Author Topic: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions  (Read 106045 times)

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #240 on: 12/10/2014 02:57 am »

But the SLS is not being built to provide frequent, low-cost access to space, nor is it supposed to be the primary transportation system that commercial, military and NASA will use.  NASA will not even use it for every need they have, since it's too expensive.

So while the answer for the question "who will use the Shuttle" was "EVERYONE", the answer to the question of "who will use the SLS" is "only users that have HLV-sized payloads or need high-energy transport beyond Earth".  See the difference?

Why should SLS be designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space? That is what the commercial companies are for. SLS is designed to be the BEO heavy lifter which we need if we want to fly anything large beyond LEO.

We have payloads that are being designed and funded right now (namely Orion and Cygnus (and Bigelow modules too)). Even if the worst case scenario comes to pass and nothing besides Orion is developed as a payload we could still get a ~40 day mission in cis-lunar space with just two Orions docked with each other.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #241 on: 12/10/2014 03:07 am »
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Per last years request (so values are ~), the budget is still  ~3.1B  level after 2017. 
                                  FY  13      FY14    FY2015     FY2016     FY2017   FY2018   FY 2019
ISS                                    3.7      3.8           3.9           3.9            4.0          4.1           4.6
Onion                                1.1      1.2            1.1           1.1            1.1          1.1           1.1
SLS                                   2.0      2.0            2.1          2.1            2.1          2.1          2.1     
Ground                             0.35    0.32          0.35         0.4            0.43       0.44         0.45   
Missions                                0         0               0             0               0             0               0    0  0           
Thanks for that.  Part of the answer for "where's the money for missions?" is clearly right there. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 12/10/2014 03:11 am by edkyle99 »

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #242 on: 12/10/2014 03:55 am »
Thanks for the history lesson.

You're welcome.

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Considering I was involved in shuttle this was a good laugh.

My answers are not specifically directed at any one person, and not everyone that would be reading what I wrote would be steeped in Shuttle history.

As to your history with the Shuttle, apparently there wasn't anything that you cared to refute, so...

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The point, which you once again sidestepped, is that it is speculation that a budget increase is required to fly anything.

I said no such thing.  Since you were "involved" with the Shuttle you should know that it took two separate funding streams in order to launch something to space on the Shuttle:

1.  Funding for the Shuttle system itself, which was running at $200M/month at the end of the program (per John Shannon), regardless if the Shuttle flew or not.

2.  Funding for the missions and payloads, which may or may not have been paid for by the U.S. Government, or even NASA.

And if you go back and read what I wrote you'll see that I only addressed the mission and payload side of the equation, not the operations side.  Because if there is no funding for missions and payloads for the SLS, then there is no need for the operation of the SLS.  Pretty simple.

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Didn't you say you were in operations? You should know it's common place to see reduced operational cost as a product's life cycle moves from development to operational use.

Yes, manufacturing operations, so my area of expertise would be on the cost side of building things like the SLS and the payloads, and not the launch operations side.  And yes, costs should go down for the SLS on a per unit basis as it moves from development to production and more units are built, but the SLS will still be the most expensive rocket in the U.S. to use.  Most capable too, but it's unknown at this point if that's a real need at this point in time.

And again, the point of my previous post was to show that unlike the SLS, there were payloads being built at the same time as the Shuttle was being developed - customers/users had already committed to using the Shuttle.  And when the Shuttle was done with it's test program there was a constant stream of payloads from multiple users for the Shuttle to launch.

So unless there was some doubt as to whether the SLS could fly safely - which I doubt there is - the only reason why payloads aren't being developed in anticipation of the SLS becoming operational is that there is no need for an HLV at this time.  With the long development times that an HLV-sized mission/payload will need, what other explanation could there be?
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 enkarha

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #243 on: 12/10/2014 04:51 am »
The spending on exploration(SLS/Orion/CxP) was going on long  before Shuttle cancellation. The cancellation still leaves us with something like a 2.5 billion gap in inflation adjusted terms. Initial funding for a Europa mission now looks likely, and the NASA budget will be $550 million higher than the President requested. The fervor to cut doesn't seem to be focused on NASA in the least. What I don't understand is the assertion, made so surely, that Congress would rather let this money and work fizzle out (It would be the largest cancellation of an unfulfilled program in NASA history) than just give more money to Boeing to refit the node STA, Raffaello, an existing airlock, and some other elements to make something that could work to facilitate exploration to any destination you could want, give SLS a mission and Orion a recurring destination. That's just the minimum expenditure case, but I think it's still more likely than outright cancellation, especially in increasingly fat times with a viable program.
Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars ♪

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #244 on: 12/10/2014 05:10 am »
SLS is designed to be the BEO heavy lifter which we need if we want to fly anything large beyond LEO.

Well sure.  How often do we need a BEO heavy lifter?

The Europa mission would supposedly be about $2.1B, and was thought to be able to be ready by 2021 if funded in FY15.  That's about 5 years, which is really fast for NASA, but is likely because of the design attributes that have allowed for such a small budget (it's pretty simple).

The Mars Sample Return mission is not fully defined yet, and the funding for it too has not been allocated.  I'd say it's a safe bet that it will be far more than the Europa mission though - maybe even as much as JWST?  And pretty complicated too, so likely not just 5 years to develop, build and test.

This type of budget, not the SLS operations one, is the challenge.  For every mission/payload it has to have money allocated years in advance, and since the SLS has to launch no less than every 12 months that means a succession of payloads like Europa or the Mars Sample Return adds up to $Billions/year.  And that doesn't account for the budget needed to build and operate the SLS and Orion.

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We have payloads that are being designed and funded right now (namely Orion and Cygnus (and Bigelow modules too)).

The Orion is a transportation element - it job is to transport the crew to/from some sort of destination.  So a ride on the Orion doesn't do anything other than prove it's safe to ride in (which is supposed to be done during development, not operational use).  And yes, I guess you could dock it up to a Cygnus, but for what reason?  How does it solve the issues we need solved to get to Mars (or wherever)?  Congress doesn't like the ARM for just that reason, that it's not part of a coordinated effort to get us to Mars.

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Even if the worst case scenario comes to pass and nothing besides Orion is developed as a payload we could still get a ~40 day mission in cis-lunar space with just two Orions docked with each other.

Yes, we could do that too, but it still requires Congress to allocate the funding to build the Orion spacecraft years in advance (the SLS too).  And how does that support our ultimate goals in space?

And if we need an HLV so badly, why are we scrounging to find reasons to launch it?
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 enkarha

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #245 on: 12/10/2014 05:12 am »

2.  Funding for the missions and payloads, which may or may not have been paid for by the U.S. Government, or even NASA.


The last 83 missions - 19 years- were basically pure NASA. The last 35-ish were just to the ISS/Spacehab/Hubble.
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Offline 93143

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #246 on: 12/10/2014 06:03 am »
And if we need an HLV so badly, why are we scrounging to find reasons to launch it?

Because people are desperately ignoring the obvious.  I have repeatedly pointed out that a lunar surface mission requires, strictly speaking, only one element that isn't already funded, and could support pretty much arbitrarily high flight rates going forward from that, with additional elements and missions added as the funding becomes available.

I also don't think the lander has any business costing $10B or taking ten years, not when options like Xeus are on the table and companies like SpaceX are providing a good example.

The asteroid mission is a one-off, or at best a very low-rate program that doesn't allow the launcher and capsule to be properly exercised.  The same is true of planetary probe missions, except that they don't even use the capsule.  An L-point station by itself is a bit of a self-licking ice cream cone.  Mars is too far in the future, and leaves us scrambling for something to do with the launcher and capsule while the rest of the architecture is being funded and developed.  I think a lunar surface mission is the only near-term mission that makes sense as an 'anchor tenant' for SLS/Orion, and I think Congress knows this, which is why they keep mentioning it in legislation.

The only thing standing in the way is the current Administration, which seems to be pretty solidly opposed to the idea for no good reason I can see.  And even that doesn't seem to be preventing NASA from producing lunar surface mission plans any more.

...

I will note that I am not working from detailed documents here.  NASA might well come up with a roadmap that fully utilizes SLS right up until the first manned Mars shot without setting a single boot on the moon or resorting to make-work missions, or blowing past their funding cap to speed up development.  But it seems like a stretch to me.
« Last Edit: 12/10/2014 06:13 am by 93143 »

Offline Oli

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #247 on: 12/10/2014 03:34 pm »
An L-point station by itself is a bit of a self-licking ice cream cone.

I think a lunar surface mission is the only near-term mission that makes sense as an 'anchor tenant' for SLS/Orion, and I think Congress knows this, which is why they keep mentioning it in legislation.

Self-licking ice cream is exactly what NASA needs ;)

According to the NRC report an operationally viable Moon to Mars pathway will allow for lunar sorties in the late 2020s at the earliest (assuming ISS is retired in 2020). That pathway though foresees a lunar outpost a few years after the sorties, so I'm not sure how early the budget would allow for lunar sorties without an outpost later down the road.

The ARM to Mars pathway on the other hand allows for a first mission to the Martian moons in 2030. It also allows for missions to cis-lunar space from the mid 2020s until 2030.

Personally I find the Martian moons more exciting than a repetition of the Apollo missions.
« Last Edit: 12/10/2014 03:36 pm by Oli »

Offline vulture4

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #248 on: 12/10/2014 04:41 pm »
I think it makes more sense to start with the Moon since there is at least some prospect of building a permanent base there whereas a mission directly to the Marian moons would be viewed as a one-off spectacular. Also the Orion was designed for the 28-day lunar mission. However I agree that the Marian moons make reasonable next step, though I think we should at least plan a robotic lander first. I don't see any prospect of getting the funding increase that would be needed to use SLS/Orion for this. On any mission of more than one month the Orion serves only for launch and entry and remains in storage the rest of the time, so the Dragon is in play as well. Regarding the Europa and MSR missions, IMHO the money for the launch should be allocated to the Science budget to spend as they see fit. If they want to get a cheaper booster and spend more on one or more payloads that is their choice. As Heinlein said, "There's no such thing as a free launch."
« Last Edit: 12/10/2014 04:42 pm by vulture4 »

Offline Oli

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #249 on: 12/10/2014 04:54 pm »
I think it makes more sense to start with the Moon since there is at least some prospect of building a permanent base there whereas a mission directly to the Marian moons would be viewed as a one-off spectacular. Also the Orion was designed for the 28-day lunar mission. However I agree that the Marian moons make reasonable next step, though I think we should at least plan a robotic lander first. I don't see any prospect of getting the funding increase that would be needed to use SLS/Orion for this. On any mission of more than one month the Orion serves only for launch and entry and remains in storage the rest of the time, so the Dragon is in play as well. Regarding the Europa and MSR missions, IMHO the money for the launch should be allocated to the Science budget to spend as they see fit. If they want to get a cheaper booster and spend more on one or more payloads that is their choice. As Heinlein said, "There's no such thing as a free launch."

In the ARM to Mars pathway there would be 3 missions to the Martian Moons (one every 2 years) preceding the Mars landing in 2037 .

In the Moon to Mars pathway there would be 6 lunar outpost missions in the 2030s (one every year) preceding a Mars landing in 2041. The outpost would not be permanent, it would only be operated for 6 years.

Both scenarios assume the same annual budget increase and ISS retirement in 2020.

Regarding Orion, it is part of every Mars mission design coming from NASA, so I don't see your point.


 

Offline TomH

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #250 on: 12/10/2014 09:49 pm »
Personally I find the Martian moons more exciting than a repetition of the Apollo missions.

Ditto. Phobos rendezvous should be first thing we do after manned test flight.

Offline 93143

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #251 on: 12/10/2014 10:13 pm »
The ARM to Mars pathway on the other hand allows for a first mission to the Martian moons in 2030.

Yeah, but it doesn't launch often enough before then, even with a large budget boost:
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Operational tempo in the schedule-constrained scenario is in general excellent for all the
pathways, except for ARM-to-Mars, where the technology development “cliff” imposes delay.

Regarding the Europa and MSR missions, IMHO the money for the launch should be allocated to the Science budget to spend as they see fit. If they want to get a cheaper booster and spend more on one or more payloads that is their choice. As Heinlein said, "There's no such thing as a free launch."

So you'd rather force reality to fit the pronouncements of a science fiction author than let part of NASA take advantage of a free launch?

Why should HSF give SMD a few hundred million dollars for nothing, never mind a billion?  It's not like they can save the money on SLS if SMD doesn't end up giving it back...

Offline Oli

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #252 on: 12/11/2014 12:36 am »
The ARM to Mars pathway on the other hand allows for a first mission to the Martian moons in 2030.

Yeah, but it doesn't launch often enough before then, even with a large budget boost:
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Operational tempo in the schedule-constrained scenario is in general excellent for all the
pathways, except for ARM-to-Mars, where the technology development “cliff” imposes delay.

The schedule-driven scenario is considered unrealistic by the authors (page 62). In the operationally viable scenario the ARM to Mars pathway offers 9 crewed flights including the Mars mission in 2037. The Moon to Mars pathway allows for 9 crewed flights with the Mars mission in 2041. So with ARM to Mars there would actually be the same number of crewed flights in a shorter time.

What I'm not 100% sure of is where the 5 flights in the 2020s are supposed to go to. One will be ARM obviously and the rest I think will go to a L2 outpost.

Offline redliox

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #253 on: 12/11/2014 01:32 am »
Personally I find the Martian moons more exciting than a repetition of the Apollo missions.

Ditto. Phobos rendezvous should be first thing we do after manned test flight.

Likewise although I think this line of talk belongs in a different thread.
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Offline 93143

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #254 on: 12/11/2014 01:52 am »
The schedule-driven scenario is considered unrealistic by the authors (page 62).

And it has the highest flight rates and fastest pace of development of any of the presented alternatives.

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What I'm not 100% sure of is where the 5 flights in the 2020s are supposed to go to. One will be ARM obviously and the rest I think will go to a L2 outpost.

Nope.  There's a "lunar orbital outpost" in the other two pathways, but not ARM-to-Mars.  Either ARM involves several missions to the same asteroid, or those missions are just Orion tooling around in free space with nothing to do.

The "cliff" means a Mars mission can't happen right away, regardless of funding.  But a moon mission could.  In fact I think the lander could be done for a lot less money, and thus faster, than the report assumes, but even if it can't, a funded line item within the next few years should basically eliminate the gap.

Also, IIRC they did say costs should come down with further analysis...

EDIT:  butters has a point.  This is off topic...
« Last Edit: 12/11/2014 02:18 am by 93143 »

Online butters

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #255 on: 12/11/2014 02:10 am »
What's the burnout acceleration like on an EUS upper stage pushing a Europa Clipper?

Offline 93143

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #256 on: 12/11/2014 02:33 am »
A few gees, I'd imagine.  The spacecraft and upper stage combined should weigh at least 12 tonnes at burnout based on the JUS specs, or more if they go with a more conservative design with a worse mass fraction, and with only four RL-10s the acceleration can't get super extreme.

Considering the sheer mass of the upper stage, I'd imagine a kick stage would be a good idea...
« Last Edit: 12/11/2014 02:54 am by 93143 »

Offline sdsds

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #257 on: 12/11/2014 04:42 am »
NASA Receives $18 Billion in Omnibus Spending Bill by Jeff Foust — December 10, 2014
http://spacenews.com/nasa-receives-18-billion-in-omnibus-spending-bill/

The bill sets aside $100 million of that funding for a proposed Europa mission, for which the White House had requested just $15 million.
-- sdsds --

Offline Oli

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #258 on: 12/11/2014 10:36 am »
The schedule-driven scenario is considered unrealistic by the authors (page 62).

And it has the highest flight rates and fastest pace of development of any of the presented alternatives.

The moon campaign benefits from a lack of near-term budget constraints.

Quote
What I'm not 100% sure of is where the 5 flights in the 2020s are supposed to go to. One will be ARM obviously and the rest I think will go to a L2 outpost.

Nope.  There's a "lunar orbital outpost" in the other two pathways, but not ARM-to-Mars.  Either ARM involves several missions to the same asteroid, or those missions are just Orion tooling around in free space with nothing to do.

The "cliff" means a Mars mission can't happen right away, regardless of funding.  But a moon mission could.  In fact I think the lander could be done for a lot less money, and thus faster, than the report assumes, but even if it can't, a funded line item within the next few years should basically eliminate the gap.

Also, IIRC they did say costs should come down with further analysis...

EDIT:  butters has a point.  This is off topic...

The report is rather vague about what constitute missions to cis-lunar space. In any case, the L2 outpost it by far the cheapest item so I guess it would fit into the ARM to Mars pathway.
 
I guess if you don't plan to build a lunar outpost and merely want to fly a few sorties with a small lander then you could be right. Still, I think NASA wants to avoid doing that.

« Last Edit: 12/11/2014 10:38 am by Oli »

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS manifest targets Europa and Mars Sample Return missions
« Reply #259 on: 12/11/2014 03:23 pm »
The asteroid mission is a one-off, or at best a very low-rate program that doesn't allow the launcher and capsule to be properly exercised.  The same is true of planetary probe missions, except that they don't even use the capsule.

So payloads exist to serve the needs of the SLS and Orion?  You don't see that as backwards?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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