Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 396638 times)

Offline montyrmanley

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1100 on: 11/11/2017 01:24 PM »
As I was trying to point out and will try to clear up is that the SLS/Orion program is fairly normal for such complex  LV development programs.

I think we have to introduce a caveat to that statement: normal for such complex government LV development programs. (Remember when choosing the RS25 Shuttle-era engines was supposed to shorten development time and cut costs?) Development of the Orion capsule (beginning during the Constellation era, recall) has taken an absurdly long time and at huge expense, and will result in a capsule that is overkill for orbital missions and inadequate for deep-space missions.

I lose patience with the argument that this sort of engineering is somehow so dramatically cutting-edge that we have no development baseline. That's ridiculous. Apollo is now fifty years in the past (sigh); rocketry, while complex, is certainly not terra incognita in an engineering sense. We have more than half a century of experience in designing, building, and launching LVs and payloads. There's no excuse for the protracted development problems we're seeing in the SLS/Orion stack.

As to the argument that NASA is starved of funds, I don't buy that either. NASA gets a budget in excess of eighteen billion dollars per year. Granted that money can't be shifted willy-nilly among projects, but still: that's nearly $180 billion over the past decade. SLS alone gets about $2 billion a year. (Never mind the huge amount expended on Orion.) NASA's problem is not a lack of funding -- it's a sclerotic, dysfunctional bureaucracy; a defective and risk-averse engineering culture; and a broken procurement system.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 01:27 PM by montyrmanley »

Offline montyrmanley

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1101 on: 11/11/2017 02:24 PM »
Competition.

Put heavy lift out to bid...  400tonnes/year to pick-an-orbit, X crew members per year to destination specified...
then compare the numbers to the cash currently being spent for much, much less.

To some extent the SLS project has been obsoleted by events (OBE). When SLS was greenlit, neither SpaceX nor Blue Origin were nearly as far along in their plans. New Glenn and BFR weren't even concepts at the time -- even Falcon Heavy was still years away. But the rapid advance of private-sector LV capability combined with protracted development delays with SLS has rendered the original rationale for SLS development very shaky. To the extent that SLS/Orion was a jobs program to retain a trained base of aerospace workers and NASA employees until the economy improved, that goal is largely been achieved (though at obnoxious cost in both dollars and loss of political capital).

NASA will launch EM-1 just to have something to show for all the years and billions spent on the projects, but if BFR and/or New Glenn come online before the mid-2020's, I think the SLS will be canceled. (It may be canceled sooner if there's another major development delay or a RUD during testing.)

Offline mike robel

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1102 on: 11/11/2017 02:41 PM »
Let the record show that the New Space companies, some with federal tax dollars, are continually behind in their development.  Falcon 9 is late.  Crewed Dragon is Late.  DreamChaser is late.  The Boeing Capsule is late.  New Glenn thinks they are on track for 2020.  Vulcan?  The Virgin suborbital spaceplane is late.

It's still hard.  Everything takes longer and is more expensive than you think it will be.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1103 on: 11/11/2017 05:45 PM »
Careful. All constellation ended up being was trying to build a crew vehicle to replace ISS crew rotation flights.

ISS crew rotation was only meant to be a short-term task (Constellation funding required the ISS to end in 2016), and Orion's main task was always to go to the Moon.

Quote
That could just as easily be lumped in with commercial crew and here we are...11 years later and still waiting.

You're obviously alluding to Orion when you talk about 11 years, since the Commercial Crew program started in 2010 with a $50M contract award to five companies, and the actual contract award for crew transportation services (CCtCap) was not awarded until 2014.

Quote
And the lack of progress since 2006 could also be an argument for why we shouldn't do the same thing all over again that was done in 2010(reset everything for some other shiny bauble).

Not that Congress agreed with everything Obama laid out for them in 2010 about the Constellation program, but Congress chose to keep the ISS instead of cutting it's mission short (thus requiring Commercial Cargo & Crew), and decided to scale back the transportation part of Constellation - which is now the SLS and Orion MPCV.

So the lesson from the Constellation program is that Congress will change it's mind when presented with what it considers to be a better alternative. But the better alternatives can also include not spending money on something anymore.

As to the SLS and Orion, they will stick around as long as there is a U.S. Government need for them. But once it is perceived that there is not enough "demand" for a government-owned HLV transportation system and a Earth-local 4-person 21-day spacecraft, then Congress won't have any problem ending them. Which is why I say SLS and Orion supporters should focus their efforts on getting things funded that must use the SLS and Orion... just sayin'   ;)
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 whatever11235

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1104 on: 11/11/2017 06:06 PM »
Let the record show that the New Space companies, some with federal tax dollars, are continually behind in their development.  Falcon 9 is late.  Crewed Dragon is Late.  DreamChaser is late.  The Boeing Capsule is late.  New Glenn thinks they are on track for 2020.  Vulcan?  The Virgin suborbital spaceplane is late.

It's still hard.  Everything takes longer and is more expensive than you think it will be.

Much less late and orders of magnitude cheaper than goverment endeavours. Time and money mean something in private sector.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 06:07 PM by whatever11235 »

Offline ncb1397

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1105 on: 11/11/2017 08:22 PM »
Let the record show that the New Space companies, some with federal tax dollars, are continually behind in their development.  Falcon 9 is late.  Crewed Dragon is Late.  DreamChaser is late.  The Boeing Capsule is late.  New Glenn thinks they are on track for 2020.  Vulcan?  The Virgin suborbital spaceplane is late.

It's still hard.  Everything takes longer and is more expensive than you think it will be.

Much less late and orders of magnitude cheaper than goverment endeavours. Time and money mean something in private sector.

Orders of magnitude? So, 100:1. A 3 mT supply run to LEO ordered from the the private sector costs between 130 million and 225 million. It would cost the government between 13 billion and 22.5 billion.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 08:24 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline whatever11235

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1106 on: 11/11/2017 08:45 PM »
Let the record show that the New Space companies, some with federal tax dollars, are continually behind in their development.  Falcon 9 is late.  Crewed Dragon is Late.  DreamChaser is late.  The Boeing Capsule is late.  New Glenn thinks they are on track for 2020.  Vulcan?  The Virgin suborbital spaceplane is late.

It's still hard.  Everything takes longer and is more expensive than you think it will be.

Much less late and orders of magnitude cheaper than goverment endeavours. Time and money mean something in private sector.

Orders of magnitude? So, 100:1. A 3 mT supply run to LEO ordered from the the private sector costs between 130 million and 225 million. It would cost the government between 13 billion and 22.5 billion.

That "orders" shoud be "order", typo on my part. You can look at NAFCOM estimates for Falcon 9 and Spacehab logistics module for examples.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 08:45 PM by whatever11235 »

Offline ncb1397

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1107 on: 11/11/2017 09:01 PM »
Let the record show that the New Space companies, some with federal tax dollars, are continually behind in their development.  Falcon 9 is late.  Crewed Dragon is Late.  DreamChaser is late.  The Boeing Capsule is late.  New Glenn thinks they are on track for 2020.  Vulcan?  The Virgin suborbital spaceplane is late.

It's still hard.  Everything takes longer and is more expensive than you think it will be.

Much less late and orders of magnitude cheaper than goverment endeavours. Time and money mean something in private sector.

Orders of magnitude? So, 100:1. A 3 mT supply run to LEO ordered from the the private sector costs between 130 million and 225 million. It would cost the government between 13 billion and 22.5 billion.

That "orders" shoud be "order", typo on my part. You can look at NAFCOM estimates for Falcon 9 and Spacehab logistics module for examples.

Falcon 9 was developed when real estate was dirt cheap and they were competing with Starbucks for college educated labor. I don't think the accounting took into account the current value of the stock options paid. It was a unique situation.

 Shuttle cost somewhere like an order of magnitude more per flight than commercial logistics flights using Falcon/Dragon or Antares/Cygnus. The capabilities weren't remotely similar however. I can break out the unpressurized volume/pressurized volume/upmass/downmass/passenger count if you would like, but it is a pointless exercise.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 09:08 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline whatever11235

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1108 on: 11/11/2017 09:19 PM »
Falcon 9 was developed when real estate was dirt cheap and they were competing with Starbucks for college educated labor. I don't think the accounting took into account the current value of the stock options paid. It was a unique situation.

I dissagree. I would like to see those cost models being made for projects in Blue Origin, Masten, Planet, etc. My guess is they would be in the same ballpark with regards to savings.

Shuttle cost somewhere like an order of magnitude more per flight than commercial logistics flights using Falcon/Dragon or Antares/Cygnus. The capabilities weren't remotely similar however. I can break out the unpressurized volume/pressurized volume/upmass/downmass if you would like, but it is a pointless exercise.

Sure, CRS vs Shuttle is apples to oranges and it is unfair comparison.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1109 on: 11/11/2017 09:29 PM »
The discussion is wandering OT.

What is the point you are trying to make about SLS?

Offline montyrmanley

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1110 on: 11/11/2017 11:26 PM »
Much less late and orders of magnitude cheaper than goverment endeavours. Time and money mean something in private sector.

The whole point of using STS-legacy RS25 engines and solid boosters was to leverage Shuttle technology and shorten development time. So the SLS *started* with a design legacy going back forty years. Nobody counts those years as development time for SLS, but they should. And even with ready-made engines (usually the most time-consuming part of designing a clean-sheet rocket), SLS is *still* looking like it will take more than a decade from inception to flight. Apollo went from the drafting table to flight in about the same period, and that's when engineers were still using pencils and slide-rules.

Even the trouble-plagued STS went from design to flight in about ten years (1971 to 1981), and that included the development of engines, solid boosters, orbiter, and tank. This was in addition to all the other expensive stuff NASA had going on: Viking, Pioneer 1 and 2, Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, and other lower-profile missions.

So in the 1960's we got a moon-rocket in a decade. In the 1970's we got a re-usable spaceplane in about a decade. Now, NASA can't even deliver the first stage of an expendable rocket, even with the engines already built! It just seems like NASA keeps moving retrograde as the years go by -- spending more, taking longer, and producing less.

Offline Khadgars

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1111 on: 11/11/2017 11:42 PM »
I do think it is important for SLS/Orion to fly before end of 2019.  Delays are expected with such a complex program, but anything past June 2020 and they'll get heat from all sides.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1112 on: 11/11/2017 11:53 PM »
I do think it is important for SLS/Orion to fly before end of 2019.  Delays are expected with such a complex program, but anything past June 2020 and they'll get heat from all sides.
SLS/Orion has always been getting heat. It is just that it continues to get hotter and could become scalding if it fails to meet the June 2020 date.

Offline whatever11235

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1113 on: 11/12/2017 12:32 AM »
I do think it is important for SLS/Orion to fly before end of 2019.  Delays are expected with such a complex program, but anything past June 2020 and they'll get heat from all sides.

Perfect execution fot the next 2+ years seems almost impossible given SLS development track record. June 2020 will slip almost certainly.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1114 on: 11/12/2017 04:24 PM »
I do think it is important for SLS/Orion to fly before end of 2019.  Delays are expected with such a complex program, but anything past June 2020 and they'll get heat from all sides.

I'm not sure why you think that. According to the legislation that created the SLS the SLS was mandated to have become operational by December 31, 2016:

Quote
Priority should be placed on the core elements with the goal for operational capability for the core elements not later than December 31, 2016.

That date has come and gone, and Congress has not set a new date. So it sounds pretty open-ended to me.

Plus, other than Orion testing, there is only one mission that is slated for the SLS (the Europa Clipper) which was switched off of an Atlas V 551 - so there is a backup if the SLS is not available.

So as of today there are no time-sensitive programs that depend on the SLS being available, meaning that other than money there are no consequences to SLS schedule slips.
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 Space Ghost 1962

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1115 on: 11/12/2017 05:07 PM »
It is what was designed. A "pay as you go" SHLV from Shuttle parts whose initial design dates from the 1970's era.

I know, because I watched the parts as they were developed, know their design goals/limits, know where the costing comes from. (Also same for EELV, Falcon, and others.) I can even tell you in detail why Shuttle was late and why all the "bad" decisions were made, mostly for then "good" reasons. As well as the politics.

If the objective was a lunar/Mars program "starter" LV, Congress's "plan" or last two attempts wasn't one for a deterministic schedule/cost at all. So why be surprised at missing target(s)?

EELV is the best example of reaching schedule targets. Falcon is the best example of succeeding on/below budget.

The moment either CxP or SLS/Orion veered from something like NLS/Direct you knew where we were heading. So did Congress. And everyone figures that this thing will doddle on eventually with EM 1 and possible EM 2.

(As to the upthread sarcasm about CC, an excellent case can be made for those like ASAP/others intentionally obfuscating the path for CC, which is already 10x better safety than crew flying on Soyuz, possibly to buy time for the other program. This also sometimes causes me to question the efficacy of Orion crew safety, as if the ecessive stringency being applied to CC might be being assumed on Orion but not being critically examined in an equal/better way - that it might not be an exemplar. Case in point was the recent review to see if crew could be launched early on EM1.)

The problem with a "pay as you go program" is, as oldAtlas_Eguy carefully states, there is no budget for recovery of immediate failings, as that is factored into next years budget. This "kick the can down the road" means that no one takes seriously any schedule. (Or, for that matter, performance/cost/capability, as that is assumed to be rectified by another schedule slip/budget down wind from current.)

This has been going on for so long it has become institutionalized. (Bad thing about the Shuttle was when things got institutionalized, everything was "normalization of deviance.") BTW, SLS/Orion haven't even gotten around to where the "bad" decisions as with Shuttle might be made.

If you want a "good" program "fast", you "do a good enough job" on time, carefully fly it a representative number of times, collect up the results, critically analyze, redesign/reprove, qualify even more critically, then fly with iterative updates/convergence on goals. We aren't doing that, nor designing/building/budgeting for that.

So it appears the point of our HSF programs is not to achieve anything new on schedule, but instead indefinitely prevaricate. So why complain about it? WAD

Offline woods170

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1116 on: 11/13/2017 06:13 AM »
As to the upthread sarcasm about CC, an excellent case can be made for those like ASAP/others intentionally obfuscating the path for CC, which is already 10x better safety than crew flying on Soyuz, possibly to buy time for the other program.
Emphasis mine.
Don't make suggestions like this unless you can prove it. I know ASAP seemingly works double standards but they are not there to benefit one program over another. The key to the observed difference in approach is in how the programs are run.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1117 on: 11/14/2017 05:41 AM »
As to the upthread sarcasm about CC, an excellent case can be made for those like ASAP/others intentionally obfuscating the path for CC, which is already 10x better safety than crew flying on Soyuz, possibly to buy time for the other program.
Emphasis mine.
Don't make suggestions like this unless you can prove it. I know ASAP seemingly works double standards but they are not there to benefit one program over another. The key to the observed difference in approach is in how the programs are run.
You're right. Can't. No argument.

Note the word "possibly". Too suggestive? Perhaps "theoretically" better? Or strike entirely?

Am not after baiting professionals of any stripe. Hard to sit in someone else's seat, with those responsibilities/skills.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1118 on: 11/21/2017 07:49 PM »
Nice pictures of the SLS during construction in an article on Wired:

Behind the Scenes as NASA Tests the Most Powerful Rocket Ever | WIRED
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 eric z

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1119 on: 11/21/2017 08:11 PM »
 Hi Space-People: Sorry to butt-in but where does the figure that CC is 10x safer than Soyuz come from, especially since CC hasn't flown yet? Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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