Author Topic: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions  (Read 106047 times)

Offline Blackstar

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #280 on: 01/06/2015 06:19 pm »
This is a 1969 paper on how the Saturn V could be used in the 1970s for various missions, including planetary missions.
I remember those times. Unfortunately those who advocated this approach were unable to develop the level of grassroots public support needed to bring about the large investment to continue Saturn production, establish lunar bases, and develop HLV-based planetary probes. Even the proposal for a second Skylab was dropped.

They didn't need grassroots support. They needed presidential support and they didn't get it (Nixon was tired of lunar missions and wanted to cancel many of the rest of them, and his people wanted to solve a budget problem and carve a lot of money out of NASA). John Logsdon's book, on Nixon's space policy, is due out in spring 2015 and has a lot of information on this.

Congress was also wary and cut NASA's budget, but Nixon's people went after it with an axe.
« Last Edit: 01/06/2015 06:20 pm by Blackstar »

Online redliox

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #281 on: 01/06/2015 09:45 pm »
This is a 1969 paper on how the Saturn V could be used in the 1970s for various missions, including planetary missions.
I remember those times. Unfortunately those who advocated this approach were unable to develop the level of grassroots public support needed to bring about the large investment to continue Saturn production, establish lunar bases, and develop HLV-based planetary probes. Even the proposal for a second Skylab was dropped.

They didn't need grassroots support. They needed presidential support and they didn't get it (Nixon was tired of lunar missions and wanted to cancel many of the rest of them, and his people wanted to solve a budget problem and carve a lot of money out of NASA). John Logsdon's book, on Nixon's space policy, is due out in spring 2015 and has a lot of information on this.

Congress was also wary and cut NASA's budget, but Nixon's people went after it with an axe.

No kidding on everything you both said.  All my generation of the '80s was left with was an explosive winged firecracker and a series of incrementally less impressive space stations on paper.  I still remember when the 25th Apollo Moon landing anniversary came how the newspaper ran a political cartoon showing "Then" with a classic shot of an astronaut with flag on the Moon and "Now" showing a dumpy shuttle with the word bubble 'Oh look!  Guppies having sex!' that mocked the Columbia's then-occurring biology mission.

...you can guess I was the one kid during the Kennedy Space Center tours that'd loudly point out "But it doesn't GO anywhere!"  Mr. Bolden would have loathed to have been my guide.  ;)

Seriously though, I do hope there is some sincerity amid the arguments for SLS in learning from STS and trying to apply the best from it.  I'd argue over where the best destination to go is, but SLS feels like something worth putting some faith in.

Getting back to topic and the previously mentioned "what-ifs" of Saturn V being applied for probes, I do remember the Martian Voyager concept being proposed to launch by S-V but with no luck.  For SLS unmanned, unless its a precursor or cargo flight it is a bit overkill for most Mars missions, save only MSR; I recall Zubrin pointing out MSR could use small Deltas if fuel production was used but NASA never applied that.  For probes the outer planets need something of SLS' class badly, especially for Saturn and beyond.
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Offline deltaV

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #282 on: 01/08/2015 05:04 am »
Time value of money will actually make the Atlas option look even better--expenses in out years (operations) get discounted compared to costs up front (launch).

That's true if the two potential programs have the same start date, but IMHO a fairer comparison is between two programs with the same science date. For a fixed science date the SLS-based mission can delay construction and launch and their costs by a few years. This would ordinarily reduce costs once you correct for time value of money, but the unusually high aerospace inflation rate may actually exceed the unusually low US government interest rate so the relevant real interest rates may be negative and hence the ordinary rule that later is cheaper may not apply here.

Offline savuporo

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #283 on: 01/08/2015 05:09 am »
Is there a serious update on how MAV is supposed to be built for this SLS powered MSR ? Because i went looking, and i found little. I saw some mentions of resurrecting XLR-132 as the ascent engine - hydrazine ftw ?
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Offline newpylong

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #284 on: 01/08/2015 12:45 pm »
Is there a serious update on how MAV is supposed to be built for this SLS powered MSR ? Because i went looking, and i found little. I saw some mentions of resurrecting XLR-132 as the ascent engine - hydrazine ftw ?

Don't you think it's a little early for that? They just finished the baseline on the instruments for the 2020 Rover.

Offline savuporo

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #285 on: 01/08/2015 03:39 pm »
Is there a serious update on how MAV is supposed to be built for this SLS powered MSR ? Because i went looking, and i found little. I saw some mentions of resurrecting XLR-132 as the ascent engine - hydrazine ftw ?

Don't you think it's a little early for that? They just finished the baseline on the instruments for the 2020 Rover.

Well, someone must have done at least a spreadsheet calculating some basics for this single-short MSR, and baselined some sort of MAV in there, with some return payload capability. The scientific value of such would hinge a lot on the proposed return capability.
Some previous well developed MSR plans, even though programmatically and financially somewhat viable, did not go anywhere precisely because the return capability was simply not worth it.
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Offline TaurusLittrow

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #286 on: 01/11/2015 12:53 pm »
OK, is anyone else confused with the SLS manifest? Is it just me?

So EM-2, ostensibly ARM, has been delayed to the mid 2020s. Right? But EM-3, supposedly the second flight of a crewed Orion, is slated for late 2023.

Presumably, the ARM mission will have to be renumbered, but that still leaves a crewed EM-2 flight to be defined – unless EM-2 will be directed to an uncrewed mission (Europa in 2022/23?).

Does anyone understand NASA’s current thinking about the SLS flight sequence? If so, can you please explain it in agricultural terms so us simple folk understand.



Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #287 on: 01/11/2015 01:22 pm »
I think this is what happens when the launch vehicle, not the mission, is the goal.

Online RonM

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #288 on: 01/11/2015 01:23 pm »
OK, is anyone else confused with the SLS manifest? Is it just me?

So EM-2, ostensibly ARM, has been delayed to the mid 2020s. Right? But EM-3, supposedly the second flight of a crewed Orion, is slated for late 2023.

Presumably, the ARM mission will have to be renumbered, but that still leaves a crewed EM-2 flight to be defined – unless EM-2 will be directed to an uncrewed mission (Europa in 2022/23?).

Does anyone understand NASA’s current thinking about the SLS flight sequence? If so, can you please explain it in agricultural terms so us simple folk understand.

ARM isn't EM-2, it's just idea to have something for the Orion crew to do other than orbit the Moon. The ARM concept doesn't seem to be popular with Congress, so it will probably never happen.

The schedule keeps changing because plans keep changing. The only thing for sure is that there will be an unmanned Orion test and a manned Orion test. Congress hasn't approved any money for other missions.

ARM is off topic for this thread. Getting back to Europa and MSR on SLS, those probably won't get funded. It seems like there are dozens of PowerPoint missions for every mission that does fly.

Offline llanitedave

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #289 on: 01/11/2015 03:40 pm »
I think this is what happens when the launch vehicle, not the mission, is the goal.

Maybe, but a vehicle that is not dedicated to just one mission is the norm.  We don't manufacture any other vehicle for just a single purpose.  Automobiles and trucks have no specific mission in mind when they're built.  Neither do airliners or cargo planes.  Even large ships have quite a bit of flexibility in the kinds of missions they can take on. 

And the Atlas V and Delta IV and Falcon 9 are all multi-role launchers as well.  The Saturn V had follow-on missions envisioned that were not to the Moon.Why should the SLS be designed and built for a single mission when virtually no other means of transportation is?
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #290 on: 01/11/2015 07:28 pm »
I think this is what happens when the launch vehicle, not the mission, is the goal.

Maybe, but a vehicle that is not dedicated to just one mission is the norm.  We don't manufacture any other vehicle for just a single purpose.  Automobiles and trucks have no specific mission in mind when they're built.  Neither do airliners or cargo planes.  Even large ships have quite a bit of flexibility in the kinds of missions they can take on.

Typically transport vehicles like the ones you cited are built based on known demand, and forecasted future demand.  Certainly when substantially larger transport vehicles have been built (like the 747, super tankers, and heavy haulers) it's been because the current systems have been demonstrated to have been tapped out capacity-wise, and are limiting future growth.

Congress determined there was a need for a government HLV, not the government customer base that needs payloads moved to & through space (i.e. NASA, DoD/NRO, etc.).  And when I say "customer base", I mean entities that have funded payloads, which does not include people sitting in offices and conferences making wishes.

Now that's not to say that users for an HLV won't eventually appear, but the Europa and MSR missions certainly haven't committed to the SLS yet, nor have any other missions been funded after the SLS becomes operational.  So what we're watching is a slow race to find out if enough users will be found before it's determined there really isn't a need for a government HLV.

Quote
And the Atlas V and Delta IV and Falcon 9 are all multi-role launchers as well.

A good example of what I talked about above, these three launchers are all busy launching for many customers.  But the heavy versions of the Delta IV and the Falcon Heavy are not in high demand, meaning that so far the market (both commercial and U.S. Government) doesn't have a big demand for these capabilities, at these prices.

Now it could be argued that even Falcon Heavy is not big enough for a potential group of users, and that they are waiting for something (like the SLS) that would provide a much larger increase in capabilities.  Evidence of that should have already been emerging in the years since the SLS has been authorized, but so far there is only proposals, but no funding.

Quote
The Saturn V had follow-on missions envisioned that were not to the Moon.

You have to keep in mind how much money an HLV launch system requires in order to operate at a safe launch cadence, which for the SLS is supposed to be no-less-than every 12 months.  With the Saturn V, our government decided not to commit to the level of activity in space that merited an HLV like the Saturn V, and instead thought that all they needed was the future Shuttle system.

So has our government decided that it's ready to spend enough on space that an HLV is required?

Quote
Why should the SLS be designed and built for a single mission when virtually no other means of transportation is?

Doesn't have to be.  But successful transportation systems are able to find customers for their niche capabilities - we're still waiting for that to happen with the SLS.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Vultur

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #291 on: 01/11/2015 08:19 pm »
Some previous well developed MSR plans, even though programmatically and financially somewhat viable, did not go anywhere precisely because the return capability was simply not worth it.

How much does it take to be worth it? I thought it didn't take much sample these days for good science. IE OSIRIS-REX is suppose to collect a minimum of 60 grams.

Or is it different in the case of Mars since we already have meteorites?

Offline llanitedave

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #292 on: 01/11/2015 08:38 pm »
I think this is what happens when the launch vehicle, not the mission, is the goal.

Maybe, but a vehicle that is not dedicated to just one mission is the norm.  We don't manufacture any other vehicle for just a single purpose.  Automobiles and trucks have no specific mission in mind when they're built.  Neither do airliners or cargo planes.  Even large ships have quite a bit of flexibility in the kinds of missions they can take on.

Typically transport vehicles like the ones you cited are built based on known demand, and forecasted future demand.  Certainly when substantially larger transport vehicles have been built (like the 747, super tankers, and heavy haulers) it's been because the current systems have been demonstrated to have been tapped out capacity-wise, and are limiting future growth.

Congress determined there was a need for a government HLV, not the government customer base that needs payloads moved to & through space (i.e. NASA, DoD/NRO, etc.).  And when I say "customer base", I mean entities that have funded payloads, which does not include people sitting in offices and conferences making wishes.

Now that's not to say that users for an HLV won't eventually appear, but the Europa and MSR missions certainly haven't committed to the SLS yet, nor have any other missions been funded after the SLS becomes operational.  So what we're watching is a slow race to find out if enough users will be found before it's determined there really isn't a need for a government HLV.

Quote
And the Atlas V and Delta IV and Falcon 9 are all multi-role launchers as well.

A good example of what I talked about above, these three launchers are all busy launching for many customers.  But the heavy versions of the Delta IV and the Falcon Heavy are not in high demand, meaning that so far the market (both commercial and U.S. Government) doesn't have a big demand for these capabilities, at these prices.

Now it could be argued that even Falcon Heavy is not big enough for a potential group of users, and that they are waiting for something (like the SLS) that would provide a much larger increase in capabilities.  Evidence of that should have already been emerging in the years since the SLS has been authorized, but so far there is only proposals, but no funding.

Quote
The Saturn V had follow-on missions envisioned that were not to the Moon.

You have to keep in mind how much money an HLV launch system requires in order to operate at a safe launch cadence, which for the SLS is supposed to be no-less-than every 12 months.  With the Saturn V, our government decided not to commit to the level of activity in space that merited an HLV like the Saturn V, and instead thought that all they needed was the future Shuttle system.

So has our government decided that it's ready to spend enough on space that an HLV is required?

Quote
Why should the SLS be designed and built for a single mission when virtually no other means of transportation is?

Doesn't have to be.  But successful transportation systems are able to find customers for their niche capabilities - we're still waiting for that to happen with the SLS.

Points all well taken.  But that has nothing to do with SLS being at a disadvantage because it doesn't have a single-mission focus.  Plus, there is a feedback system that has to work as well.  Some types of missions cannot exist until there is a vehicle capable of carrying them out, therefore there will be no demand for them, until it becomes obvious that they can be done.  Most of the aircraft used today perform missions that were unimaginable at the time of the Wright Brothers.  But their little flyer was not a single-role machine, either.  It didn't have any mission except to fly.  Once it was available, people started thinking of things for it to do.

Cost is an issue and potential obstacle, no doubt.  But I suspect, IF the system is handled properly, that a lot of demands that until now exist only in the imagination, will start coming forward.

Even if it fails due to cost and complexity, it will still serve as an illustration of what can be done with enough payload capacity, and serve as a reservoir for ideas for missions that a similarly capable but cheaper vehicle could accomplish.

I'd like to see SLS fail -- but to fail by being supplanted by economical competition, not to have its potential simply wither on the vine.
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #293 on: 01/11/2015 09:35 pm »
Points all well taken.  But that has nothing to do with SLS being at a disadvantage because it doesn't have a single-mission focus.

In the transportation industry usually there is a launch customer for the upsized vehicles.  Pan Am for the 747 is a classic example, where they had maxed out their airport landing slots and needed a larger capacity vehicle to increase potential revenue.

For the SLS NASA is the launch customer, and because the SLS is a government vehicle it is unlikely to be used for commercial reasons (not near-term at least).  And as far as we know the DoD/NRO is not interested in relying on a NASA vehicle again, or at least not until it's been proven (i.e. the chicken & egg causality dilemma).

So though the SLS would not be limited to only one type of mission that it could support, at least for now it's limited in only supporting one customer - NASA.  So understanding what NASA will or will not be allowed to do in the near future would be a direct indication of what the future of the SLS will be.

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Plus, there is a feedback system that has to work as well.  Some types of missions cannot exist until there is a vehicle capable of carrying them out, therefore there will be no demand for them, until it becomes obvious that they can be done.

This assumes that there is a clear demarcation line between what can or can't be done in space with existing launchers and a government HLV.  I don't think there is a clear demarcation line.

For instance, can the Europa mission be done with an existing launcher?  Yes.  Sure it would take more years, but the SLS would likely cost far more than a commercial launcher, so it's likely a time vs money equation here.

As to the Mars Sample Return, no doubt having more throw-weight is an advantage, but here again there would be alternatives.  One would be if we broke up the mission elements into more than one launch using existing launchers.  This is not something we have perfected though, but it's something we do need to perfect regardless whether we have HLV's or not.

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Most of the aircraft used today perform missions that were unimaginable at the time of the Wright Brothers.  But their little flyer was not a single-role machine, either.  It didn't have any mission except to fly.  Once it was available, people started thinking of things for it to do.

With a new product/service that is true, but launching payloads to space is a pretty mature service.  We've been expounding and experimenting with ideas on what we should be doing in space for over half a century.  So we don't lack for ideas.

So what's been holding us back?  Many make the argument that what we need is lower cost access to space more than we need the ability to move more mass with one launch.  That what's been holding us back is the tremendous cost of doing things in space, not the ability to upsize what we do, and certainly the 450mt ISS shows that we can do big stuff in space using small payload chunks (i.e. less than 20mt).

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Cost is an issue and potential obstacle, no doubt.  But I suspect, IF the system is handled properly, that a lot of demands that until now exist only in the imagination, will start coming forward.

At this point NASA has to shoulder the entire burden of the SLS and it's payload eco-system, so cost is the #1 issue.  Can NASA afford to develop and operate not only the SLS and Orion, but the missions and payloads that use the SLS and Orion?  It's not just an SLS question.

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Even if it fails due to cost and complexity, it will still serve as an illustration of what can be done with enough payload capacity, and serve as a reservoir for ideas for missions that a similarly capable but cheaper vehicle could accomplish.

The U.S. has already operated an HLV launch system (i.e. Saturn V), so we already know we can build an HLV and operate it safely.  This is strictly a question of need - is there enough need for a government-owned HLV?

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I'd like to see SLS fail -- but to fail by being supplanted by economical competition, not to have its potential simply wither on the vine.

The sooner we know for sure whether a government HLV is needed the better - regardless what the answer is.
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Can we drop the usual (and rather boring) monotony of promoting personal opinions - to the point it only sounds like white noise after the 500th post saying the same damn thing - and get back on to the subject of this thread?

It would be REALLY appreciated.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #295 on: 01/12/2015 12:52 am »
Some previous well developed MSR plans, even though programmatically and financially somewhat viable, did not go anywhere precisely because the return capability was simply not worth it.

How much does it take to be worth it? I thought it didn't take much sample these days for good science. IE OSIRIS-REX is suppose to collect a minimum of 60 grams.

Or is it different in the case of Mars since we already have meteorites?

Any is better than none but more is better  than less.

60 grams (~2 tablespoons of regolith) is fine for an asteroid, but is very restricting for Mars which is far more diverse than any asteroid.  Geochemists prefer to work with large samples, up to cubic metres at times.

From memory most MSR studies in the past 20 years have aimed for about 500 grams.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2015 12:58 am by Dalhousie »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #296 on: 01/12/2015 10:53 pm »
A page or two back someone made the argument that the EC shouldn't be launched on the first SLS with a EUS because it would be launched on an unproven stage. I don't know if this was mentioned earlier but given the fact that ULA is changing engines in Atlas V both the new Atlas V and SLS IB would be unproven. If I was in SMD and I had to choose between two unproven launchers I would pick SLS since it is being designed to carry humans (less tolerance for failure) and would most likely be at least majority paid for by HEOMD.

Atlas wouldn't be unproven, it will have launched many times before then and also will still being using existing stages.  Also, it will be carrying humans also. 

SLS will carry humans but it isn't much better than Atlas.  It was found that Constellation wouldn't might the human rating standards put forth in the early 2000's and they were rewritten. 

Atlas will be flying from a proven team, SLS will still be going through growing pains. 

So, your arguments don't hold water.

Of course the current Atlas is being human rated and has flown many times. The future Atlas will also be human rated but it will not have flown very long by the time EC is ready.
...
Nope, it will have flown MANY more times than SLS. Do the math. Atlas V currently launches, say, 7 times a year. SLS will fly once every two years. In a single year, the new Atlas will, at that point, fly more than SLS will fly in a decade.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2015 10:54 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline llanitedave

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #297 on: 01/13/2015 03:55 am »
But will the "new" Atlas be an Atlas?
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Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #298 on: 01/13/2015 12:00 pm »
Why does it matter?  Even if it's a completely new vehicle, it will still be accumulating flight time far more rapidly than SLS.

Offline newpylong

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #299 on: 01/13/2015 12:27 pm »
The argument is irrelevant to the forum topic.

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