Author Topic: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released  (Read 77194 times)

Offline yg1968

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FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« on: 01/14/2014 01:02 am »
Here is a copy of the CJS Appropriation bill (NASA starts at page 158 of the bill):
http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-h3547-hamdt2samdt_xml.pdf

Here is a copy of the explanatory statement (NASA starts at page 112 of the PDF):
http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/113-HR3547-JSOM-FM-B.pdf

$696M for commercial report but $171M is conditional on NASA obtaining an (unredacted) independant cost-benefit report for commercial crew. See pages 161-162 of the bill. See also pages 116-117 of the PDF of the report.

Quote
24 (...) Provided further, That
25 $696,000,000 shall be for commercial spaceflight activi-
1 ties, of which $171,000,000 shall be made available after
2 the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space
3 Administration has certified that the commercial crew pro
4 gram has undergone an independent benefit-cost analysis
5 that takes into consideration the total Federal investment
6 in the commercial crew program and the expected oper
7 ational life of the International Space Station as described
8 in the explanatory statement described in section 4 (in the
9 matter preceding division A of this consolidated Act):
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 03:08 pm by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #1 on: 01/14/2014 01:08 am »
NASA is funded at $17.6B:
http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/01.13.14_fy_2014_omnibus_-_commerce_justice_science_-_summary.pdf
 
Quote
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $17.6 billion
in the bill, an increase of $120 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. Within this total,
$4.1 billion is provided for Exploration, including funding to keep NASA on schedule for
upcoming Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System flight program milestones.

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #2 on: 01/14/2014 01:14 am »
SLS gets $1.9B and Orion gets $1.2B, See page 161 of the bill:

Quote
10 (...) Provided, That not less
11 than $1,197,000,000 shall be for the Orion Multi-Purpose
12 Crew Vehicle: Provided further, That not less than
13 $1,918,200,000 shall be for the Space Launch System,
14 which shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric
15 tons and which shall have an upper stage and other core
16 elements developed simultaneously: Provided further, That
17 of the funds made available for the Space Launch System,
18 $1,600,000,000 shall be for launch vehicle development
19 and $318,200,000 shall be for exploration ground sys-
20 tems:
« Last Edit: 01/14/2014 06:34 am by yg1968 »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #3 on: 01/14/2014 04:15 am »
Quoting from page 161:

"That not less than $1,918,200,000 shall be for the Space Launch System, which shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric tons and which shall have an upper stage and other core elements developed simultaneously"

Well, NASA won't be able to get 130 t with a core with four RS-25 engines and solid boosters, new liquid boosters are required (which is two major projects, one for a new booster structure and one for a new liquid engine).

There are other solutions that get 130 t, but they require a new core. For a new core with five engines, new solid boosters are required (which again is two major projects, one for the new boosters and one for the new core).  For a new core with six engines no new boosters are required (this only requires one major project for the new core).
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #4 on: 01/14/2014 11:59 am »
Here is a copy of the CJS Appropriation bill (NASA starts at page 158 of the bill):
http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-h3547-hamdt2samdt_xml.pdf
The CCiCAP stuff is mostly on pg 162. I wonder if this will take into account the ISS life extension to 2024?
I think it should.
Quote
Here is a copy of the report (NASA starts at page 112 of the PDF):
http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/113-HR3547-JSOM-FM-B.pdf

$696M for commercial report but $171M is conditional on NASA obtaining an (unredacted) independant cost-benefit report for commercial crew. See pages 161-162 of the bill. See also pages 116-117 of the PDF of the report.
That should be interesting. In a spirit of fairness I'd like to see the equivalent for SLS/Orion.  :(

And what's with this sudden dash for 130 tonnes and complete development on the J-2X? Surely their best chance would be to go with the RS25D/E's for high performance?



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Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #5 on: 01/14/2014 12:03 pm »
Well, NASA won't be able to get 130 t with a core with four RS-25 engines and solid boosters, new liquid boosters are required (which is two major projects, one for a new booster structure and one for a new liquid engine).
core).
My obvious thought would be the engine from the Atlas V. LOX/RP1. Development already done.

Of course bad news Utah.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline simpl simon

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #6 on: 01/14/2014 12:51 pm »
The total value of the FY2014 Omnibus Bill is $1.012 trillion. If that figure is the Federal Budget, then NASA's budget of $17.646 billion is about 1.74%.
The human spaceflight budget I assume comprises Exploration Systems + Space Operations (at least a major part of Space Ops is for ISS Ops). So the FY2014 human spaceflight budget is ($4.113 billion + $3.778 billion), say $7.891 billion, equivalent to about 0.78% of the Federal Budget.

These figures seem to be higher than the figures currently used (1% and 0.5% respectively).

Corrected typo: NASA's budget is $17.646 billion.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2014 12:53 pm by simpl simon »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #7 on: 01/14/2014 01:29 pm »
Quoting from page 161:

"That not less than $1,918,200,000 shall be for the Space Launch System, which shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric tons and which shall have an upper stage and other core elements developed simultaneously"

(Many thanks to Yves for the salient reporting)

Quote from: Simple Simon
The total value of the FY2014 Omnibus Bill is $1.012 trillion. If that figure is the Federal Budget, then NASA's budget of $17.646 billion is about 1.74%.

NASA doesn't even get the two cents that we get here on this forum! 

At least this legislation is modestly more honest regarding the throw weight of SLS as being "not less than" 130 tonnes.  The previous legislation pretended to what I thought was a reasonable effort to grow the launch vehicle from 70 to 130 tons (or tonnes).

Now, the sky truly is the limit on the throw weight, since that is the legal meaning of "not less than". 
Worse, no budgeted or prioritized missions for this LV.  How do they ever expect to get to Mars?  Can anybody here report briefly on the SLS current  schedule?  Are they meeting their milestones?  Are they on budget?

There's my two cents.

PS:  I like the like button!
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline jongoff

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #8 on: 01/14/2014 02:09 pm »
That should be interesting. In a spirit of fairness I'd like to see the equivalent for SLS/Orion.  :(

Congress doesn't need a cost/benefit analysis to show that SLS/Orion funnels a lot more money to their campaign contributors than commercial crew ever will.

Quote
And what's with this sudden dash for 130 tonnes and complete development on the J-2X? Surely their best chance would be to go with the RS25D/E's for high performance?

Hah, you thought Congressional budget bills were about being wise stewards of taxpayer money, and picking the solution that benefits the country the most? The naivety is charming. NASA is the piggybank of a couple of Congresspeople who sit on the appropriate authorizing or appropriating committee.

~Jon

Offline strangequark

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #9 on: 01/14/2014 02:29 pm »
The total value of the FY2014 Omnibus Bill is $1.012 trillion. If that figure is the Federal Budget, then NASA's budget of $17.646 billion is about 1.74%.
The human spaceflight budget I assume comprises Exploration Systems + Space Operations (at least a major part of Space Ops is for ISS Ops). So the FY2014 human spaceflight budget is ($4.113 billion + $3.778 billion), say $7.891 billion, equivalent to about 0.78% of the Federal Budget.

These figures seem to be higher than the figures currently used (1% and 0.5% respectively).

Corrected typo: NASA's budget is $17.646 billion.

That figure is the discretionary Federal budget. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are not factored in. The oft-quoted 0.5% figure is for the total including so-called "Mandatory" spending (the above programs).

Offline M129K

Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #10 on: 01/14/2014 02:46 pm »
Quoting from page 161:

"That not less than $1,918,200,000 shall be for the Space Launch System, which shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric tons and which shall have an upper stage and other core elements developed simultaneously"

Well, NASA won't be able to get 130 t with a core with four RS-25 engines and solid boosters, new liquid boosters are required (which is two major projects, one for a new booster structure and one for a new liquid engine).

There are other solutions that get 130 t, but they require a new core. For a new core with five engines, new solid boosters are required (which again is two major projects, one for the new boosters and one for the new core).  For a new core with six engines no new boosters are required (this only requires one major project for the new core).

From the other document yg1968 posted:

Quote from: Congress
The agreement provides $1,600,000,000 under the "Exploration" heading to maintain critical forward momentum for the core development o f SLS and, where practicable, components that will allow SLS to become a 130 metric ton vehicle, including the J2-X engine, upper stage, advanced boosters and SLS-related infrastructure.


The plan doesn't really appear to have changed, but they seem to know that advanced boosters are necessary with the current SLS core.

Offline Robotbeat

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Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #12 on: 01/14/2014 04:35 pm »
That should be interesting. In a spirit of fairness I'd like to see the equivalent for SLS/Orion.  :(

Congress doesn't need a cost/benefit analysis to show that SLS/Orion funnels a lot more money to their campaign contributors than commercial crew ever will.

Quote
And what's with this sudden dash for 130 tonnes and complete development on the J-2X? Surely their best chance would be to go with the RS25D/E's for high performance?

Hah, you thought Congressional budget bills were about being wise stewards of taxpayer money, and picking the solution that benefits the country the most? The naivety is charming. NASA is the piggybank of a couple of Congresspeople who sit on the appropriate authorizing or appropriating committee.

~Jon

This kind of snarkiness is immensely counterproductive. 

SLS/Orion and CRS are completely different programs with completely different objectives and completely different contracting mechanisms. 

CRS is government money toward a systems or systems that will not be owned or controlled by the govt and the govt then has to pay to use.

Orion/SLS have always been govt-owned systems. 

Frankly, I don't see the big deal and frankly the CCDev/CCiCAP money is NASA money well spent.  And I'm sure a cost/benefit analysis will prove that. 

People have to try to keep perspective without immediately trying to go to the lowest common denominator.

Offline kraisee

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #13 on: 01/14/2014 05:24 pm »
Hah, you thought Congressional budget bills were about being wise stewards of taxpayer money, and picking the solution that benefits the country the most?

This kind of snarkiness is immensely counterproductive.

True, but that doesn't mean Jon's point is actually wrong.

The agency is driven entirely by politics these days and it -- and its various programs -- are in shockingly poor shape because of it.

I'll caveat that by saying that there are plenty of really good people working within the agency and the contractor network still, but the politics and bureaucracy have a thoroughly suffocating effect on most of their good works.

Don't underestimate how bad things really are in this regard, because it would be seriously difficult to design a strategy intended to produce worse results than we're getting today.

Ross. </Vent Mode> <Lurk Mode>
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Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #14 on: 01/14/2014 05:31 pm »
Hah, you thought Congressional budget bills were about being wise stewards of taxpayer money, and picking the solution that benefits the country the most?

This kind of snarkiness is immensely counterproductive.

True, but that doesn't mean Jon's point is actually wrong.

I completely disagree.  Jon's entire argument is that the current path and program provides "no benefit" to the country.  That is his opinion, paraded as undeniable fact with the only way to prove it being having knowledge of some alternate universe where his preferred method is the path forward. 

This goes further to ignore the likelihood that politics would not enter his preferred solution with the same/different politicians arguing and fighting for that particular piece of the pie. 

Nobody has said that the current way of things is some utopia. 
« Last Edit: 01/14/2014 05:42 pm by Go4TLI »

Offline Prober

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #15 on: 01/14/2014 05:55 pm »
Quoting from page 161:

"That not less than $1,918,200,000 shall be for the Space Launch System, which shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric tons and which shall have an upper stage and other core elements developed simultaneously"

(Many thanks to Yves for the salient reporting)

Quote from: Simple Simon
The total value of the FY2014 Omnibus Bill is $1.012 trillion. If that figure is the Federal Budget, then NASA's budget of $17.646 billion is about 1.74%.

NASA doesn't even get the two cents that we get here on this forum! 

At least this legislation is modestly more honest regarding the throw weight of SLS as being "not less than" 130 tonnes.  The previous legislation pretended to what I thought was a reasonable effort to grow the launch vehicle from 70 to 130 tons (or tonnes).

Now, the sky truly is the limit on the throw weight, since that is the legal meaning of "not less than". 
Worse, no budgeted or prioritized missions for this LV.  How do they ever expect to get to Mars?  Can anybody here report briefly on the SLS current  schedule?  Are they meeting their milestones?  Are they on budget?

There's my two cents.

PS:  I like the like button!

How do you read this?     I'm reading this as ....let's get directly to Block II.
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Online rcoppola

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #16 on: 01/14/2014 06:03 pm »
Quoting from page 161:

"That not less than $1,918,200,000 shall be for the Space Launch System, which shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric tons and which shall have an upper stage and other core elements developed simultaneously"

(Many thanks to Yves for the salient reporting)

Quote from: Simple Simon
The total value of the FY2014 Omnibus Bill is $1.012 trillion. If that figure is the Federal Budget, then NASA's budget of $17.646 billion is about 1.74%.

NASA doesn't even get the two cents that we get here on this forum! 

At least this legislation is modestly more honest regarding the throw weight of SLS as being "not less than" 130 tonnes.  The previous legislation pretended to what I thought was a reasonable effort to grow the launch vehicle from 70 to 130 tons (or tonnes).

Now, the sky truly is the limit on the throw weight, since that is the legal meaning of "not less than". 
Worse, no budgeted or prioritized missions for this LV.  How do they ever expect to get to Mars?  Can anybody here report briefly on the SLS current  schedule?  Are they meeting their milestones?  Are they on budget?

There's my two cents.

PS:  I like the like button!

How do you read this?     I'm reading this as ....let's get directly to Block II.
Yes, I read it the same way. Which begs the question if they will just do what SpaceX is doing with regards to utilizing the same basic materials and tooling to efficiently create both 1st and second stage. Chris just released an article on MAF and all the tooling seem to be either in place or being put in place. So why not just direct MAF to tool the 1st and 2nd stage simultaneously. (Understanding they will need to decide on 2nd stage engine config sooner then perhaps they thought) Do we really need another vendor, another center involved?
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Offline kraisee

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #17 on: 01/14/2014 06:08 pm »
I completely disagree.  Jon's entire argument is that the current path and program provides "no benefit" to the country.  That is his opinion, paraded as undeniable fact with the only way to prove it being having knowledge of some alternate universe where his preferred method is the path forward. 

This goes further to ignore the likelihood that politics would not enter his preferred solution with the same/different politicians arguing and fighting for that particular piece of the pie. 

Nobody has said that the current way of things is some utopia. 

Sorry, but I didn't see where did Jon mention his preferred solution?

The post above doesn't seem to have any mention of an alternative, it is merely criticizing the current plans due to the political motivations behind them.   In that regard I have no doubts that he is dead-on-the-money.   I can't speak to Jon's alternatives, because he didn't mention them here.


SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!) -- continually growing in scope, schedule and most importantly; cost.   Any way you cut it, this can't be considered to be a good situation because it is ending-up doing precisely the same this as Ares:   It is squeezing the rest of the agency's budget to the point where things are having to be shelved.

The situation ultimately boils down to this:   As long as we have this insanely-large SLS configuration acting as a money-pit, NASA isn't going to have the spare resources pay for anything else, such as human landers to go anywhere exciting, let alone any sort of base/colony hardware.   The 130 tonne SLS is sucking the air out of the room and will continue to do so until either NASA gets a big budget increase (yeah, I don't believe that either), or SLS's budget is reduced somehow.

Sadly, the current situation has come-about for much the same reason as Ares; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for one (and 'alf) project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.

This shouldn't be surprising to anyone because it is the *JOB* of every elected official to improve the lot of the people who elect them.   These guys & gals are doing precisely what they are elected to do.   Unfortunately, it is having less-than-desirable consequences on the agency and its programs, that go far beyond the borders of their particular states.

The sad thing is they could have still had their money and we (the greater space community & the US tax payer in general) could have gotten a lot more bangs for the bucks too, there are a wide range of alternatives they could have employed to get better results than we have today.   You can pick your own personal poison, but almost all of them require less budget allocation in the first place, freeing up monies to be used for additional projects -- and that is where SLS's high budget allocation of $1.9 billion this year alone, is hurting.

But unfortunately the reason we are following this particular path is ultimately because their ears have been stuffed with cotton wool for roughly a decade on this issue and they simply won't listen to *ANY* alternatives.   I personally know this to be true, because I was one of the most vocal people trying to tell them in their own offices -- repeatedly -- and I still have the scars to prove it! :)

Ross.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2014 06:31 pm by kraisee »
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Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #18 on: 01/14/2014 06:14 pm »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.

Offline DDG40

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #19 on: 01/14/2014 06:55 pm »
Per Charlie Bolden, as of yesterday SLS is on schedule and on budget.

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #20 on: 01/14/2014 06:59 pm »
Just tired of the SLS ripping - nothing anyone can say or do will stop it.  So just sit back with TO and get your popcorn... but more importantly...

If you would have told me (publicly) before Christmas that "commercial" was getting $696 million contingent on a million dollar CBA I would have said, "Thank You Santa Clause".

The bill specifically refers to ISS being "splashed" in 2020 and not 2024.  This only helps commercial and the CBA. On page 40 the report it says:

Quote from: CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2014
The primary purpose of the CCP has always been to develop a national capability to restore domestic access to the International Space Station (ISS) as quickly and safely as possible. Currently, the ISS is scheduled to complete its mission by 2020, and NASA has no definitive
plan yet to extend the mission beyond that date.

Its a catch 22 because the ISS is not officially extended to 2024 - every wants it and it should be a done deal, but it is not.  This puts boeing in a very interesting "three way".  boeing gets funding from SLS, "Commercial", and ISS.  The biggest perceived threat, if there really is a threat, to SLS is the commercial option.  The only surefire way to kill commercial is to kill the ISS... and that would mean also killing boeing's  sustaining engineering contract.  That is a BIG contract and depending how you slice and dice the SLS contract, may be more profitable to boeing.  That ain't going to happen.

Overall - Christmas came for everyone.  Everyone gets a trophy... even the fat kid sitting on the bench JWST.  $652.2 million!

Honestly I cannot see how everyone is not a winner in this deal.

VR
RE327

PS boeing you still owe me two suits.

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 jongoff

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #21 on: 01/14/2014 07:08 pm »
Frankly, I don't see the big deal and frankly the CCDev/CCiCAP money is NASA money well spent.  And I'm sure a cost/benefit analysis will prove that.

G04TLI,

I'm not too worried either about a cost-benefit analysis for CCDev/CCiCAP/CC*, and based on your previous comments about that program, I bet we see pretty close to eye-to-eye on the potential and challenges they face.

I just think that such an independent cost-benefit analysis would be even more beneficially applied to larger "megaprojects" like SLS, Orion, and JWST. My snark was probably over the top. I'm just frustrated that regardless of what the NASA topline budget is compared to the unrealistic numbers from the 2010 NAA, politically connected programs like SLS, Orion, and JWST are taken care of while other less-connected areas such as space technology get perpetually underfunded. I can live with that, but all of the fake scrutiny congress puts on these smaller, less-connected programs (while providing almost no scrutiny to the megaprojects) just seems like adding insult to injury.

Apologies for the snark.

~Jon

Offline woods170

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #22 on: 01/14/2014 07:16 pm »
Quoting from page 161:

"That not less than $1,918,200,000 shall be for the Space Launch System, which shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric tons and which shall have an upper stage and other core elements developed simultaneously"

(Many thanks to Yves for the salient reporting)

Quote from: Simple Simon
The total value of the FY2014 Omnibus Bill is $1.012 trillion. If that figure is the Federal Budget, then NASA's budget of $17.646 billion is about 1.74%.

NASA doesn't even get the two cents that we get here on this forum! 

At least this legislation is modestly more honest regarding the throw weight of SLS as being "not less than" 130 tonnes.  The previous legislation pretended to what I thought was a reasonable effort to grow the launch vehicle from 70 to 130 tons (or tonnes).

Now, the sky truly is the limit on the throw weight, since that is the legal meaning of "not less than". 
Worse, no budgeted or prioritized missions for this LV.  How do they ever expect to get to Mars?  Can anybody here report briefly on the SLS current  schedule?  Are they meeting their milestones?  Are they on budget?

There's my two cents.

PS:  I like the like button!

How do you read this?     I'm reading this as ....let's get directly to Block II.

Yep, that's how I read it as well. The "no less than" is all-saying. That piece from the bill almost makes the block 1 and block 1A versions sound more-or-less illegal.

Offline jongoff

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #23 on: 01/14/2014 07:18 pm »
I completely disagree.  Jon's entire argument is that the current path and program provides "no benefit" to the country.  That is his opinion, paraded as undeniable fact with the only way to prove it being having knowledge of some alternate universe where his preferred method is the path forward.

Actually, even worse than just being my opinion, it's *your* opinion about what my opinion is. I've never said that SLS provides no value to the country. I just think that when you look at the alternatives we're forgoing to pursue SLS/Orion/JWST (ie the opportunity cost), it isn't worth it. Maybe that's too nuanced of an opinion, but to me there's a huge difference between something being valueless, and something not being as valuable as many worthy alternatives that I think we ought to be pursuing.

In fact, I'd probably be willing to shut up and ignore the waste if they didn't keep strangling almost everything else that I value at NASA (planetary science, non-JWST astrophysics, space technology development and tech demos, commercial crew, actual money to fund ISS utilization, etc).

~Jon

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #24 on: 01/14/2014 07:19 pm »
Well, I think the upper stage (the advanced versions, at least, capable of long duration, etc) is more important than the rest of the vehicle anyway, though I do understand it's probably intended to make sure J-2X continues (and J-2X isn't a very good in-space engine since it's optimized more for thrust than for Isp... thus more appropriate as part of a launch vehicle's second stage... I'd prefer something with RL-10 heritage or the like).
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Offline M129K

Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #25 on: 01/14/2014 07:28 pm »
Well, I think the upper stage (the advanced versions, at least, capable of long duration, etc) is more important than the rest of the vehicle anyway, though I do understand it's probably intended to make sure J-2X continues (and J-2X isn't a very good in-space engine since it's optimized more for thrust than for Isp... thus more appropriate as part of a launch vehicle's second stage... I'd prefer something with RL-10 heritage or the like).
Unless you want to use massive kerolox advanced boosters I'm afraid something with J-2X level thrust will be necessary to reach 130 tons.

Offline simpl simon

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #26 on: 01/14/2014 07:31 pm »
The total value of the FY2014 Omnibus Bill is $1.012 trillion. If that figure is the Federal Budget, then NASA's budget of $17.646 billion is about 1.74%.
The human spaceflight budget I assume comprises Exploration Systems + Space Operations (at least a major part of Space Ops is for ISS Ops). So the FY2014 human spaceflight budget is ($4.113 billion + $3.778 billion), say $7.891 billion, equivalent to about 0.78% of the Federal Budget.

These figures seem to be higher than the figures currently used (1% and 0.5% respectively).

Corrected typo: NASA's budget is $17.646 billion.

That figure is the discretionary Federal budget. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are not factored in. The oft-quoted 0.5% figure is for the total including so-called "Mandatory" spending (the above programs).

Quite right, Strangequark, thank you. I should have realised that myself. I knew there was something wrong with those percent figures.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #27 on: 01/14/2014 07:34 pm »
Well, I think the upper stage (the advanced versions, at least, capable of long duration, etc) is more important than the rest of the vehicle anyway, though I do understand it's probably intended to make sure J-2X continues (and J-2X isn't a very good in-space engine since it's optimized more for thrust than for Isp... thus more appropriate as part of a launch vehicle's second stage... I'd prefer something with RL-10 heritage or the like).
Unless you want to use massive kerolox advanced boosters I'm afraid something with J-2X level thrust will be necessary to reach 130 tons.
RL-10 or RL-60 cluster or similar would do it, with better Isp.

Also, there are other ways, like aluminum-lithium tanks, better main engine thrust, etc.

But it doesn't really matter because if the intent of the law is to ensure J-2X survives, then chances are Congress will just include something else later that can further ensure it.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #28 on: 01/14/2014 07:36 pm »
I was also a bit surprised to see the requirements for a commercial crew report. But I figure, it's not the first time that Congress has asked for a report. So it probably won't be a show stopper. The cost-benefit analysis is based on the expected operational life of ISS assuming that it isn't cancelled early (which should be 2028). The cost of commercial crew must be compared with current Soyuz costs.  See page 116 of the report.

As far as the J-2X, I don't think that it was NASA's intention to cancel it. They just wanted to finish the testing on the J-2X and then not produce them until they are needed (which isn't for a while).
« Last Edit: 01/14/2014 07:43 pm by yg1968 »

Offline woods170

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #29 on: 01/14/2014 07:37 pm »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.
Dismissing a highly respected member like Ross in the way you just did makes me wanna hit the Do-Not-Like button. Unfortunately, we don't have such a button.

Offline butters

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #30 on: 01/14/2014 07:42 pm »
Are there any SLS-class payloads/missions funded in this bill? Is the Europa mission SLS-class?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #31 on: 01/14/2014 08:21 pm »
If there was funding for a real SLS-sized payload (other than Orion), I would be very excited. My biggest issue with SLS is that it eats up all the funding for payloads, but if there actually WERE payloads funded for it (and continually funded!), I would be much more receptive to it.
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Offline Sesquipedalian

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #32 on: 01/14/2014 09:39 pm »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.
Dismissing a highly respected member like Ross in the way you just did makes me wanna hit the Do-Not-Like button. Unfortunately, we don't have such a button.

Not only that, but Go4TLI is making an association error.  Whether it's on schedule or on budget has absolutely nothing to do with whether it's a boondoggle.

Offline robertross

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #33 on: 01/14/2014 10:02 pm »
To back up Ross' comments, I suggest people read the latest IOG report on Stennis Spaceflight Center:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33820.msg1142572;boardseen#new

I consider this a good snapshot of what the overall SLS program represents & is all about: politics
I remember following along during the subcommittee hearings on SLS, and how a representative (likely from  Mississippi), was doing his job to get more jobs for the area. He got his wish.
    edit:   link to a comment I found using search, in the 2012 appropriations thread:
                   http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28395.msg881109#msg881109
           

We will see more of this in the coming years, as the rocket & spacecraft are developed. Then the real kicker will come when they look for funding for the hardware to be used at the destinations.

discloser: I am an SLS supporter, and supported the 4-engine 70mt core. What we have now is a monstrosity.

But let's not turn this thread into another policial & hardware debate on SLS & the alternatives. I'm just offering perspective.

2nd edit to add OIG report link:  http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY14/IG-14-009.pdf

« Last Edit: 01/14/2014 10:30 pm by robertross »
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Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #34 on: 01/14/2014 10:15 pm »
I completely disagree.  Jon's entire argument is that the current path and program provides "no benefit" to the country.  That is his opinion, paraded as undeniable fact with the only way to prove it being having knowledge of some alternate universe where his preferred method is the path forward.

Actually, even worse than just being my opinion, it's *your* opinion about what my opinion is. I've never said that SLS provides no value to the country. I just think that when you look at the alternatives we're forgoing to pursue SLS/Orion/JWST (ie the opportunity cost), it isn't worth it. Maybe that's too nuanced of an opinion, but to me there's a huge difference between something being valueless, and something not being as valuable as many worthy alternatives that I think we ought to be pursuing.

In fact, I'd probably be willing to shut up and ignore the waste if they didn't keep strangling almost everything else that I value at NASA (planetary science, non-JWST astrophysics, space technology development and tech demos, commercial crew, actual money to fund ISS utilization, etc).

~Jon

I don't see how you can say I am mis-reprenting your opinion.  Have you not tried to thrash SLS at every turn (or any other shuttle-like concept) in favor of your preferred execution of depots and smaller rockets? 

As a further example to my representation of your *opinion* I note your last paragraph where you say you would "ignore the waste", implying that's what it is, if it was not "strangling everything else that I value".  Note the "I value" and the implication that your "values" are superior.  I further note you give no concrete examples or absolutes that any of these would indeed be "better" and instead not just a reduction to the total NASA budget. 

Offline MP99

Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #35 on: 01/14/2014 10:17 pm »
@rr -  I think your first link is broken (goes to discussion of fusion Orion).

Cheers, Martin

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #36 on: 01/14/2014 10:18 pm »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.
Dismissing a highly respected member like Ross in the way you just did makes me wanna hit the Do-Not-Like button. Unfortunately, we don't have such a button.

I see that presenting facts is now called "disrespect" to someone who advocated on this forum for something not all that different.  Strange. 

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #37 on: 01/14/2014 10:20 pm »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.
Dismissing a highly respected member like Ross in the way you just did makes me wanna hit the Do-Not-Like button. Unfortunately, we don't have such a button.

Not only that, but Go4TLI is making an association error.  Whether it's on schedule or on budget has absolutely nothing to do with whether it's a boondoggle.

That's a ridiculous comment.  If that is the way members on this forum wish to perceive reality then it is open-season on everything.  For example, commercial crew is a boondoggle into corporate welfare and subsidization of a market that does not exist. 

Offline robertross

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #38 on: 01/14/2014 10:29 pm »
@rr -  I think your first link is broken (goes to discussion of fusion Orion).

Cheers, Martin

strange. Both worked for me again

edited post to add direct link to report
« Last Edit: 01/14/2014 10:30 pm by robertross »
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Offline DarkenedOne

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #39 on: 01/14/2014 11:47 pm »
If there was funding for a real SLS-sized payload (other than Orion), I would be very excited. My biggest issue with SLS is that it eats up all the funding for payloads, but if there actually WERE payloads funded for it (and continually funded!), I would be much more receptive to it.

Robotbeat,  my feelings exactly.  Fact of the matter is that SLS makes me miss Constellation.  Constellation ultimately failed because it cost too much to justify to the expense, but from a technical point of view it was sound.  It had the clear goal of establishing a base on the moon.  NASA was doing all the work to ensure that all the elements were going to be ready including the lunar lander by the time the Ares V was ready. 

SLS is suppose to ready to launch in 2017, and its already 2014.  Three years until its suppose to be ready and there is still no real, clear idea of what SLS and Orion are going to do.  Without a lander you cannot go to the moon or Mars, and landers are not something you can just crank out at the last minute.


Offline QuantumG

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #40 on: 01/14/2014 11:52 pm »
NASA was doing all the work to ensure that all the elements were going to be ready including the lunar lander by the time the Ares V was ready. 

I was with you up to that point. There was never any funding for the lander. The study phase was producing nothing more than oversized fantasies like Altair.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline DarkenedOne

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #41 on: 01/15/2014 12:12 am »
That's a ridiculous comment.  If that is the way members on this forum wish to perceive reality then it is open-season on everything.  For example, commercial crew is a boondoggle into corporate welfare and subsidization of a market that does not exist.

Alright Go4TLI, without commercial crew how do you expect NASA to transport its astronauts up to the ISS? 

Fact of the matter is that sending your astronauts into space on modified versions of the commercial satellite launchers is the most cost effective way to put your astronauts into space.  That is the reason why the Russian space agency despite having a faction of the budget NASA does is able to maintain their access to LEO, while we have not been able to do so.  It is also the reason why the Chinese based their systems off of the Soyuz. 

Now if you are wondering if the ISS itself if a boondoggle  that is another story.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #42 on: 01/15/2014 01:22 am »
PS Release:

US Congress Rejects White House Cuts to Planetary Exploration…Again

PASADENA, CA (January 14, 2014) - The FY2014 Omnibus spending bill, now before the U.S. Congress, once again rejects cuts to NASA’s Planetary Science Division that were sought by the White House. The Planetary Society commends Congress for this action, and strongly encourages the White House to prioritize Planetary Science in its future budget requests commensurate with its strong public and legislative support. The Society supports the passage of this bill for its additional Planetary Science funding as well as its overall funding levels allocated for NASA.
 
Congress plans to allocate $1.345 billion for NASA’s Planetary Science Division, $127 million more than requested by the White House. We strongly support the increase, but note that the number is well below the program’s historical average of $1.5 billion per year.
 
“This is pretty good news,” said Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye, “$1.345 billion for planetary science is good. Nevertheless, Congress and tens of thousands of Planetary Society members will continue to make the case for $1.5 billion. It's for the potential science gain and it's especially for the innovations that will come forth as we solve problems that have never been solved before. Planetary exploration is what NASA does best. We will keep up the fight.”
 
The additional funding ensures the steady development of the next major mission to Mars in 2020, which will store samples of the red planet for eventual return to Earth. It also provides $80 million for continued research into a flagship-class mission to explore Europa, the enigmatic moon of Jupiter that was recently revealed to be spouting its liquid-water ocean into space.
 
“Exploring Europa is no longer a ‘should’ but a ‘must’,” said Casey Dreier, The Planetary Society’s Director of Advocacy, “Congress made a smart decision to continue studying the Europa Clipper mission concept. There is bipartisan support and strong public interest in exploring Europa, the mission is technically feasible, and it is high priority within the scientific community. The White House should embrace this bold search for life and request a new start for this mission in FY2015.”
 
The Society also supports the congressional recommendation that NASA increase the pace of small planetary missions. We are particularly happy to see full congressional and White House support for restarting the nation’s Plutonium-238 production capability, which provides electrical power for many planetary science missions that can’t utilize solar panels.
 
The White House has requested cuts to planetary science for two years in a row, and for two years in a row Congress has rejected them. In light of this and the more than 50,000 messages sent to Congress and President Obama in support of NASA’s planetary science program last year, we urge the Office of Management and Budget to recognize the unprecedented public and legislative support for solar system exploration, and propose $1.5 billion for this program in their FY2015 budget request.

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #43 on: 01/15/2014 07:35 am »
I must confess that I too am a little surprised by Ross' comments.

SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.  It's now roughly a J-140SH + DHCUS with better technology, which should result in lower recurring costs than a Jupiter even without "rightsizing" for the low expected flight rate.  There are only two proposed upgrades; one makes it a J-24xSH, and the other replaces the ATK solids with a better-performing option that has lower recurring costs and should pay for itself if SLS flies for long enough.  Internally, NASA seems to favour doing the upper stage first...

SLS hasn't been busting its budget or schedule; last I checked (which was admittedly not very recently) it had some months of slack in the schedule, and the estimated cumulative cost to IOC was going nowhere but down (it was roughly the same as DIRECT's estimate for the J-130).  This despite a highly suboptimal development budget profile...

While SLS is perhaps not the most efficient possible way to achieve its capability, it's certainly no Ares.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 08:00 am by 93143 »

Offline Kasponaut

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #44 on: 01/15/2014 08:04 am »
I must confess that I too am a little surprised by Ross' comments.

SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.  It's now roughly a J-140SH + DHCUS with better technology, which should result in lower recurring costs than a Jupiter even without "rightsizing" for the low expected flight rate.  There are only two proposed upgrades; one makes it a J-24xSH, and the other replaces the ATK solids with a better-performing option that has lower recurring costs and should pay for itself if SLS flies for long enough.  Internally, NASA seems to favour doing the upper stage first...

SLS hasn't been busting its budget or schedule; last I checked (which was admittedly not very recently) it had some months of slack in the schedule, and the estimated cumulative cost to IOC was going nowhere but down (it was roughly the same as DIRECT's estimate for the J-130).  This despite a highly suboptimal development budget profile...

While SLS is perhaps not the most efficient possible way to achieve its capability, it's certainly no Ares.

Now that is a great reply - and one that I agree with 100%

Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #45 on: 01/15/2014 08:48 am »
That figure is the discretionary Federal budget. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are not factored in. The oft-quoted 0.5% figure is for the total including so-called "Mandatory" spending (the above programs).
Ahh. The light dawns.  :)

But hold up a mo I though defense was also mandatory (pretty much hard wired into the list of "Things the American state has to do)?

And it's a biggie.  :(
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #46 on: 01/15/2014 08:58 am »
Congress doesn't need a cost/benefit analysis to show that SLS/Orion funnels a lot more money to their campaign contributors than commercial crew ever will.
If any of the CCiCAP concepts starts doing major launch business you can bet they will get calls suggesting they take a more "active" part in the democratic process  :)

Quote
Hah, you thought Congressional budget bills were about being wise stewards of taxpayer money, and picking the solution that benefits the country the most? The naivety is charming. NASA is the piggybank of a couple of Congresspeople who sit on the appropriate authorizing or appropriating committee.
Just a silly romantic notion I had. The two objectives seems so completely opposed to each other.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #47 on: 01/15/2014 09:00 am »
In fact, I'd probably be willing to shut up and ignore the waste if they didn't keep strangling almost everything else that I value at NASA (planetary science, non-JWST astrophysics, space technology development and tech demos, commercial crew, actual money to fund ISS utilization, etc).
You make it sound like a giant metal cuckoo  :(

Cuckoos don't just eat everything their adopted parents feed them.

They also throw other eggs out of the next, killing the competition before it has a chance.  :(

Which may be a bit harsh.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #48 on: 01/15/2014 09:05 am »
But hold up a mo I though defense was also mandatory (pretty much hard wired into the list of "Things the American state has to do)?

Yes, but they get to decide how much they spend on it.  "Mandatory" spending is other people asking the government to pay for stuff they said they'd pay for, so the amount's not up for debate.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #49 on: 01/15/2014 09:12 am »
Yes, but they get to decide how much they spend on it.  "Mandatory" spending is other people asking the government to pay for stuff they said they'd pay for, so the amount's not up for debate.
Ahh, another little oddity of "government English."  :)

I too recall the usual description of the NASA budget as (currently) being about 0.5% of Federal budget and I could not quite see how it had grown about 3.5x without anyone noticing.  :(
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Offline clongton

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #50 on: 01/15/2014 11:21 am »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.
Dismissing a highly respected member like Ross in the way you just did makes me wanna hit the Do-Not-Like button. Unfortunately, we don't have such a button.

I see that presenting facts is now called "disrespect" to someone who advocated on this forum for something not all that different.  Strange. 

You have got to be kidding me. Not all that different? Please! It was totally different. It was affordable, sustainable and left a sizable chunk of funding for actual exploration payloads. Constellation and SLS wreaked economic havoc on the lives of thousands of people and that would never have happened if NASA had listened to us. We never would have had to buy rides from the Russians. Orion would have been flying before STS-135 launched. All on a Shuttle-sized budget. Totally different. SLS looks like it, but is absolutely completely different in every respect that counts. And yes - disrespect is the correct term.
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #51 on: 01/15/2014 01:11 pm »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.
Dismissing a highly respected member like Ross in the way you just did makes me wanna hit the Do-Not-Like button. Unfortunately, we don't have such a button.

I see that presenting facts is now called "disrespect" to someone who advocated on this forum for something not all that different.  Strange. 

You have got to be kidding me. Not all that different? Please! It was totally different. It was affordable, sustainable and left a sizable chunk of funding for actual exploration payloads. Constellation and SLS wreaked economic havoc on the lives of thousands of people and that would never have happened if NASA had listened to us. We never would have had to buy rides from the Russians. Orion would have been flying before STS-135 launched. All on a Shuttle-sized budget. Totally different. SLS looks like it, but is absolutely completely different in every respect that counts. And yes - disrespect is the correct term.
And with Orion flying before STS-135 there would have been no commercial crew. There may have been enough extra in the budget to do it but the political support would never materialize without the artificially created inability to launch crews to the ISS.

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #52 on: 01/15/2014 01:20 pm »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.
Dismissing a highly respected member like Ross in the way you just did makes me wanna hit the Do-Not-Like button. Unfortunately, we don't have such a button.

I see that presenting facts is now called "disrespect" to someone who advocated on this forum for something not all that different.  Strange. 

You have got to be kidding me. Not all that different? Please! It was totally different. It was affordable, sustainable and left a sizable chunk of funding for actual exploration payloads. Constellation and SLS wreaked economic havoc on the lives of thousands of people and that would never have happened if NASA had listened to us. We never would have had to buy rides from the Russians. Orion would have been flying before STS-135 launched. All on a Shuttle-sized budget. Totally different. SLS looks like it, but is absolutely completely different in every respect that counts. And yes - disrespect is the correct term.

That is another sad comment Chuck.  I "disrespect" you and Ross because I say SLS is on-time and on-budget?  Those are facts.  You are ranting by suggesting that if NASA and the govt had listened to "us", everything would be puppies and unicorns. 

Guess what, they didn't listen to you.  They didn't listen to me or any number of other, much more senior and important people.  Get over it.  Because the reality is that you have no idea, zero, how things would have turned out in reality if they did "listen to us". 

The fact that you are now so bitter that you have to rip on SLS and then say to anyone they are "disrespectful" to others for stating facts is disturbing on a number of levels. 
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 02:02 pm by Go4TLI »

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #53 on: 01/15/2014 01:22 pm »
That's a ridiculous comment.  If that is the way members on this forum wish to perceive reality then it is open-season on everything.  For example, commercial crew is a boondoggle into corporate welfare and subsidization of a market that does not exist.

Alright Go4TLI, without commercial crew how do you expect NASA to transport its astronauts up to the ISS? 

Fact of the matter is that sending your astronauts into space on modified versions of the commercial satellite launchers is the most cost effective way to put your astronauts into space.  That is the reason why the Russian space agency despite having a faction of the budget NASA does is able to maintain their access to LEO, while we have not been able to do so.  It is also the reason why the Chinese based their systems off of the Soyuz. 

Now if you are wondering if the ISS itself if a boondoggle  that is another story.

I would try to answer this if it was an actual coherent question or made any true sense in reality. 

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #54 on: 01/15/2014 01:37 pm »
I must confess that I too am a little surprised by Ross' comments.

SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.  It's now roughly a J-140SH + DHCUS with better technology, which should result in lower recurring costs than a Jupiter even without "rightsizing" for the low expected flight rate.  There are only two proposed upgrades; one makes it a J-24xSH, and the other replaces the ATK solids with a better-performing option that has lower recurring costs and should pay for itself if SLS flies for long enough.  Internally, NASA seems to favour doing the upper stage first...

SLS hasn't been busting its budget or schedule; last I checked (which was admittedly not very recently) it had some months of slack in the schedule, and the estimated cumulative cost to IOC was going nowhere but down (it was roughly the same as DIRECT's estimate for the J-130).  This despite a highly suboptimal development budget profile...

While SLS is perhaps not the most efficient possible way to achieve its capability, it's certainly no Ares.

I think that Ross' comments relates more to the timing of SLS. SLS was too late in getting started and thus did not ensure a smooth Shuttle-HLV transition. The whole idea of having a Shuttle derived HLV was to ensure a smooth transition between the two. In other words, SLS was too late to ensure this and therefore the whole idea of having a Shuttle derived HLV made less sense than it should have.

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #55 on: 01/15/2014 02:12 pm »
I must confess that I too am a little surprised by Ross' comments.

SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.  It's now roughly a J-140SH + DHCUS with better technology, which should result in lower recurring costs than a Jupiter even without "rightsizing" for the low expected flight rate.  There are only two proposed upgrades; one makes it a J-24xSH, and the other replaces the ATK solids with a better-performing option that has lower recurring costs and should pay for itself if SLS flies for long enough.  Internally, NASA seems to favour doing the upper stage first...

SLS hasn't been busting its budget or schedule; last I checked (which was admittedly not very recently) it had some months of slack in the schedule, and the estimated cumulative cost to IOC was going nowhere but down (it was roughly the same as DIRECT's estimate for the J-130).  This despite a highly suboptimal development budget profile...

While SLS is perhaps not the most efficient possible way to achieve its capability, it's certainly no Ares.

I think that Ross' comments relates more to the timing of SLS. SLS was too late in getting started and thus did not ensure a smooth Shuttle-HLV transition. The whole idea of having a Shuttle derived HLV was to ensure a smooth transition between the two. In other words, SLS was too late to ensure this and therefore the whole idea of having a Shuttle derived HLV made less sense than it should have.

I disagree.  Of course the transition could have, and should have, been smoother.  That said, there would be changes in any route taken.  For example the shuttle avionics were a bit out-dated in some cases.  In shuttle it was easier because the avionics, to a large degree, were inside the orbiter and were returned and maintained at a depot level.  However, individual piece parts were hard to achieve due to industry evolving beyond that. 

So, in a world where those avionics are in a production environment, changes were necessary.  There would also be changes in materials and manufacturing processes.  These would be, and are, due to advances in the state of the art and/or cost or schedule efficiencies. 

Any shuttle-derived vehicle would never be just taking shuttle parts and sticking them into a mixed-up configuration.  But, it is true that shuttle-derived still offers a significant savings, given there is history in other aspects and it builds on experience hard won. 

For example, the 737 still has two wings.  The 737-Max is not exactly the same airplane as the first one that rolled off the line many years ago.  But that foundation is still alive and the experience with the plane has informed all future derivatives. 

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #56 on: 01/15/2014 02:28 pm »
A reminder, I won't stand for uncivil posts. Make one, lose your entire post. Kick and scream all you want, but that's the rule.

I am taking into account there are some posts that are flippant at best on this thread. SLS is not Ares.

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #57 on: 01/15/2014 02:38 pm »
Here is a useful chart that compares the FY 2014 bill to what was requested by the President, the Senate and  the House:
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2014/01/14/omnibus-bill-gives-nasa-17-65-billion-and-launch-indemnification-extension-as-well/

Offline Mark S

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #58 on: 01/15/2014 03:23 pm »
Here is a useful chart that compares the FY 2014 bill to what was requested by the President, the Senate and  the House:
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2014/01/14/omnibus-bill-gives-nasa-17-65-billion-and-launch-indemnification-extension-as-well/

Very nice chart. Does anyone have any information about what questionable diversions of SLS development funds, real or perceived, were made in the past to require this mandate in the bill?:

Quote
Due to continuing concerns regarding the diversion of funding intended for vehicle development to activities with only tangential relevance to SLS, NASA shall not use SLS funds for engineering or other activities that are not directly related to SLS vehicle development.

Thanks.

Offline clongton

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #59 on: 01/15/2014 04:02 pm »
Here is a useful chart that compares the FY 2014 bill to what was requested by the President, the Senate and  the House:
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2014/01/14/omnibus-bill-gives-nasa-17-65-billion-and-launch-indemnification-extension-as-well/

Interesting chart - thanks. I can't help but notice that, with a few exceptions, the House reduced the Administration's request by a pretty significant amount while the Senate generally reduced the request by a much smaller amount. In the end the House had to come back up to Senate territory leaving the Omnibus bill pretty close to the Administration's original request.

It was no surprise to see the Senate with strong support for the SLS/Orion, given the names on the committees, but it was really surprising to me, even knowing the temperament of the Tea Party House members, to see the House slash Commercial Spaceflight from $821 to $500 million. That would have gutted Commercial Crew. I expected to see the House provide similar support to Commercial Crew as the Senate provided for SLS/Orion. Thank god the Omnibus bill pulled it back up; not as high as I would have liked ($696m), but one hell of a lot better than the paltry amount the House was willing to spend ($500m). Shame on them.
 
I agree that it "appears" as if the bill is aimed at going directly to SLS Block-2 with its requirement of "not less than 130 metric tons". It will be interesting to see what response, if any, Congress has to flying the 70 mt Block-1 vehicle that NASA wants to launch in a couple years. At current spending levels, it will be difficult to put payloads on the Block-1 vehicle, let alone the Block-2. It's for sure that there is very little funding for payloads that could justify that monster, especially given the House attitude evidenced by the chart. They don't seem to be especially interested in NASA. Their interest appears to me to begin and end with reducing the budget by large chunks, almost without regard to what programs or agencies get gutted. It reminds me of surgery using an axe instead of a scalpel.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #60 on: 01/15/2014 05:05 pm »
The $700m for commercial crew is very encouraging. We may yet get the one-and-a-half providers we hope for, with the first crewed flight happening by 2016 or 2017.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #61 on: 01/15/2014 05:35 pm »
Here is a useful chart that compares the FY 2014 bill to what was requested by the President, the Senate and  the House:
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2014/01/14/omnibus-bill-gives-nasa-17-65-billion-and-launch-indemnification-extension-as-well/

Interesting chart - thanks. I can't help but notice that, with a few exceptions, the House reduced the Administration's request by a pretty significant amount while the Senate generally reduced the request by a much smaller amount. In the end the House had to come back up to Senate territory leaving the Omnibus bill pretty close to the Administration's original request.

To be fair, the House numbers were after taking into account sequester whereas the Senate numbers assumed that sequester would be replaced. But I agree with you that the numbers for commercial crew in the original House bill were too low and that they would have had an impact on the 2017 date and on the number of CCtCap awards.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 05:44 pm by yg1968 »

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #62 on: 01/15/2014 05:36 pm »
The $700m for commercial crew is very encouraging. We may yet get the one-and-a-half providers we hope for, with the first crewed flight happening by 2016 or 2017.
What exactly is a "half" provider? Do you simply mean one service will come on-line in say 2016-2017 and the other provider, with less funds and therefore a longer schedule, will come on-line in 2017-2018? Which by the way I think will happen regardless. But just want to clarify what your definition of a "half-provider" is.

Maybe i'm getting caught up in word semantics but in reality, you either can or can't provide the service. However, if you mean one fully-funded potential crewed service provider and one, half funded potential crewed service provider, that I get.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #63 on: 01/15/2014 05:42 pm »
The $700m for commercial crew is very encouraging. We may yet get the one-and-a-half providers we hope for, with the first crewed flight happening by 2016 or 2017.

Yes that was also my reaction. I am guessing that $700M should be enough for 1.5 awards. Hopefully, NASA will look at the cost per seat for each option and how much the skin in the game each company is willing to put in their proposal. If a company refuses to put skin in the game, they should be downselected. But Boeing said that they were willing to put skin in the game for CCtCap (eventhough they didn't do so in prior rounds). NASA should make skin in the game (for example, at least 20%) a requirement in my opinion.

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #64 on: 01/15/2014 05:49 pm »
The $700m for commercial crew is very encouraging. We may yet get the one-and-a-half providers we hope for, with the first crewed flight happening by 2016 or 2017.
What exactly is a "half" provider? Do you simply mean one service will come on-line in say 2016-2017 and the other provider, with less funds and therefore a longer schedule, will come on-line in 2017-2018? Which by the way I think will happen regardless. But just want to clarify what your definition of a "half-provider" is.

Maybe i'm getting caught up in word semantics but in reality, you either can or can't provide the service. However, if you mean one fully-funded potential crewed service provider and one, half funded potential crewed service provider, that I get.

I should probably let Robotbeat answer himself. But your definition is usually what is implied by a 0.5 provider (i.e., it means that the company receives about half the funding such as is the case with SNC for CCtCap).

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #65 on: 01/15/2014 05:51 pm »
I just mean one provider gets as much funding as they'd need to field the capability quickly, while the other one gets around half as much, so are still making good progress in case the other fails.
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Online rcoppola

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #66 on: 01/15/2014 05:56 pm »
The $700m for commercial crew is very encouraging. We may yet get the one-and-a-half providers we hope for, with the first crewed flight happening by 2016 or 2017.

Yes that was also my reaction. I am guessing that $700M should be enough for 1.5 awards. Hopefully, NASA will look at the cost per seat for each option and how much the skin in the game each company is willing to put in their proposal. If a company refuses to put skin in the game, they should be downselected. But Boeing said that they were willing to put skin in the game for CCtCap (eventhough they didn't do so in prior rounds). NASA should make skin in the game (for example, at least 20%) a requirement in my opinion.
I completely agree. And I would think that determination will be easier to make when NASA receives everyone's proposals. Boeing has received over 600Mil thus far so I suspect their proposal would have to fall well short for NASA to walk away from that initial investment. But regardless of how the selection goes down, there's certainly enough money to get somebody flying crew by 2016-17. So very exciting.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 05:58 pm by rcoppola »
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #67 on: 01/15/2014 05:57 pm »
I just mean one provider gets as much funding as they'd need to field the capability quickly, while the other one gets around half as much, so are still making good progress in case the other fails.
That's what I suspected you meant. And I completely agree with that assessment. Thanks.
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #68 on: 01/15/2014 05:58 pm »
2016-17!! It wasn't supposed to take that long...  :'(
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #69 on: 01/15/2014 06:00 pm »
2016-17!! It wasn't supposed to take that long...  :'(
HA! No, it wasn't. But better late then never! After all, 2016 is right around the corner...
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #70 on: 01/15/2014 06:05 pm »
2016-17!! It wasn't supposed to take that long...  :'(
HA! No, it wasn't. But better late then never! After all, 2016 is right around the corner...

Elon will probably test fly a Dragon Rider with his couple of ex-NASA Astronauts way before the first, official Commercial Crew gets going. Here's hoping. And 'right around the corner?' 2014 took forever to arrive, with it's first Orion test flight taking so damn long to get here!
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Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #71 on: 01/15/2014 06:07 pm »
I just mean one provider gets as much funding as they'd need to field the capability quickly, while the other one gets around half as much, so are still making good progress in case the other fails.

In theory, the 0.5 provider isn't supposed to be a backup. It's suppose to have as much of a chance of winning a crew transportation system contract as the other company.


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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #73 on: 01/15/2014 06:20 pm »
2016-17!! It wasn't supposed to take that long...  :'(

Indeed:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/04/nasas-commercial-catch-22-424m-to-russia/
Hmmm. Yes indeed.

OK, so here's a question. Hypothetically, if say SpaceX in their proposal listed a dollar amount that would allow them to conclude all tests and certification and be ready to launch NASA astronauts by 4qtr 2016,  would NASA be able to begin procuring that service at that date?

Which also means, along with many other implications, they'd have a little over 2.5 years to get Pad 39A ready for crew services.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 06:22 pm by rcoppola »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #74 on: 01/15/2014 06:21 pm »
The problem is that even if SpaceX or whoever did that, NASA still wants to do a lot of analysis.
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #75 on: 01/15/2014 06:25 pm »
The problem is that even if SpaceX or whoever did that, NASA still wants to do a lot of analysis.
But hypothetically, if they worked with NASA to do said analysis along the way including post flight test analysis, could NASA certify and procure the service if it was ready early?
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #76 on: 01/15/2014 06:29 pm »
I think 4th quarter 2016 is possible for an early crewed flight to ISS. But you'd have to have the crewed flight to ISS in the pipeline well before the first crewed test flight. I mean, it's already 2014, so a rotation trip planned for the end of 2016 seems wildly optimistic unless something crazy happens, like Congress giving the full Presidential request for funding and getting the budgets passed on time.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 06:34 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #77 on: 01/15/2014 06:30 pm »
2016-17!! It wasn't supposed to take that long...  :'(

Indeed:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/04/nasas-commercial-catch-22-424m-to-russia/
Hmmm. Yes indeed.

OK, so here's a question. Hypothetically, if say SpaceX in their proposal listed a dollar amount that would allow them to conclude all tests and certification and be ready to launch NASA astronauts by 4qtr 2016,  would NASA be able to begin procuring that service at that date?

Which also means, along with many other implications, they'd have a little over 2.5 years to get Pad 39A ready for crew services.

NASA is already paying for Soyuz flights for 2016. So if anybody is early, it could get extra test flights but it wouldn't get an official crew transportation flight until 2017. But there is not much difference between test flights and real flights. So it doesn't really matter. NASA hasn't yet bought Soyuz flights for 2017 but a decision is expected on this fairly soon. NASA might have been waiting to see the FY 2014 appropriation bill and the CCtCap proposals prior to making a final decision on whether to purchase Soyuz flights or not for 2017. 
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 06:33 pm by yg1968 »

Online rcoppola

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #78 on: 01/15/2014 06:33 pm »
2016-17!! It wasn't supposed to take that long...  :'(

Indeed:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/04/nasas-commercial-catch-22-424m-to-russia/
Hmmm. Yes indeed.

OK, so here's a question. Hypothetically, if say SpaceX in their proposal listed a dollar amount that would allow them to conclude all tests and certification and be ready to launch NASA astronauts by 4qtr 2016,  would NASA be able to begin procuring that service at that date?

Which also means, along with many other implications, they'd have a little over 2.5 years to get Pad 39A ready for crew services.

NASA is already paying the Russians in 2016. So if anybody is early, it could get extra test flights but it wouldn't get an official crew transportation flight until 2017. But there is not much difference between test flights and real flights. So it doesn't really matter. NASA hasn't yet bought Soyuz flights for 2017 but a decision is expected on this fairly soon. NASA might have been waiting to see the FY 2014 appropriation bill and the CCtCap proposals prior to making a final decision on whther to purchase Soyuz flights or not for 2017.
That's a great point! So we should keep an eye out for that decision as it may indicate NASA's confidence or lack thereof in one or more of the proposals.
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Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #79 on: 01/15/2014 07:03 pm »

OK, so here's a question. Hypothetically, if say SpaceX in their proposal listed a dollar amount that would allow them to conclude all tests and certification and be ready to launch NASA astronauts by 4qtr 2016,  would NASA be able to begin procuring that service at that date?

Which also means, along with many other implications, they'd have a little over 2.5 years to get Pad 39A ready for crew services.

Proposals have to be credible.  There is what is referred to as "the riddle" that the bidders have to figure out to really answer what NASA is looking for in the RFP.  This is generally something like "technical ability is more important than cost, which is more important than schedule." 

However, in this case cost was much higher in the "riddle", so coming in with a proposal saying I need all your money and maybe I can do it will likely not get high marks on the credibility factor. 

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #80 on: 01/15/2014 08:00 pm »
I think that Ross' comments relates more to the timing of SLS. SLS was too late in getting started and thus did not ensure a smooth Shuttle-HLV transition. The whole idea of having a Shuttle derived HLV was to ensure a smooth transition between the two. In other words, SLS was too late to ensure this and therefore the whole idea of having a Shuttle derived HLV made less sense than it should have.

Now this I can agree with.  If SLS had started when DIRECT v3 was proposed (or earlier), and had been given a decent budget profile, it could have been flying by now.  Some Shuttle workers could have kept their jobs, and those who didn't could have been reassigned to...  okay, yes, this probably requires additional elements of the exploration program to be developed more or less right away so as to have somewhere to transfer people rather than losing them...  The current plan seems to be to not have a plan so that the next President can't cancel it, but this might not have been necessary if development had been handled in a timely fashion...
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 08:56 pm by 93143 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #81 on: 01/15/2014 10:56 pm »
The omnibus bill easily passed in the House today (359 to 67). It now goes to the Senate:
http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/195568-house-passes-1t-spending-bill-sends-to-senate

Some good news for FY2015 in the same article:
Quote
Rogers said the vote bodes well for completing all 12 appropriations bills on time this year — something that has not been done since 1994 — and for other bipartisan accords.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2014 11:00 pm by yg1968 »

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #82 on: 01/15/2014 11:45 pm »
<snip>

It was no surprise to see the Senate with strong support for the SLS/Orion, given the names on the committees, but it was really surprising to me, even knowing the temperament of the Tea Party House members, to see the House slash Commercial Spaceflight from $821 to $500 million. That would have gutted Commercial Crew. I expected to see the House provide similar support to Commercial Crew as the Senate provided for SLS/Orion. Thank god the Omnibus bill pulled it back up; not as high as I would have liked ($696m), but one hell of a lot better than the paltry amount the House was willing to spend ($500m). Shame on them.

<snip>

Most of the congressmen and women who claim to be tea party really are not.  For instance, the caucus has not met in over a year.  Those who are more aligned with tea party core values simply get bulldozed by Republicans.  I will name names if it won't offend the moderators.  It does me no good - there is no utility - to wax poetic justice just to kill the post or thread.  We do not need that.

Do not confuse Republican with tea party or the more libertarian types.

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.

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Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #83 on: 01/15/2014 11:51 pm »
Here is a useful chart that compares the FY 2014 bill to what was requested by the President, the Senate and  the House:
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2014/01/14/omnibus-bill-gives-nasa-17-65-billion-and-launch-indemnification-extension-as-well/
This chart just makes my head spin.  The senate is driving this train.  It is simply unfathomable to me.  You can directly see the influence of Mikulski and Nelson and where they want to drive NASA.

Look - I am not ripping SLS or JWST - I am just saying there is no fiscal accountability right now.  Simply Breathtaking.

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 yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #84 on: 01/16/2014 12:23 am »
Here is a useful chart that compares the FY 2014 bill to what was requested by the President, the Senate and  the House:
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2014/01/14/omnibus-bill-gives-nasa-17-65-billion-and-launch-indemnification-extension-as-well/
This chart just makes my head spin.  The senate is driving this train.  It is simply unfathomable to me.  You can directly see the influence of Mikulski and Nelson and where they want to drive NASA.

Look - I am not ripping SLS or JWST - I am just saying there is no fiscal accountability right now.  Simply Breathtaking.

VR
RE327

I can't say that I agree with your assesment. Legislation proposed by the House for NASA has been a lot worse than the Senate's (very anti-commercial crew and anti-SAAs). The House even has legislation that ensures that their pet projects aren't cancelled. The Senate has much less of this. The only reason that the House's proposed spending level for NASA is lower is because it factored in the sequester (the Senate version assumed that the sequester would be dealt with through other means). Both Democrats and Republicans in the House (subcommittee) are anti-commercial sector except for Rohrabacher.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2014 12:39 am by yg1968 »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #85 on: 01/16/2014 12:29 am »
Both Democrats and Republicans in the House are anti-commercial sector except for Rohrabacher.

The commercial crew program is a government program. By definition, that's public sector.

The House (subcommittee) simply doesn't see how commercial crew saves money compared to just sticking with the Russians until the ISS splashes. So far as I'm aware, no-one does.


Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #86 on: 01/16/2014 12:35 am »
Both Democrats and Republicans in the House are anti-commercial sector except for Rohrabacher.

The commercial crew program is a government program. By definition, that's public sector.

The House (subcommittee) simply doesn't see how commercial crew saves money compared to just sticking with the Russians until the ISS splashes. So far as I'm aware, no-one does.

That is just an excuse to derail commercial crew. If you take into account the development costs of commercial crew, it's unlikely to be competitive with Soyuz. But that's an unfair analysis, the United States didn't have to pay for the development of Soyuz.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2014 12:37 am by yg1968 »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #87 on: 01/16/2014 12:42 am »
Both Democrats and Republicans in the House are anti-commercial sector except for Rohrabacher.

The commercial crew program is a government program. By definition, that's public sector.

The House (subcommittee) simply doesn't see how commercial crew saves money compared to just sticking with the Russians until the ISS splashes. So far as I'm aware, no-one does.

That is just an excuse to derail commercial crew. If you take into account development costs, it's unlikely to be competitive with the Russians. But that's an unfair analysis, the United States didn't have to pay for the development of Soyuz.

Yeah, and?

Congress is right to ask what the point of this program is, and reject answers that make no sense. The way to make the argument for commercial crew - the only way I can see - is to expound on the virtues of having a domestic crew launch capability, predominately for LEO, beyond just servicing the ISS*. The administration has failed to provide any such argument. If anything, Congress should be zeroing it out, instead of just underfunding it, until they get answers that make sense.

* This is what Jim Muncy does when confronted with the cost-effectiveness of commercial crew. The response is lackluster because people still don't want to think about what the US will be doing in LEO after ISS.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline jongoff

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #88 on: 01/16/2014 12:58 am »
Both Democrats and Republicans in the House are anti-commercial sector except for Rohrabacher.

The commercial crew program is a government program. By definition, that's public sector.

The House (subcommittee) simply doesn't see how commercial crew saves money compared to just sticking with the Russians until the ISS splashes. So far as I'm aware, no-one does.

That is just an excuse to derail commercial crew. If you take into account development costs, it's unlikely to be competitive with the Russians. But that's an unfair analysis, the United States didn't have to pay for the development of Soyuz.

Yeah, and?

Congress is right to ask what the point of this program is, and reject answers that make no sense. The way to make the argument for commercial crew - the only way I can see - is to expound on the virtues of having a domestic crew launch capability, predominately for LEO, beyond just servicing the ISS*. The administration has failed to provide any such argument. If anything, Congress should be zeroing it out, instead of just underfunding it, until they get answers that make sense.

* This is what Jim Muncy does when confronted with the cost-effectiveness of commercial crew. The response is lackluster because people still don't want to think about what the US will be doing in LEO after ISS.

There's also the argument that the higher seat capacity of the CC vehicles will enable increasing the USOS crew from 3 to 4. Right now we only get about 1 person-year of research per year from the US side of the station (ie the 3 people are spending about 2-man-yrs/yr on running the ISS, and only a 1 man-yr/yr on research). Bumping the number up to 4 doesn't noticeably increase the non-research demands so you nearly double the amount of crew time available for research in a year. Especially with the station stretching out potentially to 2024 now, that means you're getting ~6-7 extra man-years of research out of the station compared to not doing commercial crew.

And there are other ways of improving things beyond this. One idea I heard at NSRC was using some of the extra seats (NASA only wants 4 of the 6-7 seats for the crew rotation) to house non-astronaut research specialists who would stay there for the two weeks during crew rotations, and who wouldn't be subject to the crew rest rules the long-term astronauts are (ie they could pull two 80hr weeks). Combine that with "sortie science", when you have payloads that you bring up with the vehicle, and turn around before the vehicle heads home, and you could actually see some really interesting results.

I haven't done all the analysis to quantify how big of a benefit this is, but one would think that doubling our crew research time per year ought to be a strong plus compared with the status quo of Soyuz flights.

~Jon

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #89 on: 01/16/2014 01:02 am »
Both Democrats and Republicans in the House are anti-commercial sector except for Rohrabacher.

The commercial crew program is a government program. By definition, that's public sector.

The House (subcommittee) simply doesn't see how commercial crew saves money compared to just sticking with the Russians until the ISS splashes. So far as I'm aware, no-one does.

That is just an excuse to derail commercial crew. If you take into account development costs, it's unlikely to be competitive with the Russians. But that's an unfair analysis, the United States didn't have to pay for the development of Soyuz.

Yeah, and?

Congress is right to ask what the point of this program is, and reject answers that make no sense. The way to make the argument for commercial crew - the only way I can see - is to expound on the virtues of having a domestic crew launch capability, predominately for LEO, beyond just servicing the ISS*. The administration has failed to provide any such argument. If anything, Congress should be zeroing it out, instead of just underfunding it, until they get answers that make sense.

* This is what Jim Muncy does when confronted with the cost-effectiveness of commercial crew. The response is lackluster because people still don't want to think about what the US will be doing in LEO after ISS.

The assumption that NASA has no interest in LEO except for the ISS is a premise that is false to begin with. At the Bigelow press conference, Gerst said that NASA could have an interest in LEO research done on a Bigelow station for the same reasons that it is interested in LEO research on ISS. He even said that NASA might be interested in renting a Bigelow station before the ISS is splashed. Gerst said that NASA is trying to help create a market for ISS research through CASIS. It hopes that Bigelow will continue and expand these efforts to commercialize LEO research.   
« Last Edit: 01/16/2014 01:05 am by yg1968 »

Offline TomH

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #90 on: 01/16/2014 01:03 am »
Both Democrats and Republicans in the House are anti-commercial sector except for Rohrabacher.

The commercial crew program is a government program. By definition, that's public sector.

The House (subcommittee) simply doesn't see how commercial crew saves money compared to just sticking with the Russians until the ISS splashes. So far as I'm aware, no-one does.

That is just an excuse to derail commercial crew. If you take into account development costs, it's unlikely to be competitive with the Russians. But that's an unfair analysis, the United States didn't have to pay for the development of Soyuz.

Yeah, and?

Congress is right to ask what the point of this program is, and reject answers that make no sense. The way to make the argument for commercial crew - the only way I can see - is to expound on the virtues of having a domestic crew launch capability, predominately for LEO, beyond just servicing the ISS*. The administration has failed to provide any such argument. If anything, Congress should be zeroing it out, instead of just underfunding it, until they get answers that make sense.

* This is what Jim Muncy does when confronted with the cost-effectiveness of commercial crew. The response is lackluster because people still don't want to think about what the US will be doing in LEO after ISS.

One consideration is which is more beneficial to the nation's economy: to spend $n which goes into another nation's economy, or to spend (this is made up) $1.5n within your own domestic economy? The first expenditure leaves your economy for good unless you have reciprocal trade. The second expenditure is money that mostly continues to recirculate within your own domestic economy. Then there is the added potential for domestic crew, once matured, to invite sales to other nations, in turn attracting more capital infusion into the domestic economy. It actually can be beneficial to spend more at home than to spend less, but spend it abroad.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2014 01:06 am by TomH »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #91 on: 01/16/2014 01:09 am »
I haven't done all the analysis to quantify how big of a benefit this is, but one would think that doubling our crew research time per year ought to be a strong plus compared with the status quo of Soyuz flights.

Yep, I'd buy that as an additional argument. In fact, Congress would probably be more receptive to it.

The point I was trying to make is that the administration hasn't made this argument, or any argument. They've made no real response to the House cutting the budget.. and this has been going on for years now. Every year they "urge" Congress to fully fund the program and every year Congress says "why?"

The assumption that NASA has no interest in LEO except for the ISS is a premise that is false to begin with. At the Bigelow press conference, Gerst said that NASA could have an interest in LEO research done on a Bigelow station

Who cares what they say at a press conference? They have to tell Congress. Hopefully they'll put this in the cost-benefit analysis, and send Gerst to the House to read it to them.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #92 on: 01/16/2014 01:19 am »
The assumption that NASA has no interest in LEO except for the ISS is a premise that is false to begin with. At the Bigelow press conference, Gerst said that NASA could have an interest in LEO research done on a Bigelow station

Who cares what they say at a press conference? They have to tell Congress. Hopefully they'll put this in the cost-benefit analysis, and send Gerst to the House to read it to them.

Bigelow is a big part of the equation for commercial crew. But up until now NASA has not rented or purchased much from them (except for BEAM which is a demo). Bigelow isn't asking for any funding for the development of his habitats. He only wants NASA as a customer. I doubt Bigelow will be mentioned in the report because NASA does not have a contract with them. I am hoping this will change and that NASA will rent a BLEO habitat at L2. Commercial crew and cargo could probably be adapted to service this BLEO station.

Offline Starlab90

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #93 on: 01/16/2014 01:34 am »
Does anyone have any information about what questionable diversions of SLS development funds, real or perceived, were made in the past to require this mandate in the bill?:

Quote
Due to continuing concerns regarding the diversion of funding intended for vehicle development to activities with only tangential relevance to SLS, NASA shall not use SLS funds for engineering or other activities that are not directly related to SLS vehicle development.

Thanks.

I saw that and have asked several fellow SLS employees about it. So far, we can't figure out what they're talking about.

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #94 on: 01/16/2014 01:51 am »
Does anyone have any information about what questionable diversions of SLS development funds, real or perceived, were made in the past to require this mandate in the bill?:

Quote
Due to continuing concerns regarding the diversion of funding intended for vehicle development to activities with only tangential relevance to SLS, NASA shall not use SLS funds for engineering or other activities that are not directly related to SLS vehicle development.
Thanks.

I saw that and have asked several fellow SLS employees about it. So far, we can't figure out what they're talking about.
Elected members were under the assumption that the administration was shifting money from SLS/MPCV and funneling it into Commercial Crew.

I agree with the other poster that Commercial Crew is not really commercial... its a public/private partnership utilizing Space Act Agreements which make it very favorable to both the public (the government pays no money until the milestone is met) and the private partner (no requirements creep).

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 joek

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #95 on: 01/16/2014 02:12 am »
There's also the argument that the higher seat capacity of the CC vehicles will enable increasing the USOS crew from 3 to 4. Right now we only get about 1 person-year of research per year from the US side of the station (ie the 3 people are spending about 2-man-yrs/yr on running the ISS, and only a 1 man-yr/yr on research). Bumping the number up to 4 doesn't noticeably increase the non-research demands so you nearly double the amount of crew time available for research in a year. Especially with the station stretching out potentially to 2024 now, that means you're getting ~6-7 extra man-years of research out of the station compared to not doing commercial crew.

Agree.  A while ago I tried doing a rough calculation of the benefit of going from 3 to 4 crew using conservative assumptions here.  I assumed that the additional fourth crew would add only 25% usable time and $80M/seat for CTS.

I revisited that, and based on a doubling of usable crew hours (to ~70hr/wk) and $60M/seat for CTS, the cost per usable crew hour drops from ~$2M/hr to ~$1M/hr, which would yield a benefit of ~$1.8B/yr at a cost of ~$250M/yr, for a net benefit of ~$1.5B/yr.

Assuming those numbers are somewhere in the ballpark, and that you value (and can use) the additional crew time, CCP/CTS pays for itself in 2-3 years.  (Suggestions on refining those numbers welcome.)

Quote
And there are other ways of improving things beyond this. One idea I heard at NSRC was using some of the extra seats (NASA only wants 4 of the 6-7 seats for the crew rotation) to house non-astronaut research specialists who would stay there for the two weeks during crew rotations, and who wouldn't be subject to the crew rest rules the long-term astronauts are (ie they could pull two 80hr weeks). Combine that with "sortie science", when you have payloads that you bring up with the vehicle, and turn around before the vehicle heads home, and you could actually see some really interesting results.

Yes, but that would require a direct handover.  AFAICT, the plan is for indirect handover, which would require that those research specialists stay for the duration.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #96 on: 01/16/2014 05:14 am »
Does anyone have any information about what questionable diversions of SLS development funds, real or perceived, were made in the past to require this mandate in the bill?:

Quote
Due to continuing concerns regarding the diversion of funding intended for vehicle development to activities with only tangential relevance to SLS, NASA shall not use SLS funds for engineering or other activities that are not directly related to SLS vehicle development.

Thanks.

I saw that and have asked several fellow SLS employees about it. So far, we can't figure out what they're talking about.
From what I can tell, it's a psychological effect called "projection." See, Senator Shelby was successful in redirecting stimulus funds away from commercial crew (very early on) and toward Constellation (the bones of which make up SLS, to some degree), so they imagine that the reverse must also be going on, whether or not it actually is.

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2009/07/03/shelby-wins-battle-on-stimulus-funding/
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #97 on: 01/16/2014 06:58 am »
Agree.  A while ago I tried doing a rough calculation of the benefit of going from 3 to 4 crew using conservative assumptions here.  I assumed that the additional fourth crew would add only 25% usable time and $80M/seat for CTS.

I revisited that, and based on a doubling of usable crew hours (to ~70hr/wk) and $60M/seat for CTS, the cost per usable crew hour drops from ~$2M/hr to ~$1M/hr, which would yield a benefit of ~$1.8B/yr at a cost of ~$250M/yr, for a net benefit of ~$1.5B/yr.

Assuming those numbers are somewhere in the ballpark, and that you value (and can use) the additional crew time, CCP/CTS pays for itself in 2-3 years.  (Suggestions on refining those numbers welcome.)
This sounds like a very sensible argument for going with Commercial Crew. Simple to understand as well.  :)  :)

It's good business, it's good for NASA and it's good for America (shuffle order depending on what audience you're talking to  ;) ).

I just wish it was made a bit more often.  :(

From what I can tell, it's a psychological effect called "projection." See, Senator Shelby was successful in redirecting stimulus funds away from commercial crew (very early on) and toward Constellation (the bones of which make up SLS, to some degree), so they imagine that the reverse must also be going on, whether or not it actually is.

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2009/07/03/shelby-wins-battle-on-stimulus-funding/
I get that members of the Legislature are required to snarf as much cash for their state/district as possible (not quite the "consensus" politics the Founding Fathers seem to have envisaged  :( ) but this seems more like a case of "It is not enough I win, everyone else must lose as well."  :(

And I wonder how much did that $100m "accelerate" Constellation by in the end?  :(
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Offline Proponent

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #98 on: 01/16/2014 10:48 am »
Does anyone have any information about what questionable diversions of SLS development funds, real or perceived, were made in the past to require this mandate in the bill?:

Quote
Due to continuing concerns regarding the diversion of funding intended for vehicle development to activities with only tangential relevance to SLS, NASA shall not use SLS funds for engineering or other activities that are not directly related to SLS vehicle development.

Thanks.

I saw that and have asked several fellow SLS employees about it. So far, we can't figure out what they're talking about.

I wonder if the primary concern here might be diversion of funds for the robotic components of ARM.

Offline Proponent

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #99 on: 01/16/2014 10:49 am »
Still wondering: does anybody know whether the House proposal to expend the termination reserves for both SLS and JWST is in the bill?
« Last Edit: 01/16/2014 10:51 am by Proponent »

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #100 on: 01/16/2014 01:10 pm »

There's also the argument that the higher seat capacity of the CC vehicles will enable increasing the USOS crew from 3 to 4. Right now we only get about 1 person-year of research per year from the US side of the station (ie the 3 people are spending about 2-man-yrs/yr on running the ISS, and only a 1 man-yr/yr on research). Bumping the number up to 4 doesn't noticeably increase the non-research demands so you nearly double the amount of crew time available for research in a year. Especially with the station stretching out potentially to 2024 now, that means you're getting ~6-7 extra man-years of research out of the station compared to not doing commercial crew.

And there are other ways of improving things beyond this. One idea I heard at NSRC was using some of the extra seats (NASA only wants 4 of the 6-7 seats for the crew rotation) to house non-astronaut research specialists who would stay there for the two weeks during crew rotations, and who wouldn't be subject to the crew rest rules the long-term astronauts are (ie they could pull two 80hr weeks). Combine that with "sortie science", when you have payloads that you bring up with the vehicle, and turn around before the vehicle heads home, and you could actually see some really interesting results.

I haven't done all the analysis to quantify how big of a benefit this is, but one would think that doubling our crew research time per year ought to be a strong plus compared with the status quo of Soyuz flights.

~Jon

This has actually been the conops for quite some time, but it has been understood as to what would likely happen without concretely saying it. 

This is just one example that has been the failure of commercial crew from a policy perspective.  This administration did not make clear, consistent and salient points about the benefits.  Both on how that applies to NASA, industry and US efforts as a whole.  What happened instead was different rationale and "goals" to different audiences implying NASA and the administration had no idea what it was doing and why.  This hurt the program and it still suffers that handicap to this day because of that. 

The reason all the potential providers have a 7 crew capability is not a mystery.  It was driven by Bigelow as ISS always only really needed a 4 crew compliment.  However, this potential compliment offers options.  One of which is similar to what you mentioned above.  The other is a crew/cargo mix.  The additional crew time on ISS was actually a suggestion for shuttle-extension as well using that same rationale until CRS capabilities came online and we were near an alternate crew launch option. 

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #101 on: 01/16/2014 01:13 pm »
That should be interesting. In a spirit of fairness I'd like to see the equivalent for SLS/Orion.  :(

Congress doesn't need a cost/benefit analysis to show that SLS/Orion funnels a lot more money to their campaign contributors than commercial crew ever will.

Quote
And what's with this sudden dash for 130 tonnes and complete development on the J-2X? Surely their best chance would be to go with the RS25D/E's for high performance?

Hah, you thought Congressional budget bills were about being wise stewards of taxpayer money...


1) This kind of snarkiness is immensely counterproductive. 

2) SLS/Orion and CRS are completely different programs with completely different objectives and completely different contracting mechanisms. 

CRS is government money toward a systems or systems that will not be owned or controlled by the govt and the govt then has to pay to use.

Orion/SLS have always been govt-owned systems. 

Frankly, I don't see the big deal and frankly the CCDev/CCiCAP money is NASA money well spent.  And I'm sure a cost/benefit analysis will prove that.

3) People have to try to keep perspective without immediately trying to go to the lowest common denominator.

1)  Jon can defend himself.  I'm chiming in on the typical cursory dismissal of snarkasm as a valid critique of our government.  Our government is counterproductive.  What are we supposed to do?  Grab our pitchforks and storm Congress? 

The only letters to congress critters which get responded to are those that begin with "Pay to the order of".  All others, if they're lucky, get a form letter:  "The congress critter in question agrees that space is very, very, important.  Be sure to vote early and often.  Please call with questions on making direct deposits to our account."

2) SLS/Orion and CRS are very similar programs.  They depend upon rockets to launch their payloads from the surface of Earth.  Sure, there are different contracting methods used, but this has nothing to do with the executive branch issuing irrational goals, and the legislative branch pandering to corporate insiders.

3) The correct perspective remains.  You are certainly free to ignore my narrative, but it has remained constant:  SLS was a fine principle for creating a new government LV.  However, the overseers of the government employees and contract workers give the distinct impression that there is no genuine intent to actually accomplish the launch of SLS.

All that can be said of SLS by anyone is, "Wait and see".

Jon's entire argument is that the current path and program provides "no benefit" to the country.

That would be inaccurate by my interpretation.  I believe that Jon subscribes to the view that  the current path and program provides "no benefit" to the country, because it is not accountable, and therefore does not accomplish its ostensible goals and that as Ross points out, political actions are to blame for this.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #102 on: 01/16/2014 01:16 pm »

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!).   Sadly, the current situation has occurred for much the same reason too; a few usual suspects in DC who want to plus-up the funding for a single project, with the returns heading for their own districts/regions.


SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.

SLS used to be scheduled to launch in 2016.  Now it is scheduled to be launched in 2017.  Wait and see.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #103 on: 01/16/2014 01:16 pm »
Still wondering: does anybody know whether the House proposal to expend the termination reserves for both SLS and JWST is in the bill?

I don't think that it's in this bill. It's in a separate bill. I am not sure if it has support in the Senate.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2014 01:41 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Mark S

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #104 on: 01/16/2014 01:34 pm »
Does anyone have any information about what questionable diversions of SLS development funds, real or perceived, were made in the past to require this mandate in the bill?:

Quote
Due to continuing concerns regarding the diversion of funding intended for vehicle development to activities with only tangential relevance to SLS, NASA shall not use SLS funds for engineering or other activities that are not directly related to SLS vehicle development.

Thanks.

I saw that and have asked several fellow SLS employees about it. So far, we can't figure out what they're talking about.

Thanks Starlab90. I figured it was more a perception issue than reality, otherwise there would be hearings and investigations and expert panels convened. What I think this shows is that there is still a level of distrust between Congress and the Administration on the implementation and schedule for SLS. I myself am sure that all of the NASA employees and contractors on the front lines, who are doing the actual work, are doing their level best to make SLS a success. Whereas many see the Administration as still not exactly gung-ho on SLS and Orion.

Congress members (particularly those in the Senate) remember that they had to pass the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 over the Administration's objections. That Act basically forced the Administration's position away from the President's FY2011 proposal to replace Constellation with advanced research with no particular goal and no development program.

I also think that the proposed legislation to direct NASA to allow SLS and JWST contractors to spend their termination cost reserves falls into the same category (even though it seems to have been dropped). I recall that it was seen as a big deal when the Administration decided to enforce the termination cost reserve clauses in the contracts, with many people assuming that it was yet another way for the Administration to slow-roll these programs.

Thanks.

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #105 on: 01/16/2014 01:38 pm »
In fact, I'd probably be willing to shut up and ignore the waste if they didn't keep strangling almost everything else...

I think I might be willing to tone it down, if there was a permanent human presence BLEO.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #106 on: 01/16/2014 01:38 pm »
SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.

I struggle to accept that the evolution of its throw weight from 70 tons to 130 tons is characterized as "shrinking".
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Mark S

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #107 on: 01/16/2014 01:39 pm »

SLS is ahead of schedule and under or on budget.  Those are facts.  You come across as arm-waving.  Good day.

SLS used to be scheduled to launch in 2016.  Now it is scheduled to be launched in 2017.  Wait and see.

The 2010 Act did require SLS first launch before the end of 2016, true. But when it took a whole year for NASA to decide to actually follow the 2010 Act, it added a year to the schedule. This was not due to any technical delays, just the Administration dithering for a year.

Offline Mark S

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #108 on: 01/16/2014 01:46 pm »
SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.

I struggle to accept that the evolution of its throw weight from 70 tons to 130 tons is characterized as "shrinking".

That requirement is in the original 2010 Act, so how is NASA bloating it? They are simply meeting Congressional requirements. The Act called for 70 tons to LEO using the core elements without upper stage, and at least 130 tons to LEO by adding the upper stage. Then it turned out that 130 tons would require advanced boosters, too. That was in the Authorization Act language.

However, it has been in the past couple of Appropriation bills that NASA has been directed to develop the upper stage and advanced boosters simultaneously, instead of in a phased approach. I guess the Appropriators are in more of a hurry for the Block-2 than the Administration or the Authorization committees.

Mark S.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #109 on: 01/16/2014 01:48 pm »
SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.

I struggle to accept that the evolution of its throw weight from 70 tons to 130 tons is characterized as "shrinking".
Maybe it means the available floor space left over at MAF... ;)

I think a better choice of words would be "streamlined"...
« Last Edit: 01/16/2014 02:13 pm by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #110 on: 01/16/2014 02:27 pm »
And I wonder how much did that $100m "accelerate" Constellation by in the end?  :(

Yup, that Senator Shelby is definitely one honest, publicly-spirited statesman. You totally couldn't tell from his voting pattern and earmarks who his main campaign contributors are, which stocks he holds, or who his golfing buddies are. Definitely in no way a poster-child for why appropriation committee seats should have 4yr term limits.

~Jon

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #111 on: 01/16/2014 02:32 pm »

There's also the argument that the higher seat capacity of the CC vehicles will enable increasing the USOS crew from 3 to 4. Right now we only get about 1 person-year of research per year from the US side of the station (ie the 3 people are spending about 2-man-yrs/yr on running the ISS, and only a 1 man-yr/yr on research). Bumping the number up to 4 doesn't noticeably increase the non-research demands so you nearly double the amount of crew time available for research in a year. Especially with the station stretching out potentially to 2024 now, that means you're getting ~6-7 extra man-years of research out of the station compared to not doing commercial crew.

And there are other ways of improving things beyond this. One idea I heard at NSRC was using some of the extra seats (NASA only wants 4 of the 6-7 seats for the crew rotation) to house non-astronaut research specialists who would stay there for the two weeks during crew rotations, and who wouldn't be subject to the crew rest rules the long-term astronauts are (ie they could pull two 80hr weeks). Combine that with "sortie science", when you have payloads that you bring up with the vehicle, and turn around before the vehicle heads home, and you could actually see some really interesting results.

I haven't done all the analysis to quantify how big of a benefit this is, but one would think that doubling our crew research time per year ought to be a strong plus compared with the status quo of Soyuz flights.

~Jon

This has actually been the conops for quite some time, but it has been understood as to what would likely happen without concretely saying it. 

This is just one example that has been the failure of commercial crew from a policy perspective.  This administration did not make clear, consistent and salient points about the benefits.  Both on how that applies to NASA, industry and US efforts as a whole.  What happened instead was different rationale and "goals" to different audiences implying NASA and the administration had no idea what it was doing and why.  This hurt the program and it still suffers that handicap to this day because of that. 

The reason all the potential providers have a 7 crew capability is not a mystery.  It was driven by Bigelow as ISS always only really needed a 4 crew compliment.  However, this potential compliment offers options.  One of which is similar to what you mentioned above.  The other is a crew/cargo mix.  The additional crew time on ISS was actually a suggestion for shuttle-extension as well using that same rationale until CRS capabilities came online and we were near an alternate crew launch option. 

I definitely agree that the Administration has done a poor job of articulating this benefit. Well, to be frank, they've done an extremely poor job of articulating *any* of their preferred policies. Hopefully they can do a better job in the future, because at least for Commercial Crew, there's several legitimate arguments they ought to be making that I haven't heard them make yet.

~Jon

Offline Star One

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #112 on: 01/16/2014 03:16 pm »

PS Release:

US Congress Rejects White House Cuts to Planetary Exploration…Again

PASADENA, CA (January 14, 2014) - The FY2014 Omnibus spending bill, now before the U.S. Congress, once again rejects cuts to NASA’s Planetary Science Division that were sought by the White House. The Planetary Society commends Congress for this action, and strongly encourages the White House to prioritize Planetary Science in its future budget requests commensurate with its strong public and legislative support. The Society supports the passage of this bill for its additional Planetary Science funding as well as its overall funding levels allocated for NASA.
 
Congress plans to allocate $1.345 billion for NASA’s Planetary Science Division, $127 million more than requested by the White House. We strongly support the increase, but note that the number is well below the program’s historical average of $1.5 billion per year.
 
“This is pretty good news,” said Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye, “$1.345 billion for planetary science is good. Nevertheless, Congress and tens of thousands of Planetary Society members will continue to make the case for $1.5 billion. It's for the potential science gain and it's especially for the innovations that will come forth as we solve problems that have never been solved before. Planetary exploration is what NASA does best. We will keep up the fight.”
 
The additional funding ensures the steady development of the next major mission to Mars in 2020, which will store samples of the red planet for eventual return to Earth. It also provides $80 million for continued research into a flagship-class mission to explore Europa, the enigmatic moon of Jupiter that was recently revealed to be spouting its liquid-water ocean into space.
 
“Exploring Europa is no longer a ‘should’ but a ‘must’,” said Casey Dreier, The Planetary Society’s Director of Advocacy, “Congress made a smart decision to continue studying the Europa Clipper mission concept. There is bipartisan support and strong public interest in exploring Europa, the mission is technically feasible, and it is high priority within the scientific community. The White House should embrace this bold search for life and request a new start for this mission in FY2015.”
 
The Society also supports the congressional recommendation that NASA increase the pace of small planetary missions. We are particularly happy to see full congressional and White House support for restarting the nation’s Plutonium-238 production capability, which provides electrical power for many planetary science missions that can’t utilize solar panels.
 
The White House has requested cuts to planetary science for two years in a row, and for two years in a row Congress has rejected them. In light of this and the more than 50,000 messages sent to Congress and President Obama in support of NASA’s planetary science program last year, we urge the Office of Management and Budget to recognize the unprecedented public and legislative support for solar system exploration, and propose $1.5 billion for this program in their FY2015 budget request.

Chris thanks for that, glad to hear that Congress have rejected the cuts. Maybe next time around the planetary budget will be left alone.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #113 on: 01/16/2014 06:46 pm »
This [administrative delay from '16 to '17] was not due to any technical delays, just the Administration dithering for a year.

A delay is a delay.  Wait and see.  Probably, there will be new legislation with a later launch date.  This will ensure that there would be no legal delays in launching whatsoever.

SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.

I struggle to accept that the evolution of its throw weight from 70 tons to 130 tons is characterized as "shrinking".

That requirement is in the original 2010 Act, so how is NASA bloating it? ...

Say whatever makes ya feel good.  Technically, they rewrote the legislation so that now, there's no bloat whatsoever:  The LV shall have a throw weight of not less than 130 tons.

True, like they say, the available floor space at MAF is "shrinking".
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Mark S

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #114 on: 01/16/2014 07:55 pm »
This [administrative delay from '16 to '17] was not due to any technical delays, just the Administration dithering for a year.

A delay is a delay.  Wait and see.  Probably, there will be new legislation with a later launch date.  This will ensure that there would be no legal delays in launching whatsoever.


Yes, a delay is a delay, but it's not new and it has nothing to do with the recently passed appropriations. Which is what this thread is about.

Quote

SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.

I struggle to accept that the evolution of its throw weight from 70 tons to 130 tons is characterized as "shrinking".

That requirement is in the original 2010 Act, so how is NASA bloating it? ...

Say whatever makes ya feel good.  Technically, they rewrote the legislation so that now, there's no bloat whatsoever:  The LV shall have a throw weight of not less than 130 tons.

True, like they say, the available floor space at MAF is "shrinking".

It doesn't make me feel good. I'm no apologist for this Administration, which has clearly dragged its feet whenever and however possible. I'm just stating the facts, which seem to disagree with your world-view for some reason. Somehow, you seem to think that NASA meeting the original requirements of the NAA2010, which has been in place for over three years now, is bloating the SLS. Well, there may be bloat, but it's not new, and NASA is not doing it. It came straight from the hallowed halls of Congress, way back in October 2010.

But like you say, whatever makes you feel good.

Cheers!
Mark S.

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #115 on: 01/16/2014 09:41 pm »
SLS used to be scheduled to launch in 2016.  Now it is scheduled to be launched in 2017.

A delay is not a delay.

There is such a thing as schedule slip.  It's when a project is started with a certain end date in mind, and difficulties of one kind or another result in that date moving to the right.

This has, so far, not happened with SLS.

What happened was this:  Congress passed a law that said 2016.  The Administration dithered for a year before implementing the law, then claimed at program start that the earliest they could launch was 2017 (big surprise).  Congress reluctantly accepted this.

In other words, NASA never said 2016.  The master schedule never said 2016.  Ever since the program started, it's always been 2017.

Do you not understand the difference between a date the lawmakers say they want and a date the engineers say they can meet?  A change in the latter indicates program issues.  A change in the former does not.

(Though the above numbers do imply that Congress got some decent advice on what was possible, to have pegged the expected development duration so accurately...)

I struggle to accept that the evolution of its throw weight from 70 tons to 130 tons is characterized as "shrinking".

Like Mark S said, the requirement was in NAA2010.

And NASA's response at the time was to propose a 5-engine stretched core with advanced boosters, a huge 3xJ-2X upper stage and an in-space-only CPS with two block iterations.  It would have taken two whole decades to complete development, assuming no plus-up.

The current plan is looking more like a 4-engine stretched core with a single dual-use upper stage.  The advanced boosters are still in, but it has been suggested that they are less necessary for BEO capability, and the upper stage may be prioritized.  We shall see how it develops from here.

Congress' continuing emphasis on "130 tons" (this isn't the first time the "developed simultaneously" language has shown up) doesn't seem to be having much effect on what NASA is actually doing.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 12:53 am by 93143 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #116 on: 01/17/2014 12:57 am »
The Senate approved the omnibus bill by a vote of 72-26. It's on its way to the President:
http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/195749-senate-approves-1t-omnibus
« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 01:15 am by yg1968 »

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #117 on: 01/17/2014 02:11 am »
Mark and 93: I'm going to make this next comment about this, and then I'm going to drop it.

Yes, a delay is a delay, but it's not new and it has nothing to do with the recently passed appropriations. Which is what this thread is about.

Others brought up how SLS is not yet "technically" delayed; I just picked up on that.  I'm aware that NASA said that it wanted SLS, and then NASA took its sweet time to get cranking on the project, because they have to obey their executive leadership, which has some goal other than a timely completeion of the launch system.

All that anybody can say is wait and see.  It won't be your fault if there are future delays in the SLS program, technical or otherwise.  Yes, the program management team has a lot of eyes on them regarding cost and schedule.  We shall see what transpires.

Quote from: Mark
Somehow, you seem to think that NASA meeting the original requirements of the NAA2010, which has been in place for over three years now, is bloating the SLS.

The common sense interpretation of the "original requirements" was to start with a 70 ton LV that could be "evolved" to a 130 ton LV.  They deliberately interpreted the original requirements to mean building the 130 ton vehicle ASAP, and to call that "evolution".

Whether or not there was anything to put on top of the rocket, or anyplace to go, was "technically" not a part of the legal consideration regarding the throw weight of the vehicle.  There was only but so much money in the pot, and the SLS team has helped themselves.

You've probably read, or at least are aware of, the latest OIG report, where they've "bloated" the test stand requirement too, foregoing standard procedures, with no cause.

You and everybody else, cannot say anything other than, "We Shall See" if SLS launches on time and on budget.

SLS used to be scheduled to launch in 2016.  Now it is scheduled to be launched in 2017.

A delay is not a delay.

I know the drill.  Ignorance is truth.  Freedom is slavery.  And a "schedule slip" is not a "delay".  Which so far, hasn't happened.

Did I mention that "We Shall See" if SLS launches on time and on budget?
« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 02:12 am by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #118 on: 01/17/2014 02:16 am »
A delay is not a delay.

I know the drill.  Ignorance is truth.  Freedom is slavery.  And a "schedule slip" is not a "delay".  Which so far, hasn't happened.

Did I mention that "We Shall See" if SLS launches on time and on budget?

Don't worry, there's still people who not only think SLS will be on time and on budget, but that it will fly four times per year and cost less than a Shuttle launch every time too. Congress will assure it.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #119 on: 01/17/2014 03:30 am »
I'm aware that NASA said that it wanted SLS, and then NASA took its sweet time to get cranking on the project, because they have to obey their executive leadership, which has some goal other than a timely completeion of the launch system.

This is the salient point, I think.  The people who delayed SLS are not the people who are building it.

But this doesn't really fit in the "profit over accomplishment" box.  The delay was political, and it wasn't a 'porkbarrel for as long as possible' delay; it was a 'we don't want to do this at all' delay.  The opposite.

The people who are actually building SLS are the people who were setting up welding equipment and building "pathfinder" tanks before the program was even greenlit and the funding released.

...

Hey, look, the bill passed:

The Senate approved the omnibus bill by a vote of 72-26. It's on its way to the President:
http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/195749-senate-approves-1t-omnibus
« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 04:44 am by 93143 »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #120 on: 01/17/2014 06:20 am »
The common sense interpretation of the "original requirements" was to start with a 70 ton LV that could be "evolved" to a 130 ton LV.  They deliberately interpreted the original requirements to mean building the 130 ton vehicle ASAP, and to call that "evolution".

Whether or not there was anything to put on top of the rocket, or anyplace to go, was "technically" not a part of the legal consideration regarding the throw weight of the vehicle.  There was only but so much money in the pot, and the SLS team has helped themselves.
Loosely following SLS I got the impression the slack they designed it would give it about 105 tonnes from 1st launch, which sounded a pretty good start. But this new language pushes them anyway.  :(
Quote
You've probably read, or at least are aware of, the latest OIG report, where they've "bloated" the test stand requirement too, foregoing standard procedures, with no cause.
Indeed. It makes no rational sense, since it needs quite a lot more money (which NASA does not have) to accomplish a stated goal.  :( Unless of course there other unstated goals that people inside NASA wish to achieve by this. Wheather they are formal goals, goals set by NASA senior management or even legal, are other questions.  :(

I think it's important to remember that NASA is really 11 field centers (none of which can be shut down) + Headquarters.

And sometimes it looks like the only thing they have in common is the accounting system (which when it was finally set up found about $500Bn unaccounted for. That's not a typo. See the article in CFO magazine).  :(

« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 06:30 am by john smith 19 »
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Offline Proponent

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #121 on: 01/17/2014 10:15 am »
The delay was political, and it wasn't a 'porkbarrel for as long as possible' delay; it was a 'we don't want to do this at all' delay.

I'm not quite sure how to interpret "political" in this context.  SLS, its specs having been, quite extraordinarily, written into the law by politicians, is fundamentally political.  The foot dragging in regard to SLS was backed by the Booz Allen Hamilton report (which SLS's congressional supporters never addressed, though Sen. Hutchison did once go to the trouble of misrepresenting it).  That report was written by people nominally qualified in the field.  Where is the equivalent study, by qualified engineers, recommending SLS?  How would such a study even be possible, given that SLS's objectives have been so loosely defined?  So who's being political?

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #122 on: 01/17/2014 12:27 pm »
SLS, its specs having been, quite extraordinarily, written into the law by politicians, is fundamentally political.

The meme about Congress writing all of the technical specifications for SLS
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #123 on: 01/17/2014 12:29 pm »
...Unless of course there other unstated goals ...

The stated goal of profit trumping accomplishment doesn't poll well.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #124 on: 01/17/2014 12:34 pm »
The people who delayed SLS are not the people who are building it.

I'm quite aware that you didn't say anything to me in that post, but I repeat that I have never suggested that the workforce is the problem.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #125 on: 01/17/2014 01:33 pm »
The stated goal of profit trumping accomplishment doesn't poll well.
I find that hard to believe.

"Last year Senator / Congressman xxx kept yyy 1000 jobs in the state/district by forcing the Legislature to support his cockamamie ZZZZ plan. Vote Senator / Congressman xxx. Keep them in their job so you can stay in yours".

What could go wrong with a pitch like that?* A simple naked appeal to the electorates desire for cash.  :)

*Caution. IANAPR
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Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #126 on: 01/17/2014 01:35 pm »
If we are going to argue that the technical specs weren't written into law, then lets actually talk about 2012 - it wasn't an attempt to say no SLS.  It was an attempt to address the high costs associated with shuttle legacy hardware, by considering commercial options.
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #127 on: 01/17/2014 01:45 pm »
Can we get back on to the thread title, which is about FY2014.

Offline muomega0

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #128 on: 01/17/2014 02:46 pm »
Sure.   The 2014 budget is very interesting……

Cost Scrutiny at the $1B/yr or less level
Quote
formulation and development costs (with development cost as defined under
4 section 30104 of title 51, United States Code) for JWST shall not exceed 8B
So the fiscally conscious congress has restated the FY12 8B JWST development cap and agreed to a Oct 2018 launch where the cost estimate is consistent with the 66 percent joint confidence level with a cost confidence level that is significantly higher than the 80 percent recommended by the ICRP and actually defined “development” costs and the costs are about 0.5B/year for the next few years.

Quote from: yg1968
$0.17B shall be made available after the Administrator of the NASA has certified that the commercial crew program has undergone an independent benefit-cost analysis that takes into consideration the total Federal investment
Congress is actually telling NASA to follow the original charter set up in the NASA SPACE Act and perform the long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from its aero and space activities for the TOTAL FEDERAL (not NASA) investment, but only for commercial crew.

For all those calling for the right program for the right budget, it appears Congress agrees:  Deliver JWST by Oct 2018  (an existing program) and tell us why the LEO crew program (newer program) (can we find another name?) that keeps cargo/crew separate makes sense in relation to the total Federal budget.   IOW:  before the US commits dollars to a long term path, does it make sense and is it transparent.

This is actually good language.

Cost scrutiny above the 1B/yr level
Quote
Provided, That not less than $1,197,000,000 shall be for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle… That not less than $1,918,200,000 shall be for the SLS

Where are the caps on costs?   Long term benefit analysis of the HLV Evolution?   What are the cost and schedule confidence levels?   Where is the word *development*?

In the attached plot, can one expect long term benefit analysis for all the items?  This is very likely indeed, IMHO.

the non LEO LV
Quote
SLS shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric tons and which shall have an upper stage and other core elements developed simultaneously
Well then, that is very interesting indeed since it did not state liquids or solids and IMHO, it will remain a solids configuration since the cash to develop liquids is not in place.

But Uh-oh…  ”We continue to hear that SLS/MPCV system will serve as a back-up for Earth-to-orbit transporation in the unlikely event that none of the other systems in the development are successful.  Last years request for this “back-up system” was more than 300% of the appropriated level of the primary system.  but its no longer a backup at 130 mT or is NASA really going to send a 9 mT capsule to LEO on a 130 mT LV?

At least the asteroid retrieval mission is back in study phase,  so if its 10 years away at 2.9B/yr, how does HLV compare to the alternatives?  If the study does not work out, 29B for no mission?

Now other long term benefit studies show that for 15 missions over 20 years, depot centric is $57B cheaper.  Perhaps it’s now time for reusable vehicles to fill up at fuel depots complemented by EP and travel to multiple destinations and starting working on an L2 Gateway architecture rather than one legged stools.

Termination of SLS/Orion
Quote
Due to continuing concerns regarding the diversion of funding intended for vehicle development to activities with only tangential relevance to SLS, NASA shall not use SLS funds for engineering or other activities that are not directly related to SLS vehicle development.

Still wondering: does anybody know whether the House proposal to expend the termination reserves for both SLS and JWST is in the bill?
SLS funding being diverted?   If you look at the attached plot, quite a shift has occurred to cross agency support, so this does not seem likely.......*unless* you consider SLS/Orion termination.  In this case, it prevents a major source of funding to be redirected to something NASA actually needs.  What is up with that?
« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 03:33 pm by muomega0 »

Offline Prober

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #129 on: 01/17/2014 05:52 pm »
SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.

I struggle to accept that the evolution of its throw weight from 70 tons to 130 tons is characterized as "shrinking".

That requirement is in the original 2010 Act, so how is NASA bloating it? They are simply meeting Congressional requirements. The Act called for 70 tons to LEO using the core elements without upper stage, and at least 130 tons to LEO by adding the upper stage. Then it turned out that 130 tons would require advanced boosters, too. That was in the Authorization Act language.

However, it has been in the past couple of Appropriation bills that NASA has been directed to develop the upper stage and advanced boosters simultaneously, instead of in a phased approach. I guess the Appropriators are in more of a hurry for the Block-2 than the Administration or the Authorization committees.

Mark S.

and Congress see's the level of progress, then looks at the walls and see's a 2014 calendar.

Maybe the movie "gravity" had more to do with this budget?  The public sure had more interest in the ISS and space of late.

« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 06:01 pm by Prober »
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Offline Go4TLI

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #130 on: 01/17/2014 06:04 pm »
The delay was political, and it wasn't a 'porkbarrel for as long as possible' delay; it was a 'we don't want to do this at all' delay.

I'm not quite sure how to interpret "political" in this context.  SLS, its specs having been, quite extraordinarily, written into the law by politicians, is fundamentally political.  The foot dragging in regard to SLS was backed by the Booz Allen Hamilton report (which SLS's congressional supporters never addressed, though Sen. Hutchison did once go to the trouble of misrepresenting it).  That report was written by people nominally qualified in the field.  Where is the equivalent study, by qualified engineers, recommending SLS?  How would such a study even be possible, given that SLS's objectives have been so loosely defined?  So who's being political?

In the multitude of trade studies performed. 

Everyone goes on claiming they truly understand why it costs X dollars.  Few on here really get it.  It's not the hardware, it's the rules for procurement and requirements that are levied upon everyone by the federal government. 

Offline muomega0

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #131 on: 01/17/2014 06:25 pm »
SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.

I struggle to accept that the evolution of its throw weight from 70 tons to 130 tons is characterized as "shrinking".

That requirement is in the original 2010 Act, so how is NASA bloating it? They are simply meeting Congressional requirements. The Act called for 70 tons to LEO using the core elements without upper stage, and at least 130 tons to LEO by adding the upper stage. Then it turned out that 130 tons would require advanced boosters, too. That was in the Authorization Act language.

However, it has been in the past couple of Appropriation bills that NASA has been directed to develop the upper stage and advanced boosters simultaneously, instead of in a phased approach. I guess the Appropriators are in more of a hurry for the Block-2 than the Administration or the Authorization committees.

Mark S.

and Congress see's the level of progress, then looks at the walls and see's a 2014 calendar.
So what happens to EM-1 and EM-2, both with solids?  Block Ib was around ~118 mT

What is the launch date for the 130mT?   

Online rcoppola

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #132 on: 01/17/2014 06:44 pm »
The delay was political, and it wasn't a 'porkbarrel for as long as possible' delay; it was a 'we don't want to do this at all' delay.

I'm not quite sure how to interpret "political" in this context.  SLS, its specs having been, quite extraordinarily, written into the law by politicians, is fundamentally political.  The foot dragging in regard to SLS was backed by the Booz Allen Hamilton report (which SLS's congressional supporters never addressed, though Sen. Hutchison did once go to the trouble of misrepresenting it).  That report was written by people nominally qualified in the field.  Where is the equivalent study, by qualified engineers, recommending SLS?  How would such a study even be possible, given that SLS's objectives have been so loosely defined?  So who's being political?

In the multitude of trade studies performed. 

Everyone goes on claiming they truly understand why it costs X dollars.  Few on here really get it.  It's not the hardware, it's the rules for procurement and requirements that are levied upon everyone by the federal government.
Yes, bureaucratic, regulatory bloat is a rather large issue in just about every agency we have.

So for instance, as impressive as the quarterly video reports on SLS are, the sheer scale of how many people (Gov & Private Contractor) and places (NASA Centers, Private locals) it highlights, seems quite inefficient. And I speak as a big supporter of SLS but not necessarily of Orion, although that's a conversation for another thread.

By the way, can NASA please give a darn name to this Rocket. SLS refers to the "System". We need a name for the launcher only!!
« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 06:53 pm by rcoppola »
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #133 on: 01/17/2014 06:54 pm »
Everyone goes on claiming they truly understand why it costs X dollars.  Few on here really get it.  It's not the hardware, it's the rules for procurement and requirements that are levied upon everyone by the federal government.
Yes, bureaucratic, regulatory bloat is a rather large issue in just about every agency we have.

So for instance, as impressive as the quarterly video reports on SLS are, the sheer scale of how many people (Gov & Private Contractor) and places (NASA Centers, Private locals) it highlights, seems quite inefficient. And I speak as a big supporter of SLS but not necessarily of Orion, although that's a conversation for another thread.

This is not something the government did voluntarily, it was forced on them by low-bid contractors not delivering what was needed and getting away with it because the contracts were not specific enough.
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Online rcoppola

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #134 on: 01/17/2014 07:30 pm »
Everyone goes on claiming they truly understand why it costs X dollars.  Few on here really get it.  It's not the hardware, it's the rules for procurement and requirements that are levied upon everyone by the federal government.
Yes, bureaucratic, regulatory bloat is a rather large issue in just about every agency we have.

So for instance, as impressive as the quarterly video reports on SLS are, the sheer scale of how many people (Gov & Private Contractor) and places (NASA Centers, Private locals) it highlights, seems quite inefficient. And I speak as a big supporter of SLS but not necessarily of Orion, although that's a conversation for another thread.

This is not something the government did voluntarily, it was forced on them by low-bid contractors not delivering what was needed and getting away with it because the contracts were not specific enough.
It's not my intention to "blame" anyone. It's just very hard to hold anyone truly accountable because of the largess created by so many layers of regulatory, bureaucratic management to hide or get lost behind. Unfortunately, Congress decided to make a stand with the one program that could help alleviate some of this largess in withholding 170Mill from CC, Ironically, they did this because NASA has not provided any coherent rationalization for the requested funds. So round and round we go.
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Offline jongoff

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #135 on: 01/17/2014 10:35 pm »
SLS, its specs having been, quite extraordinarily, written into the law by politicians, is fundamentally political.

The meme about Congress writing all of the technical specifications for SLS !

No, the specs were written by engineers at companies who donate lots of money to the politicians who wrote the law, and whose companies stood to benefit directly from getting their hardware required by law. See, it wasn't Congress writing the technical specs, so that makes it oh so much better, right?

And to bring this back to talking about the FY14 Omnibus bill, it's pretty clear from the insistence on 130 tons right away (evolution/schmevolution) that the primary concern of the appropriations committee is insuring the right companies continue to get paid for hardware that isn't actually needed by gaming the requirements. But I'm sure that they didn't write these requirements either. I'm sure there were actual rocket engineers involved in the insistence on the specific technical requirements embedded into the appropriations bill. I'm also pretty confident I can guess which companies said engineers work for.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 01/17/2014 10:40 pm by jongoff »

Offline neilh

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #136 on: 01/18/2014 12:04 am »
SLS, its specs having been, quite extraordinarily, written into the law by politicians, is fundamentally political.

The meme about Congress writing all of the technical specifications for SLS !

No, the specs were written by engineers at companies who donate lots of money to the politicians who wrote the law, and whose companies stood to benefit directly from getting their hardware required by law. See, it wasn't Congress writing the technical specs, so that makes it oh so much better, right?

And to bring this back to talking about the FY14 Omnibus bill, it's pretty clear from the insistence on 130 tons right away (evolution/schmevolution) that the primary concern of the appropriations committee is insuring the right companies continue to get paid for hardware that isn't actually needed by gaming the requirements. But I'm sure that they didn't write these requirements either. I'm sure there were actual rocket engineers involved in the insistence on the specific technical requirements embedded into the appropriations bill. I'm also pretty confident I can guess which companies said engineers work for.

~Jon

In case anybody forgot this example from a past budget, citing Senator Hatch's press release:

https://web.archive.org/web/20110203143824/http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=602f9c19-1b78-be3e-e07e-fb550421a64a&Month=11&Year=2010
Quote
The language Hatch was successful in getting inserted in the NASA Authorization Act does not require the new heavy-lift rocket to use solid rocket motors. But delegation members say the Utah experts they consulted say the legislation’s requirements for the heavy-lift rocket can only be realistically met by using solid rocket motors.

For example, the rocket must be designed from its inception to carry 130 tons. The heavier the payload the more likely the rocket will use solid rocket motors. The law also requires NASA to use, as much as practical, existing contracts, workforces and industries for the Space Shuttle and Ares rockets.

Guess which company the "Utah experts" work for?
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Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #137 on: 01/18/2014 01:51 am »
Look - all the bickering about boe... and ATK may make us feel better but you will not change anyone's mind in congress.  Just look at www.opensecrets.org and start snooping.  I did this back in 2011 and I should have learned then - but I didn't and we didn't.

There is really only one thing that will end SLS and that is when someone proves to everyone else but congress that we can conduct BEO exploration with <INSERT FAVORITE COMMERCIAL ROCKET HERE>. 

While I appreciate the efforts of SpaceX (Spacex for Jim), we should all know by now that SpX is not the end all be all.  They are no Obi Won Kanobi and the only hope.  You can do things with Delta IV.  You can do things with Atlas V.  Those vehicles may or may not be suitable for some commercial company to launch BEO hardware.

I respect the hell out of our friends here who are the signal and not the noise... but the DC Noise is being cranked out by a Lemmy Kilmister Marshall head and two full stacks.  The truth is that NASA will continue to develop what the congress wants and then get flogged for having nothing to ride on top. 

Whatever - smoke em if you got em.  I still feel those who support commercial should be happy with the $696 million - $1 million for the CBA.

That was and is a good deal.

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 joek

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #138 on: 01/18/2014 02:02 am »
The truth is that NASA will continue to develop what the congress wants and then get flogged for having nothing to ride on top. 

Great rant.  I would only point out that no one should find the "truth" surprising.  Congressionally mandated projects are, as codified by NASA policy and guidelines, "class 1" projects (highest priority, handle with greatest care).

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #139 on: 01/18/2014 02:48 am »
« Last Edit: 01/18/2014 02:50 am by yg1968 »

Offline MP99

Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #140 on: 01/18/2014 03:25 pm »
There's also the argument that the higher seat capacity of the CC vehicles will enable increasing the USOS crew from 3 to 4. Right now we only get about 1 person-year of research per year from the US side of the station (ie the 3 people are spending about 2-man-yrs/yr on running the ISS, and only a 1 man-yr/yr on research). Bumping the number up to 4 doesn't noticeably increase the non-research demands so you nearly double the amount of crew time available for research in a year. Especially with the station stretching out potentially to 2024 now, that means you're getting ~6-7 extra man-years of research out of the station compared to not doing commercial crew.

And there are other ways of improving things beyond this. One idea I heard at NSRC was using some of the extra seats (NASA only wants 4 of the 6-7 seats for the crew rotation) to house non-astronaut research specialists who would stay there for the two weeks during crew rotations, and who wouldn't be subject to the crew rest rules the long-term astronauts are (ie they could pull two 80hr weeks). Combine that with "sortie science", when you have payloads that you bring up with the vehicle, and turn around before the vehicle heads home, and you could actually see some really interesting results.

I haven't done all the analysis to quantify how big of a benefit this is, but one would think that doubling our crew research time per year ought to be a strong plus compared with the status quo of Soyuz flights.

~Jon

Congress's response to that:-

"Not only do you want us to fund Commercial Crew, but you also want us to find twice as much money to pay for experiments, as well?!?!"

Cheers, Martin

Offline robertross

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #141 on: 01/18/2014 04:01 pm »
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #142 on: 01/18/2014 04:05 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Indeed. Being under a CR also often blocks new initiatives from being announced. So hopefully this bill allows NASA to announce some new initiatives.
« Last Edit: 01/18/2014 04:48 pm by yg1968 »

Offline jongoff

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #143 on: 01/18/2014 06:18 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Indeed. Being under a CR also often blocks new initiatives from being announced. So hopefully this bill allows NASA to announce some new initiatives.

Agreed. For all my complaining about relative numbers/priorities, this is still better than never-ending CRs.

Also, FWIW, I'm going to try and turn-over a new leaf, and stop insulting public officials on the internet. I'll have to find some other outlet for my "righteous indignation".

Jon

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #144 on: 01/18/2014 07:18 pm »
We all could try to do that, Jon. It's just... they make it so easy!! ;)
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #145 on: 01/18/2014 08:30 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Indeed. Being under a CR also often blocks new initiatives from being announced. So hopefully this bill allows NASA to announce some new initiatives.

Yes indeed.  Finally some stability for a year.  As to SLS, we shall see.  I do worry that the "initiatives" to be announced will actually call for more "studies".
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #146 on: 01/18/2014 10:18 pm »
PS Release:

US Congress Rejects White House Cuts to Planetary Exploration…Again

Good to hear, and I like to think the white house was relying on this.

Offline Star One

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #147 on: 01/19/2014 09:07 am »

PS Release:

US Congress Rejects White House Cuts to Planetary Exploration…Again

Good to hear, and I like to think the white house was relying on this.

I see they also put language in warning NASA not to move the money around to other areas such as Earth Sciences.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #148 on: 01/21/2014 12:43 pm »
Sorry! I posted this on the wrong thread! ;D

This went off topic into a SLS architecture discussion, again. So I've saved the posts and will look to incorporate into a different thread.

Remember to work with the thread title.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #149 on: 01/21/2014 02:10 pm »
For all the SLS itchy teeth posts, use this one:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33864.0

Offline john smith 19

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #150 on: 01/21/2014 10:12 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Indeed. Being under a CR also often blocks new initiatives from being announced. So hopefully this bill allows NASA to announce some new initiatives.

Yes indeed.  Finally some stability for a year.  As to SLS, we shall see.  I do worry that the "initiatives" to be announced will actually call for more "studies".
I wonder if there's any chance next year could be settled as (relatively) easily as this year's?  :(
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Offline robertross

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #151 on: 01/22/2014 01:54 am »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Indeed. Being under a CR also often blocks new initiatives from being announced. So hopefully this bill allows NASA to announce some new initiatives.

Yes indeed.  Finally some stability for a year.  As to SLS, we shall see.  I do worry that the "initiatives" to be announced will actually call for more "studies".
I wonder if there's any chance next year could be settled as (relatively) easily as this year's?  :(

Ah, but that's a 2015 question, and we are only on 2014 here  ;)

I'm sure we'll start speculating on it once a draft is released
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Offline muomega0

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #152 on: 01/22/2014 04:28 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Indeed. Being under a CR also often blocks new initiatives from being announced. So hopefully this bill allows NASA to announce some new initiatives.

Agreed. For all my complaining about relative numbers/priorities, this is still better than never-ending CRs.

Also, FWIW, I'm going to try and turn-over a new leaf, and stop insulting public officials on the internet. I'll have to find some other outlet for my "righteous indignation".
Jon
its a double edged sword.   Without CR, new missions can be announced, and forced to fit into the architecture of record, or give them relief.

Watch as EM-1 and/or 2 are redefined to incorporate a mission, justifying a slip in schedule, not really included the bill.  This may create an opportunity as well.

Costs over a decade are not considered (long term benefits) only FY at a time, as pointed out in the FY 2014 Appropriation SLS References Thread, that congressional cost scrutiny does not apply to programs above $1b/year.  

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #153 on: 01/22/2014 04:57 pm »
Congressional cost scrutiny doesn't apply below $1 billion... Now if this isn't indicative of exactly what's wrong with today's Congress, then nothing is. But anyway. Civility, and all that. :D
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Offline Prober

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #154 on: 01/22/2014 05:21 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Enjoy it for a few weeks.....hate to burst your bubble (pop) :o

Some factors: Election Year
                     Next Major battle is to fund the government by borrowing more on the government credit card say adding another Trillion in long term debt.   Some in Congress are willing to die on their sword (not get reelected) on the principal of not adding more to the debt.

Strap yourself in its going to be a rocky ride.
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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #155 on: 01/22/2014 05:28 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Enjoy it for a few weeks.....hate to burst your bubble (pop) :o

Some factors: Election Year
                     Next Major battle is to fund the government by borrowing more on the government credit card say adding another Trillion in long term debt.   Some in Congress are willing to die on their sword (not get reelected) on the principal of not adding more to the debt.

Strap yourself in its going to be a rocky ride.

And yet they just voted to do that.
"In principle, rocket engines are simple, but that’s the last place rocket engines are ever simple." Jeff Bezos

Offline muomega0

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #156 on: 01/22/2014 05:47 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Enjoy it for a few weeks.....hate to burst your bubble (pop) :o

Some factors: Election Year
                     Next Major battle is to fund the government by borrowing more on the government credit card say adding another Trillion in long term debt.   Some in Congress are willing to die on their sword (not get reelected) on the principal of not adding more to the debt.

Strap yourself in its going to be a rocky ride.

And yet they just voted to do that.
So the rest of congress could say
  A) spend 2.9B/year on SLS/Orion
  B) spend 2.9B/yr on anything but SLS/Orion (in our districts:) )
        1 - NASA budget remains the same
        2 - NASA budget drops
        3 - Transitions all folks to new work
        4-  pays unemployment benefits or a mix of 3/4

That is why having the bill state all funding must be used for vehicle development is puzzling.

Last time i checked, the yearly deficit decreased from 1.4T to 0.7T.  If you cut 0.7T *AND* did not borrow the cash, thats quite a few more unemployed than the 2.9B/yr.

Prober:  yet this is really not explained by those who think the cash is put back in hands of the people, is it?
http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/30/news/economy/deficit-2013-treasury/   

Online Lar

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #157 on: 01/22/2014 06:18 pm »
Let's not veer too far into general politics shall we? Or I'll have to start telling you all why Libertarianism is so awesome... and we all know that would end badly.
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Offline M129K

Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #158 on: 01/22/2014 06:26 pm »
Let's not veer too far into general politics shall we? Or I'll have to start telling you all why Libertarianism is so awesome... and we all know that would end badly.
From my personal list of rules of life:

"Rule 3: Discussions on the internet, especially related to religion or politics, will almost never turn out well and should be avoided if possible. "

So yeah we should avoid it, because nobody ever agrees on anything.

Offline Prober

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #159 on: 01/22/2014 08:36 pm »
Obama signed the FY 2014 Omnibus bill today:
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/195856-obama-signs-11t-omnibus

Finally some stability.

Enjoy it for a few weeks.....hate to burst your bubble (pop) :o

Some factors: Election Year
                     Next Major battle is to fund the government by borrowing more on the government credit card say adding another Trillion in long term debt.   Some in Congress are willing to die on their sword (not get reelected) on the principal of not adding more to the debt.

Strap yourself in its going to be a rocky ride.

And yet they just voted to do that.
On the face of it would look that way.   
 ::)

Just for the heck of it put in a search of deficit for Social Security this article was one that popped up.
You Think The Deficit Is Bad? Federal Unfunded Liabilities Exceed $127 Trillion
http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/01/17/you-think-the-deficit-is-bad-federal-unfunded-liabilities-exceed-127-trillion/
« Last Edit: 01/23/2014 01:18 am by Prober »
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Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #160 on: 01/23/2014 12:38 am »
One of the Hill article said that the fact that they came to an agreement on FY 2014 bolds well for FY 2015. The budget deal actually covers both FY 2014 and 2015, so at least the overall numbers are set for FY 2015. The President will come out with a FY 2015 Budget in March which should match the numbers of the Budget deal. The Appropriation process should start after that.

They will probably argue about raising the debt ceiling but an agreement should be reached since neither party wants to shut down the government (even if it's a partial shutdown).
« Last Edit: 01/23/2014 03:33 pm by yg1968 »

Offline deltaV

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #161 on: 01/23/2014 02:13 am »
The budget deal actually covers both FY 2014 and 2015, so at least the overall numbers are set for FY 2015.

Excellent!

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #162 on: 01/23/2014 04:34 pm »
Congressional cost scrutiny doesn't apply below $1 billion...

That's not true at all.

Congress pays attention to whatever it wants to pay attention to. They regularly hold hearings on budget issues that are much less than $1 billion. I once worked on a project that was congressionally mandated and assessed a $4.5 million annual budget.


Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #163 on: 01/24/2014 12:44 am »
Congressional cost scrutiny doesn't apply below $1 billion...

That's not true at all.

Congress pays attention to whatever it wants to pay attention to. They regularly hold hearings on budget issues that are much less than $1 billion. I once worked on a project that was congressionally mandated and assessed a $4.5 million annual budget.
...Reread what you quoted from what I wrote. :)
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Online Blackstar

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #164 on: 01/24/2014 03:16 am »
Congressional cost scrutiny doesn't apply below $1 billion...

That's not true at all.

Congress pays attention to whatever it wants to pay attention to. They regularly hold hearings on budget issues that are much less than $1 billion. I once worked on a project that was congressionally mandated and assessed a $4.5 million annual budget.
...Reread what you quoted from what I wrote. :)

I did. You're saying that Congress doesn't scrutinize costs below $1 billion. And that's not true.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #165 on: 01/24/2014 04:28 am »
Hmm... Well, I actually meant to say what you're saying! Mea culpa.

It sometimes feels like Congressional cost scrutiny /only/ applies to things below $1 billion... (that's what I meant to say!)
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Proponent

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #166 on: 01/24/2014 12:33 pm »
Finally some stability.

Enjoy it for a few weeks.....hate to burst your bubble (pop) :o

Some factors: Election Year

<snip>

Strap yourself in its going to be a rocky ride.

I expect the opposite:  for the most part, voters don't like government shutdowns and such.  With 2014 being an election year, congressoids will for the most part behave better this year than last.  I draw support for this view from the fact that shutdowns occurred in the non-election years of 2011 and 2013, but not in the election year of 2012.

I'm sure there will be lots screaming and shouting as the aforementioned congressoids voice hard-line views because they think it will improve the electoral prospects, but I don't expect actions to match words.

Offline jongoff

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #167 on: 01/24/2014 02:51 pm »
Hmm... Well, I actually meant to say what you're saying! Mea culpa.

It sometimes feels like Congressional cost scrutiny /only/ applies to things below $1 billion... (that's what I meant to say!)

That's what I thought you meant, but you had me scratching my head as well.

~Jon

Offline RanulfC

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #168 on: 01/24/2014 03:47 pm »
Let's not veer too far into general politics shall we? Or I'll have to start telling you all why Libertarianism is so awesome... and we all know that would end badly.
From my personal list of rules of life:

"Rule 3: Discussions on the internet, especially related to religion or politics, will almost never turn out well and should be avoided if possible. "

So yeah we should avoid it, because nobody ever agrees on anything.

That's not true!

(Sorry, I couldn't resist... really should have, but... :) )

Randy
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Online Blackstar

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #169 on: 01/24/2014 03:55 pm »
Hmm... Well, I actually meant to say what you're saying! Mea culpa.

It sometimes feels like Congressional cost scrutiny /only/ applies to things below $1 billion... (that's what I meant to say!)

Okay, so we're agreeing. Well, we agree on the first part. I would also agree that sometimes it "feels" like they only pay attention to the little stuff. I do think that they also look at the big stuff too. For instance, there's a current dispute over extending unemployment benefits to millions of long-term unemployed people, and the Republicans are insisting that if the government does this, they also have to find an equal amount of money in savings. I'll leave aside the merits of those arguments (and also leave aside the issue of whether the Republicans might be a wee bit hypocritical in how they apply the issue of budget offsets in some situations but not in others). I'd just point out that it's an issue involving billions of dollars, and they are paying close attention to it. Partisan attention on both sides of course, but they're not ignoring it.

I know that this is a losing argument, but although it is currently very popular to hate hate HATE Congress and to think that they're all a bunch of incompetent boobs, there are many cases throughout recent history, both in the space field and outside of it, where Congress has applied very reasonable scrutiny to executive branch plans. Lots of people complain that Congress "micromanages" programs. But those arguments often seem to be based upon the belief that the original program plans were sensible and that the executive branch doesn't mess up or mismanage and therefore doesn't deserve to have things micromanaged by Congress.

There have been a number of cases where the executive branch announces plans to do something and the response from Congress has been "Show us your analysis that led you to that conclusion," and often the response from the executive branch is simply silence, because they never did the analysis in the first place. An example that I brought up on the history thread is the case of the Global Hawk high altitude unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. The Air Force (i.e. the White House telling the Air Force) stated in a planning document that the Global Hawk was "vital to national security." Then about six months later, the Air Force announced plans to cancel all procurement and retire the planes. Congress--quite rightly--asked the Air Force to explain how come they had completely reversed their position in such a short time. What was their basis for doing so? What had suddenly made the Global Hawk "non vital" for national security?

There are in fact lots of examples of this in DoD programs. The military is somewhat notorious for making major buy or cancellation decisions without providing any more justification other than "we just decided to do it." You can look at the history of the Zumwalt destroyer program (I think the Navy originally stated a need for 12, then 9, then suddenly cut it to 3). Or you can look at the C-27J small transport aircraft (the Army was originally going to buy them, the Air Force objected and said that they would buy them, then the Air Force cancelled the program--leaving the Army hanging--and decided to mothball brand new aircraft). Congress questioned the Air Force's justification for doing that. Or look at the C-17 Globemaster program (no clear indication by USAF about how they determined how many planes they require). There are also NASA examples too, like the FY2011 budget proposal that included a huge amount of money for R&D without any indication of what that money would be spent on. Or look at NASA administrator O'Keefe's decision to not send a shuttle mission to service Hubble because it was too risky, and then NASA never produced the risk analysis that they claimed they had used for the decision (and many people later concluded did not exist in the first place). In all of those cases, Congress told the DoD/NASA to produce a better justification for what they wanted to do. Congress was forcing them to be more open and honest about their decisions.

So it's easy to bash Congress. I'm not too fond of them myself. But they actually do provide useful scrutiny of executive branch decisions. And there are a lot of very smart people working for some of the permanent committees in Congress. They know the right questions to ask, and they get their bosses to ask them.
« Last Edit: 01/24/2014 09:17 pm by Blackstar »

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #170 on: 01/25/2014 12:34 pm »
So the President's budget is expected to be released March 4:

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/01/24/pentagon-expects-to-release-2015-budget-on-march-4/

Although that's the date, I've heard from somebody at NASA that they're still awaiting word from OMB. It sounds like at NASA they may end up scrambling to get the budget ready by that time, but the entire budget is released at once, so if DoD's budget is released on March 4, so will NASA's.

Offline muomega0

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #171 on: 01/27/2014 02:24 pm »
Hmm... Well, I actually meant to say what you're saying! Mea culpa.

It sometimes feels like Congressional cost scrutiny /only/ applies to things below $1 billion... (that's what I meant to say!)
Okay, so we're agreeing. Well, we agree on the first part. I would also agree that sometimes it "feels" like they only pay attention to the little stuff. I do think that they also look at the big stuff too.

There is quite a difference between looking and action. Your words are passionate, but they do not persuade.

As pointed out, Congress Capped JWST at 8B total development cost, and NASA must certify with long-range studies has potential benefits for the TOTAL FEDERAL (not NASA) investment, but only for commercial crew, both programs below $1B/yr.

Many years ago, Augustine stated the program was unsustainable even with $3B more per year--find the right program for the right budget.  What happened to this study?

Many years ago, NASA internal studies indicate that for 15 missions over 20 years, the alternatives are at least $57B cheaper, so even with the plus up, why keep HLV around?  http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1577

Apollo 13 is an example of how the capsule was abandoned during an emergency, so why take a 6+mT capsule with a 20 day capacity designed for LEO ascent and return on a one year round trip to Mars, when the capsule or a reuseable, should be parked and powered down at L2? The 1.5 LV architecture separated cargo and crew and assembled in LEO. Now the crew is sent directly to BEO--where are the studies justifying this change and why do they exclude COTS?

ESAS used flawed assumptions--the result: eliminate all 3 or more launch solutions due to AR&D risk, even though five, no six flights were needed by Ares V due to boiloff of high ISP propellant. NASA Admin did the dirty work in 2005.  Where was the Congressional Scutiny that brought NASA the HLV Evolution?

The SLS supporters keep pushing the one legged stool to the moon, but twice a year, 6 day lunar sorties is 240 mT (2x120mt). So if one simply flew a *SINGLE* LV 10 times, that's a 24mT LV! However, the US and the world has excess capacity, so this makes the sizing solely based on the hardware, none of which exceeds 20 mT.  Congressional scrutiny?

Even Boeing knows that the LEO gas n go architecture is the logical next step which provides a cheap increase in payload to the science missions, GEO comm satellites, and HSF missions. The LEO depot would progress to a hybrid chemical/EP, flexible path architecture based on a L2 Gateway, that serve as a staging point to Mars, telescope servicing, and lunar science and communications.  Perhaps spending the R&D money on things NASA actually requires to explore would be beneficial, rather than engines and capsules?

Note the 100M cut to the JWST program in one FY by the departing 2008 Congress..an example of being cost conscious?

What is completely missing from this discussion is the long term benefits study for the total federal budget including HLV.    Note the original Shuttle designers have on public record that they never considered $/kg as a metric. Or will the public 'never know the difference'? --a reflection of the current culture.

NASA is "not allowed to have the program fail"--it has to keep SLS/Orion around with the 70/130mT clause--Congress did the dirty work or tricks in 2010. NASA was handed a "D" or "F" program, capped at *only* 2.5+B/yr, to be continued at this funding level for decades with sole source contracts, and could not even include a non gravity well mission (no DSH or lander required) to increase the mission set by one for the rocket to nowhere. Quite honestly, most have no idea of the kludged versions of SLS that are planned to fly yet 'SLS is on time and on budget'.

NASA is held to an impossible standard, with the SLS supporters unaccountable for any part of their role to offer a solution to the budget limitation. It was easier to not present any challenge forward (redo Apollo), its okay to underperform; its okay not to ask more of the 'kids'-its all the teachers/admin fault-not the requirement generating 'parents'. An example of the fiscally conscious Congress, working and spending billions on all the wrong things, from the fiscally conscious Congress. Even more sad is that management today will not make that change, but is working on a new 'strategic' plan, that fails to even mention the word 'depot'.

SLS/Orion are the gifts that keep on giving. It must be quite a difficult challenge negotiating a 'compromise', when all that remains is design knowledge capture and wondering why it took this long for a program decades in duration.

The path forward is clear. The FY15 budget will simply delete the words allocating funding to SLS/Orion. By the law setup in its original charter, NASA will release the numerous studies that HLV and Orion are not required, laying the blame on the admin and NASA rather than Congress. Oh well. So Long Shuttle. Otherwise, if retained, how about Dream Killer and the gift that keeps on giving, but not to NASA. Think about it.

(One part of) NASA has a plan, a flexible path forward, serving all legs of the stool, with the long term benefits studied per its original charter, while at the same time guaranteeing economic spinoffs and stepping up the NASA Grand Space Challenges. While Griffin noted that is quite difficult to steer a large ship to a new path, perhaps (Congress?  NASA?, ...?) can  steer the Titanic on a different path to hopefully quite the exciting future.

Oops.   NASA's Global Exploration Roadmap does not even include the words 'depot' or boiloff.

One can easily guess the 'strategic' plan forward:
  - Incorporate a very small scale EP module into EM-1/2, call it ARM, employ Payload Integration Teams.
  - Design cryo US for both the 70 mT HLV and Delta, but not any other LV
  - Allow COTS to fill the US on orbit whenever *cough* this capability is added
  - Design an upper stage that can only be lofted by SLS for the one shot 130 mT lunar sortie
  - Have the PIT declare that ARM is too difficult for HSF and focus should shift back to the moon only
      (10 years at 2.9B/yr ---see too expensive!)
  - Retain liquid strap-ons and Orion for BEO, one shot 6 day lunar sorties
  - Note that ISS will degrading, so the cash will be available at a later date for many missions.
  - Because:  HLV and Orion are required for BEO exploration and we need to do Apollo again.
  - Cost caps and schedule not specified.  Offer 70 or 130 mT launches to 'science' at 'cost'  say 300M.
  - Declare everything is better if done by commercial...the government 'depot' plan was rejected
  - Anything missing on this current path forward?
« Last Edit: 02/23/2014 08:01 pm by muomega0 »

Online Blackstar

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #172 on: 01/28/2014 01:05 am »
Hmm... Well, I actually meant to say what you're saying! Mea culpa.

It sometimes feels like Congressional cost scrutiny /only/ applies to things below $1 billion... (that's what I meant to say!)
Okay, so we're agreeing. Well, we agree on the first part. I would also agree that sometimes it "feels" like they only pay attention to the little stuff. I do think that they also look at the big stuff too.

There is quite a difference between looking and action. Your words are passionate, but they do not persuade.

I provided an example of Congress paying attention to a program whose costs dwarf the entire NASA budget (long-term unemployment insurance) but you were not persuaded. And I provided a number of examples of expensive military procurement programs where Congress pays attention to the costs and forces the administration to justify its budget decisions, and yet you were not persuaded. I have failed. I'll go drink a beer now and cry into it.

Offline Tea Party Space Czar

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #173 on: 02/04/2014 01:01 am »
I would simply add wrt JWST, annual funding is already exceeding the "get well" plan.  Honestly, you almost have to look at it like when a woman tells a man, "whatever".  Senator Mikulski and Senator Nelson are going to do what they are going to do.

The budget simply is not important and they will just continue to control NASA via legislation that will not allow real accountability.  Its not illegal.  People just need to understand why NASA sometimes "appears" to make bad decisions. 

Lots of people would like to change things - but do not expect them to fall on the sword for it.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #174 on: 02/04/2014 02:07 pm »
I provided an example of Congress paying attention to a program whose costs dwarf the entire NASA budget (long-term unemployment insurance) but you were not persuaded. And I provided a number of examples of expensive military procurement programs where Congress pays attention to the costs and forces the administration to justify its budget decisions, and yet you were not persuaded. I have failed. I'll go drink a beer now and cry into it.

I have been following this part of the conversation.  While you and I have crossed horns on policy prioritization, I still feel your pain from the apparent futility of your reasoned presentation. 

Next round's on me.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #175 on: 02/04/2014 02:16 pm »
The budget simply is not important and they will just continue to control NASA via legislation that will not allow real accountability.

As an aside, this analysis could be extended to the entirety of the nation's budget. 

There is no other rational explanation for NASA's continued program failures, particularly with launch vehicles, than that corporate profit trumps accomplishment.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Tea Party Space Czar

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #176 on: 02/06/2014 02:07 am »
As an aside, this analysis could be extended to the entirety of the nation's budget. 

There is no other rational explanation for NASA's continued program failures, particularly with launch vehicles, than that corporate profit trumps accomplishment.
Results will only matter once the private sector can surpass government projects... Its 2014.  Where will we be in five years?

SLS should have had one flight.  Private Sector LEO operations should be getting routine.  The breakthrough comes through when the private sector goes BEO.  When Company Q just says screw it and we are all watching the video stream over the world wide web.  At that point the American body politic will ask, "What the hell is going on?" 

Its only at that moment will the crony capitalists and porkers be held to account.  Right now if you go "out on the street" and ask Mr. and Mrs. America about spaceflight you will get an answer of "only NASA".  And while this is technically correct in some instances it is inherently wrong in others.

Its a waiting game now - we will see.

Offline Proponent

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #177 on: 04/01/2014 05:55 pm »
SLS hasn't been bloating; it's been shrinking.  It's now roughly a J-140SH + DHCUS with better technology, which should result in lower recurring costs than a Jupiter even without "rightsizing" for the low expected flight rate.  There are only two proposed upgrades; one makes it a J-24xSH, and the other replaces the ATK solids with a better-performing option that has lower recurring costs and should pay for itself if SLS flies for long enough.  Internally, NASA seems to favour doing the upper stage first...

SLS hasn't been busting its budget or schedule; last I checked (which was admittedly not very recently) it had some months of slack in the schedule, and the estimated cumulative cost to IOC was going nowhere but down (it was roughly the same as DIRECT's estimate for the J-130).  This despite a highly suboptimal development budget profile...

While SLS is perhaps not the most efficient possible way to achieve its capability, it's certainly no Ares.

It may be correct that SLS has not bloated since its inception, but the point of kraisee's post would seem to be that SLS is bloated in comparison with Direct.  SLS has entailed the development of 5-segment SRBs and the J-2X, both of which are expensive and not part of Direct's intial path.

SLS's $1.9-billion annual development cost is excessive according to kraisee.  If kraisee is wrong and Direct actually budgeted approximately that figure for launch-vehicle development, surely someone who followed the Direct threads more closely than I could easily provide evidence of such.  Until then, I'm willing to take kraisee's word for it, since he is ultimate authority on the subject.  It is then difficult for me to understand how SLS's cost to IOC could be the same as that projected for the J-130.  And since the only plans we've seen from NASA for SLS-launched BEO exploration require heavier models, cost to IOC by itself isn't very relevant.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2014 06:02 pm by Proponent »

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #178 on: 04/01/2014 08:23 pm »
It may be correct that SLS has not bloated since its inception, but the point of kraisee's post would seem to be that SLS is bloated in comparison with Direct.

"Would seem" how?

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!) -- continually growing in scope, schedule and most importantly; cost.

Don't you think you're stretching his words a little?

Quote
SLS has entailed the development of 5-segment SRBs and the J-2X, both of which are expensive and not part of Direct's intial path.

Both of those were Ares propulsion elements, and got a considerable head start.  By the time SLS was started, I imagine it was cheaper, or at least not much more expensive, to finish the 5-segs than to cancel the contract and restart the 4-segs.  It was certainly more straightforward.

I've heard the same about J-2X - that it was cheaper to finish it than to cancel it.  Anyone know for sure?

DIRECT was supposed to start years before SLS actually did.  Things changed in the meantime.

...

Besides, while their recommended baseline was J-246, the vehicle they actually proposed to the Augustine Commission was the J-241.  And they had heavy versions (5-seg) on their website, though the stretched heavy versions were kept quiet...

Quote
SLS's $1.9-billion annual development cost is excessive according to kraisee.  If kraisee is wrong and Direct actually budgeted approximately that figure for launch-vehicle development, surely someone who followed the Direct threads more closely than I could easily provide evidence of such.

In their presentation to the Augustine Commission in mid-2009, DIRECT put the first flight of J-130 in late 2012.  J-130's development was projected to cost $8.3B.

The JUS was projected to cost $4B.  J-246 was projected to fly in 2014.

In a GAO report from early 2013, it was reported that the total program cost of SLS Block 1 through the first test flight and three months of data analysis was expected to be $7.65-8.59B.

(It is not clear, but I think that the SLS number probably doesn't include ground systems, which are usually calculated separately in NASA budgets and account for a couple billion in that time frame.  I believe DIRECT assumed they could use STS infrastructure with mostly minimal changes (and that Shuttle would be flying for a good bit of J-130's development), but if I'm not mistaken some of the upgrades were overdue and would therefore be extra.  I might be wrong.)

So, overall not that different, though it's hard to tell where exactly all the numbers go, with test flights vs. operational flights, overlapping development and so on.  The only development charts on DIRECT's website are for J-120/232, and while the total Jupiter dev cost does spike past $2B (2008 dollars) in 2011 and 2012, the development profile is longer and more sedate than what they proposed in 2009 - it starts in 2006, and the ops cost wedges don't start until 2013 for the J-120 and 2017 for the JUS...

The DIRECT program cost from that old chart, including Jupiter and Orion but not Altair, was about $4B per year in steady-state operation; about three-quarters of that was fixed cost.

...

Now, DIRECT did say that they packed their cost numbers with margin, and a more fair comparison might be with the initial SLS Block 1 number of $10B for the rocket and $2B for ground systems, compared with DIRECT's $8.3B for J-130.  But real life has resulted in the SLS numbers going down, whereas we don't know what would have happened to Jupiter's costs in a fast-track development program partly simultaneous with Shuttle ops, lacking the focus on "affordability" that SLS has been forced to adopt...

...also, it occurs to me that the NASA New Start inflation index gains nearly 20% between 2009 and 2017, and the SLS estimates are in then-year dollars.  The time frame shift alone adds between $600M and $1B to DIRECT's estimate, depending on whether or not their numbers were then-year too (and I don't think they were)...

Quote
And since the only plans we've seen from NASA for SLS-launched BEO exploration require heavier models, cost to IOC by itself isn't very relevant.

Like I said, JUS is an extra $4B to add.  EUS is a smaller, less sophisticated stage and may well be cheaper, especially if the new emphasis on "affordability" lasts that long.  And you've seen the talk on L2 about the EUS schedule, right?

...

I think with all the shenanigans surrounding SLS, we've forgotten what a focused, well-funded program looks like...
« Last Edit: 04/02/2014 12:33 am by 93143 »

Offline Proponent

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #179 on: 04/02/2014 04:17 pm »
It may be correct that SLS has not bloated since its inception, but the point of kraisee's post would seem to be that SLS is bloated in comparison with Direct.

"Would seem" how?

SLS has become just another boondoggle just as bad as Ares-I + Ares-V ever was (and most people on the forum a few years back likely recall my opinions of that!) -- continually growing in scope, schedule and most importantly; cost.

Don't you think you're stretching his words a little?

I don't understand what you disagree about here.  The second quote, which is not from me but from kraisee himself (I didn't even refer to it), makes clear that he regards SLS as a bloated boondoggle.  My milder statement -- that he regards SLS as expensive compared to DIRECT -- follows.

Quote
Quote
SLS has entailed the development of 5-segment SRBs and the J-2X, both of which are expensive and not part of Direct's intial path.

Both of those were Ares propulsion elements, and got a considerable head start.  By the time SLS was started, I imagine it was cheaper, or at least not much more expensive, to finish the 5-segs than to cancel the contract and restart the 4-segs.  It was certainly more straightforward.

I've heard the same about J-2X - that it was cheaper to finish it than to cancel it.  Anyone know for sure?

Perhaps continuing them was the best thing to do, but the point is that their development costs were not included in DIRECT's plan.  Of course, if SLS can pay for them and still come out no more expensive (for the same capability) than DIRECT, then it makes SLS look pretty amazing.  But I'm having a tough time seeing how that's really plausible.

Quote
DIRECT was supposed to start years before SLS actually did.  Things changed in the meantime.

...

Besides, while their recommended baseline was J-246, the vehicle they actually proposed to the Augustine Commission was the J-241.  And they had heavy versions (5-seg) on their website, though the stretched heavy versions were kept quiet...

Quote
SLS's $1.9-billion annual development cost is excessive according to kraisee.  If kraisee is wrong and Direct actually budgeted approximately that figure for launch-vehicle development, surely someone who followed the Direct threads more closely than I could easily provide evidence of such.

In their presentation to the Augustine Commission in mid-2009, DIRECT put the first flight of J-130 in late 2012.  J-130's development was projected to cost $8.3B.

The JUS was projected to cost $4B.  J-246 was projected to fly in 2014.

In a GAO report from early 2013, it was reported that the total program cost of SLS Block 1 through the first test flight and three months of data analysis was expected to be $7.65-8.59B.

(It is not clear, but I think that the SLS number probably doesn't include ground systems, which are usually calculated separately in NASA budgets and account for a couple billion in that time frame.  I believe DIRECT assumed they could use STS infrastructure with mostly minimal changes (and that Shuttle would be flying for a good bit of J-130's development), but if I'm not mistaken some of the upgrades were overdue and would therefore be extra.  I might be wrong.)

So, overall not that different, though it's hard to tell where exactly all the numbers go, with test flights vs. operational flights, overlapping development and so on.  The only development charts on DIRECT's website are for J-120/232, and while the total Jupiter dev cost does spike past $2B (2008 dollars) in 2011 and 2012, the development profile is longer and more sedate than what they proposed in 2009 - it starts in 2006, and the ops cost wedges don't start until 2013 for the J-120 and 2017 for the JUS...

The DIRECT program cost from that old chart, including Jupiter and Orion but not Altair, was about $4B per year in steady-state operation; about three-quarters of that was fixed cost.

...

Now, DIRECT did say that they packed their cost numbers with margin, and a more fair comparison might be with the initial SLS Block 1 number of $10B for the rocket and $2B for ground systems, compared with DIRECT's $8.3B for J-130.  But real life has resulted in the SLS numbers going down, whereas we don't know what would have happened to Jupiter's costs in a fast-track development program partly simultaneous with Shuttle ops, lacking the focus on "affordability" that SLS has been forced to adopt...

...also, it occurs to me that the NASA New Start inflation index gains nearly 20% between 2009 and 2017, and the SLS estimates are in then-year dollars.  The time frame shift alone adds between $600M and $1B to DIRECT's estimate, depending on whether or not their numbers were then-year too (and I don't think they were)...

Too many different dates, flight rates and capabilities are in play for the above to be a solid argument.  To refute kraisee's claim, you'd really need to dig out and present the details.  Otherwise, those such as myself who are not terribly interested in comparisons between SLS and DIRECT, will tend to let it rest with appeals to authority.  Neither you nor kraisee is an authority on SLS, but kraisee is at least the ulitmate authority on DIRECT.

Quote
Quote
And since the only plans we've seen from NASA for SLS-launched BEO exploration require heavier models, cost to IOC by itself isn't very relevant.

Like I said, JUS is an extra $4B to add.  EUS is a smaller, less sophisticated stage and may well be cheaper, especially if the new emphasis on "affordability" lasts that long.  And you've seen the talk on L2 about the EUS schedule, right?

Here you're sort of assuming your conclusion (SLS is no more expensive than DIRECT).  And you mention NASA's commitment to affordability as though it were magic.

Quote
I think with all the shenanigans surrounding SLS, we've forgotten what a focused, well-funded program looks like...

Focused?  The plan is to build SLSs and think of something to do with them later.  We don't know what the upper stage will, we don't know the payloads, we don't know the flight rates or the missions.  And that's three years and $10 billion into the program.  That's anything but focused.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2014 04:25 pm by Proponent »

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #180 on: 04/03/2014 03:21 am »
I don't understand what you disagree about here.  The second quote, which is not from me but from kraisee himself (I didn't even refer to it), makes clear that he regards SLS as a bloated boondoggle.  My milder statement -- that he regards SLS as expensive compared to DIRECT -- follows.

I was objecting to the stronger statement.  You then tried to blunt my objection by claiming that he only meant the weaker statement.  I quoted him to show you that your claim was not plausible.  Now you appear to be claiming that since the stronger statement encompasses the weaker, you were right all along...?

Quote
Too many different dates, flight rates and capabilities are in play for the above to be a solid argument.  To refute kraisee's claim, you'd really need to dig out and present the details.  Otherwise, those such as myself who are not terribly interested in comparisons between SLS and DIRECT, will tend to let it rest with appeals to authority.  Neither you nor kraisee is an authority on SLS, but kraisee is at least the ulitmate authority on DIRECT.

Don't get distracted by all the hedges and caveats.  The upshot is that the SLS program is projected to cost between $7.65B and $8.59B (+ ~$2B for ground systems) to get to IOC, while J-130 was projected to cost $8.3B (~$9B corrected for inflation, more if unanticipated ground systems refurb/upgrades were to prove necessary, as I suspect they might have) to do the same.  So, ~$9.5-11B vs. ~$9B+.

They're similar costs.  SLS isn't dramatically more expensive for the same level of capability.  And Jupiter got there faster, with a more optimal (read: higher and less flat) budget profile.

Admittedly in my original comparison I was not taking into account either the ground systems number for SLS or the inflation correction for DIRECT...

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Quote
Like I said, JUS is an extra $4B to add.  EUS is a smaller, less sophisticated stage and may well be cheaper, especially if the new emphasis on "affordability" lasts that long.  And you've seen the talk on L2 about the EUS schedule, right?

Here you're sort of assuming your conclusion (SLS is no more expensive than DIRECT).  And you mention NASA's commitment to affordability as though it were magic.

You're the one engaging in magical thinking.  The JUS was both larger and more sophisticated than the EUS, and used the same engines.  Is it unreasonable to suppose that the EUS should cost less, or at least no more?

Do you have any reason at all to suppose otherwise, other than the meme "SLS is expensive"?

And I didn't say how much less.  I said it may well be cheaper, the implication being that the Block 1B upper stage as currently envisioned most likely does not contribute additional costs to SLS as compared with Jupiter, rendering your argument that exploration cannot be accomplished with Block 1 irrelevant.

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Quote
I think with all the shenanigans surrounding SLS, we've forgotten what a focused, well-funded program looks like...
Focused?  The plan is to build SLSs and think of something to do with them later.  We don't know what the upper stage will, we don't know the payloads, we don't know the flight rates or the missions.  And that's three years and $10 billion into the program.  That's anything but focused.

You have misunderstood my statement entirely.  Totally backwards.

DIRECT assumed a focused, well-funded program.  Jupiter would have been flying by now, and we'd be on track for lunar landings this decade.  We'd also be spending considerably more money on exploration than we are now...

Besides, we're not $10B into SLS.  We're $10B into SLS/MPCV/EGS, and only if you count money spent in FY2011 before SLS development officially started.  Yes, "the program" could easily be taken to mean that, but in the context of a discussion of SLS costs vs. Jupiter costs, you should probably specify.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2014 08:17 am by 93143 »

Offline Proponent

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #181 on: 04/03/2014 06:28 pm »
I don't understand what you disagree about here.  The second quote, which is not from me but from kraisee himself (I didn't even refer to it), makes clear that he regards SLS as a bloated boondoggle.  My milder statement -- that he regards SLS as expensive compared to DIRECT -- follows.

I was objecting to the stronger statement.  You then tried to blunt my objection by claiming that he only meant the weaker statement.  I quoted him to show you that your claim was not plausible.  Now you appear to be claiming that since the stronger statement encompasses the weaker, you were right all along...?

I have not made the stronger statement, and, having just reviewed my first post in this thread, I can't see how it could be construed as supporting the stronger statement, which is not even mentioned within.  Just for clarity, the statement I am making is that kraisee regards SLS as significantly more expensive than DIRECT.

Quote
Quote
Too many different dates, flight rates and capabilities are in play for the above to be a solid argument.  To refute kraisee's claim, you'd really need to dig out and present the details.  Otherwise, those such as myself who are not terribly interested in comparisons between SLS and DIRECT, will tend to let it rest with appeals to authority.  Neither you nor kraisee is an authority on SLS, but kraisee is at least the ulitmate authority on DIRECT.

Don't get distracted by all the hedges and caveats.  The upshot is that the SLS program is projected to cost between $7.65B and $8.59B (+ ~$2B for ground systems) to get to IOC, while J-130 was projected to cost $8.3B (~$9B corrected for inflation, more if unanticipated ground systems refurb/upgrades were to prove necessary, as I suspect they might have) to do the same.  So, ~$9.5-11B vs. ~$9B+.

They're similar costs.  SLS isn't dramatically more expensive for the same level of capability.  And Jupiter got there faster, with a more optimal (read: higher and less flat) budget profile.

Admittedly in my original comparison I was not taking into account either the ground systems number for SLS or the inflation correction for DIRECT...

Modulo concerns expressed by Booz Allen Hamilton, I'm not particularly sceptical of costs through SLS-1.  After all, the figures you mention are also pretty much in line with the ESD's cumbersomely-titled "Budget Availability Scenarios" of 2011 ($1.9 billion/year, including ground systems, from FY2012 through FY2016 and presumably in FY2017 as well, with launch in early FY2018).

Quote
The JUS was both larger and more sophisticated than the EUS, and used the same engines.  Is it unreasonable to suppose that the EUS should cost less, or at least no more?

I agree its reasonable to suppose that, other things being equal, a smaller, less sophisticated stage would be cheaper.  But if kraisee's right that SLS is significantly more expensive than DIRCECT, then DIRECT-derived cost estimates are relevant.  And even if he's wrong, I personally never found much reason to have confidence in DIRECT's cost estimates.

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Do you have any reason at all to suppose otherwise, other than the meme "SLS is expensive"?

And I didn't say how much less.  I said it may well be cheaper, the implication being that the Block 1B upper stage as currently envisioned most likely does not contribute additional costs to SLS as compared with Jupiter, rendering your argument that exploration cannot be accomplished with Block 1 irrelevant.

I don't know what it will cost to develop EUS, but I'm not the one arguing that SLS is a good investment.  If SLS's costs turn out to be similar to those in ESD's budget-availability scenarios, it's likely to be one huge turkey.  If you want to argue that SLS is a good idea, then this cost-cutting stuff we've heard about really has to pan out.  NASA's now three years and $6 billion in (I knew you'd -- rightly -- ding me for having mistakenly mentioned $10 billion previously!) and all we've got to go on is that it is that they're hoping to get down to $500-700 million per flight.  Not only is that figure not a commitment, but we don't know whether it's intended to apply at a realistic flight rate, etc.

Quote
Quote
Quote
I think with all the shenanigans surrounding SLS, we've forgotten what a focused, well-funded program looks like...
Focused?  The plan is to build SLSs and think of something to do with them later.  We don't know what the upper stage will, we don't know the payloads, we don't know the flight rates or the missions.  And that's three years and $10 billion into the program.  That's anything but focused.

You have misunderstood my statement entirely.  Totally backwards.

Got it.  I did indeed misinterpret your statement.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2014 06:30 pm by Proponent »

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #182 on: 04/06/2014 03:25 am »
I don't understand what you disagree about here.  The second quote, which is not from me but from kraisee himself (I didn't even refer to it), makes clear that he regards SLS as a bloated boondoggle.  My milder statement -- that he regards SLS as expensive compared to DIRECT -- follows.

I was objecting to the stronger statement.  You then tried to blunt my objection by claiming that he only meant the weaker statement.  I quoted him to show you that your claim was not plausible.  Now you appear to be claiming that since the stronger statement encompasses the weaker, you were right all along...?

I have not made the stronger statement, and, having just reviewed my first post in this thread, I can't see how it could be construed as supporting the stronger statement, which is not even mentioned within.  Just for clarity, the statement I am making is that kraisee regards SLS as significantly more expensive than DIRECT.

Ross made the stronger statement.  You claimed he hadn't; I showed you he had.

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Quote
The JUS was both larger and more sophisticated than the EUS, and used the same engines.  Is it unreasonable to suppose that the EUS should cost less, or at least no more?

I agree its reasonable to suppose that, other things being equal, a smaller, less sophisticated stage would be cheaper.

What "other things"?

This is what I mean by magical thinking.  DIRECT's cost estimates didn't include any secret sauce; they were for traditional NASA contracting, with a generous margin on top.  Multiple third parties reportedly confirmed their estimates, including the Aerospace Corporation.  The SLS upper stage isn't going to be more expensive than the JUS for no reason.

Do you have a reason to suspect the upper stage will be more expensive, other than a hazy idea that Jupiter = cheap and SLS = expensive?

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I don't know what it will cost to develop EUS, but I'm not the one arguing that SLS is a good investment.  If SLS's costs turn out to be similar to those in ESD's budget-availability scenarios, it's likely to be one huge turkey.  If you want to argue that SLS is a good idea, then this cost-cutting stuff we've heard about really has to pan out.

That's the problem.  I'd agree with this, but note that even DIRECT's operating cost was not actually all that much different from the worst early projections for SLS.  Packed with margin or not, DIRECT v2.0 was advertising a rocket that could launch six times a year for three billion 2008 dollars, and DIRECT v3.0 was not far off that ($1.5B for J-130 at two flights per year, plus 4x$185M for four more, plus about a billion fixed+variable for the upper stage, though I think that included J-2X).  According to my calculations, SLS as portrayed in the ESD Integration document is only a half billion over that, including ground systems, for the same flight rate.

[Actually, DIRECT's "compromise" budget from 2010 files a ~$400M KSC budget line on the other end of the budget from the SD-HLV.  Maybe it wasn't in their figures after all...?  If that has to be added in on top, the ops cost difference between J-241 and the SLS of summer 2011 is in the noise.  Not to mention that the development cost of J-130 (in the absence of STS) goes up by roughly $0.4B times the number of years it takes to develop...]

Why was DIRECT such a good idea then?

Simple - the moon mission.  Whatever Obama's true motives, there was no better way to undercut Ares/Jupiter/SLS than to stomp on the moon mission, because there's no other near-term exploration goal that gives an HLV enough work to do.

And with the disagreement about near-term goals compounded by the fiscal crisis, NASA's budget has stayed far smaller than expected/intended.  That's why SLS is trying to fit into a box smaller than anything DIRECT envisioned, and why everyone is ranting about how "bloated" it is.

...

We really have forgotten what a robust, well-funded program looks like.  Not only that, it seems people have forgotten just how bad Ares really was...
« Last Edit: 04/06/2014 05:38 am by 93143 »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #183 on: 04/06/2014 01:47 pm »
I'm afraid that my eyes glazed over at the wall of text between replies #177 and #182.

Is there a summary of the nuanced disagreement and clarification that is being aired?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Prober

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #184 on: 04/06/2014 06:04 pm »
Finally some stability.

Enjoy it for a few weeks.....hate to burst your bubble (pop) :o

Some factors: Election Year

<snip>

Strap yourself in its going to be a rocky ride.

I expect the opposite:  for the most part, voters don't like government shutdowns and such.  With 2014 being an election year, congressoids will for the most part behave better this year than last.  I draw support for this view from the fact that shutdowns occurred in the non-election years of 2011 and 2013, but not in the election year of 2012.

I'm sure there will be lots screaming and shouting as the aforementioned congressoids voice hard-line views because they think it will improve the electoral prospects, but I don't expect actions to match words.

Only a few months into the year....believe my call above has been correct. Strap yourself in its going to be a rocky ride.
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Offline Prober

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #185 on: 04/06/2014 06:09 pm »
From the first page

"$696M for commercial report but $171M is conditional on NASA obtaining an (unredacted) independant cost-benefit report for commercial crew. See pages 161-162 of the bill. See also pages 116-117 of the PDF of the report."

How is this report coming?
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #186 on: 04/07/2014 05:15 pm »
From the first page

"$696M for commercial report but $171M is conditional on NASA obtaining an (unredacted) independant cost-benefit report for commercial crew. See pages 161-162 of the bill. See also pages 116-117 of the PDF of the report."

How is this report coming?

Bolden mentionned it at the recent House hearing. He said that it would be ready soon.

Offline Prober

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #187 on: 04/07/2014 05:35 pm »
From the first page

"$696M for commercial report but $171M is conditional on NASA obtaining an (unredacted) independant cost-benefit report for commercial crew. See pages 161-162 of the bill. See also pages 116-117 of the PDF of the report."

How is this report coming?

Bolden mentionned it at the recent House hearing. He said that it would be ready soon.

Who's the Independent source?
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #188 on: 04/07/2014 05:39 pm »
From the first page

"$696M for commercial report but $171M is conditional on NASA obtaining an (unredacted) independant cost-benefit report for commercial crew. See pages 161-162 of the bill. See also pages 116-117 of the PDF of the report."

How is this report coming?

Bolden mentionned it at the recent House hearing. He said that it would be ready soon.

Who's the Independent source?

He didn't say.

Offline Proponent

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #189 on: 04/07/2014 08:26 pm »
I don't understand what you disagree about here.  The second quote, which is not from me but from kraisee himself (I didn't even refer to it), makes clear that he regards SLS as a bloated boondoggle.  My milder statement -- that he regards SLS as expensive compared to DIRECT -- follows.

I was objecting to the stronger statement.  You then tried to blunt my objection by claiming that he only meant the weaker statement.  I quoted him to show you that your claim was not plausible.  Now you appear to be claiming that since the stronger statement encompasses the weaker, you were right all along...?

I have not made the stronger statement, and, having just reviewed my first post in this thread, I can't see how it could be construed as supporting the stronger statement, which is not even mentioned within.  Just for clarity, the statement I am making is that kraisee regards SLS as significantly more expensive than DIRECT.

Ross made the stronger statement.  You claimed he hadn't; I showed you he had.

Great!  We agree Ross said SLS is an expensive boondoggle.  I can't be bothered to hash through the massive misunderstanding that seems to have arisen over this, so let's just leave at this.

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Quote
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The JUS was both larger and more sophisticated than the EUS, and used the same engines.  Is it unreasonable to suppose that the EUS should cost less, or at least no more?

I agree its reasonable to suppose that, other things being equal, a smaller, less sophisticated stage would be cheaper.

What "other things"?

This is what I mean by magical thinking.  DIRECT's cost estimates didn't include any secret sauce; they were for traditional NASA contracting, with a generous margin on top.  Multiple third parties reportedly confirmed their estimates, including the Aerospace Corporation.  The SLS upper stage isn't going to be more expensive than the JUS for no reason.

Do you have a reason to suspect the upper stage will be more expensive, other than a hazy idea that Jupiter = cheap and SLS = expensive?

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I don't know what it will cost to develop EUS, but I'm not the one arguing that SLS is a good investment.  If SLS's costs turn out to be similar to those in ESD's budget-availability scenarios, it's likely to be one huge turkey.  If you want to argue that SLS is a good idea, then this cost-cutting stuff we've heard about really has to pan out.

That's the problem.  I'd agree with this, but note that even DIRECT's operating cost was not actually all that much different from the worst early projections for SLS.  Packed with margin or not, DIRECT v2.0 was advertising a rocket that could launch six times a year for three billion 2008 dollars, and DIRECT v3.0 was not far off that ($1.5B for J-130 at two flights per year, plus 4x$185M for four more, plus about a billion fixed+variable for the upper stage, though I think that included J-2X).  According to my calculations, SLS as portrayed in the ESD Integration document is only a half billion over that, including ground systems, for the same flight rate.

[Actually, DIRECT's "compromise" budget from 2010 files a ~$400M KSC budget line on the other end of the budget from the SD-HLV.  Maybe it wasn't in their figures after all...?  If that has to be added in on top, the ops cost difference between J-241 and the SLS of summer 2011 is in the noise.  Not to mention that the development cost of J-130 (in the absence of STS) goes up by roughly $0.4B times the number of years it takes to develop...]

Dude, I never bought the whole "Jupiter = cheap" idea.  If you want to convince me that SLS is cheap enough to be useful, using DIRECT's cost estimates as a basis isn't going to work.

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Why was DIRECT such a good idea then?

Simple - the moon mission.  Whatever Obama's true motives, there was no better way to undercut Ares/Jupiter/SLS than to stomp on the moon mission, because there's no other near-term exploration goal that gives an HLV enough work to do.

This seems circular.  You're saying DIRECT was a good idea, because of the moon mission, which was the best way to create  an HLV.  I suppose that makes sense if the number one goal is having an HLV.  Personally, I'd rather that exploration itself were the top priority.

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And with the disagreement about near-term goals compounded by the fiscal crisis, NASA's budget has stayed far smaller than expected/intended.

Exactly who has been expecting big budget increases for NASA?

Offline 93143

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Re: FY 2014 Appropriation bill is released
« Reply #190 on: 04/08/2014 02:09 am »
This seems circular.  You're saying DIRECT was a good idea, because of the moon mission, which was the best way to create  an HLV.

No.  It was a good idea because the moon mission made it worthwhile to have an HLV.

DIRECT was the cheapest and fastest way to get an HLV, aside from the somewhat hobbled Sidemount.  It provided workforce continuity with STS, avoiding the expertise gap we're seeing now - it didn't need anywhere near the whole workforce, but it kept the people it needed, and others could be funneled into the rest of the exploration program.  It worked within the expected budget, or with only a small plus-up (depending on when you did the math and whose projections you were looking at), and could support the moon and the ISS simultaneously with plenty of infrastructure headroom for interesting one-offs.

Life-cycle-wise, there were probably cheaper ways to get to the moon than Jupiter, even assuming Constellation-class lander specs and mission rate.  But none of them had any political support...

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Exactly who has been expecting big budget increases for NASA?

The politicians.  NASA was supposed to get about $20B last year according to NAA2010, and that's a steep drop from what was supposed to happen in early CxP projections.
« Last Edit: 04/08/2014 02:19 am by 93143 »

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