-IVH purely as a cargo hauler to throw mission modules and propulsion modules into LEO.

I remember seeing a NASA graphic during the Augustine hearings of an Ares-I backed up by multiple Delta-IVHs as CaLVs.  I was impressed by that image but immediately turned the Ares-I into an Atlas-VH and put ACES-class common upper stages on the Deltas, turning tem into 50t-class launchers.

* Fully commercial launch services? CHECK
* Multi-vendor compatibility? CHECK (Dragon could be used as a crew launcher if you use aerocapture EOI rather than direct descent)
* Kerolox-core crew launcher? CHECK
* Propellent transfer-ready? CHECK
* BEO exploration capability? CHECK

It is a win-win scenario and I don't get why NASA isn't starting now.  Orion on A-VH could happen by 2014 and ACES by 2016 - We're looking at a lunar orbiter by 2016 and NEO by 2020.
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