Author Topic: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract  (Read 35219 times)

Offline cferreir

We have a billionaire worth 100+ billion investing his own money to build a heavy lift vehicle, we have a successful private space company investing it's own money to build another..... Why in God's green earth is the US government building one??? Stop now, give 1 billion to Blue Origin and 1 billion to SpaceX and focus on science and research! The  final straw is that this SLS thing is using STS tech!!! Stuff that was developed in the 80's....... Argh...but alas...I know I'm just screaming into my pillow...

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6250
  • Liked: 4116
  • Likes Given: 5642
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #21 on: 10/10/2018 05:36 pm »
Boeing response reported ....

Boeing refers to SLS as an "unprecedented rocket program," but the whole point of a Shuttle-derived design was that it was to reduce costs by the use of hardware precedents.  On top of that, SLS's performance specs are not too different from those of a decades-old rocket, the Saturn 5.  Oh, and Boeing, which absorbed Rockwell International some years ago, was the prime contractor for the Shuttle and much of the Saturn 5.  The SLS program is very much "precedented."

EDIT:  'V' -> '5' in penultimate sentence, for consistency.
The SLS Core Stage, Boeing's part of this rocket, is unprecedented.  No liquid hydrogen stage has ever been this big, this long, this heavy, or produced this much thrust.  Boeing's (North American Aviation) Saturn V S-II stage was about 40% as much rocket as SLS Core.  An entire Delta 4 Heavy stack, including upper stage, only weighs 67% as much as SLS Core.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

There might possibly be something wrong with 'this big, this long, this heavy' for a rocket stage.  And the core stage produces about the thrust of a F9, using ungodly expensive engines developed in the 1970s.  Boosters are ancient tech, nothing to marvel at as you do.

So, what should we marvel at?  A $12B, BIG-A$$ aluminum tank.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline niwax

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 379
  • Germany
    • SpaceX Booster List
  • Liked: 246
  • Likes Given: 53
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #22 on: 10/10/2018 05:59 pm »

So, what should we marvel at?  A $12B, BIG-A$$ aluminum tank.

And right now private companies are having to put up their own money to develop proprietary cryogenic carbon fiber tanks because the government-funded research agency is busy devising new ways to build obsolete foam-clad aluminium tanks. No one outside of NASA contractors will ever profit or learn from the work being done here.

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13168
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 4436
  • Likes Given: 805
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #23 on: 10/10/2018 06:03 pm »
The SLS Core Stage, Boeing's part of this rocket, is unprecedented.  No liquid hydrogen stage has ever been this big, this long, this heavy, or produced this much thrust.  Boeing's (North American Aviation) Saturn V S-II stage was about 40% as much rocket as SLS Core.  An entire Delta 4 Heavy stack, including upper stage, only weighs 67% as much as SLS Core.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

There might possibly be something wrong with 'this big, this long, this heavy' for a rocket stage.  And the core stage produces about the thrust of a F9, using ungodly expensive engines developed in the 1970s.  Boosters are ancient tech, nothing to marvel at as you do.
Thrust is an invalid metric for comparing hydrocarbon versus liquid hydrogen stages.  SLS Core characteristic velocity is half again higher and is part of a rocket designed to lift four or more times as much payload.

I marvel at it all, including that Hawthorne-built stage.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Cremalera

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
  • Russia,Krasnodar
  • Liked: 12
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #24 on: 10/10/2018 06:09 pm »
Page 19 is interesting.
Boeing  has received $323M, 90% of the maximum possible in performance bonus fees.

That's just stunning. Can we stop pretending that they (Boeing and NASA SLS management) have any competence?
Competence?It's hard to imagine a more competent company than Boeing.if such thing would have happened in my country-I would suggest a criminal scheme.,with a probability of 99%.Although, I do not think that Mr. Rogozin had already  negative influence on Jim Bridenstine.

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6250
  • Liked: 4116
  • Likes Given: 5642
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #25 on: 10/10/2018 06:13 pm »
The SLS Core Stage, Boeing's part of this rocket, is unprecedented.  No liquid hydrogen stage has ever been this big, this long, this heavy, or produced this much thrust.  Boeing's (North American Aviation) Saturn V S-II stage was about 40% as much rocket as SLS Core.  An entire Delta 4 Heavy stack, including upper stage, only weighs 67% as much as SLS Core.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

There might possibly be something wrong with 'this big, this long, this heavy' for a rocket stage.  And the core stage produces about the thrust of a F9, using ungodly expensive engines developed in the 1970s.  Boosters are ancient tech, nothing to marvel at as you do.
Thrust is an invalid metric for comparing hydrocarbon versus liquid hydrogen stages.  SLS Core characteristic velocity is half again higher and is part of a rocket designed to lift four or more times as much payload.

I marvel at it all, including that Hawthorne-built stage.

 - Ed Kyle

Designed to lift... so what.  It isn't lifting even its own mass.  That is exactly the point of this OIG slapdown.  I prefer to marvel at something that actually works, lifting its measly mass plus a payload 20 times per year -- at the cost of one reusable disposable RS-25 engine -- and then returning for another payload.
« Last Edit: 10/10/2018 06:14 pm by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline freddo411

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 165
  • Liked: 159
  • Likes Given: 508
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #26 on: 10/10/2018 06:16 pm »
Boeing response reported ....

Boeing refers to SLS as an "unprecedented rocket program," but the whole point of a Shuttle-derived design was that it was to reduce costs by the use of hardware precedents.  On top of that, SLS's performance specs are not too different from those of a decades-old rocket, the Saturn 5.  Oh, and Boeing, which absorbed Rockwell International some years ago, was the prime contractor for the Shuttle and much of the Saturn 5.  The SLS program is very much "precedented."

EDIT:  'V' -> '5' in penultimate sentence, for consistency.
The SLS Core Stage, Boeing's part of this rocket, is unprecedented .  No liquid hydrogen stage has ever been this big, this long, this heavy, or produced this much thrust.  Boeing's (North American Aviation) Saturn V S-II stage was about 40% as much rocket as SLS Core.  An entire Delta 4 Heavy stack, including upper stage, only weighs 67% as much as SLS Core.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

Yes, the SLS stage is bigger than stages built previously.  Does anyone serious believe that engineering a rocket stage to be larger is a great technical challenge for an experienced organization?   I would argue that it is well within established engineering know how.   Building cylindrical Al tanks for boosters has been repeatably solved. 

I also don't believe that problems welding are a great technical challenge either.
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/05/sls-core-stage-recovering-weld-pin-change/

I don't think that enormous expense of SLS is explained due to unique technological development.


Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4829
  • California
  • Liked: 4607
  • Likes Given: 2768
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #27 on: 10/10/2018 06:17 pm »
The SLS Core Stage, Boeing's part of this rocket, is unprecedented.  No liquid hydrogen stage has ever been this big, this long, this heavy, or produced this much thrust.  Boeing's (North American Aviation) Saturn V S-II stage was about 40% as much rocket as SLS Core.  An entire Delta 4 Heavy stack, including upper stage, only weighs 67% as much as SLS Core.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

There might possibly be something wrong with 'this big, this long, this heavy' for a rocket stage.  And the core stage produces about the thrust of a F9, using ungodly expensive engines developed in the 1970s.  Boosters are ancient tech, nothing to marvel at as you do.
Thrust is an invalid metric for comparing hydrocarbon versus liquid hydrogen stages.
Then size is an equally invalid metric for comparing them.

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13168
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 4436
  • Likes Given: 805
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #28 on: 10/10/2018 06:20 pm »
Designed to lift... so what.  It isn't lifting even its own mass.  That is exactly the point of this OIG slapdown.  I prefer to marvel at something that actually works, lifting its measly mass plus a payload 20 times per year -- at the cost of one reusable disposable RS-25 engine -- and then returning for another payload.
SLS Core is a sustainer stage, not a booster.  It lifts its own mass after staging, like Ariane 5 and CZ-5 cores, like STS ET/Orbiter, and like the old Atlas sustainer stage. 

OIG was talking about dollars, not the rocket equation.  At any rate, what is the point of comparing a Medium class rocket with an HLLV?

 - Ed Kyle

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13168
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 4436
  • Likes Given: 805
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #29 on: 10/10/2018 06:24 pm »
I don't think that enormous expense of SLS is explained due to unique technological development.
A big part of the schedule slip was due to problems setting up the giant ("world's largest" it was called) core welding machine. 
https://spacenews.com/fix-in-the-works-for-giant-sls-welding-machine/

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 10/10/2018 06:32 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13168
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 4436
  • Likes Given: 805
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #30 on: 10/10/2018 06:26 pm »
Then size is an equally invalid metric for comparing them.
I'm not the one who was comparing them.  My original response was about the "unprecedented" bit.

 - Ed Kyle



Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5727
  • Liked: 1228
  • Likes Given: 753
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #31 on: 10/10/2018 06:27 pm »
Boeing refers to SLS as an "unprecedented rocket program," but the whole point of a Shuttle-derived design was that it was to reduce costs by the use of hardware precedents....

The SLS Core Stage, Boeing's part of this rocket, is unprecedented.  No liquid hydrogen stage has ever been this big, this long, this heavy, or produced this much thrust.  Boeing's (North American Aviation) Saturn V S-II stage was about 40% as much rocket as SLS Core.  An entire Delta 4 Heavy stack, including upper stage, only weighs 67% as much as SLS Core.  Etc.

If the unprecedented aspects of SLS's design are causing this much trouble, then they destroy the rationale for basing it on the Shuttle precedent.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5727
  • Liked: 1228
  • Likes Given: 753
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #32 on: 10/10/2018 06:33 pm »
Actually, I've just reviewed passage in the 2010 Authorization Act that created SLS.

Quote from: Para. 302(a)(1) of the NASA 2010 Authorization Act
MODIFICATION OF CURRENT CONTRACTS .—In order to limit NASA’s termination liability costs and support critical capabilities, the Administrator shall, to the extent practicable, extend or modify existing vehicle development and associated contracts necessary to meet the requirements in paragraph (1), including contracts for ground testing of solid rocket motors, if necessary, to ensure their availability for development of the Space Launch System.

The explicitly stated objective is the minimization of termination costs, not development costs.  It's commonly assumed in this forum that minimization of development costs is an objective, but I see no evidence for that in the Authorization Act.
« Last Edit: 10/10/2018 06:34 pm by Proponent »

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6250
  • Liked: 4116
  • Likes Given: 5642
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #33 on: 10/10/2018 06:36 pm »
Designed to lift... so what.  It isn't lifting even its own mass.  That is exactly the point of this OIG slapdown.  I prefer to marvel at something that actually works, lifting its measly mass plus a payload 20 times per year -- at the cost of one reusable disposable RS-25 engine -- and then returning for another payload.
SLS Core is a sustainer stage, not a booster.  It lifts its own mass after staging, like Ariane 5 and CZ-5 cores, like STS ET/Orbiter, and like the old Atlas sustainer stage. 

OIG was talking about dollars, not the rocket equation.  At any rate, what is the point of comparing a Medium class rocket with an HLLV?

 - Ed Kyle

The comparison is between something that is actually flying and affordable, and something that isn't either.
More, it is the comparison between a NASA/industry* team effort and something that is proven much more capable.  The OIG is questioning the team's productivity and fiscal responsibility and NASA's ability to mange it, not the 'marvelous' hardware.

* Industry Team now includes 4 major members of the military-industrial complex, but primarily Boeing in this report.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13168
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 4436
  • Likes Given: 805
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #34 on: 10/10/2018 06:36 pm »
If the unprecedented aspects of SLS's design are causing this much trouble, then they destroy the rationale for basing it on the Shuttle precedent.
That rationale went out the window in 2010, when they dropped the "4/3" idea in favor of a common core design for all "Blocks".  They had to have a bigger core to eventually get to the 130 ton Congressional criteria.  This choice only pays off if they ever get to Block 1B and beyond.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4829
  • California
  • Liked: 4607
  • Likes Given: 2768
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #35 on: 10/10/2018 06:37 pm »
Then size is an equally invalid metric for comparing them.
I'm not the one who was comparing them.  My original response was about the "unprecedented" bit.

 - Ed Kyle

Wha..? You just wrote.. (and I quoted it): "No liquid hydrogen stage has ever been this big, this long, this heavy, or produced this much thrust. "  So what aspect of what you write *is* a valid metric?

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6250
  • Liked: 4116
  • Likes Given: 5642
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #36 on: 10/10/2018 06:50 pm »
This all comes down to what are we going to do about SLS/Orion/NASA/etc. -- just accepting business as usual doesn't seem rational.  Tweaking BAU around the edges won't do it.

I've suggested several times over the last couple years that we give the industrial team the entire kit and caboodle and let them finish it/bid it on their own dime.  Lord knows they've profited enough from it already...

Any other ideas?
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online rockets4life97

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
  • Liked: 325
  • Likes Given: 262
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #37 on: 10/10/2018 06:53 pm »
I've suggested several times over the last couple years that we give the industrial team the entire kit and caboodle and let them finish it/bid it on their own dime.  Lord knows they've profited enough from it already...

Any other ideas?

I like this idea. Let the market decide. Seems very... what's the word... conservative.

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6250
  • Liked: 4116
  • Likes Given: 5642
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #38 on: 10/10/2018 07:02 pm »
Quote
There’s a new report on SLS rocket management, and it’s pretty brutal

Quote
It is not clear what will happen next. In the past, Congress has largely ignored criticism of the SLS rocket, even from official sources. After all, the vehicle has 1,100 contractors in 43 states, covering a lot of legislative districts.

However, there are a few critics close to the White House who have been whispering concerns and criticisms about the big, expensive rocket to Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the National Space Council. To be clear, the vice president has been publicly supportive of the SLS rocket to date. But this report will at the very least add fuel to the fire of the criticisms he is hearing.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/10/theres-a-new-report-on-sls-rocket-management-and-its-pretty-brutal/
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Tulse

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 265
  • Liked: 169
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: OIG report on NASA management of Boeing SLS contract
« Reply #39 on: 10/10/2018 07:07 pm »
What the heck is wrong with Boeing?  This situation is similar to the KC-46 tanker plane -- a project also based on pre-existing hardware, namely Boeing's own plane, that is massively over budget and over deadline.

What is the point of using a Shuttle-derived design if this is the result?

Tags: