Author Topic: NASA Goal versus Mission  (Read 5631 times)

Offline meberbs

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1789
  • Liked: 1616
  • Likes Given: 389
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #20 on: 07/06/2018 11:28 PM »
Just about everything before FinalFrontier's post is not really on topic, to make up for my contribution there I will add a couple of my thoughts.
The National HSF Mission is ill-defined and the commercial ones mostly support the owners goals and not any national objective.  Thus there is no main effort and no unity of command/purpose.

The national HSF mission is very clearly defined as: "Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;". Among the 3 major commercial players, two are always aiming for the Moon, the third is also willing and eager to provide transport to the Moon. So there is no divide between national goal and commercial players' goals, they are very well aligned.

The problem is USG is ignoring their own strategic goal, instead they just want job program for NASA centers and big defense contractors.

This is may sound semantical, but what you call a mission above is a goal and you properly reference it in your final comment.

A mission specifies who, what, when, and where and sometimes why, for example:  "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.
I have seen that speech used as an example of good requirements. It provides a clear and complete goals, not just land on the moon, but "returning him safely to Earth." It sets a timeline by which the goal needs to be achieved. The speech also gives cost estimates while indicating that the technical goal and schedule are worth whatever cost actuals end up as. The "Why" question is also answered. quoting the speech at Rice (after the "because it is hard" rhetoric):

"because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win,"

This basically means that it is a non-military way to show strength and superiority to the Russians. While good science was done by Apollo, the purpose of the spending and why it was viewed as worth it was the show of capability.

Costal Ron:
I think the word "mission" might be overloaded in this context. NASA does use it as you say, where it refers to something like a single Mars Rover (Sometimes a couple related spacecraft might be one "mission" such as Spirit and Opportunity). I believe in the OP Mike Robel is instead using "mission" at a higher level similar to the mission statement for a company, stating an overall purpose and direction for NASA.  I'd suggest "program" as an alternative for what you used, but that then creates an ambiguity between things like SLS which as you said is more of a (potential) tool for assisting with a mission, vs. something like Europa Clipper which is a mission as you used it.

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10647
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 7511
  • Likes Given: 5286
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #21 on: 07/07/2018 01:38 AM »
This thread needs less back and forth sterile debate... so far it's pretty low value, same old suspects saying the same old (in many cases wrong) things.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline FinalFrontier

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3999
  • Space Watcher
  • Liked: 420
  • Likes Given: 159
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #22 on: 07/07/2018 05:46 AM »
Coastal Ron, in response to your posts:

Good points but something I want to drill down to here. The issue that needs addressing really is the lack of a clear goal. It is not simply an issue of unfunded mandates IE unfunded goals, the issue is that really even though certain people say what the goals are they aren't actually the goals.

More to the point many policy makers and NASA managers have consistently been saying since VSE that the goal is Mars. But nothing is ever done to move in meaningful way toward this goal, and even the 2010-2011 space act does not do much toward this goal. We don't ever get any results just wasted years and wasted money.

SLS and Orion I would contend are not part of this goal, they are a mission with no purpose. What you have is funding for a few initial flights, with years of gap between them, that frankly do absolutely nothing of value. All they do is expend a huge amount of years and time and money to fly an empty spacecraft to points in space we have already been and then return it under autonomous control. These are missions without a goal.

Despite all the DRMs and the Mars path NASA has shown us they actually have no way to achieve any of it, first of all. Even if it were fully funded, it would be extremely difficult to do it on schedule and within budget because their way of doing it is excessively complex and involves very long duration deep space flights. Which brings me to the second point, this being that the way in which NASA has suggested doing Mars is fundamentally flawed. Rather than trying to do the shortest possible duration trips for cargo or people to the planet they want to build large deep space stacks and slowly cycle between earth and Mars. Everything we know about the deep space radiation environment tells us this will be extremely hard on living organisms and on the hardware, failures are very likely. On top of that you have to build much more hardware and launch all of that, and their DRMs suggest a flight rate for SLS that can never and will never be achieved. To fly the vehicle as much as they suggest, with the current contracting structure, would deplete an eye watering amount of funding, the hardware the vehicle is built to launch would never exist.

This is the problem, it's a vicious circle of flawed logic. Yes commercial providers are decreasing the cost of access to space, and soon to the red planet perhaps, but NASA has no plans to take advantage of this.

This is where goal and missions meet, and this is why simply saying "its unfunded" over and over is not enough. A case could be made to a future Congress to drastically increase the NASA budget, say to maybe 80 billion a year, and you would probably be able to actually get that money, on one condition. You have to actually show an idea and a plan with reasonable chances of results for this money, you have to make the economic and social/political case for Mars, and you have to have a mission design that actually works. This is what has been lacking, we never seem to get all the pieces of the puzzle correct, and we keep trying to do just one piece. You have to be able to show policy makers that you can really do a large amount of exceptional things with that kind of money, it is like any other investment you have to show what they get out of it for that money. What does NASA have to show right now? They have nothing. They keep asking for more and they never deliver and never manage to make it on time even when they do deliver, look no further than SMD.

Low cost access to space is great but without a national mandate to USE that capacity in a meaningful way, it means nothing. Some of the commercial guys do have a chance at succeeding in their aims to get to Mars on their own, but it is going to be MUCH harder doing it in spite of NASA instead of with them leading from the front and with a plan that actually works. This is what I was getting at and why I tied the missions and goals together the way I did.

Think of the sort of payloads NASA could build with the SLS budget. More to the point think of how many people we could send if NASA were contracting the launch vehicles, and think of how much sooner we would see HLVs operating. SpaceX and ULA the two biggest LV companies both developed alot of their initial hardware off of NASA/government contracts, Musk himself has pointed out how huge COTS 1 was for helping SpaceX get going when it was nascent. Imagine how much faster BFR, New Glenn, Vulcan could become reality if NASA were backing all of this up for BEO.

We have the capacity as a nation right now, even with all of our problems, to do a really aggressive Mars program. And even IF you increased NASA's budget to some crazy high number like 80 billion a year it would still be a far smaller expenditure than money we have wasted on a wide variety of failed policies on earth. But you should not do just one or the other. NASA, and our space mandate as a whole, should be concise, focused, and efficient to the point that it can be aggressive and get things done, and quickly, even with the existing or even smaller budget. If you can get a functioning program going within these bounds then you have REAL results you can show the American people as well as whoever your policy makers are if you want to go bigger. This is a huge disconnect we seem to have, NASA leads from behind or not at all and the space lobby expects to get endless pork despite never showing results.

I think we are on the same page here but just getting "low cost access to space", while hard, is half the problem. You have to know exactly what you are going to do with it once you have it. As it stands right now NASA and by extension our government, is going to be spending billions on a rocket and spacecraft that do nothing and go nowhere, and meanwhile at the exact same time there will be commercial HLVs operating for a fraction of the cost on philanthropy missions to BEO. This, unless something changes. This is totally insane by any metric and it MUST be changed.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2018 05:47 AM by FinalFrontier »
3-30-2017: The start of a great future
"Live Long and Prosper"

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7578
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 1169
  • Likes Given: 7826
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #23 on: 07/07/2018 07:46 AM »

SLS and Orion I would contend are not part of this goal, they are a mission with no purpose. What you have is funding for a few initial flights, with years of gap between them, that frankly do absolutely nothing of value. All they do is expend a huge amount of years and time and money to fly an empty spacecraft to points in space we have already been and then return it under autonomous control. These are missions without a goal.
I think you've articulated their goals quite clearly.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline mike robel

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
  • Merritt Island, FL
  • Liked: 229
  • Likes Given: 42
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #24 on: 07/07/2018 11:06 AM »

SLS and Orion I would contend are not part of this goal, they are a mission with no purpose. What you have is funding for a few initial flights, with years of gap between them, that frankly do absolutely nothing of value. All they do is expend a huge amount of years and time and money to fly an empty spacecraft to points in space we have already been and then return it under autonomous control. These are missions without a goal.
I think you've articulated their goals quite clearly.  :(

In my view, SLS and Orion are not missions.  They are programs (possibly failing) to provide tools to assist in mission accomplishment.  The problem is, we have no mission.

Online edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12885
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3941
  • Likes Given: 754
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #25 on: 07/07/2018 12:24 PM »
In my view, SLS and Orion are not missions.  They are programs (possibly failing) to provide tools to assist in mission accomplishment.  The problem is, we have no mission.
SLS/Orion have a mission.  It is Exploration Mission 1.  It is the "first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human deep space exploration to the Moon and beyond".  EM-2 had been slated to repeat EM-1, except with astronauts, but the details have likely changed.  A third Block 1 SLS is going to launch Europa Clipper.  Then NASA will be done with Block 1 because ULA will soon have to scrap the ICPS tooling with the end of Delta 4.  I figure the larger "deep space exploration" mission will continue at that point, one way or another, whether with Block 1B or something else.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/07/2018 12:43 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline mike robel

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
  • Merritt Island, FL
  • Liked: 229
  • Likes Given: 42
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #26 on: 07/07/2018 01:46 PM »
Ed,

I disagree.  In general, things don't have a mission.  People or organizations do.  Orion and SLS are the selected hardware used to accomplish a mission, goal, or objective.  Some definitions, so we have a mutual frame of reference.  I should have done this at the first.  (I don't know whether NASA has a dictionary and didn't bother to look, because I am a little lazy this morning.  If they do, then their usage should take precedence.)

http://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/dictionary.pdf?ver=2018-07-06-092813-320

mission — 1. The task, together with the purpose, that clearly indicates the action to be taken and the reason therefore. (JP 3-0) 2. In common usage, especially when applied to lower military units, a duty assigned to an individual or unit; a task. (JP 3-0) 3. The dispatching of one or more aircraft to accomplish one particular task.* (JP 3-30)

mission statement — A short sentence or paragraph that describes the organization’s essential task(s), purpose, and action containing the elements of who, what, when, where, and why. See also mission. (JP 5-0)

objective — 1. The clearly defined, decisive, and attainable goal toward which an operation is directed. 2. The specific goal of the action taken which is essential to the commander’s plan. See also target. (JP 5-0)

operation — 1. A sequence of tactical actions with a common purpose or unifying theme. (JP 1) 2. A military action or the carrying out of a strategic, operational, tactical, service, training, or administrative military mission. (JP 3-0).
 
From Merriam Webster

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goal   the end toward which effort is directed

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mission a : a specific task with which a person or a group is charged   Their mission was to help victims of the disaster.  b (1) : a definite military, naval, or aerospace task  a bombing mission a space mission  (2): a flight operation of an aircraft or spacecraft in the performance of a mission a mission to Mars* c : a preestablished and often self-imposed objective or purpose statement of the company's mission

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objective:  a : something toward which effort is directed : an aim, goal, or end of action  b : a strategic position to be attained or a purpose to be achieved by a military operation

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operation a usually military action, mission, or maneuver including its planning and execution  military operations for a large-scale invasion or 
a set of actions for a particular purpose

In accordance with the above usage, I suggest

The SLS program mission is to develop a booster capable of placing a manned spacecraft into LEO to be used for Low Earth Orbit and cislunar space, to deliver unmanned spacecraft to destinations in interplanetary space, and support manned operations to mars.

The Orion Program mission is to develop a manned spacecraft capable of operating in LEO or in cislunar space for periods of approximately 25 days, provide crew rotation to the ISS or interplanetary manned spacecraft, and serve as an earth return capsule or lifeboat for lunar and interplanetary missions.

I admit the astericked (*) text above supports your usage of the term “mission”.
DoD does not have a definition for goal.

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2869
  • Likes Given: 3714
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #27 on: 07/07/2018 02:35 PM »
The issue that needs addressing really is the lack of a clear goal.

A clear goal for what? And how would you discriminate between a "goal" and a "clear goal"?

Quote
It is not simply an issue of unfunded mandates IE unfunded goals, the issue is that really even though certain people say what the goals are they aren't actually the goals.

It's OK to have unfunded and even unrealistic goals. Goals are targets and intentions, which can provide direction and inspiration before actually acting on them.

Quote
More to the point many policy makers and NASA managers have consistently been saying since VSE that the goal is Mars.

I want to focus on this point, because I think I lot of people get the wrong idea about things that NASA employees say.

NASA employees do NOT define goals in our form of government. They are just employees. There can be personal goal, department goals, and even agency goals, but they are really just a form of marketing, since NASA works for the President and is funded by Congress. So without the President and Congress, what is said about goals within NASA is just aspirational.

Quote
But nothing is ever done to move in meaningful way toward this goal, and even the 2010-2011 space act does not do much toward this goal. We don't ever get any results just wasted years and wasted money.

Which is why I point out that without backing from Congress in the form of committing to fully funding the goal (i.e. which now becomes a "mission"), you shouldn't get too attached to "goals". Goals without the ability to accomplish them are just marketing.
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 woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8510
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5022
  • Likes Given: 1596
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #28 on: 07/07/2018 03:21 PM »
NASA has fed, or is feeding, something beyond $10 billion to Hawthorne.

We've had this discussion before. By stating it the way you state it you paint a picture of a company that exists solely because of the government. And that is painting a false picture.

The majority of those $10B is payment for services delivered: NASA paying SpaceX for shipping cargo to the ISS on 20 missions under CRS-1. Or NASA paying SpaceX for shipping yet more cargo to the ISS under CRS-2. Or NASA paying SpaceX for shipping NASA astronauts to the ISS on (at least) six missions.

Seed money for developing the Dragons (cargo and crew versions) is in fact just $2B:
- $396 million for COTS
- $525 million for CCP up to CCiCAP
- $1.1 billion for CCtCAP, including demo missions 1 and 2.
The remaining $1.5 billion of CCtCAP is for six operational missions.

But we can't expect you to understand the above this time. Because you failed to make the distinction the last time we had this discussion.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2018 08:11 PM by woods170 »

Online edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12885
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3941
  • Likes Given: 754
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #29 on: 07/07/2018 10:01 PM »
The SLS program mission is to develop a booster capable of placing a manned spacecraft into LEO to be used for Low Earth Orbit and cislunar space, to deliver unmanned spacecraft to destinations in interplanetary space, and support manned operations to mars.

The Orion Program mission is to develop a manned spacecraft capable of operating in LEO or in cislunar space for periods of approximately 25 days, provide crew rotation to the ISS or interplanetary manned spacecraft, and serve as an earth return capsule or lifeboat for lunar and interplanetary missions.
None of the planned or projected SLS missions put Orion into LEO, and none are projected to go to ISS.  Orion is oversized for that mission.  Commercial Crew is for ISS.  SLS/Orion is for "Beyond Low Earth Orbit", or "Deep Space", etc.

We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/07/2018 10:01 PM by edkyle99 »

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2869
  • Likes Given: 3714
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #30 on: 07/07/2018 11:00 PM »
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.
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 woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8510
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5022
  • Likes Given: 1596
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #31 on: 07/08/2018 10:34 AM »
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.

Correct. The entire system (launcher, spacecraft, launchpad, crew systems, etc.) is entirely owned by the contractors (or bought as a service from other contractors, in case of Atlas V). The only thing NASA can do, upon completion of the CCtCAP contract, is stop buying services from the contractors. But both Boeing and SpaceX are free to use their systems to fly astronauts for other purposes than ISS crew transportation.

Once the ISS goes away there will likely be no further NASA-owned in-space destination in LEO. And hence no need for NASA to buy rides to that destination. Any NASA HSF destinations beyond LEO will be reached via SLS/Orion.

But IMO the commercial crew capabilities will remain in place. If SpaceX and Boeing can get the price of a round-trip to LEO down low enough there will be plenty of wealthy people lining up for a trip to orbit.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2018 01:27 PM by woods170 »

Online edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12885
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3941
  • Likes Given: 754
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #32 on: 07/08/2018 02:36 PM »
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.
Who are these non-NASA customers, who would be willing to spend, what is it, something like $500-700 million dollars or more per flight?  And where will they go?  Where will their non-NASA owned launch facilities be located? 

NASA will use Commercial Crew only as long as it is needed, which is to say only as long as ISS remains in orbit unless some other NASA LEO destination is created.  After that I do believe it will be shuttered because a program like that can't survive on a couple of billionaire joy rides.  It needs steady annual funding.

The reason, as this thread is meant to discuss, is that NASA's post-ISS goals and missions are not in LEO.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/08/2018 02:51 PM by edkyle99 »

Online RonM

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2514
  • Atlanta, Georgia USA
  • Liked: 1288
  • Likes Given: 995
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #33 on: 07/08/2018 03:31 PM »
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.
Who are these non-NASA customers, who would be willing to spend, what is it, something like $500-700 million dollars or more per flight?  And where will they go?  Where will their non-NASA owned launch facilities be located? 

NASA will use Commercial Crew only as long as it is needed, which is to say only as long as ISS remains in orbit unless some other NASA LEO destination is created.  After that I do believe it will be shuttered because a program like that can't survive on a couple of billionaire joy rides.  It needs steady annual funding.

The reason, as this thread is meant to discuss, is that NASA's post-ISS goals and missions are not in LEO.

 - Ed Kyle

NASA is planing on using commercial space stations after ISS. They even said they would be the anchor tenant.

Congress, the current administration, and the past administration support NASA helping establish commercial use of space. NASA isn't going to "shut it all down" to support NASA programs.

Offline FinalFrontier

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3999
  • Space Watcher
  • Liked: 420
  • Likes Given: 159
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #34 on: 07/08/2018 03:39 PM »
In my view, SLS and Orion are not missions.  They are programs (possibly failing) to provide tools to assist in mission accomplishment.  The problem is, we have no mission.
SLS/Orion have a mission.  It is Exploration Mission 1.  It is the "first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human deep space exploration to the Moon and beyond".  EM-2 had been slated to repeat EM-1, except with astronauts, but the details have likely changed.  A third Block 1 SLS is going to launch Europa Clipper.  Then NASA will be done with Block 1 because ULA will soon have to scrap the ICPS tooling with the end of Delta 4.  I figure the larger "deep space exploration" mission will continue at that point, one way or another, whether with Block 1B or something else.

 - Ed Kyle
I don't care how many slide shows they make over at Marshall and peddle out to the rest of us. This is not a mission. There is literally nothing being done on this flight that has not been done before, except this time we aren't even bothering to send a crew it's just an empty tin can that is not re-usable in any way shape or form.

This does not "enable" anything, I would argue it in no way shape or form adequately even tests SLS as compared to EELVs or newer commercial vehicles which have flown many many many times. Where as SLS will fly in different configurations maybe only once or twice before there is a crew. You are not reducing any risk like this just wasting time and money. If they put a crew on the first mission I might feel slightly better about taking this program to first flight, but literally none of the other issues would be resolved, namely that it just repeats things we have already done only it does them worse.

Totally insane to me since you could fund a lander and surface modules with the SLS budget and then launch everything with off the shelf vehicles.
3-30-2017: The start of a great future
"Live Long and Prosper"

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8510
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5022
  • Likes Given: 1596
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #35 on: 07/08/2018 03:51 PM »
We should ask what NASA intends for Commercial Crew capabilities after ISS ends only a few years from now.  The plan as near as I can tell could be to shut it all down in favor of SLS/Orion, the launch vehicle and spacecraft designed for "Deep Space".

Come on, by now you should know Boeing and SpaceX own their own crew transportation systems, so there is nothing to "shut down". NASA either buys crew transportation services or it doesn't.

And both Boeing and SpaceX are free to provide transportation services to non-NASA customers anytime during or after their NASA ISS contracts - in fact the U.S. Government is hoping they would have other customers.

So NASA could not "shut down" commercial crew transportation services even if they wanted to - because they don't control it, they are only a customer.
Who are these non-NASA customers, who would be willing to spend, what is it, something like $500-700 million dollars or more per flight?  And where will they go?  Where will their non-NASA owned launch facilities be located? 

Three mis-assumptions in your post.

1. Follow-on missions will be very substantially less than $500-700 million per flight. SpaceX as it is, will do Crew Dragon missions for NASA at just $400 million per mission. And that is WITH all the additional hassle that is inherent to NASA missions such as all-new boosters, all-new Crew Dragons, lotsa red-tape and mission assurance, etc.

Non-NASA missions will be substantially cheaper for multiple reasons such as not having to deal with NASA red-tape as well as re-using Crew Dragons (no need for expensive new-builds) and re-using boosters. I estimate that non-NASA missions on Crew Dragon could be as cheap as $100 million per mission. Put four rich people on-board and they will have the trip of a lifetime for less than $25 million per person. There are dozens of folks around the planet who will gladly pay $25 million to spend a few days in Earth orbit and end up having astronaut wings.

2. The destination is the same as it was for STS in its first 15 years: LEO. You don't need a frickin' space station at first. Just being in space - in orbit - for just a few days is worth it for quite a large group of rich individuals.

3. The launch site for Atlas 5 (the launcher for Starliner) is not NASA-owned. And don't expect USAF to suddenly prohibit ULA from launching Starliner just because it is not flying to ISS but carrying a bunch of rich folks.
Although LC-39A is NASA-owned SpaceX has leased it for 20 years. NASA is in no legal position to suddenly prevent SpaceX from flying non-NASA Crew Dragon missions. You seem to be forgetting that NASA actually hopes that both CCP providers find additional clients for their crew systems beyond carrying NASA astronauts to the ISS.

I've got a question for you Ed: Why are you seemingly under the impression that only government agencies are allowed to do human spaceflight?
Because you previous posts clearly indicate that you don't believe that the CCP providers can do without NASA in the post-ISS period. By extension it almost seems as if you think the CCP providers should not be allowed to do human spaceflight without NASA involvement.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2018 03:52 PM by woods170 »

Offline FinalFrontier

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3999
  • Space Watcher
  • Liked: 420
  • Likes Given: 159
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #36 on: 07/08/2018 03:51 PM »
Quote
It's OK to have unfunded and even unrealistic goals. Goals are targets and intentions, which can provide direction and inspiration before actually acting on them.

Thank you for posting this! You have highlighted the core problem. No it is not okay to have unfunded and unrealistic goals

We have had unfunded/underfunded and unrealistic goals for HSF since Apollo ended. How well has this logic worked out for us exactly? It hasn't. We are no closer to stepping out into our own local solar system let alone anything else than we were when we started. Square one. But your post is a perfect example of how NASA, policy makers in Congress through the decades, and even the American people have operated.

The evidence bears itself out. This has not worked, not only for space flight but a host of other industries and policies as well. This sort of thinking plays a large roll in the reasons why the USA has so many problems, deteriorating infrastructure, wealth inequality, economic mis-management and debt mis-management, and competition and trade issues. These problems were all driven by the common idea that rather than coming up with realistic and common sense goals AND real time solutions to get there in the short term, we could just shove things down the road and things would always work out long term. They haven't and it is costing our society dearly in more ways than most people can possibly imagine.

If you want to go to Mars or do literally anything else worthwhile in spaceflight you must have realistic goals and realistic ways to achieve these goals, and your funding targets must also be realistic. If you want or expect more money later you have to show proof and results first that you deserve to get it.




Quote
I want to focus on this point, because I think I lot of people get the wrong idea about things that NASA employees say.

NASA employees do NOT define goals in our form of government. They are just employees. There can be personal goal, department goals, and even agency goals, but they are really just a form of marketing, since NASA works for the President and is funded by Congress. So without the President and Congress, what is said about goals within NASA is just aspirational.

This is a great idea in theory. And legally speaking yes, this is how it SHOULD be working. But examine the history of program failures over the past 35 years and you will discover this is not how it has been working. We have seen on many occasions NASA management either out right violate the letter of the congressional mandates and even laws, or on more common occasions just bend the rules as much as possible. And the result has always been abject failure. So yes what these people say does matter look at what happened with CXP and more importantly look at SLS. SLS was supposed to fly in 2016 according to the law. Where is the vehicle? So yes when you have NASA managers saying no crewed flights for the first five flights and then trying to cover it up after it leaks to the press that's bad and it should be brought to light. And if Congress had any shred of dignity in this situation they would hold hearings on these matters same as they are doing for other matters.
3-30-2017: The start of a great future
"Live Long and Prosper"

Offline mike robel

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
  • Merritt Island, FL
  • Liked: 229
  • Likes Given: 42
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #37 on: 07/08/2018 04:11 PM »


NASA is planing on using commercial space stations after ISS. They even said they would be the anchor tenant.

Congress, the current administration, and the past administration support NASA helping establish commercial use of space. NASA isn't going to "shut it all down" to support NASA programs.

Who are these companies planning to orbit a commercial space station?

On the other hand, putting the NASA  “Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway” (LOP-G) into orbit as an Extended Orbital Duration Demonstrator (EODD)* would actually make sense to me if it were used for stair stepping development as a rapid prototype for a series of space vehicle each supporting missions of six months, one year, 18 months, and two years, culminating with a three year earth to moon orbital mission (a giant series of figure 8's) ending with direct return to earth from the moon or entry into a high earth orbit and a subsequent re entry following dispatch of the "unused" rescue capsule, which would prove the vehicle capable of a three year mission to Mars, without undue risk.  (Perhaps this one would carry a Dragon or CS-100 capable of long mission storage for emergency return to Earth.)

Orbited by SLS (or perhaps a Falcon Heavy, or Vulcan) unmanned, the crew would be flown up on a Dragon 2 or CST-100 launched in sequence as we used to launch Titan-Gemini/Atlas-Agena for rapid rendezvous.  After that, a rescue capsule would be maintained in readiness (or maybe two one each with Dragon and CST-100) and used to return the crew at the end of the sortie.

* It needs a better name....

Online edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12885
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3941
  • Likes Given: 754
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #38 on: 07/08/2018 04:28 PM »
I've got a question for you Ed: Why are you seemingly under the impression that only government agencies are allowed to do human spaceflight?
I'm not under that impression.  I merely note that NASA has the big funding that has made this all happen.  There is no equivalent commercial customer for this service.  NASA is the only customer for Falcon 9/Dragon, Antares/Cygnus, CST-100/Atlas 5, and Dream Chaser/Atlas 5.  No one even bought the unmanned Dragon Lab missions suggested by SpaceX.  The rich people mission around the Moon seems to have gone by the wayside.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/08/2018 04:28 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline meberbs

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1789
  • Liked: 1616
  • Likes Given: 389
Re: NASA Goal versus Mission
« Reply #39 on: 07/08/2018 04:38 PM »


NASA is planing on using commercial space stations after ISS. They even said they would be the anchor tenant.

Congress, the current administration, and the past administration support NASA helping establish commercial use of space. NASA isn't going to "shut it all down" to support NASA programs.

Who are these companies planning to orbit a commercial space station?
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nextstep-partnerships-develop-ground-prototypes

As implied by RonM's post NASA is helping the companies developing habitats. Forward plans for these companies vary, but multiple have explicit intent to build LEO stations. In addition to the companies listed there, Axiom Space is also working on a station, and is one of the companies interested in using an ISS port as an initial staging point.

Tags: