Author Topic: LIVE: Delta II - Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July 2, 2014  (Read 128330 times)

Offline LouScheffer

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1925
  • Liked: 2533
  • Likes Given: 283
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #40 on: 08/07/2013 02:22 AM »
And although the US government can afford the losses, it's not clear NASA can.  So it might make sense for the military to self-insure, but NASA to buy insurance.

The other way around.  NASA flies mostly one of a kind spacecraft vs constellations of satellites.  It makes more sense in self insuring.

I think this is backwards.  If a GPS or Wide-band gap filler drops into the  ocean, there's another one right behind it in the short term, and long term the military can decide whether to make do with one less, or fund another.  Furthermore, since they are built in batches, it's pretty straightforward for the contractor to build another. 

If NASA loses a scientific satellite, and it's not insured, they need to either go back to Congress to fund a replacement, or screw up their science program for a few years to pay for it.  A loss, IMO, is much more disruptive to NASA than to the military, and hence purchasing insurance makes more sense.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32492
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11261
  • Likes Given: 333
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #41 on: 08/07/2013 02:32 AM »
And although the US government can afford the losses, it's not clear NASA can.  So it might make sense for the military to self-insure, but NASA to buy insurance.

The other way around.  NASA flies mostly one of a kind spacecraft vs constellations of satellites.  It makes more sense in self insuring.

I think this is backwards.  If a GPS or Wide-band gap filler drops into the  ocean, there's another one right behind it in the short term, and long term the military can decide whether to make do with one less, or fund another.  Furthermore, since they are built in batches, it's pretty straightforward for the contractor to build another. 

If NASA loses a scientific satellite, and it's not insured, they need to either go back to Congress to fund a replacement, or screw up their science program for a few years to pay for it.  A loss, IMO, is much more disruptive to NASA than to the military, and hence purchasing insurance makes more sense.

One of a kind spacecraft can't be replaced, even if there is money.  Design teams are long gone, I&T people move on to other projects.   

Offline pippin

  • Regular
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Liked: 293
  • Likes Given: 39
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #42 on: 08/07/2013 02:57 AM »
It NEVER makes sense for governments to insure, it just adds cost.

I don't know about budgeting in the US, but at least over here any insurance being paid would go straight to the general budget, not the entity that had the loss so it doesn't make sense to insure for the entity, too.

Usually, governments prohibit insurance for government run agencies and institutions.

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8654
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1125
  • Likes Given: 245
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #43 on: 08/07/2013 03:09 AM »
In industry we call that self insured.
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline LouScheffer

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1925
  • Liked: 2533
  • Likes Given: 283
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #44 on: 08/07/2013 01:07 PM »

One of a kind spacecraft can't be replaced, even if there is money.  Design teams are long gone, I&T people move on to other projects.   

This seems a weird conclusion.  Building another years later is surely more expensive then building a second while building the first, for the reasons you mention.  On the other hand, if you could build the first one at all, there is no reason you can't build another, and it should be cheaper.  You obviously need new hardware, but a lot of the analysis work should not need to be redone.

Historically, there are several examples of this.  For example, OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) was intended to be one of kind.  It cost $280M.  When it died due to Taurus fairing failure, NASA requested and got $170M to build a replacement.  It was describes as a "carbon copy" of the first design.

I suspect JPL, or Ball Aerospace, or JHU, would be more than happy to get a contract to build another of what they built before, even if they cannot assign the exact same people to the tasks.  The only reason I can see that would prevent this is if the satellite had some really hard to acquire parts, such as plutonium for RTGs.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32492
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11261
  • Likes Given: 333
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #45 on: 08/07/2013 01:53 PM »

One of a kind spacecraft can't be replaced, even if there is money.  Design teams are long gone, I&T people move on to other projects.   

This seems a weird conclusion.  Building another years later is surely more expensive then building a second while building the first, for the reasons you mention.  On the other hand, if you could build the first one at all, there is no reason you can't build another, and it should be cheaper.  You obviously need new hardware, but a lot of the analysis work should not need to be redone.

Historically, there are several examples of this.  For example, OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) was intended to be one of kind.  It cost $280M.  When it died due to Taurus fairing failure, NASA requested and got $170M to build a replacement.  It was describes as a "carbon copy" of the first design.

I suspect JPL, or Ball Aerospace, or JHU, would be more than happy to get a contract to build another of what they built before, even if they cannot assign the exact same people to the tasks.  The only reason I can see that would prevent this is if the satellite had some really hard to acquire parts, such as plutonium for RTGs.

It isn't a weird conclusion, it is reality.

Historically, there are few examples.  Cases like OCO-2 are exceptions and not the rule. 

The contractor building the spacecraft bus is only a small part of the team.  There are the mission's principle investigator, all the instrument teams and their investigators.  Those "really hard to acquire parts" are the instruments.  Instrument teams are fluid and are not permanent entities.  Many are not part of NASA and some are foreign.  They may not get their money from NASA.

Also, again, the insurance money would not go to NASA, it would go to the general treasury fund, much like the money NASA collected from commercial satellites flying on the shuttle.   It is not a simple thing to change or make exceptions for NASA because there are other agencies with similar situations, it is a fundamental way our governments works.
« Last Edit: 08/07/2013 01:56 PM by Jim »

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8654
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1125
  • Likes Given: 245
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #46 on: 08/07/2013 02:49 PM »
I think a more historic look is this in order.

For unique missions, back in the 60's and 70's NASA bought insurance by building identical probes and duplicating each mission. The assumption being the risk was high enough that a second copy was needed for mission assurance.

Look at:
Mariner 1,2
Mariner 3,4,5
Mariner 6,7
Mariner 8,9
Pioneer 10,11
Voyager 1,2
Viking 1,2
Helios A,B

Noticed some of these missions failed and the backup completed the mission. Mariner 1,3,8 come to mind. And in the case of Mariner 5, Mariner 4 succeeded and Mariner 5 was declared surplus and rebuilt for a Venus mission.

When confidence grew, the dual mission insurance plan was dropped. Look at Mariner 10. Only a single mission, though wasn't a backup vehicle built.

We fast forward to the late 70's, 80's, 90's, and present. You will notice confidence in the hardware and launch vehicles grew enough that only one set of hardware built and flown for each unique mission. The only exception was the risky dual Mars Rover mission. It will take me all morning to compile a list of unique single missions. If you had to build two of everything, how many of these missions would not have flown?

Someone decided the second backup mission was not worth the extra cost.

Insurance for NASA would be building and running two missions for each unique mission.

In an era of tight budgets, that is a luxury.

The extra cost would also reduce the number of unique missions that NASA can run.
« Last Edit: 08/07/2013 02:53 PM by kevin-rf »
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline LouScheffer

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1925
  • Liked: 2533
  • Likes Given: 283
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #47 on: 08/07/2013 03:30 PM »

The contractor building the spacecraft bus is only a small part of the team.  There are the mission's principle investigator, all the instrument teams and their investigators. 

I can't imagine you'd have any problem with the PI or instrument investigators.   They've already invested a decade or so in the project, and have already planned to spend the next decade running the mission, then analyzing the data.  If it blows up on launch, and is not re-flown, they've just tossed a decade of hard work in the toilet.  If you give them a chance to re-fly, they'll jump at it.

Quote
Those "really hard to acquire parts" are the instruments.  Instrument teams are fluid and are not permanent entities.  Many are not part of NASA and some are foreign.  They may not get their money from NASA.

This seems a much more realistic concern since scientific satellites often have independent or international contributors.  NASA would need to let them know in advance of signing up that if the launch fails, they will build a replacement satellite.  As long as this is known up front, I think foreign instrument teams would think of this as a plus, not a minus.

Offline LouScheffer

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1925
  • Liked: 2533
  • Likes Given: 283
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #48 on: 08/07/2013 03:35 PM »

Insurance for NASA would be building and running two missions for each unique mission.

In an era of tight budgets, that is a luxury.

The extra cost would also reduce the number of unique missions that NASA can run.
Building two of each mission is a *very* expensive method of insurance if only a small percentage fail.  Except for planetary missions with non-recurring launch windows (outer planet missions come to mind), it's much cheaper to take out insurance that pays money if the probe fails, then build a new one with the money.

Offline Danderman

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9640
  • Liked: 373
  • Likes Given: 465
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #49 on: 08/07/2013 03:39 PM »
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32552.msg1082069#msg1082069

This is the topic for discussions about NASA insuring itself against launch failures.

If your post isn't specifically about OCO-2, please post over there.

The moderator should move the messages about NASA over there, too.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32492
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11261
  • Likes Given: 333
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #50 on: 08/07/2013 04:29 PM »
it's much cheaper to take out insurance that pays money if the probe fails, then build a new one with the money.

No, it is cheaper to self insure with extra insight

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32492
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11261
  • Likes Given: 333
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #51 on: 08/07/2013 04:33 PM »

1.  I can't imagine you'd have any problem with the PI or instrument investigators.   

This seems a much more realistic concern since scientific satellites often have independent or international contributors.  NASA would need to let them know in advance of signing up that if the launch fails, they will build a replacement satellite.  As long as this is known up front, I think foreign instrument teams would think of this as a plus, not a minus.

1.  Missions ops use different people and skills sets than hardware developers. So yes, it is a problem and many PIs work multiple missions.

2.  It still doesn't mean they have the money for a back up.

All my points are realistic concerns and reflect reality.

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8654
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1125
  • Likes Given: 245
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #52 on: 08/09/2013 05:36 PM »
For those not folling @Bolden and @OrbitalSciences on twitter.

Bolden is visiting OCO-2 today.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/sets/72157634995321509/
http://instagram.com/p/czIGHMR6dY/

If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline Ronsmytheiii

  • Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22510
  • Liked: 842
  • Likes Given: 300
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #53 on: 12/21/2013 02:26 PM »
SRB's for the OCO-2 Delta II have arrived at VAFB:

http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=4
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

Offline Targeteer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3897
  • near hangar 18
  • Liked: 996
  • Likes Given: 486
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #54 on: 12/26/2013 08:01 PM »
OCO-2 Observatory Conducts Environmental Tests

NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 spacecraft is moved into a thermal vacuum chamber at Orbital Sciences Corporation's Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Gilbert, Ariz., for a series of environmental tests. The tests confirmed the integrity of the observatory's electrical connections and subjected the OCO-2 instrument and spacecraft to the extreme hot, cold and airless environment they will encounter once in orbit. The observatory's solar array panels were removed prior to the test.

OCO-2 is NASA's first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide and is the latest mission in NASA's study of the global carbon cycle. Carbon dioxide is the most significant human-produced greenhouse gas and the principal human-produced driver of climate change. The mission will uniformly sample the atmosphere above Earth's land and ocean, collecting between 100,000 and 200,000 measurements of carbon dioxide concentration over Earth's sunlit hemisphere every day for at least two years. It will do so with the accuracy, resolution and coverage needed to provide the first complete picture of the regional-scale geographic distribution and seasonal variations of both human and natural sources of carbon dioxide emissions as well as the places where carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored.

Image Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation/NASA/JPL-Caltech
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline russianhalo117

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4823
  • AR USA / Berlin, DE / Moscow, RF
  • Liked: 1246
  • Likes Given: 598
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #55 on: 02/28/2014 05:27 PM »
LINK: http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=271

Photos in this post are of the ULA DII ISA arriving at VAFB Building 836.
« Last Edit: 02/28/2014 05:28 PM by russianhalo117 »

Offline russianhalo117

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4823
  • AR USA / Berlin, DE / Moscow, RF
  • Liked: 1246
  • Likes Given: 598
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #56 on: 02/28/2014 05:34 PM »
LINK: http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=271

Photos in this post are of the ULA DII Second Stage arriving and being unloaded at VAFB Building 836.

Offline russianhalo117

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4823
  • AR USA / Berlin, DE / Moscow, RF
  • Liked: 1246
  • Likes Given: 598
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #57 on: 02/28/2014 05:40 PM »
LINK: http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=271

Photos in this post are of the ULA DII Second Stage being transferred from VAFB Building 836 High Bay to the Horizontal Processing Facility located at Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2).

Offline russianhalo117

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4823
  • AR USA / Berlin, DE / Moscow, RF
  • Liked: 1246
  • Likes Given: 598
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #58 on: 03/08/2014 11:57 PM »
LINK: http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=271

Photos in this other post are also of the ULA DII Second Stage arriving and being unloaded at VAFB Building 836.

Offline russianhalo117

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4823
  • AR USA / Berlin, DE / Moscow, RF
  • Liked: 1246
  • Likes Given: 598
Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July, 2014
« Reply #59 on: 03/09/2014 12:05 AM »
LINK: http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=271

Photos in this post are also of the ULA DII Second Stage being transferred from VAFB Building 836 High Bay to the Horizontal Processing Facility located at Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2).

Tags: