Author Topic: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread  (Read 22308 times)

Offline Rocket Science

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Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« on: 02/04/2014 12:32 pm »
So I was sipping my morning cup of Joe as usual and I started thinking of an alternate scenario with the four major players would get a piece of the pie and the U.S. would benefit in four new spacecraft they invested in during the competition.

-Dragon would handle cargo on Falcon.

-Cynus would handle cargo as well.

-Dream Chaser for crew rotation.

-CST-100 as a CEV for long stays.

Since both DC and the CST-100 will fly on Atlas the certification will be done for both spacecraft.
I like the CST-100 for its possible future in some commercial BEO missions with some mods.
We get three new spacecraft and two launch vehicles in the U.S. inventory for our investment. (I never really felt that this was really a fly-off as in the aviation world anyway). Thoughts?

« Last Edit: 02/04/2014 01:20 pm by Rocket Science »
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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #1 on: 02/04/2014 01:01 pm »
-Dragon would handle cargo on Falcon.

What about Orbital? Your scenario deletes them and they already have an ISS cargo contract.
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Offline Hauerg

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #2 on: 02/04/2014 01:04 pm »
OK, I'll bite:

* Why reduce the only vehicle with flight history to cargo only?

* Why award the company with the least amount of "visible vision" with the long stays award. They will not do anything with this experience, while SpaceX might...

* Why have the crew rotation vehicle on the more expensive launcher?

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #3 on: 02/04/2014 01:05 pm »
-Dragon would handle cargo on Falcon.

What about Orbital? Your scenario deletes them and they already have an ISS cargo contract.
Fair enough Chuck, I adding  it in...
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #4 on: 02/04/2014 01:31 pm »
OK, I'll bite:

* Why reduce the only vehicle with flight history to cargo only?

* Why award the company with the least amount of "visible vision" with the long stays award. They will not do anything with this experience, while SpaceX might...

* Why have the crew rotation vehicle on the more expensive launcher?
-Elon's goal is not ISS crew but "free reused" spacecraft and launchers.

-Altlas has a long "proven"flight history, you can't say that "yet" for SpaceX.

- I am seeking the greatest ROI and the maximum number of vehicle mix for the future.

Please feel free to provide you alternate for the best ROI and greatest mix...
« Last Edit: 02/04/2014 01:32 pm by Rocket Science »
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Online Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #5 on: 02/04/2014 01:39 pm »
I actually like that mix. I had a similar thought a while ago. I did leave out Orbital as well, back then (they might run out of engines anyway, if I remember correctly).

Offline simonbp

Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #6 on: 02/04/2014 04:38 pm »
-Altlas has a long "proven"flight history, you can't say that "yet" for SpaceX.

That's an increasingly hard argument to make, as the two versions of Falcon 9 have 8 flights between them, with only a single anomaly, which did not affect the primary payload (and only affected the secondary because of ISS proximity requirements). If the USAF gives its approval to Falcon 9 v1.1 (which is likely now after three good flights), then it's really as "proven" as it needs to be.

Not that Atlas isn't a great rocket, it's just that it starts to look really expensive for not much more reliability.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #7 on: 02/04/2014 08:00 pm »
If SpaceX gets 6 launches this year, 10 the next then 12 in 2016 (reasonable numbers, based on their manifest), it will have overcome Delta IV's total number of launches and will be proportionally (logarithmically) quite close to Atlas V. Atlas V's advantage in number of launches won't be significant for much longer.
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Offline arachnitect

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #8 on: 02/04/2014 08:27 pm »
So this thread is basically looking for a way to divide the pie so everyone gets a slice. I think the premise is unwise (takes longer, costs more) but anyways...

As I see it, there's only one way it could happen (and I reiterate that it shouldn't, and it won't):

SpX and ORB continue to both fly cargo.

NASA awards post certification missions to both CST-100 and Dreamchaser with the understanding that CST will be ready sooner. Then (and this is a very "alternate" universe here) NASA (with the blessing of congress) decides they want both a lifting body and a capsule and keeps buying seats from both providers at a hefty markup.

The vehicle that rotates crew serves as CRV; escape pod doesn't really work as an excuse for having two providers.

The only question now is how to get ATK's Liberty in on this...

Offline dror

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #9 on: 02/04/2014 08:51 pm »
I did leave out Orbital as well, back then (they might run out of engines anyway, if I remember correctly).
A cygnus on a falcon 9 may be even better for cargo. Let them run out of engines, but keep them flying.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #10 on: 02/04/2014 10:33 pm »
If SpaceX gets 6 launches this year, 10 the next then 12 in 2016 (reasonable numbers, based on their manifest), it will have overcome Delta IV's total number of launches and will be proportionally (logarithmically) quite close to Atlas V. Atlas V's advantage in number of launches won't be significant for much longer.
It’s going to be interesting comparing reliability between Atlas and Falcon when the flight numbers are at an equal footing...
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Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #11 on: 02/05/2014 12:24 am »
So this thread is basically looking for a way to divide the pie so everyone gets a slice.

That just leaves everyone hungry for more pie.


Online Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #12 on: 02/05/2014 03:18 am »
So this thread is basically looking for a way to divide the pie so everyone gets a slice.

That just leaves everyone hungry for more pie.
Then drive the competition harder and offer more pie in return!

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #13 on: 02/05/2014 06:09 am »
Am I the only one who is somewhat amused by the concept of this thread, where a Commercial Cargo/Crew program is distributed in the fairest way possible to as many organizations a possible, like some Soviet market planning exercise? :)

Thus, in the process guaranteeing that they all have so few missions that they have trouble making a profit. Is that what is the goal here?  ;D

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #14 on: 02/05/2014 06:18 am »
So long as no-one challenges Boeing and LockMart in the next buffet bid, who cares? ;)
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #15 on: 02/05/2014 07:11 am »
Am I the only one who is somewhat amused by the concept of this thread, where a Commercial Cargo/Crew program is distributed in the fairest way possible to as many organizations a possible, like some Soviet market planning exercise? :)

Thus, in the process guaranteeing that they all have so few missions that they have trouble making a profit. Is that what is the goal here?  ;D

It seems, yes. Plus punish SpaceX for being ahead.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #16 on: 02/05/2014 12:34 pm »
Am I the only one who is somewhat amused by the concept of this thread, where a Commercial Cargo/Crew program is distributed in the fairest way possible to as many organizations a possible, like some Soviet market planning exercise? :)

Thus, in the process guaranteeing that they all have so few missions that they have trouble making a profit. Is that what is the goal here?  ;D
Lars, kind of ironic to make that analogy since even after their collapse of the USSR they continued their human spaceflight program without any downtime and we have to go begging a ride at 70 million a head for what, at least the next four years or so... What have we to show for the past 20 years billions spent on a scrap heap of unfinished projects..? Just sayin’...
« Last Edit: 02/05/2014 12:35 pm by Rocket Science »
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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #17 on: 02/05/2014 12:42 pm »
What we have to show Rocket is a cast-in-stone example of Administrations and Congresses at odds with each other and using NASA as a political football instead of the Space Agency it was intended to be. The results are inevitable: a few spectacular successes but far more spectacular program failures/cancellations.
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Offline Lars_J

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #18 on: 02/05/2014 05:06 pm »
Am I the only one who is somewhat amused by the concept of this thread, where a Commercial Cargo/Crew program is distributed in the fairest way possible to as many organizations a possible, like some Soviet market planning exercise? :)

Thus, in the process guaranteeing that they all have so few missions that they have trouble making a profit. Is that what is the goal here?  ;D
Lars, kind of ironic to make that analogy since even after their collapse of the USSR they continued their human spaceflight program without any downtime and we have to go begging a ride at 70 million a head for what, at least the next four years or so... What have we to show for the past 20 years billions spent on a scrap heap of unfinished projects..? Just sayin’...

I think my point may just have sailed over your head. What exactly does the continued use of a single launch system that is ~45 years old have to do how contracts would be distributed amongst competing contractors?

In addition - You may not have realized that part of the reason the NASA space program is in its current state is because it has been run like a centrally planned government program ever since the Apollo years.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #19 on: 02/05/2014 06:37 pm »
Am I the only one who is somewhat amused by the concept of this thread, where a Commercial Cargo/Crew program is distributed in the fairest way possible to as many organizations a possible, like some Soviet market planning exercise? :)

Thus, in the process guaranteeing that they all have so few missions that they have trouble making a profit. Is that what is the goal here?  ;D
Lars, kind of ironic to make that analogy since even after their collapse of the USSR they continued their human spaceflight program without any downtime and we have to go begging a ride at 70 million a head for what, at least the next four years or so... What have we to show for the past 20 years billions spent on a scrap heap of unfinished projects..? Just sayin’...

I think my point may just have sailed over your head. What exactly does the continued use of a single launch system that is ~45 years old have to do how contracts would be distributed amongst competing contractors?

In addition - You may not have realized that part of the reason the NASA space program is in its current state is because it has been run like a centrally planned government program ever since the Apollo years.
Centrally planned governments with human spaceflight ability: Russia, China... BTW, you brought up the term Soviet... They have a long-term plan, we don’t. Are they on to something?

Anyways... I'm not going to argue space policy on this thread, I've got to watch that Russian re-supply mission to ISS...
« Last Edit: 02/05/2014 06:57 pm by Rocket Science »
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Online vt_hokie

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #20 on: 02/05/2014 09:05 pm »
After reading Chris Hadfield's description of the Soyuz return in his memoir, I am more convinced than ever that we need a more civilized means of returning long-term ISS crews.  I think there is a lot to be said for having a reusable spaceplane that offers a low-G reentry and a direct return to a facility via runway landing.  So, I would consider the scenario in the original post to be a reasonably good one. 

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #21 on: 02/05/2014 09:17 pm »
Astronauts aren't royalty to be pampered. They are civil servants. And every one of them would consider it an honor. The important thing is that it happens and happens routinely and safely and inexpensively. Maybe a Dream Chaser is the way to do that, but "dignified" shouldn't be on the list.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #22 on: 02/05/2014 09:23 pm »
The important thing is that it happens and happens routinely and safely and inexpensively.

Where "safely" is so poorly defined that it isn't available until much later than possible and at a much higher price, if it ever happens at all.

There's nothing "safe" about strapping yourself to a rocket, and we should just stop pretending there is.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline butters

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #23 on: 02/05/2014 09:29 pm »
CST-100 and Dream Chaser are both built on sprawling horizontally-integrated supply chains that involve many different states, and that's the only type of pie-slicing that matters to Congress. How does supporting multiple providers win them any more votes/donors than just supporting the one provider with the biggest political constituency?

Online clongton

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #24 on: 02/05/2014 10:13 pm »
Maybe a Dream Chaser is the way to do that, but "dignified" shouldn't be on the list.

Why not Chris? I'm curious to understand your reasoning. It's not as if we can't afford it - we certainly can. So why not?
Just asking.
« Last Edit: 02/05/2014 10:35 pm by Chris Bergin »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #25 on: 02/05/2014 10:20 pm »
Maybe a Dream Chaser is the way to do that, but "dignified" shouldn't be on the list.

Why not Chris? I'm curious to understand your reasoning. It's not as if we can't afford it - we certainly can. So why not?
Just asking.
I gave the reasoning. "Dignified," if part of the evaluation criteria, would have extra costs (otherwise there'd be no reason to include it in the evaluation criteria). I'd rather the astronauts pursue deeper exploration than be more dignified. If you're talking space tourism, then fine. But I'm talking about civil servants. I know if I were an astronaut, I'd rather get, say, closer to the Moon than I would come home in a more "dignified" manner.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online clongton

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #26 on: 02/05/2014 11:03 pm »
Maybe a Dream Chaser is the way to do that, but "dignified" shouldn't be on the list.

Why not Chris? I'm curious to understand your reasoning. It's not as if we can't afford it - we certainly can. So why not?
Just asking.
I gave the reasoning. "Dignified," if part of the evaluation criteria, would have extra costs (otherwise there'd be no reason to include it in the evaluation criteria). I'd rather the astronauts pursue deeper exploration than be more dignified. If you're talking space tourism, then fine. But I'm talking about civil servants. I know if I were an astronaut, I'd rather get, say, closer to the Moon than I would come home in a more "dignified" manner.

Thanks. I disagree but thank you for answering my question.

Like I said we have the money and certainly can afford a more dignified means of returning home than getting bounced on the ground and flipped over on our sides and then waiting there in that awkward position until somebody finds us and lets us out of that can.


My reasoning goes far beyond so-called civil servants. If HSF is ever to become commonplace people will have the right to expect to be brought back home in a more dignified manner than being dropped on the lawn like a newspaper tossed by a kid on a bike as they speed by. If that will ultimately be a common expectation, and it will, then I believe that because we CAN afford to develop this capability, then if we believe in the dream, we should.


It's not enough anymore just to go into space and make it back alive. We can do far better than that. Shuttle did much better than that. DreamChaser will do better than that. And both Dragon and CST-100 will do better than that. Old style "drop em on the steppe and wait" style landings is so "ancient tech". We can do better. And we SHOULD do better.


I think it is very telling that EVERYBODY is planning to do better than that except the American and Russian governments.
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I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Proponent

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #27 on: 02/06/2014 03:03 pm »
I don't know that it will ever be built, but the Russian PTK NP replacement for Soyuz is supposed to make a considerably more dignified landing than does Soyuz.  So that leaves just the US government (and maybe the Chinese?).
« Last Edit: 02/06/2014 03:05 pm by Proponent »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #28 on: 02/06/2014 09:45 pm »
Old style "drop em on the steppe and wait" style landings is so "ancient tech". We can do better. And we SHOULD do better.

I think it is very telling that EVERYBODY is planning to do better than that except the American and Russian governments.

Just a "minor' correction but we American's NEVER planned on "dropping" them on the steppe... We don't even HAVE any of those do we? :) Ok dropping them in the ocean may be "similar" but you have to admit we're a LOT better at picking up on time :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline mheney

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #29 on: 02/06/2014 10:19 pm »
Old style "drop em on the steppe and wait" style landings is so "ancient tech". We can do better. And we SHOULD do better.

I think it is very telling that EVERYBODY is planning to do better than that except the American and Russian governments.

Just a "minor' correction but we American's NEVER planned on "dropping" them on the steppe... We don't even HAVE any of those do we? :) Ok dropping them in the ocean may be "similar" but you have to admit we're a LOT better at picking up on time :)

Randy

Well, yeah, recently - but we managed to leave Scott Carpenter in a raft for about 3 hours after Aurora 7 splashed down a tad (250 miles) off target....

Offline su27k

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #30 on: 02/08/2014 03:47 am »
Thoughts?

Boeing already has a giant piece of the pie via ISS and SLS, in what possible universe do we want them to get more? I think a much better outcome (and one with a fairly good chance of actually happening) is:

-Dragon would handle cargo on Falcon.

-Cynus would handle cargo as well.

-Dragonrider for crew in 2016

-Dream Chaser for crew in 2018 or later

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #31 on: 02/08/2014 01:03 pm »
Thoughts?

Boeing already has a giant piece of the pie via ISS and SLS, in what possible universe do we want them to get more? I think a much better outcome (and one with a fairly good chance of actually happening) is:

-Dragon would handle cargo on Falcon.

-Cynus would handle cargo as well.

-Dragonrider for crew in 2016

-Dream Chaser for crew in 2018 or later
To your first point in America we don’t punish companies for being successful. Boeing is the most experienced spacecraft constructor in via the absorption of McDonnell and North American–Rockwell.
The CST-100 has the heat shield protected via its service/propulsion module making ideal for long stays at ISS or future stations. I also see it as a potential evolution into a BEO spacecraft.

In this era of Commercial flight it might take only one LOM/LOC for a company to fold so I feel this spreads the risks out.
 
And lastly I want ROI, why should America not get the spacecraft they invested in? Are we going to continue to add to the 20 Billion and counting on the scrap heap of cancelled programs?

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-09/infographic-nasas-canceled-projects
« Last Edit: 02/08/2014 01:33 pm by Rocket Science »
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #32 on: 02/08/2014 04:22 pm »
-Altlas has a long "proven"flight history, you can't say that "yet" for SpaceX.

That's an increasingly hard argument to make, as the two versions of Falcon 9 have 8 flights between them, with only a single anomaly, which did not affect the primary payload (and only affected the secondary because of ISS proximity requirements). If the USAF gives its approval to Falcon 9 v1.1 (which is likely now after three good flights), then it's really as "proven" as it needs to be.

Not that Atlas isn't a great rocket, it's just that it starts to look really expensive for not much more reliability.
Atlas 5's 43 launch flight record makes it possible to predict with high confidence that it should have a better than 96% reliability rate - ranking only behind Soyuz and Delta 2.  Falcon 9 v1.1's 3-launch record only makes it possible to say with confidence that it should do better than 80%.  Falcon 9 v1.1 would have to score 20 consecutive initial successes to get to a proven high-confidence 95% reliability.  Atlas 5 has a big head start in this regard. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/08/2014 04:23 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #33 on: 02/08/2014 08:17 pm »
-Altlas has a long "proven"flight history, you can't say that "yet" for SpaceX.

That's an increasingly hard argument to make, as the two versions of Falcon 9 have 8 flights between them, with only a single anomaly, which did not affect the primary payload (and only affected the secondary because of ISS proximity requirements). If the USAF gives its approval to Falcon 9 v1.1 (which is likely now after three good flights), then it's really as "proven" as it needs to be.

Not that Atlas isn't a great rocket, it's just that it starts to look really expensive for not much more reliability.
Atlas 5's 43 launch flight record makes it possible to predict with high confidence that it should have a better than 96% reliability rate - ranking only behind Soyuz and Delta 2.  Falcon 9 v1.1's 3-launch record only makes it possible to say with confidence that it should do better than 80%.  Falcon 9 v1.1 would have to score 20 consecutive initial successes to get to a proven high-confidence 95% reliability.  Atlas 5 has a big head start in this regard. 

 - Ed Kyle
Yes, but SpaceX's rocket certainly has the /potential/ of equal or even better reliability. Atlas V relies on booster rockets for larger payloads (i.e. CST-100 and the like) which don't have engine-out capability, neither do the two upper stage engines. Falcon 9 has engine-out capability on the multi-engine first stage and the fewest feasible number of stages (2) and just a single upper stage engine.

I agree that these are still theoretical advantages until there's a better flight history, but it seems quite likely Falcon 9 /will/ have a significant flight heritage (20-30? comparable to Delta IV) before the first flight to ISS in 2017 or so. Making a downselect now to Atlas V on the basis of some imagined reliability advantage would be quite short-sighted, especially since the Dragon cargo capsule has made 4 totally successful orbital flights so far (there were glitches, but still complete success), and that's at least as important as the launch vehicle as far as safety goes.

And don't pretend that the lower cost makes no improvement on safety: With a less expensive rocket (and vehicle), you can afford more flight tests than otherwise, and flight tests are more important than almost any other factor, IMHO.
« Last Edit: 02/08/2014 08:19 pm by Robotbeat »
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline sublimemarsupial

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #34 on: 02/08/2014 08:34 pm »

And don't pretend that the lower cost makes no improvement on safety: With a less expensive rocket (and vehicle), you can afford more flight tests than otherwise, and flight tests are more important than almost any other factor, IMHO.

This begs the question, are either Dream Chaser or CST-100 doing an in flight Max Q abort test? If not, is that being driven by the inability to afford the LV for the test?

How much is the fact that Dragon will have proven that is LAS works even in the worst case scenario worth to NASA in proving the system's safety relative to its competitors?

Online vt_hokie

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #35 on: 02/08/2014 08:40 pm »

 
And lastly I want ROI, why should America not get the spacecraft they invested in? Are we going to continue to add to the 20 Billion and counting on the scrap heap of cancelled programs?


That's been my main beef with commercial crew all along though!  We're investing in three different spacecraft (four if you count Orion) when NASA doesn't have the resources to seem them all through, thus ensuring that we will add to the scrap heap of cancelled programs!

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #36 on: 02/08/2014 08:57 pm »

 
And lastly I want ROI, why should America not get the spacecraft they invested in? Are we going to continue to add to the 20 Billion and counting on the scrap heap of cancelled programs?


That's been my main beef with commercial crew all along though!  We're investing in three different spacecraft (four if you count Orion) when NASA doesn't have the resources to seem them all through, thus ensuring that we will add to the scrap heap of cancelled programs!
Except the advantage is that at least Dragon and Dreamchaser have companies behind them that would try their hardest to find a use for them even if they aren't selected. By having a late down-select, it also allows the potential for going to an alternative vehicle if there's a problem with one of them.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #37 on: 02/08/2014 09:13 pm »

 
And lastly I want ROI, why should America not get the spacecraft they invested in? Are we going to continue to add to the 20 Billion and counting on the scrap heap of cancelled programs?


That's been my main beef with commercial crew all along though!  We're investing in three different spacecraft (four if you count Orion) when NASA doesn't have the resources to seem them all through, thus ensuring that we will add to the scrap heap of cancelled programs!
At this point these vehicles have a “real” mission whereas Orion is being constructed for what really constitutes an expensive joyride...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline ApolloStarbuck

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #38 on: 02/09/2014 04:55 am »
I'm just wondering what happens to these companies in the non-alternate universe, that have invested a lot of resources in crew transport when the ISS gets de-orbited in the mid 2020's or so.

Without a robust manned program in place by then, such as a replacement station or such (seems unlikely) how will four, or three or even one of these companies be able to afford to maintain the infrastructure to produce crew-carrying spacecraft.

Space-X and Orbital, yes.  they have the satellite launch market angle but CST-100 or (in particular) DreamChaser...once the ISS is gone won't those companies have a tough, if not impossible, time maintaining those capabilities with a greatly reduced need for crew transport missions?

Even though the Russians or especially the Chinese will/could likely maintain a continuous manned presence in space they're not going to contract private American firms for crew launch.  Likewies ESA or JAXA...nowhere to send crews to.
...weren't we supposed to be on Mars by now?

Offline IslandPlaya

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #39 on: 02/09/2014 05:11 am »
Easy answer. There will have to be a new 'space station.'
It will have to be there to support BEO, and also to give meaning to SLS.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #40 on: 02/09/2014 06:13 am »
The line of reasoning that goes "we've invested in all these vehicles, so we should find a way to use them all" is a form of the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost_fallacy#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy

Both safety and cost of a particular vehicle improve with each additional flight.  Eventually, you get diminishing returns to the point where additional flights don't improve things much.  But the foreseeable flight rates of these vehicles are very far from reaching the point of diminishing returns.  Hence splitting the limited number of flights among more vehicles means overall costs are much higher and safety much lower.

It isn't necessarily a waste to invest in several development programs even knowing you're going to cancel some of them.  That's because you don't know which of the development programs will do best.  By investing in several and then choosing one, you can potentially get a better expected outcome per dollar spent than with any other way of spending those dollars.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #41 on: 02/09/2014 12:33 pm »
Atlas 5's 43 launch flight record makes it possible to predict with high confidence that it should have a better than 96% reliability rate - ranking only behind Soyuz and Delta 2.  Falcon 9 v1.1's 3-launch record only makes it possible to say with confidence that it should do better than 80%.  Falcon 9 v1.1 would have to score 20 consecutive initial successes to get to a proven high-confidence 95% reliability.  Atlas 5 has a big head start in this regard. 

 - Ed Kyle
Yes, but SpaceX's rocket certainly has the /potential/ of equal or even better reliability. Atlas V relies on booster rockets for larger payloads (i.e. CST-100 and the like) which don't have engine-out capability, neither do the two upper stage engines. Falcon 9 has engine-out capability on the multi-engine first stage and the fewest feasible number of stages (2) and just a single upper stage engine....

And what about the other key element here: the crew capsule?   Dragon already has more flight heritage than CST-100 and is likely to accumulate heritage faster than CST-100.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #42 on: 02/09/2014 12:37 pm »
The line of reasoning that goes "we've invested in all these vehicles, so we should find a way to use them all" is a form of the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost_fallacy#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy

Both safety and cost of a particular vehicle improve with each additional flight.  Eventually, you get diminishing returns to the point where additional flights don't improve things much.  But the foreseeable flight rates of these vehicles are very far from reaching the point of diminishing returns.  Hence splitting the limited number of flights among more vehicles means overall costs are much higher and safety much lower.

It isn't necessarily a waste to invest in several development programs even knowing you're going to cancel some of them.  That's because you don't know which of the development programs will do best.  By investing in several and then choosing one, you can potentially get a better expected outcome per dollar spent than with any other way of spending those dollars.
Sunk Cost is an old tune that we’ve been singing for years on this site so we know it well as a result of NASA’s old way of doing business where we usually ended up with “plywood mock-ups and pretty power-points”.  For a relatively low expenditure two of these vehicles are operational for cargo and any of these vehicles may go onto to service some future orbital platform, depot or station such as Bigelow. Crew Vehicles are in the atmospheric and close to abort test phases, so what why not allow them to become part of the U.S. spacecraft inventory upon full orbital operation? If they fail due to poor business decisions or another circumstance then is on them... As I said when I started this thread it is an “Alternate Universe” where we didn’t spend twenty plus Billion to sell the scrapper for pennies on the million...
« Last Edit: 02/09/2014 01:01 pm by Rocket Science »
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #43 on: 02/09/2014 01:14 pm »
I'm just wondering what happens to these companies in the non-alternate universe, that have invested a lot of resources in crew transport when the ISS gets de-orbited in the mid 2020's or so.

Without a robust manned program in place by then, such as a replacement station or such (seems unlikely) how will four, or three or even one of these companies be able to afford to maintain the infrastructure to produce crew-carrying spacecraft.

Space-X and Orbital, yes.  they have the satellite launch market angle but CST-100 or (in particular) DreamChaser...once the ISS is gone won't those companies have a tough, if not impossible, time maintaining those capabilities with a greatly reduced need for crew transport missions?

Even though the Russians or especially the Chinese will/could likely maintain a continuous manned presence in space they're not going to contract private American firms for crew launch.  Likewies ESA or JAXA...nowhere to send crews to.
This a like the early days of aviation where the airplane was thought of as an interesting toy...
The Wright brothers couldn’t sell the idea of their airplane to their own US government, so they went to Europe instead...

When it comes to developing commercial space allow me to quote John F. Kennedy:

“If not us, who? If not now, when?”
« Last Edit: 02/09/2014 01:21 pm by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline Falcon H

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #44 on: 02/09/2014 05:06 pm »
I'm just wondering what happens to these companies in the non-alternate universe, that have invested a lot of resources in crew transport when the ISS gets de-orbited in the mid 2020's or so.

Without a robust manned program in place by then, such as a replacement station or such (seems unlikely) how will four, or three or even one of these companies be able to afford to maintain the infrastructure to produce crew-carrying spacecraft.

Space-X and Orbital, yes.  they have the satellite launch market angle but CST-100 or (in particular) DreamChaser...once the ISS is gone won't those companies have a tough, if not impossible, time maintaining those capabilities with a greatly reduced need for crew transport missions?

Even though the Russians or especially the Chinese will/could likely maintain a continuous manned presence in space they're not going to contract private American firms for crew launch.  Likewies ESA or JAXA...nowhere to send crews to.
What about private space stations? Bigelow is collaborating with Boeing to develop the CST-100, and two years ago they announced a partnership with SpaceX.

"What Bigelow offers Boeing, SpaceX, and other vehicle developers is the promise of a sustained, large market for space transportation services."
"Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond our little blue mud ball--or go extinct" Elon Musk

Offline Krevsin

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #45 on: 02/22/2014 06:31 am »
I'm just wondering what happens to these companies in the non-alternate universe, that have invested a lot of resources in crew transport when the ISS gets de-orbited in the mid 2020's or so.

Without a robust manned program in place by then, such as a replacement station or such (seems unlikely) how will four, or three or even one of these companies be able to afford to maintain the infrastructure to produce crew-carrying spacecraft.

Space-X and Orbital, yes.  they have the satellite launch market angle but CST-100 or (in particular) DreamChaser...once the ISS is gone won't those companies have a tough, if not impossible, time maintaining those capabilities with a greatly reduced need for crew transport missions?

Even though the Russians or especially the Chinese will/could likely maintain a continuous manned presence in space they're not going to contract private American firms for crew launch.  Likewies ESA or JAXA...nowhere to send crews to.
What about private space stations? Bigelow is collaborating with Boeing to develop the CST-100, and two years ago they announced a partnership with SpaceX.

"What Bigelow offers Boeing, SpaceX, and other vehicle developers is the promise of a sustained, large market for space transportation services."
Thanks for pointing that out. The only reason why Bigelow hasn't sent a prototype space station into space is (according to them  :P) the lack of affordable crew transportation for larger crews.

Even after the ISS is deorbited in 2020, there will be a market for US launch vehicles, most likely in the form of private space stations.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #46 on: 02/22/2014 12:40 pm »
Won't be deorbited until 2024 at the earliest, most likely 2028 or later.
« Last Edit: 02/22/2014 02:58 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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

Offline Krevsin

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #47 on: 02/22/2014 01:32 pm »
Also, i wouldn't be surprised if ISS's lifespan were elongiated for a couple more years.  :P

Offline chalz

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #48 on: 02/28/2014 08:51 pm »
The line of reasoning that goes "we've invested in all these vehicles, so we should find a way to use them all" is a form of the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost_fallacy#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy

Both safety and cost of a particular vehicle improve with each additional flight.  Eventually, you get diminishing returns to the point where additional flights don't improve things much.  But the foreseeable flight rates of these vehicles are very far from reaching the point of diminishing returns.  Hence splitting the limited number of flights among more vehicles means overall costs are much higher and safety much lower.

It isn't necessarily a waste to invest in several development programs even knowing you're going to cancel some of them.  That's because you don't know which of the development programs will do best.  By investing in several and then choosing one, you can potentially get a better expected outcome per dollar spent than with any other way of spending those dollars.
...so what why not allow them to become part of the U.S. spacecraft inventory upon full orbital operation? If they fail due to poor business decisions or another circumstance then is on them... As I said when I started this thread it is an “Alternate Universe” where we didn’t spend twenty plus Billion to sell the scrapper for pennies on the million...

The ideal universe result you actually need is to have one or maybe two winners on ISS missions and all other entrants go on to thrive in their own market segments with new customers. Conflating US spacecraft with government spacecraft is confusing. Dream Chaser is investigating options towards this goal I believe.

As a layman I thought the goal of the program always was to leverage NASA experience and knowledge into stimulating a self perpetuating industry that it could then go back to when required.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Alternate Universe Thread
« Reply #49 on: 02/28/2014 09:07 pm »
The line of reasoning that goes "we've invested in all these vehicles, so we should find a way to use them all" is a form of the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost_fallacy#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy

Both safety and cost of a particular vehicle improve with each additional flight.  Eventually, you get diminishing returns to the point where additional flights don't improve things much.  But the foreseeable flight rates of these vehicles are very far from reaching the point of diminishing returns.  Hence splitting the limited number of flights among more vehicles means overall costs are much higher and safety much lower.

It isn't necessarily a waste to invest in several development programs even knowing you're going to cancel some of them.  That's because you don't know which of the development programs will do best.  By investing in several and then choosing one, you can potentially get a better expected outcome per dollar spent than with any other way of spending those dollars.
...so what why not allow them to become part of the U.S. spacecraft inventory upon full orbital operation? If they fail due to poor business decisions or another circumstance then is on them... As I said when I started this thread it is an “Alternate Universe” where we didn’t spend twenty plus Billion to sell the scrapper for pennies on the million...

The ideal universe result you actually need is to have one or maybe two winners on ISS missions and all other entrants go on to thrive in their own market segments with new customers. Conflating US spacecraft with government spacecraft is confusing. Dream Chaser is investigating options towards this goal I believe.

As a layman I thought the goal of the program always was to leverage NASA experience and knowledge into stimulating a self perpetuating industry that it could then go back to when required.
Go one page back you will see that I said these vehicles could serve future stations and platforms and if they make it or break it’s upon them. On any given day here on the ground we have a mix of private and government assets working together without confusion...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

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