Author Topic: NASA's implementation of FY 2011 Authorization and Appropriations  (Read 109433 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

Follow on thread from the NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview thread, given now 2011 funding is decided, we're into what will NASA DO with the known funding.

Previous thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22991.0

Note to all. Lack of civility, from anyone, will not be tolerated. More on some additional mitigation of this issue will be posted in the NSF six years old thread later today.

As you were.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2011 06:06 pm by Chris Bergin »
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Offline Mark S

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Thanks Chris. Well then, I won't repost my epic missive to 51D from late in the previous thread, but since it was not directly answered, I will just link it up here and hope 51D will find himself able to post some kind of response.

Thanks all!

Full text edited in (Chris):

Don't know if that gets at your concerns, but it's late and I am not going to "cogitate" on it further tonight, so if you need to press, then do so and I'll try to follow up.

Thanks very much 51D. I am concerned (as well as others here) because the current RAC-1 Block-0 to Block-1 transition will require an entirely separate development effort. The "core elements", as the law describes them, will have nothing in common between the two configurations. The tanks will be different, being both stretched to accommodate the large fuel load required to feed five SSMEs during ascent, and designed to different loads due to increased payload, increased thrust of five SSMEs, and greater stresses imposed by the 5-segment boosters. The thrust structure will also in all likelihood be different, with Block-0 designed for only three SSMEs and Block-1 for five.

So we end up paying for two separate development efforts, with the first contributing very little to the second, resulting in two distinct sets of "core elements" that are not interchangeable. This will also push any BLEO exploration missions ever further out, because all of NASA's effort will be focused on getting Block-0 out the door by the end of 2016. Once Block-0 is done, we will then be waiting for the completion of an entirely different Block-1 set of core elements before any BLEO missions can begin.

While some development work on the "integrated upper Earth departure stage" can be initiated in parallel with Block-0, this stage will not be compatible with the Block-0 core elements because it will be designed to the 130mt target capacity. So any BLEO missions will have to wait for completion of Block-2, which is by this time way off in the indefinite future.

Also, you might want to examine whatever documentation you may have to see how NASA intends to utilize the upper stage that they have proposed. From what I have read, they are planning on using three J2X engines on the upper stage, which pretty much rules out its use as an Earth departure stage. That injects a dependency on the completion of an entirely separate Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (CPS) to get out of LEO. Yet more delays!

Therefore, what I am urging is the to scale back the "130 ton" ultimate requirement from metric to US short tons. That extra 10% is the straw that will break the camel's back, because it severely impacts our ability to proceed with BLEO missions in any reasonable time frame.

If we can get people to agree to the US short ton interpretation, that will allow a DIRECT-like plan where Block-0 will actually be the core of Block-1 and Block-2. Block-0 would be the same as RAC-1 Block-0, with the exception that the thrust structure would be designed for four SSMEs (and flown with three), and the tank structure would be designed to carry the ultimate 130 (short) ton capacity with 5-segment boosters. Once those "core-elements" are completed, NASA can turn its entire focus to completing the EDS as well as any in-space assets that will be needed for BLEO missions.

Config-0: 85 US tons: 4-segment boosters, 3 SSMEs, no upper stage. Core elements complete!
Config-1: 115 US tons: 4-segment boosters, 4 SSMEs, add integrated upper EDS. BLEO capable!
Config-2: 130 US tons: 5-segment boosters, 4 SSMEs, same EDS. Adds 15 tons capacity, still BLEO capable!
Config-3: Over 130 US tons: Tank stretch, 5-segment boosters, 4-5 SSMEs, same EDS. Still BLEO capable!

This progression will enable BLEO missions much sooner than the current RAC-1 plan, and allows a more incremental evolution of the system on an as-needed basis. It allows NASA to focus on in-space assets much sooner by eliminating an entirely separate development effort.

The way I see it, the current RAC-1 plan recreates CxP in all the worst ways, with two separate (successful) launcher development efforts required before any BLEO capability, and little commonality between the two efforts. The parallels between CxP (Ares-I/Ares-V) and RAC-1 (Block-0/Block-1) are disturbing and should be setting off alarm bells in peoples' heads.

The short ton interpretation would allow a single development effort for the core elements that would allow initial LEO capability by the end of 2016, and BLEO capability not much later than that. One effort for the core elements, one effort for the EDS, and we're ready to explore BLEO! The 5-segment boosters can be phased in when appropriate but are not required for BLEO capability. The J2X effort would continue unabated due to its use in the EDS.

We've had five years of DIRECT threads going over the synergy that would be involved in this approach, and I know I don't have nearly the eloquence and technical background that that team had. The RAC-1 approach takes us right back where we were five years ago with CxP. How will this approach turn out any better now than it did for Constellation?

Sorry this simple post turned into such an essay.
Thanks for your patience.
Mark S.

Edit: Changed my SLS launcher names from Block-N to Config-N to prevent confusion over whether we are discussing RAC-1 or my stuff. (Actually DIRECT's stuff)

Also: Thanks Chris!
« Last Edit: 04/15/2011 08:02 pm by Mark S »

Offline Chris Bergin

That's good linkage skills Mark, although I think responding members may want to take quoted slices from that, so I've edited in the full quote into your post :)
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Offline simonbp

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Mark,

Would the 4-segs for Blocks 0 and 1 therefore have spacers in them (like the latter Ares V designs)?

Also, without the extra mass of an upper stage, could you get away with 2x SSME on the Block 0? (This could allow a much more common thrust structure.)
« Last Edit: 04/15/2011 07:37 pm by simonbp »

Offline Mark S

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Mark,

Would the 4-segs for Blocks 0 and 1 therefore have spacers in them (like the latter Ares V designs)?

Also, without the extra mass of an upper stage, could you get away with 2x SSME on the Block 0? (This could allow a much more common thrust structure.)

First, I'm going to make a change to prevent confusion later on, and change my nomenclature to Config-0, Config-1, and Config-2 for my version, and stick with Block-0, -1, and -2 for the RAC-1 configurations. Think "RAC-1" when you see Block-N, and my stuff (actually DIRECT's stuff more or less) when you see Config-N.

I would say "no" to the first because the tanks for Config-0, -1, and -2 would be Shuttle-sized, not stretched as needed by the RAC-1 Block-1 and -2. The "core elements" would be designed for the maximum load configuration (Config-2), and be flown with extra margin (i.e. over-built) for Config-0 and -1. A single design effort would yield at least three launch configurations for an incremental and evolvable design.

I would say "no" to the second question also. The goal is to design a single thrust structure for four SSMEs, as required by Config-1 and -2, but flown on Config-0 with only three SSMEs. The plumbing for the fourth SSME would be capped and covered with a blank panel.

Edit: Regarding the question of launching with only two SSMEs, "no" to that too, sorry. Using only two SSMEs would reduce capacity greatly, but worse, would have no engine-out capability at all. The loss of one engine would mean LOM, and that risk would seem too high to me.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2011 08:56 pm by Mark S »

Offline yg1968

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According to CNN's breaking news banner, the President has just signed the full-year CR.

Quote
Breaking News: President Obama signs budget agreement covering the rest of the current fiscal year, administration official says.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2011 09:13 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Mark S

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According to CNN's breaking news banner, the President has just signed the full-year CR.

Quote
Breaking News: President Obama signs budget agreement covering the rest of the current fiscal year, administration official says.

Great! Now, should we start a pool to see when the first CxP contract cancellation takes place? I give it three weeks, but it could be as soon as Monday.

First SLS contract to be let? I give it til late 2012.

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Thanks Chris. Well then, I won't repost my epic missive to 51D from late in the previous thread, but since it was not directly answered, I will just link it up here and hope 51D will find himself able to post some kind of response.

Thanks all!

Full text edited in (Chris):

Don't know if that gets at your concerns, but it's late and I am not going to "cogitate" on it further tonight, so if you need to press, then do so and I'll try to follow up.


Sorry this simple post turned into such an essay.
Thanks for your patience.
Mark S.

Edit: Changed my SLS launcher names from Block-N to Config-N to prevent confusion over whether we are discussing RAC-1 or my stuff. (Actually DIRECT's stuff)

Also: Thanks Chris!

Mark,

Thanks for the detailed response; very helpful and of course some very valid concerns, of exactly the type NASA will have to address when they present their "plan" (or even their "plan for a plan") to the Congress. Clearly, the intent is NOT to have a "Constellation redux." The goals are to maximize existing capabilities, etc., which would include both Shuttle and Constellation-heritage elements, so as to expedite development to both narrow the gap in US spaceflight capabilities post-shuttle and provide a transition, to the extent possible, for many of the skilled workforce that otherwise might be lost with a long hiatus (recognizing of course that the skill mix in development is different from that in ops, so it's not a perfect solution to that issue by any means). Anything in a proposed final design which works against those goals would obviously be of concern.

Again, your comments point to a number of questions and concerns, both specifically and in kind, which will need to be answered and addressed when NASA presents its SLS/MPCV development plan. I'm not so much one to answer them as I am one to have them answered for, at this stage so I won't go into a response on the points you raise other than to thank you, again, for helping to highlight them.

Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline Mark S

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Again, your comments point to a number of questions and concerns, both specifically and in kind, which will need to be answered and addressed when NASA presents its SLS/MPCV development plan. I'm not so much one to answer them as I am one to have them answered for, ...

51D Mascot, I am very much gratified that you are taking my concerns seriously, which from your point of view are from an anonymous Internet poster out in the hinterlands.

The Senate bill (and now law) authorizing SLS and MPCV is a masterpiece, but Congress must be vigilant and be prepared for more fancy footwork from NASA. The law mandates a two-step approach to achieve BLEO capability, but not only has NASA already gotten people openly accepting a three-step process (Block-0, -1, and -2), they are also surreptitiously requiring a four-step development effort (by requiring a CPS) before BLEO is possible. That is not a plan to expedite BLEO exploration, it is the exact opposite.

Perhaps with your industry contacts you can get an objective opinion of this 4/3-4/4-5/4 development path. And if my modest posts have helped raise awareness of this possibility within the halls of Congress, I will have fulfilled my civic duty in this regard.

My selfish goal is to have SLS BLEO ready to go before my son, who is now 4 years old, is ready to join the astronaut corps. If we accept the current RAC-1 at its face, I'm afraid we might have to wait another generation.

Thanks again!

Offline simonbp

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I would say "no" to the second question also. The goal is to design a single thrust structure for four SSMEs, as required by Config-1 and -2, but flown on Config-0 with only three SSMEs. The plumbing for the fourth SSME would be capped and covered with a blank panel.

Edit: Regarding the question of launching with only two SSMEs, "no" to that too, sorry. Using only two SSMEs would reduce capacity greatly, but worse, would have no engine-out capability at all. The loss of one engine would mean LOM, and that risk would seem too high to me.

But how are you going to have a single thrust structure that can fit both four and three SSMEs? (I know Direct 3 did it, but I'm voicing my incredulity that the load paths would really be the same.)

And, frankly, the performance of Config-0 is irrelevant, as it would never be used operationally. The point is prove out the basic concept, and smooth the way for Config-1. So, save some cash and use 2x SSME for the Config-0 test flights and then go whole-hog 4x SSME on the Config-1 once the upper stage is ready.

Indeed, even with the performance loss, 2x SSME Config-0 would allow the leftover RS-25Ds to last a good bit longer while RS-25E production ramps up (which could take quite a while, given J-2X).
« Last Edit: 04/15/2011 10:50 pm by simonbp »

Offline sdsds

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So, save some cash and use 2x SSME for the Config-0 test flights

This approach fails the 70 ton by 2016 test.

Perhaps with your industry contacts you can get an objective opinion of this 4/3-4/4-5/4 development path.

Starting with 4/3 loses the support of ATK.  Is there any engineering objection to a development path that starts with 5/3 and moves from there directly to 5/4?  Combine it with the < 11 foot tank stretch Martin recommended circa 1991 in their NLS-2 analysis:
Quote
The maximum tank stretch was determined to be 5 ft. with minor or no modifications, a stretch of 11 ft. with some possible facility modifications and beyond 11 ft. significant new facilities are required.
— 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 —

Offline Mark S

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But how are you going to have a single thrust structure that can fit both four and three SSMEs? (I know Direct 3 did it, but I'm voicing my incredulity that the load paths would really be the same.)

The avionics will have to handle engine-out capability for the full-up four-SSME config anyway, so the engine gimballing needed for any off-center thrust created by the three-engine config should be minor and within the design limits of the vehicle. Just look at the angle of the SSMEs on the Shuttle to get an idea of what can be designed for.

Quote
And, frankly, the performance of Config-0 is irrelevant, as it would never be used operationally. The point is prove out the basic concept, and smooth the way for Config-1. So, save some cash and use 2x SSME for the Config-0 test flights and then go whole-hog 4x SSME on the Config-1 once the upper stage is ready.

Indeed, even with the performance loss, 2x SSME Config-0 would allow the leftover RS-25Ds to last a good bit longer while RS-25E production ramps up (which could take quite a while, given J-2X).

I'm trying to make Config-0 relevant, and not a wasted effort or even a "beta-test" version of SLS. Once the design work for Config-0 is completed, NASA can turn its full attention to the MPCV, EDS, and any other concerns related to SLS, such as VAB mods, MLP mods, etc. The Config-0 "core elements" will be the full-up core of the BLEO-capable Config-1 and -2, eliminating the need for a full redesign (tank stretch, 5-engine boat-tail, etc), which is what the RAC-1 Block-0 to Block-1 transition will require.

Of course the Config-0 flights will be full instrumented to collect all the data needed to confirm that the system works within its design parameters and as predicted for the given loads. Instead of the simulated approach to design validation that Ares-1X took, Config-0 would be the final product. The data would be used to make any design tweaks that might be needed, but any such refinements would be minor compared to the RAC-1 Block-0 to Block-1 transition.

And at the same time, this plan would leave NASA in possession of a fully capable and man-rated 77-metric tonne / 85-short ton LEO launcher.

Thanks!

Offline Mark S

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Perhaps with your industry contacts you can get an objective opinion of this 4/3-4/4-5/4 development path.

Starting with 4/3 loses the support of ATK.  Is there any engineering objection to a development path that starts with 5/3 and moves from there directly to 5/4?  Combine it with the < 11 foot tank stretch Martin recommended circa 1991 in their NLS-2 analysis:
Quote
The maximum tank stretch was determined to be 5 ft. with minor or no modifications, a stretch of 11 ft. with some possible facility modifications and beyond 11 ft. significant new facilities are required.

Yeah, politics has been the crux of this since 2005, if not sooner. We need ATK on board but would they rather NASA went with the RP-1 design?

The core elements would be designed to handle the 5-segment boosters from the start, so the 5-segs can be phased in at any time. They just wouldn't be on the critical path.

Any tank stretch would have to be able to accommodate the standard 4-segment boosters, maybe with a spacer, since we want this flying asap. My preference is KISS.

Offline yg1968

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According to CNN's breaking news banner, the President has just signed the full-year CR.

Quote
Breaking News: President Obama signs budget agreement covering the rest of the current fiscal year, administration official says.

Statement by President Obama on his signing of H.R. 1473, the full-year FY2011 CR:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/15/statement-president-hr-1473

Offline M_Puckett

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I can see a configuration that could support three, four and five with no off-center thrust issues.
                    X              X
 XXX-Three   XXX-Five   X  X -Four
                    X              X


Hope that formats right.  Just make if for five and delete engines as necessary to achieve three and four.

Optimal?  No.  But you only develop it once.
« Last Edit: 04/16/2011 01:55 am by M_Puckett »

Offline Mark S

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I can see a configuration that could support three, four and five with no off-center thrust issues.



  O           X          X
 XXX-Three   XXX-Five   XOX -Four
  O           X          X


Hope that formats right.  Just make if for five and delete engines as necessary to achieve three and four.

Optimal?  No.  But you only develop it once.

Yes, a quincunx is a possibility, maybe that is what NASA has in mind. Certainly overkill for Config-0, but then there is plenty of margin to play with.

Offline janmb

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Just a quick question regarding the 130 ton requirement issue...

Why would NASA want to use anything other than the metric version?

Please correct me if wrong, but I can't for the life of me recall ever seeing anyone,  in any trade, ever use imperial (UK or US, goes for both really) versions of ton anymore.

I can appreciate the opposition against using a single metric value among lots of imperial units of measure, but at the same time it would be rather ridiculous to use a unit no one for all practical purposes are using anymore.
Jan M Berg
Software Engineer
Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace
Norway

Offline pathfinder_01

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Just a quick question regarding the 130 ton requirement issue...

Why would NASA want to use anything other than the metric version?

Please correct me if wrong, but I can't for the life of me recall ever seeing anyone,  in any trade, ever use imperial (UK or US, goes for both really) versions of ton anymore.

I can appreciate the opposition against using a single metric value among lots of imperial units of measure, but at the same time it would be rather ridiculous to use a unit no one for all practical purposes are using anymore.

Food Industry uses imperial but that is because imperial is somewhat better at food type items and is traditional. Science however uses metric only.

Offline clongton

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Starting with 4/3 loses the support of ATK.

No it doesn't. What ATK wants isn't going to make any difference at all - none.

A wise economist once said "Greed has no memory". Do you think that after supplying 4-seg SRB's for an extended period that if NASA then told ATK they want to switch to 5-seg SRB's that ATK would say "No - you didn't give us what we wanted back then so we're not giving you what you want now."? Greed has no memory. They will be falling all over themselves to suck as much off the NASA teat as they can as fast as they can. Think of piglets in the pigpen when the big sow comes around. It doesn't even have to be "their" sow. They're all over her! Greed has no memory. That's ATK.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Mark S

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Just a quick question regarding the 130 ton requirement issue...

Why would NASA want to use anything other than the metric version?

Please correct me if wrong, but I can't for the life of me recall ever seeing anyone,  in any trade, ever use imperial (UK or US, goes for both really) versions of ton anymore.

I can appreciate the opposition against using a single metric value among lots of imperial units of measure, but at the same time it would be rather ridiculous to use a unit no one for all practical purposes are using anymore.

Food Industry uses imperial but that is because imperial is somewhat better at food type items and is traditional. Science however uses metric only.

And Mars Climate Orbiter probe was lost because of.... why?

I believe that all American spacecraft and launch vehicles up to the present day have been designed using Imperial units. The Constellation program was initially supposed to switch to metric, but it was deemed too difficult and it ended up with a mix of metric and Imperial units, depending on the heritage and provenance of the various components. Maybe someone else with more direct knowledge of this issue can confirm?

And while we often refer to the Shuttle tanks as 8.4m, they are actually 27.5 feet, and all bolts, screws, connectors, GSE, etc are also Imperial.

It would be great if we could switch completely to metric, but it needs to be done from the ground up. This mix and match mentality is just a recipe for further complications.

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