Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 388236 times)

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1580 on: 05/15/2018 06:26 AM »
If all the rant about DIRECT proves anything, it's this: It's entirely possible to kill a major NASA program, fire tons of people, and junk all the previous infrastructure, as long as you have someone devious enough to arrange the whole thing with congress and there is something else to replace said program.

The likely big projects over the next few years are the Mars Transfer Vehicle, various space stations, the Moon base, the Mars base and rovers. In situ resource utilization (IRSU) on the Moon, Mars and asteroids will exist but requires a different skill set from making rockets. The rocket side of lunar landers is already under way but its cabin is not. IMHO Those are the areas that the SLS NASA sites should enter.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1581 on: 05/17/2018 05:04 PM »
If all the rant about DIRECT proves anything, it's this: It's entirely possible to kill a major NASA program, fire tons of people, and junk all the previous infrastructure, as long as you have someone devious enough to arrange the whole thing with congress and there is something else to replace said program.
Another 10 billion dollars and ten years lost forever.

And people wonder why Mars is always 30 years away for this circus act.

Anyway back to the previous:

All this talk of what might have been needs context (then we move on):

When the 2010 NASA Authorization Act was passed, what the members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee had in mind for the initial capability was quite literally DIRECT. Senate Bill S.3729, Section 302 stated: "The initial capability of the core elements, without an upper stage, of lifting payloads weighing between 70 tons and 100 tons into low-Earth orbit in preparation for transit for missions beyond low-Earth orbit". This was pulled directly from the team's work and subsequent conversations with prominent committee members. ATK's influence was all over the advanced capability and it was the DIRECT 246 Heavy (modified) that is reflected in the advanced capability requirement. The Senate Bill said: "the capability to carry an integrated upper Earth departure stage bringing the total lift capability of the Space Launch System to 130 tons or more". The Heavy was never the aim of the team, but a concession to the knowledge that by that time the 5-segment SRB was a certain thing. The team believed it could likely use the SRB for the initial capability by simply leaving out the center segment, effectively making it a 4-segment SRB. At that time the SRB's were still to be recovered and reused.

Bolden was dragging NASA's feet and slow walking the process so completely (likely at the direction of Obama) that by the time SLS was announced the Alabama mafioso and friends had completely redesigned the LV and had effectively resurrected the Ares-V in its place. It even started with 5xRS-26s. At that time there was still enough of the STS infrastructure and personnel left to make it possible for it to actually be a SDHL but that quickly evaporated as the entire program began slipping to the right by a year every year and became a perpetual jobs program rather than a space program that was actually supposed to do anything.

And here we are today - a massive federal jobs program called SLS that spends billions of dollars every year without actually doing a damn thing except completely spend the money.

Conclusion: The days of DIRECT are long past. That program can never be resurrected so there's no need to rehash what might have been. SLS is what we have for a government program now. It's too big and it's too expensive but it's what we have. I don't want to see it fail like CxP did. The HLV is actually not a bad rocket, if only it could actually be built and flown. Yes there are other things that could be done with the money but it is what it is and after all this time and expense I want to see it fly. Because if it doesn't - well I don't know if NASA could survive another epic failure like CxP. So I hope we can all, even the non-supporters, support a successful program to get SLS/Orion into space. What NASA does with it after that - well that's up to the new vehicle's designers: Congress.

Chuck I am with you on all of this except the part of it flying. I too would like to see it fly, but I can't support taking the program to first flight, not as it's currently being run. Seems like right now we are getting new and major slips announced here every few months, or even every few weeks. And were talking 6-9 month slips each time, now it's looking like the first flight might not even happen in 2020.

It's totally unacceptable, we are likely to have an entirely new Congress by that point at least if the normal pendulum theory holds true in any way shape or form. On top of that alot of the old space flight hawks are nearing retirement or already retiring, I would think more of them will be gone by then so the safe guards for this program are gradually withering away.

On top of all of this is the fact that this thing fundamentally could have, and really should have flown in 2017 or this year. I can see missing the 2016 IOC but by more than two years? Ridiculous. At this rate a full scale BFR will have already landed a BFS on Mars by the time SLS makes a first flight.

And on top of that we have Falcon Heavy. The block 4 heavy in an expendable mode has crazy performance. I would imagine with M1d running at 192k-200k, SL the block 5 heavy flown in an expendable mode will have even better numbers, such that it may approach or exceed 70 mt. And even flown fully expendable the vehicle is still a tiny fraction of the money spent on SLS this year alone! And to do what? "Oh look guys we welded some seams! Oh look we made some tanks last month." This while BO/SPX and even ULA pump out stages at a regular pace.

Even as a jobs program this thing is failing. The term not so shovel ready comes to mind....
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1582 on: 05/17/2018 05:09 PM »
If all the rant about DIRECT proves anything, it's this: It's entirely possible to kill a major NASA program, fire tons of people, and junk all the previous infrastructure, as long as you have someone devious enough to arrange the whole thing with congress and there is something else to replace said program.

The likely big projects over the next few years are the Mars Transfer Vehicle, various space stations, the Moon base, the Mars base and rovers. In situ resource utilization (IRSU) on the Moon, Mars and asteroids will exist but requires a different skill set from making rockets. The rocket side of lunar landers is already under way but its cabin is not. IMHO Those are the areas that the SLS NASA sites should enter.

What they should do is put a big chunk of the SLS budget on these things, and things like DSG maybe make several DSGs to work in tandem as SEP tugs basically. That and Mars surface systems, almost nobody really knows what or how to do surface systems yet for Mars or where the cash is gonna come from for it. Even Spacex is only at the initial stages, we think, of working on their ISRU plant design, to say nothing of all the rest you would need.

Then take the rest of the budget and put it on a COTS BEO program for the LV, and this time don't force people to re-design a bunch of times by moving the goal posts (like commercial crew).

Sell the SLS components and the ML's for scrap metal maybe you could use the money you get for DSG.
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1583 on: 05/18/2018 06:26 AM »
Quote
NASA replied: Now that the SLS design has matured and the program has more data as a result of progress with hardware manufacturing and testing, our current analysis shows the Block 1 configuration of SLS can deliver an estimated mass of 95 metric tons (209,439 pounds) to low-Earth orbit based on a 200 by 200-kilometer orbit with a 28.5 degree inclination, which is a commonly used orbit in the industry for estimating performance.

Here's the SLS users guide. Unfortunately, Block I performance is not listed. Block IB can put a minimum mass of 94.0 t into a 463 km orbit. Future upgrades increase this to 100.7 t. Block II is 108.3 t. Extrapolating to 200 km, I get 97.7 t, 104.7 t and 112.3 t. I don't see how Block I can get anywhere near 95 t with iCPS using a single RL-10 engine. We also see that Block II doesn't get anywhere near 130 t payload to LEO.

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20170005323
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Offline theinternetftw

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1584 on: 06/05/2018 06:00 PM »
On performance, here's a relevant slide from the LOP-G All-Hands Presentation.  Block 1 is 26 tonnes to TLI.  Block 1B, 34-40 tonnes.

Offline jpo234

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1585 on: 06/07/2018 04:10 PM »
http://spacenews.com/bridenstine-emphasizes-partnerships-with-industry-to-achieve-nasa-goals/

Quote
The SLS, he argued, offered a capability right now that no one else has, and so we want to deliver it. However, he said hed be open to revisiting that should commercial vehicles with similar capabilities enter service in the future. If there comes a day when someone else can deliver that, then we need to think differently. Its always evolving.
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Offline UltraViolet9

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1586 on: 06/07/2018 05:34 PM »
http://spacenews.com/bridenstine-emphasizes-partnerships-with-industry-to-achieve-nasa-goals/

Quote
The SLS, he argued, offered a capability right now that no one else has, and so we want to deliver it. However, he said hed be open to revisiting that should commercial vehicles with similar capabilities enter service in the future. If there comes a day when someone else can deliver that, then we need to think differently. Its always evolving.

It's been disappointing to see this Administration and this new Administrator give into and not challenge the politics surrounding SLS/Orion.

The position that SLS offers a "capability right now" is bizarro-world from schedule and technical standpoints.  SLS is still years from first launch with no clear path to a stable, operational capability.  And even if SLS was launching, it's payload delivered over time, not per launch, that counts most for supporting exploration architectures once past 40-50t.   The SLS launch rate is so incompetent that it falls woefully short of a NASA Mars DRM and couldn't even maintain the Apollo lunar campaign.

And the position that SLS offers a "capability... no one else has" is blindingly shortsighted from a national policy/national good standpoint.  The US has three domestic launch providers (BO, SX, ULA) either offering or pursuing five different HLVs (NG, NA, FH, BFR/BFS, VHC).  This is a capability that NASA does not need to invest limited budget and human capital on internally.

To shape the future, you have to change the present.  NASA's human space flight enterprise should be shaping the future of US human space exploration capabilities.  Instead, under this Administration and Administrator, NASA will continue to compete very poorly in the ETO space until finally forced by private sector investments to abandon yet more years and billions of taxpayer dollars sunk into SLS.  This is a colossal waste and an enormous missed opportunity.

Online AncientU

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1587 on: 06/07/2018 09:20 PM »
JB would have never set foot in Administrator's office if he had outright said that SLS wasn't needed or viable.  What he is doing is to set stage for a comparison of vehicles on the launch pad, and selecting one (or more) that provides best performance for the exploration program.  At the same time, he is rolling out tasks for Lunar landers that will be purely commercial; this gets a process rolling. 

This is not dramatic change, but better IMO than former Administrator who said he didn't like the idea of commercial big rockets, and never failed to extol the SLS/Orion-based #JourneytoMars.
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Offline Khadgars

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1588 on: 06/08/2018 04:25 PM »
SLS will continue and likely fly within the next 24 months.  Nothing currently out there matches its capability, so why do you think NASA would suddenly cancel it now?

I agree, soon as BFR becomes operational, everything currently flying or in-work become obsolete over night but its unreasonable to think NASA should cancel its POR before BFR is a proven entity.  IMO, we're likely at least a decade away from that.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2018 04:39 PM by Khadgars »

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1589 on: 06/08/2018 04:49 PM »
SLS will continue and likely fly within the next 24 months.  Nothing currently out there matches its capability, so why do you think NASA would suddenly cancel it now?


It is not flying in 2 years and NASA really doesn't have anything to fly on it.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1590 on: 06/08/2018 06:11 PM »
SLS will continue and likely fly within the next 24 months.

The development of the SLS sure seems likely to continue, but assuming the first SLS flight won't slip during the next two years is highly optimistic, and goes against the trends for major NASA programs.

Quote
Nothing currently out there matches its capability...

Remember the SLS was not designed to support any known payloads or programs back in 2010 when Congress told NASA to build it. And so far there are no fully-funded programs that require it's unique capabilities (Europa Clipper can use alternate launchers).

So as of today there are no specific requirements that the SLS satisfies. Of course it COULD be used for many payloads, because it is a general purpose transportation system, but as of today you can't say that no other rocket can match it's capabilities because there are no programs or payloads that NEED it's capabilities.

Quote
...so why do you think NASA would suddenly cancel it now?

The organization "NASA" did not ask for the SLS, and has no power to cancel it. Only Congress can cancel the SLS.

Quote
I agree, soon as BFR becomes operational, everything currently flying or in-work become obsolete over night but its unreasonable to think NASA should cancel its POR before BFR is a proven entity.

The SLS is not yet a proven entity, so I'd be careful with using that logic to justify the SLS.

Regardless, as of today the U.S. Government has no need for any kind of HLV. And by "no need" I mean that there are no fully funded programs or payloads that require the long-term use of an HLV, and Congress has had 7 years to fund such a program since the start of the SLS program, so one has to wonder why they haven't?

Quote
IMO, we're likely at least a decade away from that.

Based on how quickly NASA can build and certify HSF hardware (18 years for Orion), it's unlikely that the SLS will be needed in the next 10 years anyways.
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Offline clongton

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1591 on: 06/08/2018 08:32 PM »
It's been disappointing to see this Administration and this new Administrator give into and not challenge the politics surrounding SLS/Orion.
Not challenging the politics surrounding SLS/Orion was likely a condition of one or two confirmation votes.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2018 08:33 PM by clongton »
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Online spacenut

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1592 on: 06/09/2018 12:48 AM »
I do not see a challenge to SLS.  It is wanted by senators from both parties in states where it is made. 

Offline clongton

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1593 on: 06/11/2018 04:17 PM »
I do not see a challenge to SLS.  It is wanted by senators from both parties in states where it is made. 

Of course. That's it's entire justification for existence; good-paying jobs back home buys re-election votes in November. THAT is what the support is about - in its entirety.
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Offline butters

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1594 on: 06/12/2018 12:22 AM »

Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1595 on: 06/12/2018 01:34 AM »
According to his NASA bio, Todd May earned his bachelor's degree in 1990, which likely makes him quite young by retiriee standards.  So I'd guess he's leaving NASA but not truly retiring.  Seems a little odd.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2018 01:34 AM by Proponent »

Offline clongton

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1596 on: 06/13/2018 01:03 PM »
According to his NASA bio, Todd May earned his bachelor's degree in 1990, which likely makes him quite young by retiree standards.  So I'd guess he's leaving NASA but not truly retiring.  Seems a little odd.

Why? It's not like people don't retire from one job when they are able to (permanent income) and accept an offer from someone else. I personally know people that have done that, a few of them twice. Unless something more comes out it doesn't seem odd to me at all.
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Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1597 on: 06/13/2018 02:58 PM »
I would tend to agree, except that if that's the path Todd May is following then I would have expected an announcement of where he is going.

Offline clongton

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1598 on: 06/13/2018 10:20 PM »
I would tend to agree, except that if that's the path Todd May is following then I would have expected an announcement of where he is going.

They would have said where only if he told them. Assuming that's his path he may have chosen, as many do, to just not say. "I'm retiring on such and such a date". The only thing he *has* to say is when his "retirement" starts.

I personally know people who retired because they wanted to do something else but hadn't picked a new path yet. So they retired, just because they could, and just relaxed for a while. He's a young man with lots of time ahead of him. Retirement doesn't always mean "I quit working". It can mean anything he wants it to mean and he doesn't owe anyone any explanation at all.
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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1599 on: 06/14/2018 01:00 PM »
Since SpaceX is going to do refueling in LEO for BFR.  IF, another big IF, they develop refueling the second stage in orbit, would say a 40 ton payload launched on FH, then refuel the second stage.  Can this match TMI with SLS block II?  If so, then FH alone with refueling would probably be cheaper than SLS.  At that point would that kill SLS?  Or if New Glen gets going and could do refueling of their hydrolox second stage?  How about Vulcan w/ACES and refueling?  Seems to me refueling in LEO is going to be the way to go.  More vendors, more counties involved to, by using smaller launch vehicles to deliver fuel.  More launches = lower costs for all.  Why isn't NASA working on this instead?

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