Author Topic: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut  (Read 35379 times)

Offline alexterrell

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #100 on: 02/11/2018 11:08 am »
How does it work in NASA - does the top mandate the launch vehicle for every mission?

I see you are from Germany.
Thanks. I'm actually from England but live in Germany and have been following NASA Space Flight for God knows how long.

I'm familiar with the pork barrel politics, but it's hard to grasp to what level it is entrenched and sets policy. I think it's strongest when there is a President who isn't bothered about NASA - ie like all Presidents since Kennedy. That allows drift in NASA, with no unifying objective other than to provide jobs in certain Senator's seats.

It also accounts for a lot of the cost difference between NASA and SpaceX and is why NASA needs to get out of the launch market, and focus on doing what only NASA can do.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #101 on: 02/11/2018 11:21 am »
Many of us overseas actually pay more attention to American politics and civics than more than a few Americans. That's not necessarily a bold statement. More than two of my American friends have told me this about myself.
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Offline alexterrell

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #102 on: 02/11/2018 11:48 am »
Yes, but it's hard to understand the pervasiveness of pork barrel politics from afar, just by reading international press and NASA Spaceflight :)

But you can see the effect of it if you bench mark SpaceX against NASA. Perhaps it's more obvious to non-Americans that NASA should exit the launch business (or rather, not get back into it). Then with the money saved they really could "boldly go".

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #103 on: 02/11/2018 11:51 am »
Pork barrel politics have long reigned over NASA activities. But the success of SpaceX over the last couple of years has to be having an effect.
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #104 on: 02/11/2018 12:02 pm »




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.






Offline scdavis

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #105 on: 02/11/2018 12:34 pm »




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

Your point about destination and mission are very reasonable. But method isn’t the same as mission and “single launch” feels like method. Wouldn’t it make sense to say instead: when a FH architecture can achieve the aim of launching crew to DSG (at lower cost, higher cadence, etc.) then there is a case for replacing SLS?

This leaves open number of launches and how the capability is met.

Offline Testraindrop

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #106 on: 02/11/2018 01:42 pm »




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

Why does it have to be a single launch?
Whats the problem of sending crew+most important life support in launch 1 and science equipment in launch 2 for ~200mio instead of all in a single launch for 500m-1B?
« Last Edit: 02/11/2018 01:43 pm by Testraindrop »

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #107 on: 02/11/2018 01:54 pm »




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

Why does it have to be a single launch?
Whats the problem of sending crew+most important life support in launch 1 and science equipment in launch 2 for ~200mio instead of all in a single launch for 500m-1B?

Why send crew at all? A robot on an existing single stick rocket would be even cheaper.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #108 on: 02/11/2018 03:24 pm »
I'm familiar with the pork barrel politics, but it's hard to grasp to what level it is entrenched and sets policy. I think it's strongest when there is a President who isn't bothered about NASA - ie like all Presidents since Kennedy. That allows drift in NASA, with no unifying objective other than to provide jobs in certain Senator's seats.

Confusing, even for us Americans.

Set aside how something was created though, and focus on what happens after it gains what could be called "institutional momentum". The Shuttle had that, in that there was an assumption that the Shuttle was our ride to space, and so it was funded every year pretty much without question.

But after the second Shuttle accident everyone finally decided that a review of the Shuttle program was required, and lo and behold it was realized that there needed to be a defined end point to the program. So sometimes what it takes to cause a review of the original assumptions for a government program is that something causes a review of those assumptions.

Since the SLS was mandated to be built by Congress in 2010, there has been no comprehensive review of the original assumptions for the SLS, but - and this is important - the SLS has only been funded for development, and not yet for operational use. Nor have there been any programs or payloads funded that require the SLS.

Why is that important? Because even small exploration payloads can take years to build, and the SLS is supposed to become operational in 2023, 5 years from now. As an example, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL) known as Curiosity took 7 years from proposal to launch, and it only weighs 0.9mT. Human-rated hardware for SLS missions will weigh far more, and take far longer to design, test and make ready for launch - as an example the Orion spacecraft will have taken 18 years. And NASA is not getting faster at building human-rated hardware.

So there is a HUGE disconnect between hope and reality with the SLS right now, since there is nothing for it to launch during the decade of the 2020's. Yet no one is raising the alarm bells.

Quote
It also accounts for a lot of the cost difference between NASA and SpaceX and is why NASA needs to get out of the launch market, and focus on doing what only NASA can do.

The philosophy that I've heard that I agree with is that the government should only do what the private sector can't or won't do. The private sector in the U.S. is now the leader in launching mass to space, and the only justification for the SLS is that it can launch bigger payloads. However it costs so much more, and flies so infrequently that it does not provide any real benefits over using multiple-launch architectures and in-space assembly - which is what we used for the ISS and what pretty much everyone is planning to use to expand humanity out into space.

So let's hope there is a review of the SLS, and maybe the Falcon Heavy flight will trigger it. But I'm not holding my breath...  ;)
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 AncientU

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #109 on: 02/11/2018 03:55 pm »




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

No. You don't.

You need to compare the type of program the USA could have using FH plus other commercially available launchers with the type of program we can have with SLS/Orion...
*****at the same price point*****
*****on the same time line*****


Only when you constrain the parameters to a mind-boggling archaic son-of-Apollo program -- without the interesting/challenging part of actually landing and exploring -- does SLS make any sense at all.  And then it only makes sense to someone in Alabama, or Boeing, or Coalition for Deep Space Exploration*.

* Holy Cow, that title is so Orwellian I can't stand it.
« Last Edit: 02/11/2018 04:09 pm by AncientU »
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Offline Vultur

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #110 on: 02/11/2018 09:03 pm »
If BFR actually flies (successfully) I don't expect SLS to survive. It would just be too embarrassing for NASA to be spending way more for way less capability.

I don't think Falcon Heavy alone will make that much of a difference.
SpaceX successfully flying people would be a big step.
If they do that circumlunar tourist mission, THAT might lead to the cancellation of SLS and Orion, especially if Starliner is also flying by then (2 US vehicles that could provide human access to space).

But quite likely not, because there's a lot of money and political inertia committed to SLS/Orion. I can't see even that being able to save it if BFR/BFS hardware actually lands on Mars, though.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #111 on: 02/12/2018 12:28 am »




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

Why does it have to be a single launch?
Whats the problem of sending crew+most important life support in launch 1 and science equipment in launch 2 for ~200mio instead of all in a single launch for 500m-1B?
If SpaceX offered means of delivering crew to DSG using FH that NASA didn't need to fund development of. Then I can see NASA buying missions but I can't see them cancelling SLS till there is 2nd provider.

NB FH still does offer an alternative to 8m fairings.

By way thread is SLS vs FH, BFR doesn't come into it, different debate different thread.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2018 12:30 am by TrevorMonty »

Online QuantumG

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #112 on: 02/12/2018 12:40 am »
If SpaceX offered means of delivering crew to DSG using FH that NASA didn't need to fund development of.

When by? Getting the astronaut office okay with Falcon Heavy would be hard. Dragon 2 beyond Earth orbit would be too.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #113 on: 02/12/2018 12:53 am »
Bet the astronaut office would be begging to go if it were the only ride. Just like the AO is fine with Soyuz...
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Offline spacenut

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #114 on: 02/12/2018 03:09 am »
To me Falcon Heavy is great idea, but maybe a little too late.  FH has a lot of shortcomings.  One is the fairing is too small for heavier or larger payloads like a Bigelow 330 inflatable station.  Two, the diameter of the rocket and upper stage, is only about 3 1/2 meters.  The length of the boosters with a larger or wider payload make it harder to function due to bending loads for heavier payloads especially if they need a larger fairing. 

Maybe the center core is strengthened enough to handle heavier payloads or wider payloads without problems.  They may be able to stretch the upper stage to deliver fuel for a moon or Mars destination spacecraft.  I know it can deliver larger satellites to GSO, but other than that they have no moon Dragons manned flybys or Red Dragons planned that they mentioned a few years ago.  I don't know what they plan to use it for other than satellites for now even though it has tremendous LEO capability. 


Offline MaxTeranous

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #115 on: 02/12/2018 03:31 am »
If SpaceX offered means of delivering crew to DSG using FH that NASA didn't need to fund development of.

When by? Getting the astronaut office okay with Falcon Heavy would be hard. Dragon 2 beyond Earth orbit would be too.

Pretty sure any rational decision maker would be happier flying on a rocket that’d flown say 20 times by that point than a rocket that’d flown either once or never depending on whether you consider the new upper stage different enough.

Offline MaxTeranous

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #116 on: 02/12/2018 03:34 am »




And what does SLS do that can't be done with 2 or 3 Falcon Heavy launches? No single module for space exploration needs to mass more than 60 tons.


SLS is designed for delivering large payloads to BLEO not LEO. You need to compare FH BLEO capabilities with SLS not its LEO.

SLS can deliver 25t Orion and crew to DSG in single launch. When FH can do this in single launch then there is case for replacing SLS.

To DSG that doesn’t exist and isn’t paid for, and without a proper budget uplift cant afford to be paid for without cancelling some big line item (like SLS)

Online QuantumG

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #117 on: 02/12/2018 05:29 am »
Pretty sure any rational decision maker would be happier flying on a rocket that’d flown say 20 times by that point than a rocket that’d flown either once or never depending on whether you consider the new upper stage different enough.

Nope. I has to pass the "insight" list.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline speedevil

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #118 on: 02/12/2018 11:00 am »
Pretty sure any rational decision maker would be happier flying on a rocket that’d flown say 20 times by that point than a rocket that’d flown either once or never depending on whether you consider the new upper stage different enough.

Nope. I has to pass the "insight" list.

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Offline cebri

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Re: The fate of SLS after Falcon Heavy debut
« Reply #119 on: 02/12/2018 03:38 pm »

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