Author Topic: SPECIAL EVENT: George Sowers - ULA VP for Human Launch Services - Q&A  (Read 128755 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

In association with the United Launch Alliance, is proud to host an open Q&A session with ULA's vice president for Human Launch Services, George Sowers.

Dr Sowers is happy to answer questions relating to:

ULA's human spaceflight activities with NASA's recent CCiCap awards announcement:

See also:
Commercial Crew Forum Section:

Dream Chaser Articles:
CST-100 Articles:

Questions are also welcomed on:

Orion EFT-1 efforts:

And SLS:


Wednesday: This thread is open for ONE QUESTION per member. Questions should be sensible and on topic.

Thursday: 10am MDT, Mr Sowers will begin answering selected questions as posts in the thread.

To other media, this is a hosted event and copyright rules are - as always - in effect. NSF hold the right to create articles from the resulting answers. Contact [email protected] for inquires.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2012 03:57 pm by Chris Bergin »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

On the future human flights, how would ULA and the customers deal with safety at the management level to ensure that any problems related to astronaut safety and risks of LOM/LOC can be clearly and effectively reported to the highest level?

Astronomy & spaceflight geek penguin. In a relationship w/ Space Shuttle Discovery.

Offline Peter NASA

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Thanks for being willing to participate in this event, Mr Sowers.

How much assistance have NASA provided during the Human Rating efforts under the SAA. Does this cooperation model work, in your opinion?

Offline DavisSTS

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If I can ask, did ULA have to redesign simulated trajectoriesm etc. for crewed Atlas V missions due to black zones, or was that never a real problem?

Offline QuantumG

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Will ULA be building access towers, etc, for the commercial crew vehicles or is that something the vehicle providers will handle themselves?
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline HIPAR

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If a fatal accident occurs, what liability will ULA incur?

---  CHAS

Offline Harold KSC

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And further on pad modifications, what are the plans for the EES (Emergency Egress System), past the use of the lift.

Offline e of pi

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What is the future of RL-10 and Centaur? Are there modifications under consideration to reduce the costs there to improve the costs of ULA vehicles compared to foreign and domestic competition for commercial or DoD launches?

Offline brihath

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Currently in the commercial space market, insurance companies indemnify the comsat customers for lost payloads and missions related to launch vehicle performance.  Do you envision a similar situation for commercial crew missions?

Offline baldusi

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Have you coordinated clocking of the spacecrafts between CST-100 and DC? And with Dragon?

Offline Martin FL

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What is the plan for the first test launch with a crewed vehicle? (Unmanned, a CST-100 or DC, estimated date for this event)?

Offline Gary NASA

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What are your thoughts on SLS? I assume ULA are still proponents of the "master plan" with prop depots...

..., but does that impact on support for a HLV?

Online yg1968

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If NASA ends up picking SpaceX as its only commercial crew provider after the end of CCicap in 2014, would ULA continue its human rating efforts relating to the Atlas V in order to service other companies that would decide to service the non-NASA market (e.g., Blue Origin or perhaps Dream Chaser)?

Second, would you consider human rating the Atlas V Heavy to be used for Orion and will the Atlas V Heavy ever be a reality? 

Can you expand on the work that is being done on the dual centaur and the EDS as part of Boeing's CCiCap base period milestones. After the CCiCap base period, will the dual engine centaur and the EDS essentially be ready?
« Last Edit: 11/14/2012 01:40 pm by yg1968 »

Offline PahTo

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With the supply of RD-180 apparently finite, are there plans already in the works for a replacement kerolox engine(s) for Atlas V/human rating?

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Have you any information from P&W about how long it would take them to develop and qualify a cheaper modern manufacturing and materials RL-10 version? If you do, about how long would that be? Also the same questions about XCOR’s RL-10 class replacement engine?

Offline jongoff

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Congratulations to George and team. I know you guys have been trying to fight the fight for a long time now to convince NASA to use Atlas V for flying people (in spite of the fact that they're fine with using it for flying unique, multi $B unmanned payloads).

Do you think the flight rates you'll get for Atlas V between commercial crew flights and existing satellite launches will get high enough to start seeing per-launch costs start dropping again? Does the higher flight rate and more RL-10s per flight make it look like you are likely to get the price of RL-10s back into a sane price/engine range?


Offline apace

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Are there any plans to market a man-rated Atlas to customers outside of the current CCicap program or outside of the USA?

Offline RocketmanUS

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With the possibility of running out of RD-180's and being replace by a new American made engine(s) will the Atlas first stage be upgraded to a 5 meter core and still be human rated ( Atlas phase II or similar )?

That being with the stumpy version for light payloads, regular length with up to 6 SRB's, and with the possibility to upgrade to the 70mt triple core.
« Last Edit: 08/22/2012 06:02 pm by RocketmanUS »

Offline sdsds

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To maintain the excellent track record of Atlas V, what level of insight into crewed vehicle designs has ULA required? On the flip side, how much will ULA change its launch operations when keeping crew safe (via abort) can require loss of the launch vehicle during ascent?
— 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 —

Offline Chris Bergin

I've got a question on EFT-1. What is the launch vehicle availability situation, given NASA are claiming EFT-1 Orion will be ready to fly way ahead of the Delta IV-H's availability. Are there any get-wells to stop the mission slipping into the summer of 2014?
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