Author Topic: SLS manifest options aim for Phobos prior to 2039 Mars landing  (Read 50540 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Part 1 of a manifest overview (a brand new one in L2) that goes into the 2040s.

By Chris Gebhardt:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/09/sls-manifest-phobos-mars-2039/
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Offline savuporo

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I'm wondering how did InSight and OSIRIS-REx end up in an SLS article. That is SMD Discovery and New Frontiers missions somehow co-opted as "robotic precursors" ?
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline RocketmanUS

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So I won't then be able to see a Mars landing as it would be launched after my life time!  >:(

At this rate Vulcan/ACES could have a crew landing on Mars by 2030 ( That would make a great Poll " Fund SLS or Vulcan/ACES " ).  ;D

By 2040 SLS avionics would need to be updated, very costly for such a very low flight rate.

So no earlier than 2039 for crewed Mars landing, same old story we have heard for decades " will get there sometime later ".

If we have to have SLS then let's use it to send robotics to Mars and then crew by no later than 2030 and forget about other options for SLS till we see crew on Mars! We were sold on moon/Mars for the HLV!

Offline David Still

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Great article. A lot of facts here as opposed to NASA's Twitter account.

I'm wondering how did InSight and OSIRIS-REx end up in an SLS article. That is SMD Discovery and New Frontiers missions somehow co-opted as "robotic precursors" ?

Self Explanatory if ever there was. They are shown in the manifest's path. You may personally wish to separate them from anything to do with exploration, but NASA doesn't.

Offline AegeanBlue

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I wonder, when did Mars 2020 go to the Delta IV Heavy? Everything I saw on the internet so far had Atlas V as its launcher. Also, in a previous article, the SLS manifest had Europa Clipper and Mars Sample Return in 2024. The Mars Moons Orbiter seems new, haven't run into it before.

Offline tea monster

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2040 for a manned mission to Mars. Good Grief -  that is SEVENTY ONE YEARS since the Apollo moon landings.  :-[  :-[  :-[  :-[

Offline JasonAW3

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So I won't then be able to see a Mars landing as it would be launched after my life time!  >:(

At this rate Vulcan/ACES could have a crew landing on Mars by 2030 ( That would make a great Poll " Fund SLS or Vulcan/ACES " ).  ;D

By 2040 SLS avionics would need to be updated, very costly for such a very low flight rate.

So no earlier than 2039 for crewed Mars landing, same old story we have heard for decades " will get there sometime later ".

If we have to have SLS then let's use it to send robotics to Mars and then crew by no later than 2030 and forget about other options for SLS till we see crew on Mars! We were sold on moon/Mars for the HLV!

At this rate, SpaceX will have manrated their BFR and landed their MCT on Mars before NASA gets out of the starting blocks!
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline montyrmanley

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I see NASA is still using their patented "take whatever the current date is and add twenty years" formula for a crewed Mars landing.

For me, the clock won't start ticking for real until the SLS carries human beings into orbit for the first time (if it ever does). And given the glacial pace of the Mars plan as explained in the article, it's highly possible that events will overtake NASA's plans at any rate -- either one of the commercial entities, the Russians, or the Chinese may well render the issue moot by getting there ahead of us.

Honestly, I wish NASA would just forget about Mars for the next generation or so and concentrate their efforts on developing cislunar space. The world economy is going to have to get a lot bigger before we can spread out into the solar system, and the best way to do that is to find ways to develop and exploit near-earth resources. That means ISRU of both Luna and NEAs, lunar bases, orbital habs and fabrication facilities, fuel depots, space-based power generation, etc. The point is not to build stuff to take back down to Earth -- the point is to build out the infrasctructure of cislunar space, and make it a place where human beings can live and do business. Once that's done, then we can worry about going to Mars.

At any rate, I have yet to hear a compelling reason why sending human beings to Mars is beneficial. For the science program, robots are doing just fine on Mars; if colonization is our goal, why not concentrate on developing ever-larger space habitats instead of putting ourselves down another gravity well on some Godforsaken red arctic desert?

Offline Endeavour_01

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At this rate Vulcan/ACES could have a crew landing on Mars by 2030 ( That would make a great Poll " Fund SLS or Vulcan/ACES " ).  ;D

Why not have both funded? Vulcan/ACES by ULA and SLS by NASA. That way if one fails we still have the other one and if both succeed they could complement each other.

Edit: Although I am not convinced that Vulcan/ACES would be able to handle a Mars Mission or some cis-lunar missions on its own.

Quote
By 2040 SLS avionics would need to be updated, very costly for such a very low flight rate.

By then Vulcan/Falcon would have to updated too and it shouldn't be that costly. Recall we managed to fly STS for 30 years and the Russians have had a number of long flying rockets and capsules.

At this rate, SpaceX will have manrated their BFR and landed their MCT on Mars before NASA gets out of the starting blocks!

We'll see. Personally I think NASA and SpaceX will collaborate on the Mars Mission with SpaceX providing a landing vehicle and perhaps launch of equipment and supplies complementing SLS/Orion.
« Last Edit: 09/22/2015 07:08 pm by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, SS/SH, 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 RocketmanUS

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At this rate Vulcan/ACES could have a crew landing on Mars by 2030 ( That would make a great Poll " Fund SLS or Vulcan/ACES " ).  ;D

Why not have both funded? Vulcan/ACES by ULA and SLS by NASA. That way if one fails we still have the other one and if both succeed they could complement each other.

Quote
By 2040 SLS avionics would need to be updated, very costly for such a very low flight rate.

By then Vulcan/Falcon would have to updated too and it shouldn't be that costly. Recall we managed to fly STS for 30 years and the Russians have had a number of long flying rockets and capsules.

At this rate, SpaceX will have manrated their BFR and landed their MCT on Mars before NASA gets out of the starting blocks!

We'll see. Personally I think NASA and SpaceX will collaborate on the Mars Mission with SpaceX providing a landing vehicle and perhaps launch of equipment and supplies complementing SLS/Orion.
1A) Switch funding from something we don't need that won't be used until maybe ten plus years to something we do need and can still do the BLEO program too.

1B ) SLS has to low a flight rate to complement another launch vehicle. If it has a launch failure it could take to long till it could deliver a payload ending a mission.

2 ) Except they would have a flight rate to justify the upgrades costs.

3 ) For now I think it would be more like Vulcan and Fapcon , not BFR in the short term and being for an exploration missions.

Offline ncb1397

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So I won't then be able to see a Mars landing as it would be launched after my life time!  >:(

At this rate Vulcan/ACES could have a crew landing on Mars by 2030 ( That would make a great Poll " Fund SLS or Vulcan/ACES " ).  ;D

By 2040 SLS avionics would need to be updated, very costly for such a very low flight rate.

So no earlier than 2039 for crewed Mars landing, same old story we have heard for decades " will get there sometime later ".

If we have to have SLS then let's use it to send robotics to Mars and then crew by no later than 2030 and forget about other options for SLS till we see crew on Mars! We were sold on moon/Mars for the HLV!

At this rate, SpaceX will have manrated their BFR and landed their MCT on Mars before NASA gets out of the starting blocks!

You forget that SpaceX was near bankruptcy when they landed a billion dollar NASA contract. Any success SpaceX has in the future can be traced back to the U.S. government civil space agency. Heck, their heatshield technology and LV propulsion system is based on NASA research(Fastrac, PICA).

Offline Coastal Ron

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At any rate, I have yet to hear a compelling reason why sending human beings to Mars is beneficial.

That is the $100B question.  Some of NASA's funding is because our politicians believe in basic science, but some of NASA's funding is to support spending money in the right states and political districts.  Mars in not a U.S. property, and there are no taxpayers that live there, so what are the motivations our politicians have for sending humans to Mars?

I haven't seen any evidence that there is a clear and compelling answer to that yet...

Quote
For the science program, robots are doing just fine on Mars; if colonization is our goal, why not concentrate on developing ever-larger space habitats instead of putting ourselves down another gravity well on some Godforsaken red arctic desert?

Same questions for doing that as for going to Mars - why?  You or I could probably articulate a good answer, but is it an answer that would be viewed as compelling by the average voter?  We're talking about a lot of money for this proposed NASA plan, and it will have to unfold over decades.  As a reference, the Apollo program, from Kennedy's speech to Apollo 17 leaving the Moon to return home, was less than 12 years.

It will be interesting to see if this proposal gets any visibility in Congress, and if so, what kind...
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 spacetraveler

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With this Mars path, NASA would be better off canceling SLS and funding a SpaceX super-heavy launcher.

Offline punder

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Let's see what survives after Contact with the Enemy (i.e. Congress).

With the rise of the Crazy Internet Billionaires (CIBs), the government is no longer required for high-cost, high-risk, big-payoff projects.  (And, absent an existential threat as in the Cold War, this type of project is EXACTLY what the government CANNOT fund.) 

NASA didn't fund SETI, so a CIB stepped in and did it.  FDA and the big pharmas didn't want anything to do with wacky life-extension research, so CIBs started paying for it.  NASA HSF devolved into a congressional votes-buying scheme, so a CIB came in and turned the space industry upside down.

These efforts are in play, but obviously none of them are guaranteed to succeed.  The point is, the CIBs are now rich enough to fund their dreams.  There is no reason to expect NASA to miraculously acquire either (a) a rational plan or (b) sufficient funding to implement that plan.  NASA funding will remain roughly level, and that funding will continue to be squandered in endless conflict between Johnson and Marshall, Shelby and Nelson, ISS and STS/Orion.  Meanwhile, the CIBs can only get richer, more powerful, and more ambitious.  My money, such as it is, is on the fabulously wealthy dreamers who get things done, and not the politicians and bureaucrats whose interest in space (if any) is purely as to how it advances their taxpayer-funded careers.

Offline spacetraveler

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So I won't then be able to see a Mars landing as it would be launched after my life time!  >:(

At this rate Vulcan/ACES could have a crew landing on Mars by 2030 ( That would make a great Poll " Fund SLS or Vulcan/ACES " ).  ;D

By 2040 SLS avionics would need to be updated, very costly for such a very low flight rate.

So no earlier than 2039 for crewed Mars landing, same old story we have heard for decades " will get there sometime later ".

If we have to have SLS then let's use it to send robotics to Mars and then crew by no later than 2030 and forget about other options for SLS till we see crew on Mars! We were sold on moon/Mars for the HLV!

At this rate, SpaceX will have manrated their BFR and landed their MCT on Mars before NASA gets out of the starting blocks!

You forget that SpaceX was near bankruptcy when they landed a billion dollar NASA contract. Any success SpaceX has in the future can be traced back to the U.S. government civil space agency. Heck, their heatshield technology and LV propulsion system is based on NASA research(Fastrac, PICA).

While SpaceX certainly owes a lot to NASA, they only survived bankruptcy because they made their rocket work and kept getting orders for it. The money in the NASA contract is only disbursed when they successfully complete missions, they didn't just get a billion dollar check to bail them out.

Offline spacetraveler

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2040 for a manned mission to Mars. Good Grief -  that is SEVENTY ONE YEARS since the Apollo moon landings.  :-[  :-[  :-[  :-[
Well and that's if it survives. If all SLS does is launch lunar flybys and Mars logistics missions until 2040 it will probably be cancelled before it has the opportunity to send a crew to Mars.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Any success SpaceX has in the future can be traced back to the U.S. government civil space agency. Heck, their heatshield technology and LV propulsion system is based on NASA research(Fastrac, PICA).

Musk and Shotwell are always pointing out how NASA has helped them.  However don't confuse gratitude for servitude - SpaceX will have no problem going to Mars without NASA if need be.

And that is because Musk's goal, which is the goal for SpaceX, is to make humanity multi-planetary, starting with Mars.  NASA does not have that goal - or really any official goal for now.  So there is no requirement for them to work together, and other than the prestige of going to new places first, there should be no competition between SpaceX and the U.S. Government.  Both could pursue their goals in parallel without any issues - Mars, and space in general, is pretty big.
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 nadreck

The money in the NASA contract is only disbursed when they successfully complete missions, they didn't just get a billion dollar check to bail them out.

Not missions but milestones, there were many milestones with cheques written by NASA as they were achieved before the first F9 flight. Could SpaceX have survived without NASA? Maybe, if you have a way to jump into that alternate timeline please let me know, I would be totally curious, of course I would also be really curious to see the world where the first F1 made it to orbit, and the one where after Apollo they went on to do the Saturn V based NTR S-IVB to send an expedition to Mars in the eighties.  However there is no way that SpaceX would be where it is right now without COTS, CRS and Crew. That has added up to well over $1B by today, and the anticipation of it is funding a lot of the work that enables the economy of scale of both SpaceX manufacturing and attracting and holding the R&D talent that they have, some of which currently, and most of which will at some point, contribute towards their Mars goals.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline Endeavour_01

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NASA didn't fund SETI, so a CIB stepped in and did it.  FDA and the big pharmas didn't want anything to do with wacky life-extension research, so CIBs started paying for it.


Lets not forget that SETI and life extension research receive orders of magnitude less funding than HSF. Right now Elon Musk has done an amazing job shaking up the launch industry and without a doubt SpaceX is the home of great number of brilliant innovators. That said they receive a lot of funding from the government. Elon took a great risk starting SpaceX with his own cash but he couldn't sustain it without government contracts. Luckily he got them. This idea that today the private sector can do orbital HSF or beyond on their own has been shown not to be true.

  So there is no requirement for them to work together, and other than the prestige of going to new places first, there should be no competition between SpaceX and the U.S. Government.  Both could pursue their goals in parallel without any issues - Mars, and space in general, is pretty big.

Why not have them cooperate? They are right now with CCP. If NASA puts out a RFP for a Mars lander you better believe SpaceX will jump in.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, SS/SH, 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 Rocket Science

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Thanks for the great article Chris G, whether one agrees agree with the proposal or not...  ;)
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator

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