Author Topic: Two Californian Senators Call for Competitive Heavy-Lift Propulsion Procurement  (Read 41223 times)

Offline agman25

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« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 12:53 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline Pheogh

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #1 on: 06/02/2011 07:52 PM »
Can someone explain to me how this is clearly not a partisan attempt to scuttle the process. These 2 have been utterly silent on this whole issue dare I say completely uninterested, this stinks to high heaven!! I certainly hope that coalition which has formed around the authorization is able to put these 2 in their place.

It is not the proposal that I disagree with it is the ridiculously circumstantial timing.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 12:52 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #2 on: 06/02/2011 07:53 PM »
Really, I doubt it's partisan. Most likely they just felt left out of the feeding trough.
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Offline Namechange User

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #3 on: 06/02/2011 07:57 PM »
Very Good Idea IMO.

Bids and competition are generally good things, but at times so is evolution. 

If this is going to be the tactic taken, just cancel the whole damn thing because it no longer becomes worth it given the lack of architecuture, destination(s), time tables, mission scopes.....leadership. 
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Offline Periander

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #4 on: 06/02/2011 08:01 PM »
Fantastic news.

Offline Pheogh

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #5 on: 06/02/2011 08:02 PM »
Really, I doubt it's partisan. Most likely they just felt left out of the feeding trough.

Not in the political sense but in the Commercial vs Government. Would this not bring SLS development to an utter stand still if they choose to pursue it further. Would this action not give more time for further disassembly of our infrastructure. At every turn over the last 4 years there has been factions that were opposed to government HLV (SDLV for that matter) throwing curve balls at the last minute. This is clearly what these 2 are doing IMHO. Look at the entirety of the landscape and all that has happened. This is not an epiphany of common sense by these 2, no way.

If it is indeed what you are proposing than certainly what the lesson of the last 4 years should have taught them is that you don't take on ATK head on like this.

Offline Namechange User

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #6 on: 06/02/2011 08:05 PM »
Would this not bring SLS development to an utter stand still if they choose to pursue it further. Would this action not give more time for further disassembly of our infrastructure.

Absolutely.  Hence why I said cancel the damn thing if it happens this way.  It no longer becomes worth it.

Now people can speculate all day long if this is "intentional" or playing into the master plan of others.  I really don't care anymore. 
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Offline Pheogh

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #7 on: 06/02/2011 08:06 PM »
Very Good Idea IMO.

Bids and competition are generally good things, but at times so is evolution. 

If this is going to be the tactic taken, just cancel the whole damn thing because it no longer becomes worth it given the lack of architecuture, destination(s), time tables, mission scopes.....leadership. 

This just stink to high heaven OV there is no way around it. We are finally on the eve of a decision to move forward and these 2 jump out of the would work? I'm not buying it, both of these ladies are unfortunately my reps and I can tell you they do NOT have the best interest of the Space Program in mind.

Offline SpacexULA

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #8 on: 06/02/2011 08:13 PM »
Very Good Idea IMO.
Bids and competition are generally good things, but at times so is evolution. 
If this is going to be the tactic taken, just cancel the whole damn thing because it no longer becomes worth it given the lack of architecuture, destination(s), time tables, mission scopes.....leadership.

How would it not be in the fiscal best interest of the American people at large for the SLS to be competitively bid? 

Moon and Mars aren't going anywhere, but the country is out of money.

No Bucks no Buck Rogers, but at least Flexible path gets you Twiki.

Offline Mark S

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #9 on: 06/02/2011 08:14 PM »
This hinges on their interpretation of "practicable", and on a creative reading of the "preliminary" report on SLS that NASA turned in to Congress back in January.

If NASA comes back this month with a new "final" report that says that SLS is practicable using existing contracts, then their argument holds no water. Not that it does anyway.

As stated earlier, they just see this as a chance at some federal $$ for their constituents. Bad idea if they actually want SLS to move forward.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Offline Periander

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #10 on: 06/02/2011 08:20 PM »
This just stink to high heaven OV there is no way around it. We are finally on the eve of a decision to move forward and these 2 jump out of the would work? I'm not buying it, both of these ladies are unfortunately my reps and I can tell you they do NOT have the best interest of the Space Program in mind.

You are wrong to characterize this as jumping out of the wood work. Aerojet has been making noises about this for quite some time:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-nasa-is-flailing-20110116,0,795646.story

Aerojet is well within its rights to challenge billions of taxpayer dollars being awarded to a competitor without any chance to compete.

Offline Namechange User

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #11 on: 06/02/2011 08:23 PM »
Very Good Idea IMO.
Bids and competition are generally good things, but at times so is evolution. 
If this is going to be the tactic taken, just cancel the whole damn thing because it no longer becomes worth it given the lack of architecuture, destination(s), time tables, mission scopes.....leadership.

How would it not be in the fiscal best interest of the American people at large for the SLS to be competitively bid? 



Because you are assuming the false premise that a "bid" happens after development, etc.  That would be incorrect.

In reality a "bid" is placed on what you *believe* something will cost in response to a general set of requirements and general scope of the statement of work.  Then, after award, the real DEVELOPMENT starts, where if we use what we have in the form of major elements, this does not need to happen.

Then, after all that is done, you will likely find you are no better off than you were previously and just spent a bunch of money, time, etc developing something you already had but now with another vendor. 
« Last Edit: 06/02/2011 08:28 PM by OV-106 »
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Online clongton

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #12 on: 06/02/2011 08:25 PM »
Neither of these two persons have the slightest clue what they are doing. They don't even know the difference between the spacecraft and the launch vehicle. Note from their letter they said:
Quote
As you know, this legislation directed the agency to construct a new human rated spacecraft by 2016 while utilizing existing contracts where "practicable." However, NASA itself has already concluded that such a plan is not practicable.
The 1st sentence is about Orion, but gave the launch vehicle date, and the second sentence is about the launch vehicle but is in the context of the Orion spacecraft.

This letter does not appear to me like a serious attempt to engage the space agency in practical action. Rather it is, imo, a political stunt to get their names in print. They are desperately trying to get a piece of the action before it's too late. California would be better served if these two ladies had their marching orders confined to fixing the financial mess that the state has found itself in thanks in no small part to legislators like these who speak without knowledge.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Downix

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #13 on: 06/02/2011 08:34 PM »
Something of the whole thing sounds too odd, and Chuck hit part of it on the head.  The whole piece seems disjointed.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Chris Bergin

Moved to Space Policy and given it a better thread title, as it's important to know it's just two Senators, who aren't any influence compared to Hutchison and Nelson as noted in the thread.

Online clongton

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Moved to Space Policy and given it a better thread title, as it's important to know it's just two Senators, who aren't any influence compared to Hutchison and Nelson as noted in the thread.

hahaha. Moved to the "wild west" :)
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Pheogh

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #16 on: 06/02/2011 08:41 PM »
This just stink to high heaven OV there is no way around it. We are finally on the eve of a decision to move forward and these 2 jump out of the would work? I'm not buying it, both of these ladies are unfortunately my reps and I can tell you they do NOT have the best interest of the Space Program in mind.

You are wrong to characterize this as jumping out of the wood work. Aerojet has been making noises about this for quite some time:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-nasa-is-flailing-20110116,0,795646.story

Aerojet is well within its rights to challenge billions of taxpayer dollars being awarded to a competitor without any chance to compete.

Like I said taking on ATK head to head is not the way to do this. As the AJAX people have learned the smarter strategy is to get the vehicle flying an evolve it competitively. Heck commercialize the thing (later) for all I care. However these antics at this point in time is like standing on the deck of the ship with a can of gas and match, while still out at sea.

Offline Mark Max Q

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So there's outrage at so called ATK lobbyists, but joy if SpaceX lobbyists get involved? ;)

Offline Periander

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #18 on: 06/02/2011 08:54 PM »
Like I said taking on ATK head to head is not the way to do this.


The is no way for Aerojet to "do this" unless they take ATK on head to head and challenge billions of taxpayer dollars being awarded to ATK on a no bid contract.

Online EE Scott

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I think this will be a non-issue unless the companies themselves (e.g., Aerojet and whomever else is interested in this) would come out and threaten legal efforts which could delay things.  I am not sure how seriously NASA has to take this, maybe someone knows, like 51D?   ???
« Last Edit: 06/02/2011 09:07 PM by EE Scott »
Scott

Offline Downix

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #20 on: 06/02/2011 09:03 PM »
Like I said taking on ATK head to head is not the way to do this.


The is no way for Aerojet to "do this" unless they take ATK on head to head and challenge billions of taxpayer dollars being awarded to ATK on a no bid contract.
Not just ATK, Aerojet can also take on PWR as well.  They're a very diverse company.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Prober

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #21 on: 06/02/2011 09:11 PM »
Very Good Idea IMO.
Bids and competition are generally good things, but at times so is evolution. 
If this is going to be the tactic taken, just cancel the whole damn thing because it no longer becomes worth it given the lack of architecuture, destination(s), time tables, mission scopes.....leadership.

How would it not be in the fiscal best interest of the American people at large for the SLS to be competitively bid? 

Moon and Mars aren't going anywhere, but the country is out of money.



Now ur getting close.....next will come "let's just kill the whole program"
 
 
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I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Periander

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #22 on: 06/02/2011 09:54 PM »

Now ur getting close.....next will come "let's just kill the whole program"
 

Pure scaremongering. Competitive bidding isn't going to kill HSF, it's going to save it. What would kill HSF is Constellation redux.

Not just ATK, Aerojet can also take on PWR as well.  They're a very diverse company.

True. The letter specifically noted "the propulsion component of the new Space Launch System (SLS)". That could be aimed at ATK, PWR or both.
« Last Edit: 06/02/2011 09:59 PM by Periander »

Offline M_Puckett

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SpaceX has a rocket factory in Cali.

Offline Prober

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Re: SLS to be open for bids??
« Reply #24 on: 06/02/2011 10:12 PM »

Now ur getting close.....next will come "let's just kill the whole program"
 

Pure scaremongering. Competitive bidding isn't going to kill HSF, it's going to save it. What would kill HSF is Constellation redux.

Not just ATK, Aerojet can also take on PWR as well.  They're a very diverse company.

True. The letter specifically noted "the propulsion component of the new Space Launch System (SLS)". That could be aimed at ATK, PWR or both.

Pure scaremongering...nope check out their voting record before you say that. 
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
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Offline Chris Bergin

SpaceX has a rocket factory in Cali.

Hey, you may be on to something there ;)

Offline Downix

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SpaceX has a rocket factory in Cali.

Hey, you may be on to something there ;)
Northrop also has their rocket engine division in California as well.  Boeing space systems also operates out of California.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline DDG40

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Lockheed's Satellite business, Commercial and Military is in Cali.

Offline QuantumG

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What a lovely white horse they're riding.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Chris Bergin

What a lovely white horse they're riding.


Crikey, this really is the Wild West section now :D

Offline Prober

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SpaceX has a rocket factory in Cali.

Hey, you may be on to something there ;)
Northrop also has their rocket engine division in California as well.  Boeing space systems also operates out of California.

I've seen Sen Boxer on Cspan before....just can't see her working for aerospace.  Can see her working for the Administration's calls.
 
It might look good on the face of it, just doesn't feel right.
 
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I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Integrator

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SD is based on the premise of quick start by leveraging existing contracts.  The risk there is the contracts may be challenged by competitors shut out of the process, taking their complaints to Federal court and delaying progress for years. 

This threat has now materialized.

INTEGRATOR


"Daddy, does that rocket carry people?"
"No buddy, just satellites."
"Why not?"
   --- 5 year old son of jjnodice,  21.01.2011

Offline Downix

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SD is based on the premise of quick start by leveraging existing contracts.  The risk there is the contracts may be challenged by competitors shut out of the process, taking their complaints to Federal court and delaying progress for years. 

This threat has now materialized.

INTEGRATOR

There are only a few ways out of this mess left for us by political meandering which will meet the requirements of the SLS law, and all of them look bad to the companies currently in the process.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Rocket Science

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I hope this does not become another excuse to delay the report in order to consider this "new proposal"...
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 12:47 AM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline QuantumG

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You think there's trouble now, wait until the equivalent of the recent MPCV = Orion announcement happens for SLS.  This current action is just an attempt to head it off at the pass (yeehaw!).  Once its official that there wont be a competitive procurement we'll see if there's actually going to be a killin' (err, lawsuit).


Edit: acronyms.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 01:02 AM by QuantumG »
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Chris Bergin

MPCV = Orion. MLPM is Multi-Purpose Logistics Carrier.

Wondering how there's going to be a lawsuit? Can Senators issue lawsuits, or will the company behind the lobbyists show their face and do so?


Offline Pheogh

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I hope this does not become another excuse to delay the report in order to consider this "new proposal"...

That is precisely the goal here. INTEGRATOR has it right, in my words though, "this is the hail mary pass of commercial proponents to up end all of the tenuous progress to date". I can't actually believe that anyone that is interested in Heavy Lift would see this as a good thing. This is the nations last chance for at least the next 2 decades to field an HLV.

The only bright side to all of this is that they clearly see a Block-0 SDLV as being a clear success. People will always let you know what they most fear.

Offline Rabidpanda

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I hope this does not become another excuse to delay the report in order to consider this "new proposal"...

two dingbats in the bush making noise is no excuse to disobey the law.

...and this is coming from the same clongton that posted this less than two weeks ago:

I really, really tire of the intense disrespect shown on so many threads towards the members of Congress in general. While certainly true that none of them are well versed in everything, what they all do well is forge consensus among members of Congress with widely differing views so that legislation can move forward. They each have staff, *highly* intelligent and knowledgeable staff, to advise them on the specifics of the matters before them. To bemoan the fact that the members of the committees that oversee NASA are not personal experts on all things NASA, as if NASA was the only thing they did, displays a profound lack of knowledge on just what the members of Congress actually do. Continuing from there to demean those same members of Congress for that lack of personal expertise only adds insult to injury and further displays an untoward immaturity unbecoming an adult.

Serving our nation and serving our human spaceflight program does not require that each member of Congress involved be an expert in the fields under consideration. It does require that they each personally acknowledge that to themselves, that their staffs are well informed and that they make efficient use of their staffs. I can tell you from personal experience that the members of Congress involved in NASA's affairs all have well informed staff and that they all make very efficient use of their staff. Having said that, it is not surprising that a member may occasionally misuse a technical term, like Senator Huchinson did, because the vast majority of them are not technical people. They are politicians, not engineers. But like good engineers, good politicians defer to those whose knowledge base exceeds their own on any given subject. That is exactly what the members of Congress who oversee NASA do.

By the way, the term "politician" is not a dirty word, as some of you seem to treat it. Political life is an honored profession, and exceedingly more difficult to navigate than most of you can even begin to imagine in your wildest dreams. I dare say that the majority of you would not survive the experience if you tried.

Now, to showing a little respect:

They are *not* "congress critters".
They are "Representative", or "Senator", or "Legislator", or "Mr.", or "Mrs." or "Miss" or "Ms".
They are *not* "congress critters".

Beginning with this post, every time I see anyone refer to a member of Congress as a "congress critter", I will push the "Report to Moderator" button and report the person for using personally insulting language on the forum.

I would say that 'dingbat' is a whole lot more disrespectful than 'congress critter'.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 01:05 AM by Rabidpanda »

Offline Pheogh

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I hope this does not become another excuse to delay the report in order to consider this "new proposal"...

two dingbats in the bush making noise is no excuse to disobey the law.

Their excuses to date have been pretty thin and have delayed it quite effectively. These 2 dingbats are just the messengers. There is a far larger contingent of very savy lobbyist right behind them.

Offline Jason Sole

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Then it's a disgraceful move if they are trying to delay the report again, as much as the law shouldn't allow that per reporting date.

IF they manage any impact, and I'm guessing they won't, we should start calling it the Senate Launch System, as these two Californian Senators seem to think they are engineers now.

Can't say I've seen their faces at many of the NASA hearings.

Online clongton

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I hope this does not become another excuse to delay the report in order to consider this "new proposal"...

two dingbats in the bush making noise is no excuse to disobey the law.

... and this is coming from the same clongton that posted this than two weeks ago:

I really, really tire of the intense disrespect shown on so many threads towards the members of Congress in general. While certainly true that none of them are well versed in everything, what they all do well is forge consensus among members of Congress with widely differing views so that legislation can move forward. They each have staff, *highly* intelligent and knowledgeable staff, to advise them on the specifics of the matters before them. To bemoan the fact that the members of the committees that oversee NASA are not personal experts on all things NASA, as if NASA was the only thing they did, displays a profound lack of knowledge on just what the members of Congress actually do. Continuing from there to demean those same members of Congress for that lack of personal expertise only adds insult to injury and further displays an untoward immaturity unbecoming an adult.

Serving our nation and serving our human spaceflight program does not require that each member of Congress involved be an expert in the fields under consideration. It does require that they each personally acknowledge that to themselves, that their staffs are well informed and that they make efficient use of their staffs. I can tell you from personal experience that the members of Congress involved in NASA's affairs all have well informed staff and that they all make very efficient use of their staff. Having said that, it is not surprising that a member may occasionally misuse a technical term, like Senator Huchinson did, because the vast majority of them are not technical people. They are politicians, not engineers. But like good engineers, good politicians defer to those whose knowledge base exceeds their own on any given subject. That is exactly what the members of Congress who oversee NASA do.

By the way, the term "politician" is not a dirty word, as some of you seem to treat it. Political life is an honored profession, and exceedingly more difficult to navigate than most of you can even begin to imagine in your wildest dreams. I dare say that the majority of you would not survive the experience if you tried.

Now, to showing a little respect:

They are *not* "congress critters".
They are "Representative", or "Senator", or "Legislator", or "Mr.", or "Mrs." or "Miss" or "Ms".
They are *not* "congress critters".

Beginning with this post, every time I see anyone refer to a member of Congress as a "congress critter", I will push the "Report to Moderator" button and report the person for using personally insulting language on the forum.

I would say that 'dingbat' is a whole lot more disrespectful than 'congress critter'.

Hmmm. Noted and removed.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline QuantumG

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MPCV = Orion. MLPM is Multi-Purpose Logistics Carrier.

Wondering how there's going to be a lawsuit? Can Senators issue lawsuits, or will the company behind the lobbyists show their face and do so?

Thanks Chris, fixed.  Yes, ATK has made it abundantly clear that they have their lawyers writing up the lawsuit right now.. there's no mystery there.

As for SpaceX, if they were going to sue, it would be over Orion.. I don't think that is going to happen.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline robertross

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MPCV = Orion. MLPM is Multi-Purpose Logistics Carrier.

Wondering how there's going to be a lawsuit? Can Senators issue lawsuits, or will the company behind the lobbyists show their face and do so?

It would likely be all through corporate lawyers. The ones at the top don't need to show their faces, unless called before a court. I don't think Senators can issue lawsuits unless it's personal defamation (and the like). This is a corporate issue - they're just using themselves as figureheads (if that's an appropriate word, if not I'll revise) to push the issue.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Chris Bergin

MPCV = Orion. MLPM is Multi-Purpose Logistics Carrier.

Wondering how there's going to be a lawsuit? Can Senators issue lawsuits, or will the company behind the lobbyists show their face and do so?

Thanks Chris, fixed.  Yes, ATK has made it abundantly clear that they have their lawyers writing up the lawsuit right now.. there's no mystery there.

As for SpaceX, if they were going to sue, it would be over Orion.. I don't think that is going to happen.


Oh, the other way around than I had assumed you meant. So you mean ATK lawsuit if they didn't go with SRBs? Can you link me up to this news on their lawyers, as it's the first I've heard.

PS This all sucks, all lobbyists, don't care who they are and who's ears they are whispering in. We need to get things done.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 01:11 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline Rocket Science

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Like I said before... the ultimate decision on our future launch system could be decided by some judge...that's scary...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline QuantumG

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Wow, I'm in rare form.  Of course I meant Aerojet are prepping to sue.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Downix

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Wow, I'm in rare form.  Of course I meant Aerojet are prepping to sue.

Right, but they are up front about it, not pulling the Senator-in-my-pocket card.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Chris Bergin

Ah right. And speaking of which, apparently Senator Shelby is all for it.....quoted in the Huntsville Times:

http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2011/06/teledyne_brown_aerojet_form_st.html

Although he seems to be talking about the BEO SLS - as he's quoting that 130MT figure again.

Ahhhh, politics confuses me. I'm off to write a processing article :D

Offline Jim

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This is greed at its finest. Company or companies see that they are about to be shut out so they try to derail the whole thing. They do not give a sweet tinker's damn about the nation or the nation's needs. They only care about one thing and one thing only - cash in their pocket. They should be lined up against the wall and shot.

What need?  There is no need?  There is no mission mandate.  All the law says is to build a rocket, which has no purpose.   Aerojet, Spacex and California all have a right tp the porkbarrel.  There is justification for sole source contracts to the existing contractors.

Offline Jason Sole

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This is greed at its finest. Company or companies see that they are about to be shut out so they try to derail the whole thing. They do not give a sweet tinker's damn about the nation or the nation's needs. They only care about one thing and one thing only - cash in their pocket. They should be lined up against the wall and shot.

What need?  There is no need?  There is no mission mandate.  All the law says is to build a rocket, which has no purpose.   Aerojet, Spacex and California all have a right tp the porkbarrel.  There is justification for sole source contracts to the existing contractors.

So you're agreeing with Aeroget and SpaceX wanting to be part of SLS, but say SLS isn't needed.

That's a contradiction.

I'll never understand why people are so upset about funding to NASA centers, but overjoyed about funding to companies with rich stockholders.

Offline Rocket Science

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With all the calls for cuts in discretionary spending in Washington, all the senators are all trying to get a piece of an ever smaller pie for their districts.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 01:28 AM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline robertross

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Ah right. And speaking of which, apparently Senator Shelby is all for it.....quoted in the Huntsville Times:

http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2011/06/teledyne_brown_aerojet_form_st.html

Although he seems to be talking about the BEO SLS - as he's quoting that 130MT figure again.

Ahhhh, politics confuses me. I'm off to write a processing article :D

Very important 'distinction' from that article (from Sen. Shelby):

"Congress directed NASA to develop a 130-metric ton Space Launch System with a first and second stage that leverage our Ares investments. The Teledyne-Aerojet team could have a critical role to play designing additional elements of the system, and I hope NASA looks at their capabilities carefully."

(emphasis mine)

Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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MPCV = Orion. MLPM is Multi-Purpose Logistics Carrier.

Wondering how there's going to be a lawsuit? Can Senators issue lawsuits, or will the company behind the lobbyists show their face and do so?



GAO protests are the more likely. 
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline Rocket Science

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MPCV = Orion. MLPM is Multi-Purpose Logistics Carrier.

Wondering how there's going to be a lawsuit? Can Senators issue lawsuits, or will the company behind the lobbyists show their face and do so?



GAO protests are the more likely. 
Pehaps some form of anti-monoply lawsuit
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline Jim

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So you're agreeing with Aeroget and SpaceX wanting to be part of SLS, but say SLS isn't needed.

That's a contradiction.

I'll never understand why people are so upset about funding to NASA centers, but overjoyed about funding to companies with rich stockholders.

No, there is no contradiction.  I don't believe there is a need for SZlS, but if congress is going force one, then those companies have a right to compete for it.


Money form NASA centers go to the contractors

Offline robertross

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With all the calls for cuts in discretionary spending in Washington, all the senators are all trying to get a piece of an ever smaller pie for their districts.

You certainly can't blame them. If they could see the benefits of advancing the space program (and stop squabbling about other things) the long-term benefits, when the program really gets rolling, could be huge (if they wanted it to be, of course).

But do sacrifice the existing capability with known costs, for a new system that requires years of development, certification, and promised savings? It's no bargain in my books - we've been down this road before.
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Offline Jason Sole

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So you're agreeing with Aeroget and SpaceX wanting to be part of SLS, but say SLS isn't needed.

That's a contradiction.

I'll never understand why people are so upset about funding to NASA centers, but overjoyed about funding to companies with rich stockholders.

No, there is no contradiction.  I don't believe there is a need for SZlS, but if congress is going force one, then those companies have a right to compete for it.


Money form NASA centers go to the contractors

Ok, appreciate you explaining your position.

Offline Downix

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Ah right. And speaking of which, apparently Senator Shelby is all for it.....quoted in the Huntsville Times:

http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2011/06/teledyne_brown_aerojet_form_st.html

Although he seems to be talking about the BEO SLS - as he's quoting that 130MT figure again.

Ahhhh, politics confuses me. I'm off to write a processing article :D

Very important 'distinction' from that article (from Sen. Shelby):

"Congress directed NASA to develop a 130-metric ton Space Launch System with a first and second stage that leverage our Ares investments. The Teledyne-Aerojet team could have a critical role to play designing additional elements of the system, and I hope NASA looks at their capabilities carefully."

(emphasis mine)

Quite correct.  They pointed out, correctly, that there is no booster contract in place, nor one for the main stage engines at this time.  People had a lot of assumptions for those, but Aerojet has as much a right to bid on them as anyone else.  They make both solid and liquid engines, and have the added bonus of having a far more accurate performance achievement record, typically lowballing their performance estimates so that when they deliver, their performance is better than proposed.
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Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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PS This all sucks, all lobbyists, don't care who they are and who's ears they are whispering in. We need to get things done.

Chris, thats unfair, and as someone who works for space lobbyists, its not a helpful attitude. 

I won't say its true about every lobbyist whose involved in the space industry, but there are more than a few lobbyists in the space industry who are actively arguing for stuff because they believe its the best way forward.  I am not one, but I work for one, and have interactions with a number of them others.  They aren't in this industry just because its another industry to lobby for - they believe as passionately about space as you do. 

Now, I will grant that part of the problem is too much money in politics, but thats a whole different can of worms (best to be discussed on other sites)
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline Chris Bergin

Fair point, the "all" was rushed. I'm probably just showing annoyance with the ones which have e-mailed me thinking they somehow have editorial control over the articles I write. That's my only experience of lobbyists, and it was not good, not good at all.

I'll look forward to experiencing one who's not like the above.


Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Fair point, the "all" was rushed. I'm probably just showing annoyance with the ones which have e-mailed me thinking they somehow have editorial control over the articles I write. That's my only experience of lobbyists, and it was not good, not good at all.

I'll look forward to experiencing one who's not like the above.


I won't say that aspect is entirely uncommon, because I have seen it. 

But, just because they are pushy, doesn't mean they aren't passionate about space (Actually, the pushiness usually comes because they are passionate).

In many respects, its no different than the engineers arguing about SDLV vs RP-1/LOX vs EELV-derived... (you ever think that those of us in the policy word don't get sick of the engineers making arguments , thinking they can write the policy position paper? :D )
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline Chris Bergin

Useful notes, given you can tell I had already tarred them "all" (as much as that was a mistake in a rushed post) with the same brush due to my previous experiences ;)

I don't mind pushy, but these two were downright "cheeky" ;D

Offline SpacexULA

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But do sacrifice the existing capability with known costs, for a new system that requires years of development, certification, and promised savings? It's no bargain in my books - we've been down this road before.

Thorkel/ATK has had the contract to build the SRB, and Rocketdyne has had the contract to build the SSME both for almost 40 years now.  I don't know, but I think that maybe the US should rebid a contract before obligating ourselves to using these same contractors for possibly another 40 years. 

We are very likely not going to have a mission for the HLV for over a decade besides "backup" for rockets that are already flying, so why not do it right?
No Bucks no Buck Rogers, but at least Flexible path gets you Twiki.

Offline QuantumG

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I don't know if we're in agreement about what "single source contractor" means.  Why can't they buy SRBs from both Aerojet and ATK.. have some actual competition for the duration of the program, not just at the beginning.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Proponent

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We used to hear a lot in regard to DIRECT about how SD-HLV was the only politically plausible way forward.  What emerges now is a glaring flaw in that argument, namely the fact that it tells the very large California congressional delegation, which represents many aerospace interests, to go jump in the lake.

Offline PurdueAeroGrad

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Moved to Space Policy and given it a better thread title, as it's important to know it's just two Senators, who aren't any influence compared to Hutchison and Nelson as noted in the thread.


Last I checked, Senators Feinstein and Boxer are both more senior than Hutchison and Nelson...

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seniority_in_the_United_States_Senate





Offline Robotbeat

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I don't know if we're in agreement about what "single source contractor" means.  Why can't they buy SRBs from both Aerojet and ATK.. have some actual competition for the duration of the program, not just at the beginning.

Think about it a little bit. The SLS is going to launch maybe twice a year on average (if we're really, really lucky). At that flight right, the fixed costs of the SRBs grossly outweigh the marginal costs. So, you're effectively doubling the cost of the SRBs if you pick two providers.

It's a different story with a really high flight rate (say, 20 or 30 a year).

EDIT:@Proponent: jinx! ;)
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 03:10 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Proponent

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:):)  [Removed my duplicative post after seeing yours, but before your edit, obviously....]

Offline pathfinder_01

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We used to hear a lot in regard to DIRECT about how SD-HLV was the only politically plausible way forward.  What emerges now is a glaring flaw in that argument, namely the fact that it tells the very large California congressional delegation, which represents many aerospace interests, to go jump in the lake.

California has a diverse group of aerospace companies, so whichever is picked is a win for California plus they are less in need of protecting certain jobs than other Senators. Not to mention PWR has recently laided off shuttle workers and recent leaked NASA plans don't exactly help PWR that much(i.e. using exsisting SSME rather than purchasing new).
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 03:58 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline pathfinder_01

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I don't know if we're in agreement about what "single source contractor" means.  Why can't they buy SRBs from both Aerojet and ATK.. have some actual competition for the duration of the program, not just at the beginning.


In theory you can change contracters durring the program(i.e. when the old contract ends) and Aerojet did develop a possible SRB for the shuttle that was not used.  However durring the program it would be of little use not launches to support two contracters making SRB's or SSME. Nothing else uses theses parts.


If it were something like the RL10(used in Delta II, Delta IV and Atlas V) and there was massive demand then it could make sense.

Offline KEdward5

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These two senators don't seem all that interested in attending Senate hearings on NASA, which may explain why they seem  so badly informed that the report has been completed and sent to NASA Headquarters already. They seem very late in the game, maybe a panic move by SpaceX or Aeroget? Well I say badly informed, they are just working on the premise of local jobs.

They want a jobs program, hey, the anti-NASA posters say that enough times, but one for Californian commercial companies, one which is sat on the ground doing endless studies into something they've never done before, knowing they can suck up billions more in NASA cash as their schedules slip via a Bolden Bailout, while thousands of dedicated and experienced workers are thrown out to make sandwiches at Subway. Way to go USA.

Buy your commercial stock today folks, that is if the Saudis haven't already. How do you say thank you US taxpayer in Arabic?

It's all wrong.

Cue armwaving and propaganda from the anti-NASA posters.

Offline Halidon

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Thorkel/ATK has had the contract to build the SRB, and Rocketdyne has had the contract to build the SSME both for almost 40 years now.  I don't know, but I think that maybe the US should rebid a contract before obligating ourselves to using these same contractors for possibly another 40 years. 

Thiokol/ATK, Thorkel was a viking.

But otherwise agreed.


Offline Paul Howard

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These two senators don't seem all that interested in attending Senate hearings on NASA, which may explain why they seem  so badly informed that the report has been completed and sent to NASA Headquarters already. They seem very late in the game, maybe a panic move by SpaceX or Aeroget? Well I say badly informed, they are just working on the premise of local jobs.

They want a jobs program, hey, the anti-NASA posters say that enough times, but one for Californian commercial companies, one which is sat on the ground doing endless studies into something they've never done before, knowing they can suck up billions more in NASA cash as their schedules slip via a Bolden Bailout, while thousands of dedicated and experienced workers are thrown out to make sandwiches at Subway. Way to go USA.

Buy your commercial stock today folks, that is if the Saudis haven't already. How do you say thank you US taxpayer in Arabic?

It's all wrong.

Cue armwaving and propaganda from the anti-NASA posters.

I too noticed the hypocrisy from the Jobs Program gang. I applaud these two Senators on keeping an eye on their election fund donation prospects, but they didn't seem to be all that active when the Authorization Act was passed. Maybe the checks were still clearing.

Offline Carl G

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Keep it civil guys. Thanks.

Offline DarkenedOne

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With all the calls for cuts in discretionary spending in Washington, all the senators are all trying to get a piece of an ever smaller pie for their districts.

You certainly can't blame them. If they could see the benefits of advancing the space program (and stop squabbling about other things) the long-term benefits, when the program really gets rolling, could be huge (if they wanted it to be, of course).

But do sacrifice the existing capability with known costs, for a new system that requires years of development, certification, and promised savings? It's no bargain in my books - we've been down this road before.

There is an old saying "nothing ventured, nothing gained."  Fact of the matter is that the country does not allocate HSF with enough money to keep the Shuttle running or develop anything new.  Thus it is a choice.  Do we give up on going beyond LEO in order to keep the Shuttle or do we ditch the Shuttle, and take our chances to develop a new vehicle.



Offline Proponent

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We used to hear a lot in regard to DIRECT about how SD-HLV was the only politically plausible way forward.  What emerges now is a glaring flaw in that argument, namely the fact that it tells the very large California congressional delegation, which represents many aerospace interests, to go jump in the lake.

California has a diverse group of aerospace companies, so whichever is picked is a win for California plus they are less in need of protecting certain jobs than other Senators. Not to mention PWR has recently laided off shuttle workers and recent leaked NASA plans don't exactly help PWR that much(i.e. using exsisting SSME rather than purchasing new).

I can see your point that California gets a piece of the action no matter what, but why wouldn't the state's large aerospace industry want more than that?  If the only reason for protesting sole-source contracts is that it doesn't serve the national interest, how likely is it that the protest would just happen to come from California's two senators and nobody else?

Offline Diagoras

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I'm going to ignore the obvious trolls for...well...being obvious. If you're going to troll, do it with the sort of subtle beauty that lights up the entire Internet with its divine rays.  ;)

I'd say that everyone has been honing in on the practical reasons for the objection, but howabout the ideological ones? It strikes me to be quite possible that, in an "Age of Austerity", the aforementioned two Senators are genuinely concerned about what they see as pork barrel spending/jobs program. Though I agree that if California was thrown a bone, they'd become far less concerned.  ;)

Just suggesting that there could also be ideological reasons behind this.
"It’s the typical binary world of 'NASA is great' or 'cancel the space program,' with no nuance or understanding of the underlying issues and pathologies of the space industrial complex."

Offline Proponent

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If the senators in question are worried about the efficiency of government spending, I wouldn't call that ideology, it's just good government practice that just about everybody agrees upon in principle.  I'd be more impressed that it was about good government rather than parochial interests if it were coming, say, from Vermont's senators.

Offline QuantumG

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Or they could be interested in the rule of law and expect NASA to follow national procurement practices like every other agency.



Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Proponent

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One thing I'll say for Sens. Boxer and Feinstein is, even if they are merely advancing their state's own interests, at least they're doing so by raising an issue that reasonably falls within the Senate's remit.  The same cannot be said of senators who believe they're competent to spec rockets.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 05:57 AM by Proponent »

Offline alexw

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Wondering how there's going to be a lawsuit? Can Senators issue lawsuits, or will the company behind the lobbyists show their face and do so?
    Senators and Congressmen can file lawsuits AIUI, even those seeking injunctions against actions by the Executive branch, but an important requirement in US law is that the parties must have legal "standing". The Senators from California would not suffer the (legal) injury of a no-bid contract, I think. Aerojet, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, etc., may do so.
    The Senators could certainly file Amicus curiae briefs with the relevant Federal district court.
      -Alex

Offline telomerase99

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Ah right. And speaking of which, apparently Senator Shelby is all for it.....quoted in the Huntsville Times:

http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2011/06/teledyne_brown_aerojet_form_st.html

Although he seems to be talking about the BEO SLS - as he's quoting that 130MT figure again.

Ahhhh, politics confuses me. I'm off to write a processing article :D

I can't possibly imagine what is confusing about this. Why would anyone who is pro-spaceflight not want to see components of the new HLV competitively awarded? Why should ATK get a contract for boosters just because they had the old contract. I would say, let every company with experience submit a bid on the booster work and whoever can do it at the lowest price wins? In any other business it would be done this way. Why should nepotism be allowed to run rampant in the space industry at great expence to the tax payer, and why is it such the cultural norm that all the "pro spaceflight" people on these boards are all up in arms about a competitively bid HLV?

The answer is obvious, it is human nature to place one's own self interests above all else. It truly doesn't matter to someone who is trying to make a living building rockets how much the rocket costs, it matters if there is food on the table, if the kids can go to college, if the mortgage  will be paid. Who wants a competitively bid HLV at 1/10 the price, when you could be assured that you won't get laid off.

I would contend, don't be too afraid of change, maybe you can get a new job in a better organized company working on a system that is more efficient with a management structure that listen's to your valuable input.

When there was constellation, SDHLV was obviously superior. Now that we have moved away from constellation somewhat, it is becoming clear that a competitively bid HLV would be superior to SDHLV, the problem is that those in the SDHLV camp have put so much into their design/idea that the notion of altering it is too damaging to the ego.

Shame on those that would criticize these senators for requesting that tax payer dollars are spent in the most efficient way possible, even if they are doing it for the wrong reasons: more jobs in their districts.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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I think that this is a problem extending from the fact that there is no real urgent perceived purpose for SLS at the political level.  If there was a clearly-quantified need for it that had been explained to the public, the politicians would be pushing things ahead and encouraging corporations not to rock the boat for the national good.  However, because SLS is (rightly or wrongly) just being seen as an all-you-can-eat pork buffet, everyone and their uncles want a slice of the pie (to mix my gastronomic metaphors).

This does strengthen the arguments for the proposed 'Moon Landing by 2022' legislation as it will encourage focus.  Of course, it doesn't have to be the Moon; it doesn't even need to be BEO.  Even if you spin it as being necessary to push ISS beyond 2016 at least make it obvious why NASA is being asked to do this in a way that survives even the most cursory examination by a half-informed layman.
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Offline kkattula

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I can't possibly imagine what is confusing about this. Why would anyone who is pro-spaceflight not want to see components of the new HLV competitively awarded? Why should ATK get a contract for boosters just because they had the old contract. I would say, let every company with experience submit a bid on the booster work and whoever can do it at the lowest price wins? In any other business it would be done this way. Why should nepotism be allowed to run rampant in the space industry at great expence to the tax payer, and why is it such the cultural norm that all the "pro spaceflight" people on these boards are all up in arms about a competitively bid HLV?
...

Duh.  Because it's not just about cost, it's also about schedule, quality, proven performance, flight history, etc.

e.g. What chance Aerojet can design, develop, test and qualify an SSME &/or SRB replacement before a 2014 SLS test flight?  Zero. Zip. Nada.

So given a legislative requirement for the 70 to 100 ton 'core' HLV to reach IOC by 2016, and be composed of Shuttle/Ares parts to the extent practicable, NASA will have a slam dunk case for a no-bid, single source contract under the relevant procurement laws.  It happened that way with Ares I, and that had less stringent requirements.

IMO, this is just a couple of senators making some noise for a big employer in their state. With the end goal probably being a larger share, for said employer, of some other aerospace contracts to 'keep them sweet'.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 08:26 AM by kkattula »

Offline Diagoras

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I can't possibly imagine what is confusing about this. Why would anyone who is pro-spaceflight not want to see components of the new HLV competitively awarded? Why should ATK get a contract for boosters just because they had the old contract. I would say, let every company with experience submit a bid on the booster work and whoever can do it at the lowest price wins? In any other business it would be done this way. Why should nepotism be allowed to run rampant in the space industry at great expence to the tax payer, and why is it such the cultural norm that all the "pro spaceflight" people on these boards are all up in arms about a competitively bid HLV?
...

Duh.  Because it's not just about cost, it's also about schedule, quality, proven performance, flight history, etc.

e.g. What chance Aerojet can design, develop, test and qualify an SSME &/or SRB replacement before a 2014 SLS test flight?  Zero. Zip. Nada.

So given a legislative requirement for the 70 to 100 ton 'core' HLV to reach IOC by 2016, and be composed of Shuttle/Ares parts to the extent practicable, NASA will have a slam dunk case for a no-bid, single source contract under the relevant procurement laws.  It happened that way with Ares I, and that had less stringent requirements.

IMO, this is just a couple of senators making some noise for a big employer in their state. With the end goal probably being a larger share, for said employer, of some other aerospace contracts to 'keep them sweet'.

So if ATK wins by every metric, than what would be the problem with a competitive bid? I suspect there's something I'm missing here.

Note that a key point of the protest is that NASA claims that fulfilling those requirements is impossible. Quoting from the article:

In their May 27 letter, Boxer and Feinstein concluded “it is not ‘practicable’ to continue the existing contracts” to build the next U.S. heavy-lift launch vehicle. The senators based their conclusion on a NASA report from January wherein the agency said it would probably not be able to build a new heavy-lift vehicle and crew capsule to Congress’ specifications by 2016.

Edit: And a reminder to all my fellow forum posters not to respond to flames/trolls, as the responses will be deleted along with the original post. Letting you know as that caught me out a few times.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 08:36 AM by Diagoras »
"It’s the typical binary world of 'NASA is great' or 'cancel the space program,' with no nuance or understanding of the underlying issues and pathologies of the space industrial complex."

Offline kkattula

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So if ATK wins by every metric, than what would be the problem with a competitive bid? I suspect there's something I'm missing here.

Unneccessary delay.  Why hold up the process for a year or more to prove something self evident?  That would just make the schedule impossible.  A self fulfilling prohecy.

Quote
Note that a key point of the protest is that NASA claims that fulfilling those requirements is impossible. Quoting from the article:

In their May 27 letter, Boxer and Feinstein concluded “it is not ‘practicable’ to continue the existing contracts” to build the next U.S. heavy-lift launch vehicle. The senators based their conclusion on a NASA report from January wherein the agency said it would probably not be able to build a new heavy-lift vehicle and crew capsule to Congress’ specifications by 2016.

Edit: And a reminder to all my fellow forum posters not to respond to flames/trolls, as the responses will be deleted along with the original post. Letting you know as that caught me out a few times.

"Probably not" for an over requirements vehicle, in a preliminary report ,with more work to do on improved contract and oversight procedures?  Does not equal "impossible" by any definition of the word I've read.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 08:48 AM by kkattula »

Offline Diagoras

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Interesting. So you're saying that Aerojet/SpaceX/whatever doesn't have a leg to stand on in terms of challenging this in court? What if NASA confirms that the requirement indicate it is impossible to do this by 2016?

Also, I've heard people mention that there's a law requiring US government contracts to be competitively bid. Is that another angle, or does it not apply here?
"It’s the typical binary world of 'NASA is great' or 'cancel the space program,' with no nuance or understanding of the underlying issues and pathologies of the space industrial complex."

Offline alexterrell

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I can't possibly imagine what is confusing about this. Why would anyone who is pro-spaceflight not want to see components of the new HLV competitively awarded?

This implies that NASA should design an HLV and put it out to tender. Wasn't this how the space shuttle was built?

A more fundamental question is whether NASA should buy an HLV at all? NASA would get better value for money by buying launch capacity.

Ideally, NASA should say "we need 900 tons per year to LEO (subject to appendces 1 - 117)". They could also put all Shuttle facilities they own on Ebay in case someone wants to offer a HLV alternative.

If however NASA wants (or the USA wants NASA to) to specify and have built a HLV, then whilst competition is good, being able to reuse existing shuttle components is probably better. A new procurement process will delay HLV and won't impact the price because the bidders will be "the usual suspects".

(Bidding for HLV provision is not in SpaceX's business model or ethos).


Offline QuantumG

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Unneccessary delay.  Why hold up the process for a year or more to prove something self evident?

Because its the law.  If they'd just had a competitive bid in the first place it'd be over by now, instead they tried to dodge the law and it's entirely possible that the GAO process and other legal action will be required for them just to get the opportunity to put forward their offers which NASA may well be free to summarily reject.


Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Diagoras

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(Bidding for HLV provision is not in SpaceX's business model or ethos).

I dunno, wasn't Elon dropping hints that he could build an HLV for a billion or less? And, at the time, it seemed like he was hunting for government funding of it.
"It’s the typical binary world of 'NASA is great' or 'cancel the space program,' with no nuance or understanding of the underlying issues and pathologies of the space industrial complex."

Offline alexterrell

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(Bidding for HLV provision is not in SpaceX's business model or ethos).

I dunno, wasn't Elon dropping hints that he could build an HLV for a billion or less? And, at the time, it seemed like he was hunting for government funding of it.
Yes, but he wants NASA to say:
"Elon, here's a 1/2 billion dollars. Go and develop a HLV that can launch 100 tons (and crew) to LEO, and give it two test flights. Then we'll give you the second 1/2 billion. Then we'll buy launches from you (please make sure it's launched from US territory)".

Not:
"Elon, here's a 10,000 page specification for our SLS. Please go through a competitive bidding process (don't forget to hire your lawyers). The SLS will be supplied to the VAB for NASA to go prepare it with the 11,000 stage pre flight check process".

Offline alexterrell

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I personally want my astronauts to be in a vehicle that is the best not the cheapest and that says a lot about you.

That approach is a way to make sure they stay in a BMW 750i. On the ground.


Offline Chris Bergin

Ah right. And speaking of which, apparently Senator Shelby is all for it.....quoted in the Huntsville Times:

http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2011/06/teledyne_brown_aerojet_form_st.html

Although he seems to be talking about the BEO SLS - as he's quoting that 130MT figure again.

Ahhhh, politics confuses me. I'm off to write a processing article :D

I can't possibly imagine what is confusing about this. Why would anyone who is pro-spaceflight not want to see components of the new HLV competitively awarded?

I'll stop you right there seen as you've jumped in feet first.

1) My "confused" reference was in relation to Senators playing with the 130MT, when it's very clear (and confirmed) that is the target goal, not 2016 goal.

2) I was the one who wrote the article about how the two phased approach would lead to an open competition for the BEO SLS (which I recall caused a level of similar outrage). Now open competition is mentioned by two Senators in a commercial area and it's flavor of the month? People really need to make their minds up, but the irony is even General Bolden knows that two phased approach won't work, more on that later.

3) Kkattula's post ably addresses some of your misconceptions over "let's just pick the cheapest thing, cause that'll be best." Because that was frightening.

Offline Rocket Science

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When I started this thread I knew it would get exciting! I’m going to take the high road and give the two senators the benefit of the doubt.  As elected representatives, they’re required to protect the interests of the constituents in their districts whether they are corporate or private citizens. In the end it means employment for U.S. citizens.  Who knows… by putting it out there now, might avoid a legal challenge in the future, thus avoiding a very long delay.
Regards
Robert
« Last Edit: 06/03/2011 01:27 PM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline mrmandias

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Too true.  Its the true believer lobbyists who push the most and act civil the least.

I won't say that aspect is entirely uncommon, because I have seen it. 

But, just because they are pushy, doesn't mean they aren't passionate about space (Actually, the pushiness usually comes because they are passionate).

In many respects, its no different than the engineers arguing about SDLV vs RP-1/LOX vs EELV-derived... (you ever think that those of us in the policy word don't get sick of the engineers making arguments , thinking they can write the policy position paper? :D )

Offline sdsds

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Moved to Space Policy and given it a better thread title, as it's important to know it's just two Senators

A better thread title would be, "Both California Senators Call for Competitive Heavy-Lift Propulsion Procurement."  (Each state sends just two senators to the U.S. Senate.)  A slightly more biased version would be, "Entire California Senatorial Delegation Calls for Competitive Heavy-Lift Propulsion Procurement."

On the other hand, representation in the House is population-based.  Districts in California thus elect approximately 10% of the Representatives.

I didn't see explicit mentions in this thread, so:

- California played major roles in STS:  Rockwell built the Orbiters there, and Rocketdyne built the SSME there.  California was part of the space coalition back then.

- CxP (assuming RS-68 rather than SSME for Ares V) would have left California with a much smaller slice of the pie.

So there was an obvious rift already forming in the space coalition.  Block 0 SLS wasn't changing that, as it didn't include new SSME production.  The news here is that senators Boxer and Feinstein are apparently now willing to take California's separation from the coalition public.
-- sdsds --

Offline kkattula

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Unneccessary delay.  Why hold up the process for a year or more to prove something self evident?

Because its the law.  If they'd just had a competitive bid in the first place it'd be over by now, instead they tried to dodge the law and it's entirely possible that the GAO process and other legal action will be required for them just to get the opportunity to put forward their offers which NASA may well be free to summarily reject.


The law in question has many well defined exceptions.  What you're looking for is:

NASA FAR SUPPLEMENT
 PART 1806 - COMPETITION REQUIREMENTS
  Subpart 1806.3--Other Than Full and Open Competition

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/regs/1806.htm#6_3

Enjoy.  :)

Offline QuantumG

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Did you actually read it?  If so, would you like to cite where the requirements have been fulfilled?
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline kkattula

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...
3) Kkattula's post ably addresses some of your misconceptions over "let's just pick the cheapest thing, cause that'll be best." Because that was frightening.

Thanks Chris.  :)

On a personal note, I'd love there to be a full and open competition to design and develop a new Space Launch System to enable BEO. It's just that it needed to kick-off in 2005. Or better still, 1995.

I'm 46 years old. I remember the Gap between Apollo and Shuttle. It felt like such a huge loss of momentum.  Now we're facing one potentially much worse. 

I'm a huge fan of commercial cargo & crew, and the whole New Space movement.  But I've come to recognize the huge pool of talent, knowledge & ability embeded in NASA spaceflight. I just want to see it released from the shackles of excessive bureaucracy & over-management.

I don't want to be having this same debate for the next 5 years. :(

Offline kkattula

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Did you actually read it?  If so, would you like to cite where the requirements have been fulfilled?

Read it? Yes.  Understood it? Mostly.  Followed & read every reference to the general FAR. No, that would take far too long. There are people paid to spend large chunks of there lives doing things like that. FIJAGH!

Unfortunately, I'm not privy to NASA procurement deliberations, so I can't cite which of the statutory, technical &/or schedule provisions they could apply.

I would also point out they haven't actually announced a final design, let alone signed the LV contracts, yet. This is still the requirements stage. A lot of people appear to be trying to broaden those requirements, presumably so their favourite architecture will fit.

Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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A lot of people appear to be trying to broaden those requirements, presumably so their favourite architecture will fit.

And some are trying to narrow them/keep them narrow so theirs will, presumably because it's the best way forward.
« Last Edit: 06/04/2011 10:38 AM by Cog_in_the_machine »
^^ Warning! Contains opinions. ^^ 

Offline kkattula

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A lot of people appear to be trying to broaden those requirements, presumably so their favourite architecture will fit.

And some are trying to narrow them/keep them narrow so theirs will, presumably because it's the best way forward.

But surely that's the whole point of this phase?  To take the already relatively narrow Authorization requirements and further narrow them down?

It's amusing watching the same people who decried the "Senate Launch System", now trying to claim their clean-sheet designs fit the parameters.

Offline Robotbeat

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Exploration architectures are a very unrestrained problem, as far as I can tell. They are artificially restricted by saying "assume 100mT landed on the Martian surface" or "we're going to use a 140mT launch vehicle" as assumptions when they should be consequences. This isn't too uncommon among Mars reference missions I've seen. In reality, there are multiple ways of doing it, with different launch vehicles, different EDL approaches, etc. Zubrin's way would probably work (maybe risky, depending on who you ask). NASA's way would probably work. Jeff Greason's way would also probably work. But all of them would likely undergo huge changes before they actually flew, because each has their own sets of challenges.

I think we should give the job of designing the right human Mars architecture to those with the most expertise with actually doing Mars missions every day. JPL. They have a heck of a lot of experience. They're the ones who could probably guess what some of the unknown unknowns are for a human Mars mission, because they practically live on Mars and have done so every day for years (well, some of them), with total operational time on the surface measure decades over half a dozen successful surface missions (one still in progress).... (plus ten more successful Mars spacecraft that were either fly-bys or orbiters... with two orbiters still operating today)
« Last Edit: 06/05/2011 09:44 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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But surely that's the whole point of this phase?  To take the already relatively narrow Authorization requirements and further narrow them down?

Should they be so narrow from the very start, that only one system can realistically be expected to fulfil them (on paper at least)?

Quote
It's amusing watching the same people who decried the "Senate Launch System", now trying to claim their clean-sheet designs fit the parameters.

They don't "fit the parameters" and that's the point, the "parameters" themselves. People who decry SLS do so because of where the requirements came from and what they're meant to achieve - ensure one particular design prevails through political, not technical, means.

This probably wouldn't be happening, if everything was competed from the beginning and the only requirement was essentially "start work on a HLV now". Way I see it, Aerojet probably wouldn't be threatening legal action, if there wasn't a legal case to be made against the particular requirement setup that actually got handed to NASA.
^^ Warning! Contains opinions. ^^ 

Offline Downix

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Duh.  Because it's not just about cost, it's also about schedule, quality, proven performance, flight history, etc.

e.g. What chance Aerojet can design, develop, test and qualify an SSME &/or SRB replacement before a 2014 SLS test flight?  Zero. Zip. Nada.

And you would be wrong. I would even go so far as to state they could deliver one sooner. I have studied AJ's capabilities and resources, and they could deliver on time simply as they have everything needed already. This is not the case in 06 when their equipment was not yet tested. Now they have been.
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Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline neutrino78x

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Politics making strange bedfellows, even more so......

http://www.teainspace.com/press-release-tea-party-supports-senators-feinstein-and-boxer-demand-for-open-competition-on-sls-contracts/

It is ironic, I consider the tea party extremely far to the right, and rarely agree with them on anything, but when it comes to space policy, we completely agree. :)

Here's another example of a Tea Party member who thinks Obama's plan for mostly private HSF is good:

http://rocketforge.org/?p=470

--Brian

Offline Lurker Steve

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Politics making strange bedfellows, even more so......

http://www.teainspace.com/press-release-tea-party-supports-senators-feinstein-and-boxer-demand-for-open-competition-on-sls-contracts/

The guy behind the "Tea Party In Space" is a real wackjob. Just check some of the stuff that Everett Wilkinson has posted. He's a birther that wants Donald Trump for President. Sure, I believe thae the SLS is just an earmark program designed to pass funds to ATK.


Offline Namechange User

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Obama's plan for mostly private HSF is good:

http://rocketforge.org/?p=470

--Brian

What's ironic is that people categorize this as the "president's plan".  In reality, it is modeled after COTS, which of course started under Griffin.  It is also ironic because there were signs of this starting to happen anyway.  Dragon was under design.  X-Prize.  Bigelow (and his America's Space Prize), etc were all prior to this administration. 

People wrongly say this is the "Obama plan", to turn it over to commercial, implying that it exists and NASA has just ignored it or that NASA has been somehow holding it back, when in reality there is still much question over the market.  These people also tend to get it wrong by missing, or ignoring, the flaws in the plan, that could completely kill it or set it back many years.

In other words, ignore totally everything else beyond saying "we're going commercial" and that currently there is absolutely no plan but somehow that is acceptable. 

As for the Tea Party, they are looking at this superficially and ignoring, or just not realizing, in reality they are actually asking for additional federal dollars to be spent.  They are *assuming* that if something is competed, to replace essentially 1:1 something that exists now, it will be automatically cheaper (and that's not even accounting for the development that must occur first). 
« Last Edit: 06/06/2011 06:33 PM by OV-106 »
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline JohnFornaro

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...congress critters

I've started using the term crinoids...

I don't know what to think of this new development.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline KelvinZero

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...congress critters

I've started using the term crinoids...


What about congrenaut? :)

Offline yg1968

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Here is an interesting quote from Jefff Bingham:
Quote
And will NASA have the will—and the funding—to develop and fly the SLS by 2016? Bingham, who said he was speaking for himself and not officially representing the views of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the authorization act supported the development of both the SLS and commercial crew development, but funding could put the two in conflict with each other. “There’s no issue with or conflict with those goals,” he said. “Where it becomes in conflict is in resources. When you only get so big a pie, and you start having to make priorities, that’s where you start having this push-and-shove between commercial and governmental. That shouldn’t be. That’s an artificial conflict that shouldn’t have to be there if we were properly resourced as an agency.”

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2011/06/05/competing-heavy-lift/#comments


Offline corneliussulla

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The only sensible way forward is for NASA to come out with an open tender stating that they need 150 MT in LEO with a description of the realibility required and payload dimensions. Should be about 20 pages

This would allow best solution to win.

If they go with existing contractors they will end up with a cost to develop of $10-20 billion which will be canned by congress or if it isn't is a huge waste of resources in times of tight budgets. Just recently NASA HEFT programme quoted 17.5 bill to develop HLV and $1.2 BILL a launch

Space X have said that they will develop HLV WITH 150 tonne to orbit for $2.5 billion and launch for $300 mill. This sounds ridiculously cheap compared to other quote and might set alarm bells ringing if we didnt know that spacex developed and launched dragon for $250 mill when NASA have managed to spend $8.5 bill on Orion for a craft with similar capabilities.

There definitely needs to be a tender process

Offline Downix

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The only sensible way forward is for NASA to come out with an open tender stating that they need 150 MT in LEO with a description of the realibility required and payload dimensions. Should be about 20 pages

This would allow best solution to win.

If they go with existing contractors they will end up with a cost to develop of $10-20 billion which will be canned by congress or if it isn't is a huge waste of resources in times of tight budgets. Just recently NASA HEFT programme quoted 17.5 bill to develop HLV and $1.2 BILL a launch

Space X have said that they will develop HLV WITH 150 tonne to orbit for $2.5 billion and launch for $300 mill. This sounds ridiculously cheap compared to other quote and might set alarm bells ringing if we didnt know that spacex developed and launched dragon for $250 mill when NASA have managed to spend $8.5 bill on Orion for a craft with similar capabilities.

There definitely needs to be a tender process
SpaceX also promised Falcon 9 launches for $30 million, which did not happen.  And Dragon launches for $80, which also did not happen.

The fact is, SpaceX is promising pricing based on the thought that they will be doing dozens of flights per year, something they cannot actually do at this time.  As a result, they miss their price targets.  This is common in any industry, the Boeing Delta IV had the same issue.  The difference here is that SpaceX is promising your dreams to come true, and you want to believe.  The cold hard reality is, they cannot deliver what they promise, as anyone with experience in the industry will tell you. 

Do you honestly see a launch a week of Falcon 9 coming soon?  Or two Falcon Heavy a month?  Without those flight rates, they will never meet the price target, with those increasing as a result. 

He cannot deliver his SHLV for the price, history of the industry as well as his own companies history demonstrates that.  He is making every mistake in the book.  I don't want to see him fail, but if he cannot stop writing checks his company cannot cash, it is the end goal for SpaceX.

Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline RocketEconomist327

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SpaceX will never appease the establishment.

SpaceX needs to fly.  And they will...

... long before SLS or MPCV ever does.

VR
RE327
You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

Offline Prober

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The only sensible way forward is for NASA to come out with an open tender stating that they need 150 MT in LEO with a description of the realibility required and payload dimensions. Should be about 20 pages

This would allow best solution to win.

If they go with existing contractors they will end up with a cost to develop of $10-20 billion which will be canned by congress or if it isn't is a huge waste of resources in times of tight budgets. Just recently NASA HEFT programme quoted 17.5 bill to develop HLV and $1.2 BILL a launch

Space X have said that they will develop HLV WITH 150 tonne to orbit for $2.5 billion and launch for $300 mill. This sounds ridiculously cheap compared to other quote and might set alarm bells ringing if we didnt know that spacex developed and launched dragon for $250 mill when NASA have managed to spend $8.5 bill on Orion for a craft with similar capabilities.

There definitely needs to be a tender process
SpaceX also promised Falcon 9 launches for $30 million, which did not happen.  And Dragon launches for $80, which also did not happen.

The fact is, SpaceX is promising pricing based on the thought that they will be doing dozens of flights per year, something they cannot actually do at this time.  As a result, they miss their price targets.  This is common in any industry, the Boeing Delta IV had the same issue.  The difference here is that SpaceX is promising your dreams to come true, and you want to believe.  The cold hard reality is, they cannot deliver what they promise, as anyone with experience in the industry will tell you. 

Do you honestly see a launch a week of Falcon 9 coming soon?  Or two Falcon Heavy a month?  Without those flight rates, they will never meet the price target, with those increasing as a result. 

He cannot deliver his SHLV for the price, history of the industry as well as his own companies history demonstrates that.  He is making every mistake in the book.  I don't want to see him fail, but if he cannot stop writing checks his company cannot cash, it is the end goal for SpaceX.

Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

Wow all good points.  NASA has had requirements for projects to meet financial history etc.  Think any future contracts should also be looked on the basis of "Contractor history".   Did a contractor do his last contract near budget, on time?  Why give new more work to contractors who fail?
 
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I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline RocketEconomist327

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The only sensible way forward is for NASA to come out with an open tender stating that they need 150 MT in LEO with a description of the realibility required and payload dimensions. Should be about 20 pages

This would allow best solution to win.

If they go with existing contractors they will end up with a cost to develop of $10-20 billion which will be canned by congress or if it isn't is a huge waste of resources in times of tight budgets. Just recently NASA HEFT programme quoted 17.5 bill to develop HLV and $1.2 BILL a launch

Space X have said that they will develop HLV WITH 150 tonne to orbit for $2.5 billion and launch for $300 mill. This sounds ridiculously cheap compared to other quote and might set alarm bells ringing if we didnt know that spacex developed and launched dragon for $250 mill when NASA have managed to spend $8.5 bill on Orion for a craft with similar capabilities.

There definitely needs to be a tender process
SpaceX also promised Falcon 9 launches for $30 million, which did not happen.  And Dragon launches for $80, which also did not happen.

The fact is, SpaceX is promising pricing based on the thought that they will be doing dozens of flights per year, something they cannot actually do at this time.  As a result, they miss their price targets.  This is common in any industry, the Boeing Delta IV had the same issue.  The difference here is that SpaceX is promising your dreams to come true, and you want to believe.  The cold hard reality is, they cannot deliver what they promise, as anyone with experience in the industry will tell you. 

Do you honestly see a launch a week of Falcon 9 coming soon?  Or two Falcon Heavy a month?  Without those flight rates, they will never meet the price target, with those increasing as a result. 

He cannot deliver his SHLV for the price, history of the industry as well as his own companies history demonstrates that.  He is making every mistake in the book.  I don't want to see him fail, but if he cannot stop writing checks his company cannot cash, it is the end goal for SpaceX.

Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

Wow all good points.  NASA has had requirements for projects to meet financial history etc.  Think any future contracts should also be looked on the basis of "Contractor history".   Did a contractor do his last contract near budget, on time?  Why give new more work to contractors who fail?
 

Has SpaceX failed?

VR
RE327
You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

Offline Prober

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The only sensible way forward is for NASA to come out with an open tender stating that they need 150 MT in LEO with a description of the realibility required and payload dimensions. Should be about 20 pages

This would allow best solution to win.

If they go with existing contractors they will end up with a cost to develop of $10-20 billion which will be canned by congress or if it isn't is a huge waste of resources in times of tight budgets. Just recently NASA HEFT programme quoted 17.5 bill to develop HLV and $1.2 BILL a launch

Space X have said that they will develop HLV WITH 150 tonne to orbit for $2.5 billion and launch for $300 mill. This sounds ridiculously cheap compared to other quote and might set alarm bells ringing if we didnt know that spacex developed and launched dragon for $250 mill when NASA have managed to spend $8.5 bill on Orion for a craft with similar capabilities.

There definitely needs to be a tender process
SpaceX also promised Falcon 9 launches for $30 million, which did not happen.  And Dragon launches for $80, which also did not happen.

The fact is, SpaceX is promising pricing based on the thought that they will be doing dozens of flights per year, something they cannot actually do at this time.  As a result, they miss their price targets.  This is common in any industry, the Boeing Delta IV had the same issue.  The difference here is that SpaceX is promising your dreams to come true, and you want to believe.  The cold hard reality is, they cannot deliver what they promise, as anyone with experience in the industry will tell you. 

Do you honestly see a launch a week of Falcon 9 coming soon?  Or two Falcon Heavy a month?  Without those flight rates, they will never meet the price target, with those increasing as a result. 

He cannot deliver his SHLV for the price, history of the industry as well as his own companies history demonstrates that.  He is making every mistake in the book.  I don't want to see him fail, but if he cannot stop writing checks his company cannot cash, it is the end goal for SpaceX.

Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

Wow all good points.  NASA has had requirements for projects to meet financial history etc.  Think any future contracts should also be looked on the basis of "Contractor history".   Did a contractor do his last contract near budget, on time?  Why give new more work to contractors who fail?
 

Has SpaceX failed?

VR
RE327

Unproven might be a better term for SpaceX.   However I would not reward them with any more contracts until they start to deliver to the ISS.
 
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Offline RocketEconomist327

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The only sensible way forward is for NASA to come out with an open tender stating that they need 150 MT in LEO with a description of the realibility required and payload dimensions. Should be about 20 pages

This would allow best solution to win.

If they go with existing contractors they will end up with a cost to develop of $10-20 billion which will be canned by congress or if it isn't is a huge waste of resources in times of tight budgets. Just recently NASA HEFT programme quoted 17.5 bill to develop HLV and $1.2 BILL a launch

Space X have said that they will develop HLV WITH 150 tonne to orbit for $2.5 billion and launch for $300 mill. This sounds ridiculously cheap compared to other quote and might set alarm bells ringing if we didnt know that spacex developed and launched dragon for $250 mill when NASA have managed to spend $8.5 bill on Orion for a craft with similar capabilities.

There definitely needs to be a tender process
SpaceX also promised Falcon 9 launches for $30 million, which did not happen.  And Dragon launches for $80, which also did not happen.

The fact is, SpaceX is promising pricing based on the thought that they will be doing dozens of flights per year, something they cannot actually do at this time.  As a result, they miss their price targets.  This is common in any industry, the Boeing Delta IV had the same issue.  The difference here is that SpaceX is promising your dreams to come true, and you want to believe.  The cold hard reality is, they cannot deliver what they promise, as anyone with experience in the industry will tell you. 

Do you honestly see a launch a week of Falcon 9 coming soon?  Or two Falcon Heavy a month?  Without those flight rates, they will never meet the price target, with those increasing as a result. 

He cannot deliver his SHLV for the price, history of the industry as well as his own companies history demonstrates that.  He is making every mistake in the book.  I don't want to see him fail, but if he cannot stop writing checks his company cannot cash, it is the end goal for SpaceX.

Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

Wow all good points.  NASA has had requirements for projects to meet financial history etc.  Think any future contracts should also be looked on the basis of "Contractor history".   Did a contractor do his last contract near budget, on time?  Why give new more work to contractors who fail?
 

Has SpaceX failed?

VR
RE327

Unproven might be a better term for SpaceX.   However I would not reward them with any more contracts until they start to deliver to the ISS.
 

And who is proven?

VR
RE327
You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

Offline Downix

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And who is proven?

VR
RE327
For delivering the necessary equipment for an HLV, we have Boeing, Lockheed, PWR, Aerojet, ATK and Northrop off the top of my head.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline RocketEconomist327

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And who is proven?

VR
RE327
For delivering the necessary equipment for an HLV, we have Boeing, Lockheed, PWR, Aerojet, ATK and Northrop off the top of my head.

And what new technologies have they brought to the market?  New engines?  Rockets?  Orbital craft?

I am not being smartasstic, its so I can explain to people who have a vote, what these companies have done, HLV wise.

VR
RE327
You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

Offline Jason1701

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Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

DragonLab is being designed to fly free for two years. I have not seen Dragon Crew's endurance listed anywhere; have you?

Dragon's heat shield can absolutely handle an entry at Mars-return velocities, even in the cargo configuration.

Good metaphor with the sedan and the truck. However, if the truck costs twenty times as much as the sedan, it's not so preferable, is it?

Offline Downix

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And who is proven?

VR
RE327
For delivering the necessary equipment for an HLV, we have Boeing, Lockheed, PWR, Aerojet, ATK and Northrop off the top of my head.

And what new technologies have they brought to the market?  New engines?  Rockets?  Orbital craft?

I am not being smartasstic, its so I can explain to people who have a vote, what these companies have done, HLV wise.

VR
RE327
It would take a long time to list everything out.  Limiting myself to just one company, let us pick ATK, we have several dozen engines, ranging from a few lbf to millions of lbf, new tank construction techniques for large-scale applications, new assembly techniques for fairings, new control systems, upgraded propellant designs, improvements for construction technologies for existing applications, cost reductions in legacy technologies, restart of older engine manufacture for new applications, repurposing of existing engine to new application, several new rocket designs (Athena 1c, 2c, not even counting the ones on paper like Liberty, Ares I and Athena III).

And they are the shortest list among all of them.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 01:20 AM by Downix »
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline telomerase99

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The only sensible way forward is for NASA to come out with an open tender stating that they need 150 MT in LEO with a description of the realibility required and payload dimensions. Should be about 20 pages

This would allow best solution to win.

If they go with existing contractors they will end up with a cost to develop of $10-20 billion which will be canned by congress or if it isn't is a huge waste of resources in times of tight budgets. Just recently NASA HEFT programme quoted 17.5 bill to develop HLV and $1.2 BILL a launch

Space X have said that they will develop HLV WITH 150 tonne to orbit for $2.5 billion and launch for $300 mill. This sounds ridiculously cheap compared to other quote and might set alarm bells ringing if we didnt know that spacex developed and launched dragon for $250 mill when NASA have managed to spend $8.5 bill on Orion for a craft with similar capabilities.

There definitely needs to be a tender process
SpaceX also promised Falcon 9 launches for $30 million, which did not happen.  And Dragon launches for $80, which also did not happen.

The fact is, SpaceX is promising pricing based on the thought that they will be doing dozens of flights per year, something they cannot actually do at this time.  As a result, they miss their price targets.  This is common in any industry, the Boeing Delta IV had the same issue.  The difference here is that SpaceX is promising your dreams to come true, and you want to believe.  The cold hard reality is, they cannot deliver what they promise, as anyone with experience in the industry will tell you. 

Do you honestly see a launch a week of Falcon 9 coming soon?  Or two Falcon Heavy a month?  Without those flight rates, they will never meet the price target, with those increasing as a result. 

He cannot deliver his SHLV for the price, history of the industry as well as his own companies history demonstrates that.  He is making every mistake in the book.  I don't want to see him fail, but if he cannot stop writing checks his company cannot cash, it is the end goal for SpaceX.

Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

The only cold hard reality that needs to be faced is that even if SpaceX misses there target for price per launch, as they did with Falcon 9, and the cost is actually 600 million for 150 metric tons, and the cost of develop is 2-4 billion, they are still 1/5 to 1/3 the cost of NASA's cost plus pork rocket that will never make it off the ground.

Just compare Ares 1 to Falcon 9. Do you see a difference there? Even people in congress are starting to see the difference. I don't think SLS will make it much further, especially in the face of a successful berthing with the ISS this year. I wouldn't be surprised if Orion gets canned within a year given its enormous cost compared to Dragon, despite the fact that they just announced that they are going to build it. Talk is cheap for NASA, or wait, its been very expensive.

Offline Downix

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The only sensible way forward is for NASA to come out with an open tender stating that they need 150 MT in LEO with a description of the realibility required and payload dimensions. Should be about 20 pages

This would allow best solution to win.

If they go with existing contractors they will end up with a cost to develop of $10-20 billion which will be canned by congress or if it isn't is a huge waste of resources in times of tight budgets. Just recently NASA HEFT programme quoted 17.5 bill to develop HLV and $1.2 BILL a launch

Space X have said that they will develop HLV WITH 150 tonne to orbit for $2.5 billion and launch for $300 mill. This sounds ridiculously cheap compared to other quote and might set alarm bells ringing if we didnt know that spacex developed and launched dragon for $250 mill when NASA have managed to spend $8.5 bill on Orion for a craft with similar capabilities.

There definitely needs to be a tender process
SpaceX also promised Falcon 9 launches for $30 million, which did not happen.  And Dragon launches for $80, which also did not happen.

The fact is, SpaceX is promising pricing based on the thought that they will be doing dozens of flights per year, something they cannot actually do at this time.  As a result, they miss their price targets.  This is common in any industry, the Boeing Delta IV had the same issue.  The difference here is that SpaceX is promising your dreams to come true, and you want to believe.  The cold hard reality is, they cannot deliver what they promise, as anyone with experience in the industry will tell you. 

Do you honestly see a launch a week of Falcon 9 coming soon?  Or two Falcon Heavy a month?  Without those flight rates, they will never meet the price target, with those increasing as a result. 

He cannot deliver his SHLV for the price, history of the industry as well as his own companies history demonstrates that.  He is making every mistake in the book.  I don't want to see him fail, but if he cannot stop writing checks his company cannot cash, it is the end goal for SpaceX.

Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

The only cold hard reality that needs to be faced is that even if SpaceX misses there target for price per launch, as they did with Falcon 9, and the cost is actually 600 million for 150 metric tons, and the cost of develop is 2-4 billion, they are still 1/5 to 1/3 the cost of NASA's cost plus pork rocket that will never make it off the ground.

Just compare Ares 1 to Falcon 9. Do you see a difference there? Even people in congress are starting to see the difference. I don't think SLS will make it much further, especially in the face of a successful berthing with the ISS this year. I wouldn't be surprised if Orion gets canned within a year given its enormous cost compared to Dragon, despite the fact that they just announced that they are going to build it. Talk is cheap for NASA, or wait, its been very expensive.
I do not discount that SpaceX stands on the shoulders of giants.  That Merlin 1 engine, for instance, benefits from billions of dollars in NASA developed technologies.  If SpaceX were to make an SHLV, however, they would need to take into account those costs for the new technologies they will need. 

Let us account, for a moment, just 1 component of Falcon 9, the Merlin engine.  The Merlin's pintle injector system is based on technology developed by TRW for NASA, with a total cost in FY05 dollars of $4.4 billion, for 1 single component inside of that engine.  Add in the turbopump, combustion chamber technology, etc, the Merlin 1, by itself, easily cost US Taxpayers over $10 billion in total. 

The Falcon-XX will require new technologies, only now SpaceX will not have the safety of reliance upon existing technologies NASA has abandoned.  It is new territory, and new territory means higher up front costs. SpaceX is excellent at picking up technologies NASA has abandoned.  They have no track record for innovation or new development at this time to base any of their claims.  So, to even attempt to give a pricetag for development right now is impossible.

They are a company I wish to succeed.  I do not make any illusions, however, about their potential for delivering their promised SHLV.  If, instead, they were to aim slightly lower, to the Falcon-X, after they have delivered the Falcon Heavy, then I would have more confidence in them.  But they need to develop in stages.  Falcon Heavy, then Merlin 2, then Raptor, *then* discuss the Falcon-X.  To even discuss developing the SHLV Falcon-XX right now, bypassing all of these necessary steps in progression, is plain crazy talk.

It is this main argument which is why I'll even consider an AJAX-F.  If Musk called me up tomorrow and asked me to make a paper for a Falcon based SD-HLV, I'd jump in a heartbeat.  And I would have just this kind of development schedule. (Ok, I'd put Raptor before the Falcon Heavy, but it looks like SpaceX is going gangbusters for the FH)  I'd have an AJAX-F with Falcon 9, with the Falcon Heavy as a crew lift vehicle below it.  I'd fund Merlin 2 for Falcon 9 upgrade, with the LH2 upper stage engine following that.  Then I'd begin funding the new wider core to give the full benefit to the Merlin 2.  I even have a rough budget worked out, for final Falcon-X configuration by 2022, with a full 100+ tonnes HLV for them by 2016.

Because in this business, if you jump before you can walk, you will fall, very hard, very far, and very fast.  SpaceX has avoided most of the pitfalls of other aerospace firms, through their smartly designed development paths.  Falcon 1 followed by Falcon 9 followed by Heavy.  If they skip this, it will backfire on them, which is what I wish to avoid at all costs.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 02:17 AM by Downix »
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Offline telomerase99

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Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree that SpaceX has obviously benefited from hiring experienced people from NASA who had spent years working on various propulsion projects.

I also agree that Falcon Heavy has to come before Falcon XX. I don't see why though, Falcon X needs to be built before Falcon XX? Don't you need everything new and bigger at that stage either way? Test stands? Manufacturing? Everything?

It doesn't matter to me whether SpaceX, Boeing, LM, ULA, Orbital, ATK, or some other company makes the Super Heavy. I do contend though, that it should be a competitively bid project on a milestone payment basis. I also think that it should be awarded to a single company that manages the project and uses subcontractors as they see fit.

Offline kkattula

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...
Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

WTF? 

Unmanned Endurance:  Dragon up to 2 years  Orion 210 days

Manned Endurance:  Dragon ?  Orion 21 days

Pressurized Volume:  Dragon 10 m3  Orion 19.55 m3

Habitable Volume:  Dragon 6 m3  Orion 8.95 m3

Unpressurized Volume:  Dragon 14 to 34 m3  Orion ? (not much)

Delta V:  Dragon 650 m/s (option for more)  Orion 1,595 m/s

Re-entry capability:  Dragon Interplanetary  Orion Interplanetary 

Actually flown:  Dragon Yes  Orion No


You got about 1 out of 4 half right.


About the only mission Orion is clearly better at is an Apollo style Moon trip, where it has to get back from lunar orbit using it's own propulsion.

For LEO or deep space missions with a habitat, the lighter, cheaper Dragon would be far superior as the crew command/re-entry vehicle.

Offline Downix

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Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree that SpaceX has obviously benefited from hiring experienced people from NASA who had spent years working on various propulsion projects.

I also agree that Falcon Heavy has to come before Falcon XX. I don't see why though, Falcon X needs to be built before Falcon XX? Don't you need everything new and bigger at that stage either way? Test stands? Manufacturing? Everything?
To enable them a chance to absorb the costs, and gain the experience in working with larger vehicles.  A lot of why Saturn V cost so much has to do with that rush to size, as the cost-reduction studies demonstrated.  SpaceX does not have the experience in handling vehicles of that size, and mistakes will be made.  It is cheaper to make those mistakes on a vehicle of the Falcon-X size, while also enabling them to absorb those costs and begin turning the profits needed to make the whole endeavour worth the effort.
Quote
It doesn't matter to me whether SpaceX, Boeing, LM, ULA, Orbital, ATK, or some other company makes the Super Heavy. I do contend though, that it should be a competitively bid project on a milestone payment basis. I also think that it should be awarded to a single company that manages the project and uses subcontractors as they see fit.
I'm aok with this, honestly.
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Offline Downix

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...
Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

WTF? 

Unmanned Endurance:  Dragon up to 2 years  Orion 210 days
Wrong.  Endurance Dragon is 7 days.  You're going DragonLab, which is Dragon with an additional mission unit.  To compare to Orion with a similar unit, we would be considering Dragon up to 2 years, Orion up to 4. Like with like only Ed.
Quote
Manned Endurance:  Dragon ?  Orion 21 days
7 Days, same case.  The Dragons systems require an external source of power and other operational capabilities to operate for any longer.  That is how DragonLab works, it's an additional module onto the otherwise self-contained Dragon.
Quote
Pressurized Volume:  Dragon 10 m3  Orion 19.55 m3

Habitable Volume:  Dragon 6 m3  Orion 8.95 m3
We covered this on the Dragon vs Orion thread, each group is measuring something different.
Quote
Unpressurized Volume:  Dragon 14 to 34 m3  Orion ? (not much)
As that is additional, Orion can carry whatever you attach to it.  Eliminate the DragonLab, then Dragon has no unpressurized volume.
Quote
Delta V:  Dragon 650 m/s (option for more)  Orion 1,595 m/s
Try Dragon 210 m/s.  It needs an additional module for more.  Also, the Dragons Delta-V is shared with it's RCS, while Orions is independent.
Quote
Re-entry capability:  Dragon Interplanetary  Orion Interplanetary 
Eliminating this portion, as I was wrong here.
Quote
Actually flown:  Dragon Yes  Orion No


You got about 1 out of 4 half right.


About the only mission Orion is clearly better at is an Apollo style Moon trip, where it has to get back from lunar orbit using it's own propulsion.

For LEO or deep space missions with a habitat, the lighter, cheaper Dragon would be far superior as the crew command/re-entry vehicle.
Ed, I'm double checking the Dragon's information on SpaceX's website right now, and it is telling me that my numbers are correct.  You counter, but what you list is countered by the very documentation provided by the manufacturer.

Incidentally, this whole thing got me curious about an apples-to-apples comparison, so I eliminated the SM from Orion to compare the numbers, capsule-to-capsule.

The Orion RCS has 55 m/s of delta-v, roughly 1/4 that of the Dragon.  It still has a more capable heatshield.  Dragon's heatshield is 8cm thick PICA-X while Orion's is of AVCOAT ablative.  However, any additional thermal protection of Dragon is unknown, while Orion has FRSI and FRCI in addition to the main TPS.  PICA, for interplanetary missions, needs to be 7cm thick, so you are correct that Dragon does have an interplanetary tps system, with 1cm of margin from worst case scenario if PICA-X is similar enough to PICA.  Orion, for comparison, has a heatshield designed to handle a skip entry, in short having several different thermal interactions, a far harsher environment.  Dragon does not at this time offer this capability so far as I have been reading.

So, like for like, eliminating the SM, Orion is roughly 50% more usable internal volume, 1/4 the RCS delta-v, and has more TPS.  Orion also weighs 8,913 kg, which is more than double the Dragon capsules 4,200 kg, which makes sense with the less efficient capsule shape for volume, a trade-off for having a better thermal environment and crossrange capability for interplanetary returns. 

Orion, however, to gain full utilization must be paired with an SM.  Dragon, by comparison, is fully self-contained, so any SM only enhances it's capability.  It is a trade off here as well.  It means that Dragon can adapt to future needs far cleaner than Orion can. 

Each design reflects the demands of the forces behind it.  Orion is an all-up, develop it once craft, while Dragon is an initial capability vehicle which sacrifices optimization for future growth.  Both are capable, and I look forward to seeing each launch in the future. Neither one is a perfect craft.  But they each will do their jobs very well. 
« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 05:02 AM by Downix »
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Offline jimvela

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Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

WTF? 


I nearly wrote a similar reply, which is a shame as I'd previously taken  Downix seriously.

That post coupled with the ATK plug has me re-evaluating everything previously presented.

I'd love to see both SpaceX and Orbital succeed at CRS amongst other things, and it is true that many of the old guard contractors have demonstrated an ability to perform on capability (cost and schedule, though...). 

I'm not going to get unreasonably bullish on the new entries any more than I am going to pretend that we'll get affordable heavy lift with the same old players in the same old cost plus game.


Offline Prober

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Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

WTF? 


I nearly wrote a similar reply, which is a shame as I'd previously taken  Downix seriously.

That post coupled with the ATK plug has me re-evaluating everything previously presented.

I'd love to see both SpaceX and Orbital succeed at CRS amongst other things, and it is true that many of the old guard contractors have demonstrated an ability to perform on capability (cost and schedule, though...). 

I'm not going to get unreasonably bullish on the new entries any more than I am going to pretend that we'll get affordable heavy lift with the same old players in the same old cost plus game.


Both SpaceX and Orbital have enough on their respective plates.  IMHO, giving any more projects would break the plate, when they need to focus on the plate.
 
 
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I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Downix

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Incidentally, since when does Dragon offer similar capabilities to Orion?  It has 1/3rd the endurance, half the volume, 1/12th the delta-v, and does not have the capability to handle the same level of high speed re-entry that Orion is designed for.  Saying it cost less to develop, when it offers so much less capability, is akin to discussing how much my roomates sedan cost vs my truck, when my truck can does things and goes places his sedan just cannot.

WTF? 


I nearly wrote a similar reply, which is a shame as I'd previously taken  Downix seriously.

That post coupled with the ATK plug has me re-evaluating everything previously presented.

I'd love to see both SpaceX and Orbital succeed at CRS amongst other things, and it is true that many of the old guard contractors have demonstrated an ability to perform on capability (cost and schedule, though...). 

I'm not going to get unreasonably bullish on the new entries any more than I am going to pretend that we'll get affordable heavy lift with the same old players in the same old cost plus game.
Good on both parts.  I'm trying to keep everything in perspective, which is difficult when you're in the middle of things. 

I see good things for SpaceX, I just do not see them as having some superpower as others seem to have.  I also double checked their actual capability at this time, without adding the not-yet-ready capability for future upgrades.  A lot of people read into things, I refuse to because I know how easily it is to get burned.

As for the ATK plug, I just gave an honest listing of their current capacity. 

There's no magic bullet for any of this.  Aerospace is a harsh business, the cost is high, the competition fierce.  I don't want to see firms fail due to simple shortsightedness or the failure to realize how tough the opposition truly is.  The existing aerospace firms have grown fat, the new aerospace are inexperienced. I point out the capability of the established businesses in order to make people realize that these new companies could seriously harm their own long term prospects by failing to grasp the true cost to operate.  SpaceX is one of the few who have managed to stumble but not fall.  I can name a dozen firms who have not made it as far, Rocketplane, Rotary Rocket, Kistler, etc.  They still make errors, they still promise the sun and the moon, based on very optimistic flight rates.  I fear when people discount the strength of the established aerospace companies, for they are 800 lbs gorillas as I like reminding people.

I want to be able to, in 10 years, look back on this time as a time of shifting paradigm, when the newer firms took on the older ones, and they each improved by learning from the other.  That in 10 years we're not looking back on the era which is now passing as the golden age, but instead as the springboard with our best years ahead.

That demands that we not just honestly assess the other side, but judge them more capable than they truly are, and work our best to match that goal.  Noone will ever meet it, but by aiming further, you will hit the right point, that sweet spot, and propel the whole industry forward.
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Offline jimvela

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Ed, I'm double checking the Dragon's information on SpaceX's website right now, and it is telling me that my numbers are correct.  You counter, but what you list is countered by the very documentation provided by the manufacturer. 

My understanding is that all CRS dragons will go to ISS with a trunk. (I consider the remaining unflown CRS configuration to be a major cost/schedule/performance risk,BTW) Do you know otherwise?

With a trunk, lets re-do that comparison (and repeat after one actually flies). 


Offline Downix

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Ed, I'm double checking the Dragon's information on SpaceX's website right now, and it is telling me that my numbers are correct.  You counter, but what you list is countered by the very documentation provided by the manufacturer. 

My understanding is that all CRS dragons will go to ISS with a trunk. (I consider the remaining unflown CRS configuration to be a major cost/schedule/performance risk,BTW) Do you know otherwise?

With a trunk, lets re-do that comparison (and repeat after one actually flies). 

If Dragon gets a trunk, Orion gets an orbital module, it's only fair.

That gets to the heart of the issue, however.  Dragon was designed as a self-contained capsule, while Orion was designed from the get-go to use a Service Module.  So, adding a module to Dragon, you add to it's capability.  But in so doing, you're then putting the finger on the scale for comparison, as Orion did not get to add a unit in addition to it's basic functionality.

They are two very different approaches to spacecraft, and demonstrates how different each design philosophy is.  By Dragon being self-contained, it is more difficult to grow it for longer capability missions.  By Orion having it's main capability in a SM, it is a simpler upgrade for future capability by simply swapping out the SM.  On the flip side, by Dragon being self contained, any additional module enhances it's capability, even if it has a small mass penalty.  Orion, on the other hand, requires more R&D work for such capability, to re-design the SM.  It's a trade off, and frankly I see the merits to both approaches.  (truth be told, I prefer the Dragons philosophy)

And this is very off topic for the calls to competitively bid for the SLS propulsion contacts.  We can discuss Dragon vs Orion on the appropriate thread under the SpaceX section of the forum.

To bring us back into focus, we could expand upon what was discussed above, what do each of the potential companies for such a bid bring to the table? As I see it, ATK has their big 5-segment SRM from the Ares I first stage that they could adapt to a booster for SLS.  SpaceX could easily convert their Falcon 9 first stage into a booster for such a program as ULA could adapt both the Atlas CCB and Delta CBC.  The Aquila Starbooster could step up.  PWR, Northrop, SpaceX, XCOR and Aerojet all have the capability to produce main propulsion systems, although if the RS-25 is baselined it limits us to PWR and Aerojet who both have worked on the engine the most recently.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 06:13 AM by Downix »
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Offline jimvela

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If Dragon gets a trunk, Orion gets an orbital module, it's only fair.


I prefer to do the comparison like-mission to like-mission.

For CRS it IS Dragon/Trunk (Which SpaceX markets as the "Dragon Spaceraft")

For an equivalent capability of Orion, what configuration MIGHT be flown, on what launch vehicle and at what total cost?

Same analysis for Cygnus/Taurus II, and we have a meaningful comparison.

(Note:I'm a fan of Orion, and for full disclosure note that I have billed hours to Orion-related projects)

Quote
That gets to the heart of the issue, however.  Dragon was designed as a self-contained capsule, while Orion was designed from the get-go to use a Service Module.  So, adding a module to Dragon, you add to it's capability. 

No, Dragon is a modular system architecture that is effectively a CM/SM right out of the box.  The SM in the initial (soon to be)  flying configuration was optimized for carrying unpressurized cargo and just being able to support the to-and-from ISS free flight, while the CM is optimized for being as self contained and reusable as possible for hauling pressurized cargo up/down. 

Orion has different optimizations.

I get the trade space at play here.

Quote
But in so doing, you're then putting the finger on the scale for comparison, as Orion did not get to add a unit in addition to it's basic functionality.


I disagree.  We should compare mission config against mission config.  A hypothetical exploration Dragon[Lab]  would be as different from a CRS Dragon mission as an Orion ISS Iifeboat would be from an exploration Orion.

 
Quote
It's a trade off, and frankly I see the merits to both approaches.  (truth be told, I prefer the Dragons philosophy)

Most of us grok the trades and see merits of both approaches.  We need to get Orion flying or SpaceX (or Orbital) may end up taking all the missions by default.

« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 06:22 AM by jimvela »

Offline Downix

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If Dragon gets a trunk, Orion gets an orbital module, it's only fair.


I prefer to do the comparison like-mission to like-mission.

For CRS it IS Dragon/Trunk (Which SpaceX markets as the "Dragon Spaceraft")

For an equivalent capability of Orion, what configuration MIGHT be flown, on what launch vehicle and at what total cost?

Same analysis for Cygnus/Taurus II, and we have a meaningful comparison.

(Note:I'm a fan of Orion, and for full disclosure note that I have billed hours to Orion-related projects)
Orion is overkill for CRS, which is why the whole plan with using Ares I with it for crew rotation never made much sense to me.  Assuming we were to use it for CRS, this launch would lack a LAS. It could easily be done on the Atlas V 542 or Delta IV Medium 5,4.  With the crew systems removed, the Orion would have a total of ~18m^3 of pressurized space, more than Progress, and Dragon, roughly the same as Cygnus but less than the ATV and HTV.  It's payload would be dependent on if the vehicle were to be used for station reboost or not.  If not, you could deliver up to 6,500 kg thanks to it's own ability to handle final orbital insertion. This makes it capable of delivering slightly more mass than the other resupply vehicles. Alternatively, with a lighter payload it could be used for station reboost, due to the fact that it has ample thrust and fuel in comparison to all other CRS vehicles.  Or, using a Delta IV Heavy or Atlas V 552*, you could deliver both the payload *and* leave sufficient delta v for reboost.  In addition, Orion offers downmass, about 3,000 kg, which is more than Dragon.

Cygnus, by comparison, offers 18m^3 of pressurized volume with a payload capability of 2,700 kg, with no downmass capability but with 1700 kg of disposal capability.  What Cygnus does offer is flexibility.  The base Cygnus transport can have the cargo module replaced with other options such as large unpressurized forms, a tug module with a robotic arm, and even the option to deliver new ISS pieces such as the VASIMR unit.
Quote
 
Quote
That gets to the heart of the issue, however.  Dragon was designed as a self-contained capsule, while Orion was designed from the get-go to use a Service Module.  So, adding a module to Dragon, you add to it's capability. 

No, Dragon is a modular system architecture that is effectively a CM/SM right out of the box.  I get the trade space at play here.

Quote
But in so doing, you're then putting the finger on the scale for comparison, as Orion did not get to add a unit in addition to it's basic functionality.


I disagree.  We should compare mission config against mission config.  A hypothetical exploration Dragon[Lab]  would be as different from a CRS Dragon mission as an Orion ISS Iifeboat would be from an exploration Orion.
I see your point.
 
Quote
Quote
It's a trade off, and frankly I see the merits to both approaches.  (truth be told, I prefer the Dragons philosophy)

Most of us grok the trades and see merits of both approaches.  We need to get Orion flying or SpaceX (or Orbital) may end up taking all the missions by default.
So very true.  This is why I enjoy seeing the regular Orion status updates.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 06:53 AM by Downix »
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Offline Danny Dot

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Aerojet has good reason to protest a sole source contract to ATK on building the solid boosters for SLS.
Danny Deger

Offline Downix

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Aerojet has good reason to protest a sole source contract to ATK on building the solid boosters for SLS.
Indeed.  The original Ares I first stage contract was granted on the statement that only ATK could make the large solid motors required.  This is not only false, it is incredibly false to the point of getting a politifact "pants on fire" award.  Not only does Aerojet have the capability to produce the motors, they have direct experience in the development of such large motors for first stage use, something ATK did not have.  However, Aerojet did not protest at that time, which I suspect had to do with the fact that it was for a first stage, and they do have the first hand experience enough to know how difficult it is and did not want to get involved with such effort.  But now that the contract is for a booster instead of a first stage, it is a very different kettle of fish indeed, and Aerojet offers something ATK cannot, flexibility.  ATK makes solid engines while Aerojet makes both solids and liquids.  This means that once you have ATK, you're very much married to a single solution for the duration.  With Aerojet you now have more options for the future, more capacity for development and growth.  This puts ATK on the spot, which is good as we are seeing them actually working to improve their offerings for the HLV as an immediate result with new nozzle designs, less expensive formulations for the propellant, etc.  This competition will, I believe, make the final product that much better as a result, something I think we all will agree is a very positive step.

Incidentally, the Ares I if you get down to it truly was the child of the Saturn INT-5.  I think deep down Griffin had Apollo on the brain.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 05:08 PM by Downix »
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Offline dunderwood

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I do not discount that SpaceX stands on the shoulders of giants.  That Merlin 1 engine, for instance, benefits from billions of dollars in NASA developed technologies.  If SpaceX were to make an SHLV, however, they would need to take into account those costs for the new technologies they will need. 

Let us account, for a moment, just 1 component of Falcon 9, the Merlin engine.  The Merlin's pintle injector system is based on technology developed by TRW for NASA, with a total cost in FY05 dollars of $4.4 billion, for 1 single component inside of that engine.  Add in the turbopump, combustion chamber technology, etc, the Merlin 1, by itself, easily cost US Taxpayers over $10 billion in total. 

The Falcon-XX will require new technologies, only now SpaceX will not have the safety of reliance upon existing technologies NASA has abandoned.  It is new territory, and new territory means higher up front costs. SpaceX is excellent at picking up technologies NASA has abandoned.  They have no track record for innovation or new development at this time to base any of their claims.  So, to even attempt to give a pricetag for development right now is impossible.

What would Ares I cost, if you included the cost of all the existing technology?

Offline RocketEconomist327

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You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

Offline Prober

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I like this guy and this post.

Forces are aligning appropriately.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/08/983442/-The-Tea-Party-is-backing-Democratic-Senators?showAll=yes&via=blog_551307

VR
RE327

now, now this is getting depressing.....goes to chear up mode:
 

 
watch that a couple of times.
 
 
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Offline Namechange User

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There is nothing "aligning", certainly nothing he documents.  In reality, this Daily Kos "blogger" is saying absolutely nothing.  He is being purely partisan.  Just like everywhere else he posts around the internet (and used to here).  As an example of this, since the Daily Kos is known to be incredibly fair and balanced, perhaps he will look into the campaign contributions for the two senators from California and see if there is any money from Aerojet and how much. 

If people wish to move beyond this nonsense, ask the real questions that need to be asked and answered instead of distractions. see here:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25246.msg754183#msg754183
« Last Edit: 06/09/2011 03:35 AM by OV-106 »
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline corneliussulla

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All this argument of respective capabilities of the Orion and Dragon capsule whilst interesting somewhat misses the point. Its about the future of the US human space programme and whether it can continue to conduct business in a business as usual format.

The reason i originally used the example of Orion was to show how NASA business as usual is not going to work in future and will likely see US eclipsed in space far sooner than most people realise. China will have half the number of Carriers that US has by 2022 and i expect it will surpass US in space soon after.

Whatever way you argue the advantages or disadvantages of Dragon versus Orion. Orion will cost around $350 mill by the time CCDEV is added and powered landing capability; Orion will have cost $8.5 billion. More than 20 times as much for a fairly similar thing. If Spacex had decided to build a 5m wide capsule with some delta v capability it may have cost a bit (say 50%) more but nowhere near 20 times more. Orion is a huge waste of public resource.

Similarly with SLS. The recent HEFT2 report quoted $17.5 bill to build a HLV. This new process will come up with a similar number and the thing will never be built. Unfortunately public procurement in the US is a totally corrupt process where as long as the congress members see the money being spent in their state they don't much care what it costs.

I believe that the US needs the most capable launch system at the best price. The best way to achieve that is by open tender without a 20,000 page spec. Just a list of capabilities.

Elon Musk said he could build it for $2.5 bill and whats more he said he couldn't imagine where he would spend all the money. I suggest that given Dragon versus Orion he is probably right and should at least be given the chance to tender


Offline Chris Bergin

Now this is just another one of "those threads" and we have several running.


Locked.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2011 01:34 PM by Chris Bergin »

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