Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 3  (Read 76141 times)

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #380 on: 02/08/2019 05:49 am »
Remember Congress has not fully funded ANY programs that require the SLS, and we are just a mere 3 years away from when the SLS is supposed to be operational - and it normally takes at least 7 years to build small planetary robotic hardware

It really doesn't take that long.

Most everyone thinks and hopes that the SLS will be used for HSF missions, so my point was that non-HSF mission, which are far less complex, can take 7 years or more. The Mars rovers have taken that long, and the human-rated Orion spacecraft will have taken 18 years by the time it is fully certified to fly crew.

In our modern times, HSF certified hardware has always taken far long to get ready for launch than planned, meaning that the SLS may not actually fly any payloads for years. Congress is already unhappy with the now $10B JWST, so I would not expect them to be thrilled with programs that start at $10B and don't launch for a decade or more.

Not funding payloads for the SLS will just continue to exacerbate the problem the SLS will have when it's ready to be operational - and there will be nothing to launch. At some point someone is going to notice that situation is just a couple of years away, and that will force Congress and the President to do something - either fund payloads quickly and fully, or debate whether the SLS is needed at all.

Either way, Congress has to finally review the SLS program.
18 years  is literally insane. About $20 billion spent before the first crewed launch!! >:( Think of the crewed Lander they could have made for that money...
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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #381 on: 02/08/2019 06:18 pm »
18 years  is literally insane. About $20 billion spent before the first crewed launch!!
And remember, the whole point of the SLS approach was to re-use Shuttle tech to save time and money...

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #382 on: 02/09/2019 02:23 am »
18 years  is literally insane. About $20 billion spent before the first crewed launch!!
And remember, the whole point of the SLS approach was to re-use Shuttle tech to save time and money...

Its true purpose was to steer as many taxpayer dollars to select congressional districts for as long as possible. All else was incidental or PR cover.
« Last Edit: 02/09/2019 02:24 am by docmordrid »
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Offline ZachS09

Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #383 on: 02/09/2019 05:56 pm »
In his last article Eric Berger reports that the first launch will likely slip into 2021:
Multiple sources have told Ars that while NASA is still targeting sometime later in 2020 for a test launch of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft, known as Exploration Mission-1, this flight is likely to slip into 2021.
Full article at Ars Technica: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/02/nasa-still-working-toward-2020-launch-of-massive-sls-rocket/

It seems that SLS is also in "Elon time" or worse ;)

This is getting past ridiculous.  How far is congress going to let this go before someone holds someone at Boeing/NASA accountable for these insane cost and time overruns?

I used to be a big fan on the SLS program a few years ago.  Now it seems like every time I check updates they've slipped more.  Sigh...

Me too. After the Space Shuttles were retired, I was actually looking forward to the SLS taking astronauts beyond the Moon. But, after SpaceX and Blue Origin announced their intentions to do the same goal within a short period of time, I changed my mind. Especially since several forum members are predicting that SLS will be scrapped before its maiden flight.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #384 on: 02/09/2019 07:10 pm »
SLS is like a "time machine" it will allow you to see the past in the future...
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #385 on: 02/09/2019 07:37 pm »
Me too. After the Space Shuttles were retired, I was actually looking forward to the SLS taking astronauts beyond the Moon. But, after SpaceX and Blue Origin announced their intentions to do the same goal within a short period of time, I changed my mind. Especially since several forum members are predicting that SLS will be scrapped before its maiden flight.

You can find opinions that span the whole range of potential futures for the SLS on every space forum.

However now that we are 8 years into the program, it's a lot easier to see trends that portend potential futures, including:

- An almost year-for-year slip in the SLS launch schedule.

- A lack of any funded HSF programs the SLS and Orion are needed to support.

- The amount of time it takes to build HSF hardware these days at NASA, and how even if a major HSF program was funded starting in the FY2020 budget, that it's likely the SLS and Orion wouldn't be needed to launch the hardware until at least 2030 - meaning the SLS program will be about 20 years old before it starts operational HSF flights.

Despite all of that, the only opinions that matter are what Congress thinks of the SLS and Orion programs. Congress is the decision maker on funding, and so far has been OK with the relatively low amounts required to fund them (NASA in total is only 0.5% of the federal budget).

We'll see if Congress wants to look into what is and isn't going on with the SLS and Orion programs, and how they do and do not support our goals in space. I hope it's soon, but so far it hasn't happened...  :o
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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #386 on: 02/09/2019 09:24 pm »
I think if the went with sidemount for larger heavier payloads and kept the shuttle, we would already have something going on in deep space.  Sidemount could get almost 100 tons to LEO.  We would already have it.  We could factor in the Black Knight solids for a little extra tons.  Maybe even have worked on liquid kerolox side boosters for even more payload.  Shuttle could have been upgraded with a detachable crew cabin for safety, or ejection seats.  They could have worked on in space heat tile repairs.  Lots of evolvable upgrades. 

Online Eric Hedman

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #387 on: 02/10/2019 05:35 am »
I think if the went with sidemount for larger heavier payloads and kept the shuttle, we would already have something going on in deep space.  Sidemount could get almost 100 tons to LEO.  We would already have it.  We could factor in the Black Knight solids for a little extra tons.  Maybe even have worked on liquid kerolox side boosters for even more payload.  Shuttle could have been upgraded with a detachable crew cabin for safety, or ejection seats.  They could have worked on in space heat tile repairs.  Lots of evolvable upgrades.
The problem with side mount at the time or Shuttle-C as tit was known is they same problem SLS has had.  There was no clear approved plan as to what it was going to be used for.  That is why Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner led the fight that killed it.  Trent Lott led the fight to save it as a jobs program for his state.  This one reason why NASA has struggled with human space flight because of a lack of a clear direction for a long time makes programs susceptible to cancellation.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #388 on: 02/10/2019 08:59 am »
Largely agree. Though with a clear destination - the Moon - a heavy lifter like Shuttle C/Sidemount could have built an Outpost after launching a few extended Sorties first. And I would never intend it to be the permanent launcher of choice: Commercial launchers could have/should have eventually superseded it. Or any Atlas V & Delta IV derivative for that matter.
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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #389 on: 02/10/2019 03:04 pm »
Yes, I remember Atlas V Phase II which could have launched Orion.  Also Phase II Heavy which could have launched at least 75 tons to LEO.  NASA in the last 20-30 years have made a lot of mistakes, not being focused on a goal. 

Offline Colleteral888

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #390 on: 02/10/2019 11:14 pm »
I feel like I'm the only person that wants to see the SLS succeed...

Offline rcoppola

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #391 on: 02/10/2019 11:35 pm »
I feel like I'm the only person that wants to see the SLS succeed...
Having been a passionate and vocal supporter, following the twists and turns of the program since it was known as Constellation but then bearing witness to the absurdity of its meandering path, its financial largess and technical obsolescence...well, you'll forgive many of us for having lost faith.

However...I'll be cheering as loud as the next person if/when she eventually lofts Orion around the moon...
« Last Edit: 02/10/2019 11:38 pm by rcoppola »
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #392 on: 02/10/2019 11:49 pm »
I sorta like the SLS. But then I think they are hamstringing it more than a little: The corestage should be using 5x RS-25 engines as originally planned - not 4x as now. And they should have been building the big, Exploration upper stage from Day One. A configuration like that would be able to get more than 110 metric tons into low Earth orbit from the get go. Adding the fancy solid boosters later would push that tonnage past 120 metric tons. Useful for sending big tonnage beyond Earth orbit.

And the low flight rate bothers me: in more than a few respects the SLS is like the Shuttle infrastructure. The Shuttle system managed to fly about six times per year and about 4x per year in it's latter career. With 2x Pad 39s in operation and the manufacturing rate put up; 4x flights per year is not unreasonable to expect. With the SLS version above that I mentioned, they could mount two crewed Lunar missions per year if a really large Lander were sent to the Moon on one launch and the crewed Orion on a second launch. However, if the Lander were reusable and left in high lunar orbit each time; there could be 2 or 3x crewed missions per year and 1 or 2 cargo flights. By that; I mean that if the Lander was reusable, the 'big' SLS could bring the Orion and a co-manifested 'tanker' module to refuel the Lander.

But a Conops such as the above would require a fairly big budget increase for NASA and it's international partners. And with the SLS supposed to only fly once per year; it's expensive standing army and infrastructure might be better spent on Vulcans, New Glenns and Falcon Heavies... :(
« Last Edit: 02/10/2019 11:50 pm by MATTBLAK »
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #393 on: 02/11/2019 12:04 am »
Yes, I remember Atlas V Phase II which could have launched Orion.  Also Phase II Heavy which could have launched at least 75 tons to LEO.  NASA in the last 20-30 years have made a lot of mistakes, not being focused on a goal.

I want to make sure that everyone remembers that NASA employees do not decide their own fate. Even the NASA Administrator doesn't decide the fate of NASA. At most NASA employees are tasked in coming up with options and recommendations, but that is only if they are asked - they don't do anything unless they are asked to do it.

NASA's goals come from the President (who they work for) and the Congress (who funds them). No one else.

I don't think Presidents are blameless, but I tend to think that Congress is more at fault for our space transportation problems. For instance, it was Congress that refused to take a hard look at the Shuttle program to ensure that it was meeting it's goals over it's 30 year life (it met none), and that there weren't better alternatives (there were).

And it was Congress that invented the SLS and told NASA to build it, even though there were no hearings to determine what NASA really needed in a new launch system, and NASA was never asked to propose what the design should be. Congress created the SLS themselves and told NASA to build it, which is largely the reasons why the SLS is taking far longer than even SLS proponents think it should take to launch - Congress mandated that it should be operational by 2016.

So if you don't like what NASA has done, or is doing, don't assume it's NASA's fault. They are not perfect, but they have to make do with what they are given...

My $0.02
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Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #394 on: 02/11/2019 12:25 am »
I thought SLS was essentially all NASA’s idea under the concept of DIRECT /Jupiter.  Simple safe soon.  How did Congress generate the SLS idea?

https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/361841main_14%20-%20DIRECT_HSF_Commission.pdf

Initial cost estimates were way off.
« Last Edit: 02/11/2019 12:34 am by Mr. Scott »
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #395 on: 02/11/2019 12:28 am »
I sorta like the SLS. But then I think they are hamstringing it more than a little: The corestage should be using 5x RS-25 engines as originally planned - not 4x as now. And they should have been building the big, Exploration upper stage from Day One. A configuration like that would be able to get more than 110 metric tons into low Earth orbit from the get go. Adding the fancy solid boosters later would push that tonnage past 120 metric tons. Useful for sending big tonnage beyond Earth orbit.

And the low flight rate bothers me: in more than a few respects the SLS is like the Shuttle infrastructure. The Shuttle system managed to fly about six times per year and about 4x per year in it's latter career. With 2x Pad 39s in operation and the manufacturing rate put up; 4x flights per year is not unreasonable to expect. With the SLS version above that I mentioned, they could mount two crewed Lunar missions per year if a really large Lander were sent to the Moon on one launch and the crewed Orion on a second launch. However, if the Lander were reusable and left in high lunar orbit each time; there could be 2 or 3x crewed missions per year and 1 or 2 cargo flights. By that; I mean that if the Lander was reusable, the 'big' SLS could bring the Orion and a co-manifested 'tanker' module to refuel the Lander.

But a Conops such as the above would require a fairly big budget increase for NASA and it's international partners. And with the SLS supposed to only fly once per year; it's expensive standing army and infrastructure might be better spent on Vulcans, New Glenns and Falcon Heavies... :(

It appears that only the Block 1 version may fly in the foreseeable future with the deferment of the EUS and more ICPS being ordered.

NASA is trying to build the components of a Moon program in sequence. The core, big upper stage, new solid boosters, Lunar landers of various sizes and new RS-25 production line. Mainly due to constrained & static annual budget IMO.

It will be a lot cheaper for the program overall if the components is funded concurrently.


Offline AndersofOz

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #396 on: 02/11/2019 03:14 am »
I thought SLS was essentially all NASA’s idea under the concept of DIRECT /Jupiter.  Simple safe soon.  How did Congress generate the SLS idea?

https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/361841main_14%20-%20DIRECT_HSF_Commission.pdf

Initial cost estimates were way off.

Jupiter is not the same vehicle as SLS.  4 segment SRBs, a more modest payload and in-orbit refueling for any useful destination are just some of the key differences.

Checkout clauses 302-304 of Public Law 111–267 for the genesis of the SLS.

https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/649377main_PL_111-267.pdf

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #397 on: 02/11/2019 04:47 am »
I thought SLS was essentially all NASA’s idea under the concept of DIRECT /Jupiter.  Simple safe soon.  How did Congress generate the SLS idea?

Congress (i.e. a small group in the Senate) never asked NASA for input on the Space Launch System.

Quote
Initial cost estimates were way off.

Because Congress (i.e. a small group in the Senate) never asked NASA for input, NASA was never asked for an estimate, and would not have been able to do so without converting the SLS concept into real drawings and engineering studies - which took years for NASA to do after they were charged with building the SLS.

Unlike just about every other large government program, there has never been an estimate for how much the program SHOULD cost, nor has Congress held any hearings on whether NASA is above or below either cost or schedule goals. And that is because there aren't any budget goals, which is why I say the SLS is not over budget - because there was never was a budget.

And the only date Congress mandated was for the SLS was (per S. 3729):

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.

It looks like NASA is going to be at least 5 years late on that, but Congress doesn't seem to care. I wonder why...  ::)

Although just think if the SLS HAD becomes operational by Dec. 31, 2016! It would have had nothing to launch, and would have been a real visible example of why the SLS is sometimes called "The rocket to nowhere". And I don't think that will change by 2022 either.
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #398 on: 02/11/2019 05:53 am »
The corestage should be using 5x RS-25 engines as originally planned - not 4x as now.

Yes, the original plan was five RS-25's on the core, five segment HTPB solid boosters and dual J-2S+ powered upper stage. Payload to LEO was 146.6 t! This slide says this is a future growth version, but the version chosen in the final report is the one below. Unfortunately, they also recommended the Ares-I and it went downhill from there.
« Last Edit: 02/11/2019 05:59 am by Steven Pietrobon »
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Offline woods170

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #399 on: 02/11/2019 07:02 am »
I thought SLS was essentially all NASA’s idea under the concept of DIRECT /Jupiter.  Simple safe soon.  How did Congress generate the SLS idea?

https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/361841main_14%20-%20DIRECT_HSF_Commission.pdf

Initial cost estimates were way off.

On US government-led projects the initial cost estimates are ALWAYS way off.
Guys like James Webb, who are actually capable of making reasonably accurate cost estimates, only come along once in a century.

Rule of thumb when you see a US government cost estimate: multiply by 3 and than add another 25 percent to that total.
« Last Edit: 02/11/2019 12:03 pm by woods170 »

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