Author Topic: USCV-1: NASA planners slip first ISS commercial crew mission to late 2017  (Read 68993 times)

Offline Go4TLI

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The actual length of time they can stretch out its life wasn't really a consideration until CxP was scrapped.

Not true.  There was a life limit for every station element defined and certified against.  That does not mean it cannot exceed that but work has to be done, and has been done for quite a number of years, to do that.  To say it was never considered is grossly inaccurate. 

Offline Go4TLI

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The ISS is modular.  Why wouldn't you replace the modules as necessary instead of throwing it all out.


This has been discussed at length in other places.  In short, it is a single integrated vehicle.  Try completely replacing the foundation of your home while keeping your house in tact. 

Offline Lar

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The ISS is modular.  Why wouldn't you replace the modules as necessary instead of throwing it all out.


This has been discussed at length in other places.  In short, it is a single integrated vehicle.  Try completely replacing the foundation of your home while keeping your house in tact. 

Here on earth it's doable but it's very hard. :) ... a big part of it being doable *at all* is having the ability to jack up the house while you have the foundation taken apart. A recent reply to my query on this topic reminded us all that there is a lot of interconnect that would have to be undone to remove a module and replace it, and certain modules, because they are "junction points" are very very hard.... how do you "jack up" the rest of the station while you remove them? You'd be exposing a lot of things to vacuum, presumably.

Is there a thread already in existance on what the design criteria for a replacement station should include if you want to be able to keep it[1] on orbit indefinitely? 

1 - "it" in the sense of "I have my grandfather's axe... yes, I replaced the handle a few times and the head a few times but it's still the same axe"
« Last Edit: 04/11/2013 05:53 PM by Lar »
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Offline Lurker Steve

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The ISS is modular.  Why wouldn't you replace the modules as necessary instead of throwing it all out.


This has been discussed at length in other places.  In short, it is a single integrated vehicle.  Try completely replacing the foundation of your home while keeping your house in tact. 

It would probably be easier to move an existing house on earth off it's foundation than to attempt to replace the FGB and Node 1 modules that were launched in 1998. I also wonder about how often we will be replacing SARJ joints, solar panels loosing efficiency, ammonia tanks needing filling / replacement, etc.


Offline neilh

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No, NASA is paying for DDT&E on three semi-commercial craft.  Operations is something different. 

If there are no other customers, NASA still pays all that overhead that is required to keep these vehicles and their support offices (Logistics, flight support, ground support, engineering, etc) viable.   

How it is presented is an accounting trick.  One can pay "per unit" prices if one wants but all that program overhead to keep the program viable plus some sort of profit for the company will be baked in.  Otherwise there is no business case. 

I'm a little confused, are you claiming that Falcon 9 and Atlas V don't have non-NASA customers?

You are confused. I'm talking about the spacecraft, not the launch vehicle. They are different things completely

I thought you were talking about the cost components of commercial crew missions?

In reference to the actual spacecraft and how that element is sustained and kept viable.  It is true that total cost will obviously need to factor in the cost of the launch vehicle(s)

Why only refer to the cost of one part of the system, then?
« Last Edit: 04/12/2013 01:48 AM by neilh »
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Offline Lobo

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Lobo,

A couple of things:

You could not be more wrong on the cost per flight of STS.  The average yearly budget for the entire program was 3 billion. You can't spend more than 300 percent of your yearly budget.

Also with respect to Orion was not designed by MSFC. It is not even a MSFC project. I think some of the LockMart people will take issue with your statement that NASA just handed them a completed and detailed design and said "build this for me underlings".  There are many other things wrong with your statements that flow from this misunderstanding.

First, $1 billion per lauch is a number I've gotten from around these forums.  I think the number includes the annual cost of running KSC in addition to the dedicated Shuttle budget.  Perhaps that's where the number comes from.  It's never quite simple to put a number on a launch, because the Shuttle is the only thing KSC launches, so it's expenses need to be factored in, as well as the actual costs of shuttle processing, ET, and SRB's, SRB retrieval, and other direct associated  costs.
So I was saying maybe a high price tag on Orion factored in other overhead than just the direct costs of Orion, otherwise, $800 million would be a stupid-high price.

With respect to Orion, perhaps it wasn't specifically MSFC, that was my assumption of where at NASA it was designed.  (Where else at NASA would it have been designed?)

LM's CEV design wasn't even a capsule, it was a space plane. 

From Astronautix, not that they are the Bible, but they are usually pretty accurate:

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/cev.htm

"When Mike Griffin was appointed NASA Administrator, he threw out the previous elaborate plans for evolutionary development of a Crew Exploration Vehicle through a long, expensive, 'spiral' development process. Instead he obtained White House backing to plunge ahead using existing technology and NASA's best judgment. The imaginative proposals from industry were largely ignored, except where they supported NASA's own conclusions. Lockheed and Northrop were notified that they had 'won' the CEV design competition in June 2005, except that they would be only be allowed to make final bids based on the design dictated by NASA. NASA's own configuration was called 'Apollo on steroids'. "

"NASA proposed a spacecraft with 23% less total mass than the Apollo CSM, 25 metric tons, but with a greater basic diameter of 5.5 m, rather than Apollo's 3.9 m. The re-entry vehicle was a 41% scaled up version of the Apollo command module. This would have over three times the internal volume and double the surface area of the Apollo capsule, but NASA claimed its mass could be limited to only 64% more than the Apollo design. Despite the increase in volume and mass, it would provide accommodation for only four to six crew (versus three to five in Apollo), plus up to 400 kg of payload that could be returned from orbit. An unmanned version of the capsule, with all crew provisions removed, could deliver or return up to 3500 kg of cargo to the International Space Station. "

"By the end of 2005 it was clear that NASA was going to dictate the design of both the CEV and its shuttle-derived launch vehicle. It looked like the errors of the original Apollo program would be repeated. These included a decision process that proceeded from false assumptions; and not taking the minimum-mass approach. "

"This doesn't even touch on the matter on the innovative designs that were suggested in the first round of CEV proposals that NASA would not even comment on. The same approach was used in Apollo. First, proposals from industry were solicited. In both the Apollo and CEV cases these were imaginative, innovative, and incorporated all of the lessons of hundreds of millions of dollars of advanced research funded not just by NASA, but also by industry and the US Air Force. Superior contractor designs using the Soyuz-type separate orbital module or a winged spaceplane approach were made in both cases. In the case of the CEV, the team that designed and flew SpaceShipOne on the first civilian manned spaceflight offered to build a complete (four-crew) air-launched booster and spacecraft that would do the job for one-fortieth of the CEV/CLV cost!. In both the Apollo and CEV cases the contractors were thanked, and NASA then proceeded with its own in-house government design. This was then suitably tweaked until it would passed the Congressional pork test. "

So...what other things did I get wrong that stemmed from my "misunderstanding"?
So how exactly to Orion get to look like it did when LockMart's CEV concept was a space plane, if NASA didn't dictate it to them?
Where, if not MSFC, did NASA make it's own in-house government design? (my assumption was it would have been done there)

Either you are right, or Astronautix is...I was just going with them.  Don't shoot the messenger...
« Last Edit: 04/12/2013 06:05 AM by Lobo »

Offline Jim

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The Astronautix's web admin had a thing against CEV and the selection process.  There might be a bit of bias in there.

Offline dcporter

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I thought the $1B / shuttle launch number was from total lifetime program cost (incl. development & marginal costs) / number of times it launched?

Offline Lobo

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Exactly. Which is why you shouldn't try to put a number on a launch. In the shuttle's case, it's definitely better to say that the shuttle *program* cost $3-4B per year, regardless of how often it launched.


So perhaps the $800 million is Orions annual *program* cost?  Certainly an Orion capsule can’t be $800 each not including the program costs…can it?…which I believe was the whole original point we’ve wondered a long ways off of.  :-)


JSC is NASA's lead center for all manned spacecraft engineering, hosts the Orion Project Office, and is lead on the CM. GRC is lead on the SM.


Ok, thanks for that factoid.  It’s certainly not be area of expertise.  Perhaps the design work was done there then.  But then it gets back to the point about the Orion capsule being more NASA in-house design than LM’s own design.  And I’m perfectly happy if someone in the know can elaborate on that one way or the other beyond Astronautix’s entry.


How do you know? What primary sources have you compared them to?


Ummm…I don’t, other than I’ve seen Astronautix quoted by people over the years around the forum by people who appear to have knowledge in such areas.  How do I know?  I DON’T know or I wouldn’t be citing Astronautix!  I’d be recounting from my personal knowledge and experience.  But, as I have neither of those on this subject, I referred to another source.  If it’s incorrect, then please tell me what –really- happened using your own personal knowledge and experience.  I’m not being stubborn or a pain in the butt…I’m merely citing an often used source here on the forums.


I'm flabbergasted that someone who holds himself out as a NASA history buff would assume MSFC. JSC (then MSC) was lead center on both the Apollo spacecraft and the Space Shuttle Orbiter.


Who holds himself out as a NASA history buff?  Certainly you can’t be referring to me…if you are, then I am flabbergasted that someone who holds them out as an expert in NASA history would claim I hold myself out as a NASA history buff.
That would indeed be foolish…
;-)

I’m a rank amateur NASA enthusiast at best…  heheheheh


Piece of advice. Treat Astronautix like Wikipedia: convenient place to look stuff up, but don't trust it unless corroborated by a primary source.

I’ll take your advice then.  So then please, share with me an iron-clad primary source which explains definitively who directed the design of Orion correctly where Astronautix does not!  I’d love to read it.
I’m very curious how LM’s space plane became an over-grown Apollo capsule if it was all their design, and NASA wasn’t telling them to and designing in-house, as Astronautix claims.
(Not being sarcastic, I really am interested to learn.  I’m ALWAYS interested to learn).

Offline Lobo

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The Astronautix's web admin had a thing against CEV and the selection process.  There might be a bit of bias in there.

Well, there was certainly a negative flavor in how it was written, that's for sure, with some of the verbage that's used.

However, I suppose the crux of it, is, if Astronautix's actual claims are wrong (regardless of the bias way they might be presented) then what's the real story of how LM's space plane became an over grown Apollo capsule? And did NASA design it in-house and then took bids from LM and Boeing to build it?  Or not?

If that's not the case, then Astronautix's article is not only inaccurate, it's a complete, bald-faced lie. 

Is that the case?...
« Last Edit: 04/12/2013 05:44 PM by Lobo »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Here is the case for NASA as I see it:

The beyond 2017 date for USCV-1 is the worst case date. Because of long lead times with Soyuz and having to order seats now for 2017, NASA has to tell Congress that such buying of seats is required in order to ensure that US astronauts are on station through 2018. Even though USCV-1 may be possible as early as 2016 (2 years earlier). NASA has to use the worst case for planning purposes and gettiing funding from Congress to support that planning. They can't say anything else  otherwise because it could spell disaster if things don't work out and they don't get the OK now for buying the Soyuz seats now for the 2017 missions.

Offline yg1968

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We will probably find out by this summer how much Congress intends to appropriate for commercial crew. If it's $525M again, chances are that commercial crew will never get more than that.

Offline peter-b

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We will probably find out by this summer how much Congress intends to appropriate for commercial crew. If it's $525M again, chances are that commercial crew will never get more than that.

Congress will not increase the funding for commercial crew to the requested level.

The way that programmes like CCDev work significantly reduces Congress' ability to ensure that the money is spent in the districts Congress wants it to be spent in. It would be politically beneficial for CCDev to fail, because not only would it ensure that Congress would be able to continue to direct money spent on HSF to the "right" places, but it would provide Congress with a useful precedent that could be used to prevent NASA ever carrying out a similar programme in the future. If, on the other hand, CCDev succeeded, NASA would want to use a similar approach on more projects in the future, further eroding Congress' ability to precisely direct NASA spending.

Overall, the political risks to Congressional committee members' interests of allowing CCDev to succeed far outweigh the programme's benefits to them, and thus they will ensure that it does not receive the funds it requires.

Just like so many other NASA launcher and HSF projects over the last 30 years, CCDev will be stabbed in the back for political expedience. Look at the track record. It is naive to think that CCDev can be permitted to succeed.

(Mods, please feel free to move to Space Policy if appropriate).
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Offline mlindner

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We will probably find out by this summer how much Congress intends to appropriate for commercial crew. If it's $525M again, chances are that commercial crew will never get more than that.

Congress will not increase the funding for commercial crew to the requested level.

The way that programmes like CCDev work significantly reduces Congress' ability to ensure that the money is spent in the districts Congress wants it to be spent in. It would be politically beneficial for CCDev to fail, because not only would it ensure that Congress would be able to continue to direct money spent on HSF to the "right" places, but it would provide Congress with a useful precedent that could be used to prevent NASA ever carrying out a similar programme in the future. If, on the other hand, CCDev succeeded, NASA would want to use a similar approach on more projects in the future, further eroding Congress' ability to precisely direct NASA spending.

Overall, the political risks to Congressional committee members' interests of allowing CCDev to succeed far outweigh the programme's benefits to them, and thus they will ensure that it does not receive the funds it requires.

Just like so many other NASA launcher and HSF projects over the last 30 years, CCDev will be stabbed in the back for political expedience. Look at the track record. It is naive to think that CCDev can be permitted to succeed.

(Mods, please feel free to move to Space Policy if appropriate).

If recent events with Tesla are of any note, Elon Musk is pretty good at running his mouth when he feels he's been slighted, and make media headlines in the process. There is indeed good chance that commercial crew could get stabbed to death, but I think Elon will make good note that "look we have a working vehicle and NASA was forced to refuse it because of these congressmen." The media would likely pick it up and run with it as they seem to report on every tweet Elon makes.

How things would actually play out would be something I would love to watch. IF (and thats a reasonably large IF) SpaceX gets their vehicle flying by 2015, things will get very interesting.
« Last Edit: 04/16/2013 11:47 PM by mlindner »
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