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Found 36 results

  1. I ran some numbers based on data I could find online and some rough estimates. I think that an SLS could be used to send Orion and a 20 metric ton lander to the moon by using a NTR as a third stage. The block 1B SLS will be able to lift 105 metric tons to orbit. I guesstimate that the NTR stage could have a dry mass of about 10 metric tons. An Isp of 850 and the mass of the fuel at 40 tons, Orion spacecraft and a twenty ton lander could be propelled into lunar orbit entirely using this stage. Storage of cryogenic fuels over three days would give a test opportunity for NASA, who could the tech developed for this on a trip to Mars. The lander could be, at maximum, 20 tons. I think this is easily doable for the support of 4 crew during a 14 day lunar surface stay. This would allow for a deep study of the surrounding area on earlier missions, later ones being used to build and resupply a base. Also, it would allow for polar landings, since a new return window opens up every 14 days. The lander would launch from the surface, and dock with Orion in orbit. The lander would be discarded, and Orion could return to Earth under it's own power. 3 days there, a stay of 14 days, and 3 days back adds the total mission time to 20 days, within Orion's planned capabilities. Does this seem plausible for a return to the moon? I definitely had very rough estimates when I couldn't find good info on the mass of a dry NTR tank and engine.
  2. SATURNIANBLUE PRESENTS The Asteroid Deflection Mission (From The Asteroid Sentinels) (First rocket i've released for a long time...) This ship is one i've planned on releasing for a while, but never really got around to it. This is the Asteroid Deflector from my graphic novel, ableit with a few modifications. The rocket itself is a stock replica of the SLS Block IB, and the top is a ship with asteroid day, which can intercept and nudge asteroids out of the harm's way. While the above depict the ship in the series, the released version contains liquid fuel tanks on top, as the main engine runs off liquid fuel, but you will have to pump the fuel manually from the top. Mods-Asteroid Day, though a future version will be all stock. The ship has interplanetary capabilities, and the whole ship weighs around 700mTons, and comes in at 302 parts. DOWNLOAD Enjoy.
  3. http://spacenews.com/nasa-safety-panel-worries-about-schedule-pressure-on-exploration-programs/ An independent safety panel, the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Council has recently published that it has growing concerns over "a continued and unacknowledged accretion of risk" in the SLS/Orion program, caused by schedule pressures and tight funding, and that there is an "apparent erosion of safety" in that program that could "put crews on future missions in jeopardy." One specific area of concern was the schedule for EM-2 (which has been stated by NASA to likely (70% chance) be delayed to 2022 or 2023), but that NASA is continuing to work to the 2021 date, which has 0 confidence of happening at 2021. The panel observed that NASA appeared to be making "safety trade-offs" to meet that date (though a test flight between EM-1 and EM-2 for SLS Block IB has been confirmed by NASA). The required development of the Exploration Upper Stage, which NASA is building for EM-2, and Orion life support testing were stated to be some of its concerns, along with changes to the heat shield, and "zero fault tolerent" Orion SM systems, such as propellant valves. The panel has suggested NASA keep Orion in LEO during EM-2, mitigating many of the safety risks - calling the current plan to test Orion/SLS in 2 missions (3 once the 'EM-1A' SLS Block IB test flight NASA now needs for EM-2 is approved by the govn't). Additionally, though SLS/Orion has received more money from Congress than what NASA has requested in recent years, the flat level of funding (the $1 Billion dollar NASA budget increase proposed by Congress has not yet been approved yet) Also, according to the Council, the budget for SLS/Orion is not layed out "to acheive needed design effort of a major program" (aka lacking direction). Speaking of direction, NASA's current "goals" for SLS/Orion has been critized for lack of detail, despite releasing a new report on how NASA plans to go to Mars and that more detail would do wonders to help it survive. Additionally, NASA's Commerical Crew Program was also studied by the Council, and has been given a much better view of it compared to previous years- where it was much more critical of it. According to them, there has been a "substantial improvement in openness and interaction"; on the other hand, there are still many challenges ahead, resulting in concerns over NASA accepting more risk, and that there is a "high likelihood of delays to the first test flights". Despite this, NASA has been recommended by the council to continue developing 2 vehicles for that program. One last thing, Orion now is using tiles instead of a monolithic heat shield. Let's see how this plays out... Let's hope this does not cause another "Challenger". If it does, at least we have a launch escape system...
  4. Block II SLS is the final evolution of the SLS rocket. Using "Dark Knight" advanced SRBs, the rocket can carry 130T to LEO- however, the Block IB is intended to become the "workhorse" of the SLS for the near future. The Block II, on the other hand is expected to come online by 2028-2030. With SLS lacking money for payloads, the cancellation of Block II could free up money for a payload. However, the production line of the Shuttle SRB segments have stopped, so there are only enough for 6 SLS flights- at the minimum launch rate of 1 per year, the rocket would run out of boosters to use by 2026- leaving a launch hiatus of 2-4 years- a situation made worse if the rocket launches more than once from 2021-2028 in a year. Cancelling Block II would mean creating "drop-in"replacements for the current SRBs. So should/can NASA cancel Block II and use "drop-in" Shuttle SRB replacements, or would it not save any money (even though the new SRBs require new aerodynamic models and R+D?)
  5. The best stock Orion craft I made so far... Upper stage is a bit overpowered but allows geosynchronous operations, for ppl with geosynchronous stations... And now with the Altair lander... Download: SLS - Orion: http://kerbalx.com/crafts/9868 SLS - Altair : http://kerbalx.com/crafts/9991
  6. http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/02/nasa-enforce-early-switch-eus-sls/ It would seem NASA wants to move off the ICPS/DCSS upper stage for the SLS as soon as possible. The plan is now to only use it for the first EM-1 uncrewed mission. Beyond that, the rocket will fly in its "workhorse" configuration, with the larger Exploration Upper Stage, and all ground support equipment will be modified for it. What do you guys think? Will this open opportunities for more payloads?
  7. http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/01/ksc-meeting-sls-scrambling-manifest-plan/ A huge meeting was recently conducted by NASA to its employees in the VAB this January, provided an update on KSC's current and future initiatives. There were a few hard truths stated in this meeting- the first being its employment. NASA currently employs about 14,500 people directly- with Software and IT workers making up 22% of NASA's workforces, Aerosciences at 15% (the original NACA section of NASA) and less than 50% being involved in Space. A call was made- "It's time to make decisions, no just collect more data." Also, NASA's workforce is aging- the average age of its employees having gone up from 42 to 49 years old- which can affect its influx of new ideas. To counter this, NASA is now to target new hires out of college, with half of NASA's new hires to be from "GS-11 or below". Another hard truth told was regarding NASA's budget- which is surprisingly in turmoil now, despite NASA getting another $1 Billion in funding compared to last year- the amount of money NASA will need to fund its Congressional obligations (it's "to-do list") has also increased to $3 Billion due to the addition of new obligations, such as the Europa Clipper probe lander, and a new start on Orion HAB work. However, NASA's budget pressure may ease once JWST launches in 2018, and Commerical Crew becomes operational in 2017 (development is more expensive than operation). But for the meantime, NASA is in between a rock and a hard place with its budget. As usual, a large segment of NASA's funding is going to the SLS/Orion (the "Senate Launch System"). Though it has been (consistently) better off in its development than Ares I, it still lacks a manifiest beyond EM-1. Though NASA has created numerous planning manifiests, the public has still been only given the vague "[we are] visiting an asteroid by the mid 2020s and Mars by the mid 2030s"- protraying a future that lacks definition (a major critcism of this program.) NASA has cited this to numerous factors, most particularly funding- something that is a common NASA problem. NASA has also confirmed the ICPS and Block I SLS will not be man-rated, with a desire to use the launch hiatus from 2018 - 2021 to develop SLS Block IB, the projected (at least early) SLS workhorse. This will save $250 Million; however, such a switch has affected the original plans for SLS/Orion. Originally, the EM-2 mission was intended to be a manned repeat of EM-1, a manned Orion/SLS Block I test flight, sending Orion to flyby the Moon before returning to Earth. Now, EM-2 will launch on Block IB, sending a Orion crew to Low Lunar Orbit and back. However, this means another SLS unmanned test mission must be undertaken between EM-1 and EM-2. This mission will be a cargo mission- though an unmanned spacecraft is almost certainly going to hitch a ride as well due to the high cost of an SLS launch. NASA hopes this will be Europa Clipper, but that is still simply speculatory (and in any case, is likely too soon to launch then). Thus, EM-2 will become the 3rd SLS flight, and will now launch NET (no earlier than) 2022. The 4th flight (of the so far confirmed manifiest) is the manned segment of the Asterod Redirect Mission, sending a Manned Orion to a Asteroid Boulder in Lunar Orbit to study it, and return samples. This SLS/Orion Mission is now confirmed to occur NET 2024, as had been suspected for quite some time. One last note is that SLS Block II is not expected to be developed until 2028, with Manned Mars landings aiming for 2039 (something I think is an unlikely goal for numerous reasons). However, even this manifiest is subject to change, as a new political administration in charge next year may (and has, previously) affect plans signifcantly, for better, or for worse. NASA has also stated SLS requires launching at least once a year to be viable- something that is implied to require a larger influx of money (and goals) for the Orion/SLS program. TL;DR: NASA's "budget increase" of 1 Billion has a lot of strings to it. SLS now has a somewhat solid near-term manifest: EM-1: Orion & SLS Block I test, carrying "all up" Orion on a Lunar Flyby Trajectory. (2018) EM-1A: EUS & SLS Block IB test, carrying unspecified unmanned payload. (2021) EM-2: Manned Orion & SLS Block IB test, sending Orion into a Low Lunar Orbit and back. (2022) EM-2A?: (probable, but unconfirmed): SLS Block I, sending Europa Clipper to Jupiter. (2023) EM-3: Asteroid Redirect Mission, manned. SLS Block IB sending, Orion to captured boulder in Lunar Orbit (2024) Speculative: EM-?-?: Lunar Space Station/Long Duration HAB Missions? (2024-?) (NASA got funding and a requirement from Congress to start a commercial competition for Orion HABs, somthing which will need to be tested in Cis-Lunar space. However, this portion is still speculative, as NASA literally just began working on this.) EM-2B? ESA's JUICE on SLS? (2023)
  8. So, I was playing KSP yesterday, and I noticed something that I think should be changed. The Mammoth engine cluster uses 4 KS-25 engines, supposedly. However, the single KS-25 engine added in 1.0.5 has a different look to it than the ones on the Mammoth cluster. Mammoth: Single KS-25: NASA RS-25: As you can see, the new single KS-25 looks a lot more like it's real counterpart. I think the Mammoth should be changed to match. Shouldn't be too hard, right?
  9. Hi everyone, After a break of about 4-6 months from playing the game, I've started up again. However, this time around, I've set myself up with the goal of making my space program professional (because why not). The last few times that I played, every mission was met with a custom build. Now there's nothing wrong with that, but this time, I wanted something resembling a real life space program, with a family of different SLS which are re-used depending on the payload. Clearly Squad has done a good job of allowing you to do both options, but here I'm just wondering what the proportion of users are like. To answer this question, I've set up a little survey. Not sure how popular this will be, but here goes anyways. Click for survey Click for results NB: I've also posted the same link in r/kerbalspaceprogram
  10. What if, say, SLS has a launch failure of the SLS, and the pad comes crashing down to LC-39B. Would that validate the construction of a 2nd SLS pad north of LC-39B (LC-39C) designed in the same way as LC-39B, similar to how a pad explosion at LC-36A prompted NASA to complete LC-36B. Giving SLS a backup pad has been proposed for LC-39A (before it was leased out to SpaceX), and since SLS uses a clean pad infrastructure, NASA could lease it out to ULA for Atlas V/Vulcan's second/backup pad (as was proposed for both LC-39B and A).
  11. https://software.nasa.gov/ A page on NASA's site with a bunch of software that can be requested and downloaded. Go nuts!