fredinno

Should NASA cancel Block II SLS?

Should NASA cancel Block II SLS?  

37 members have voted

  1. 1. Should NASA cancel Block II SLS?

    • Yes
      10
    • No
      27


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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?)

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Isn't Block II supposed to use the Advanced Boosters ? If yes, then the lack of leftover SSSRBs shouldn't be a problem.

Nevermind, didn't read OP properly.

Edited by Gaarst

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Well if six flights of Block 1 or 1B SLS are possible, currently there are only flights planned for two of them. Block 2 doesn't look like a priority.

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They had to re engineer the SRBs for SLS, and it's definitely possible to create a replacement with the same capabilities...

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56 minutes ago, davidy12 said:

? What's that?

Big Falcon Rocket, and Mars Colonial Transporter.

SpaceX's future super-heavy lift rocket and mars transport, respectively. I don't think any real details have been released, but there's talk of tooling up to produce 15M diameter stages, and about how SpaceX want to put 100 tons on Mars with a single launch, and carry 100 colonists in a single MCT. So, both are going to be huge, even after they get scaled down to something more sensible. 

 

 

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Is it definitely Dark Knight? No chance of liquid fuel boosters?

I always thought developing a big liquid fuel booster is pretty good idea - it gives you the option of sticking an upper stage on top and using it as a stand along rocket ala Zenit.

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3 hours ago, DarthVader said:

Just cancel SLS and government subsidize BFR/MCT dev.

Too late.

2 hours ago, cantab said:

Well if six flights of Block 1 or 1B SLS are possible, currently there are only flights planned for two of them. Block 2 doesn't look like a priority.

Exactly, so it's a good idea to cancel it- right?

 

38 minutes ago, legoclone09 said:

Doesn't Orbital ATK made the Shuttle RSRBs in multiple variants, from 1-segment to 5-segment?

No, each would need modifications to do so, and there is no demand for that. However, Orbital ATK has proposed (and got DOD funding for) a EELV using SRBs of the Shuttle SRB diameter- almost certainly 1-segs or 2 segs.

5 minutes ago, Temstar said:

Is it definitely Dark Knight? No chance of liquid fuel boosters?

I always thought developing a big liquid fuel booster is pretty good idea - it gives you the option of sticking an upper stage on top and using it as a stand along rocket ala Zenit.

Yes, that decision is already done- it's "Dark Knight" since LC-39B lacks LH2 LOX infrstructure. But if they DID do that, it would have 30T payload to LEO with a H2 LOx upper stage- impressive because the F-1B used is supposed to be low-ISP.

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Well, I'm no US-american, so it aren't my taxes which gets burned ;-)

However, there's simply no benefit in cancelling block II. The money would NOT be available elsewhere for NASA, they can not fund payload or unmanned missions with the block II money. They simply can't use "their" money independently.

If some congress guys decide some too-big-to-fail industry needs support from goverment, they create jobs for them. In this case they have a HUGE indsutry working on something noone needs, but, the industry is WORKING. Worst case: the available money from NASA would go directly to some arms industry, another big industry in need of jobs.

If the question is: does SLS Block II (and maybe even Block I) make sense? Then I would say: No.

Should they stop it? No, keep the people employd and the industry running.

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49 minutes ago, lugge said:

Well, I'm no US-american, so it aren't my taxes which gets burned ;-)

However, there's simply no benefit in cancelling block II. The money would NOT be available elsewhere for NASA, they can not fund payload or unmanned missions with the block II money. They simply can't use "their" money independently.

If some congress guys decide some too-big-to-fail industry needs support from goverment, they create jobs for them. In this case they have a HUGE indsutry working on something noone needs, but, the industry is WORKING. Worst case: the available money from NASA would go directly to some arms industry, another big industry in need of jobs.

If the question is: does SLS Block II (and maybe even Block I) make sense? Then I would say: No.

Should they stop it? No, keep the people employd and the industry running.

By that logic we should have kept Constellation running. Yes, some of the money may be taken away, but economics still plays a role- NASA doesn't need Block II's payload capacity except for a Mars Mission (which will never happen) and Congress will be more willing to redirect the money back to NASA- a payload can also be a pork project.

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I'm still not getting the point of the SLS. There is next to no missions planned and after the first couple it will probably sit around for 15 years then get cancelled. Having said that I think that they should keep developing it as they have nothing else in the pipeline and starting over now would be absurd.

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- OK, lets build a damn huge rocket, the biggest booster of our time!
 *starts building*

- Whoot, we have nothing big enough to be launched?! What shall we do???

- *starts thinkin* Hmm.... OK, lets build an even bigger rocket!!111

3 hours ago, fredinno said:

By that logic we should have kept Constellation running. Yes, some of the money may be taken away, but economics still plays a role- NASA doesn't need Block II's payload capacity except for a Mars Mission (which will never happen) and Congress will be more willing to redirect the money back to NASA- a payload can also be a pork project.

Yes, maybe they should have.

However, they should abandon Block-II and fund some Block-I payload, even if this is also just pork (like, maybe, a never-to-be-finished lunar base). This way they would maybe get some fancy new technology. But this is not going to happen.

So, I say, take the money and finish both of them.

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15 hours ago, fredinno said:

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?)

NASA should not cancel anything, Congress should stop war-mongering around the world and use the money to fund these programs.

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They should of course cancel it. They cannot afford to have SLS/Orion, it costs them money they don't have for it to even exist on paper, even if most of it is earmarked by Congress. The problem with SLS is that NASA is then forced to spend money on huge, expensive payloads since they have to use the bloody thing once a year.

Real people example: I'd wager that most of us would love to get 4 first class airline tickets to a major world city once a year. Would you take the tickets if you were forced as part of the free ticket deal to have to pay for the the very best Suite at the very best hotel in that destination for 2 weeks? Think 10-20,000 a night. The answer is "no" unless some of us here are astoundingly wealthy. That's the reality of SLS for NASA. Even "free," due to extra budget earmarked for it, they cannot afford to create the payloads for it.

BTW, the military is not a huge chunk of total government spending (maybe 17% federal, less if you include State), and the non-labor costs are largely to the same companies that make space hardware.

Edited by tater

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34 minutes ago, tater said:

Real people example: I'd wager that most of us would love to get 4 first class airline tickets to a major world city once a year. Would you take the tickets if you were forced as part of the free ticket deal to have to pay for the the very best Suite at the very best hotel in that destination for 2 weeks? Think 10-20,000 a night. The answer is "no" unless some of us here are astoundingly wealthy. That's the reality of SLS for NASA. Even "free," due to extra budget earmarked for it, they cannot afford to create the payloads for it.

No, that's not a real world example because NASA's budget doesn't work that way.  

NASA doesn't have any of it's "own" money to spend, it all comes from Congress.   If Congress funds payloads, then there are payloads.   If Congress doesn't fund payloads there are no payloads.  It's just about as simple as that.

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Obviously it all comes from Congress, but it is not all earmarked for SLS.

The trouble with SLS is that they have to launch it, but they have to come up with payloads, and they cannot launch the earmarked Orion payload every year.

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Can they just make a bunch of power point slides, build a facade around a "real" rocket (even space is optional, it just has to go up, look impressive, and come down in the Atlantic out of site)?  And spend the money on things NASA needs?

Or to be less obvious, perhaps giving "priority" to multi-use technologies desperately needed elsewhere (*of course* this is criminal in government contracting.  Don't think it hasn't been tried plenty of times since France was financing the US government).

It isn't even their call to cancel it.  I think it was a SCOTUS decision in the Nixon administration that said the government is required to spend all money congress earmarks for it (that was a political decision, not a technical one, but as far as the Constitution is concerned congress's political concerns are the law).

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7 hours ago, Frozen_Heart said:

I'm still not getting the point of the SLS. There is next to no missions planned and after the first couple it will probably sit around for 15 years then get cancelled. Having said that I think that they should keep developing it as they have nothing else in the pipeline and starting over now would be absurd.

Hopefully not- and it's main purpose is pork, since the Shuttle was shown to be pointless and aging.

 

4 hours ago, Delta_8930 said:

Since when did they choose the dark knights over the F-1B based liquid fuel boosters?

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/02/advanced-boosters-towards-solid-future-sls/

Not officially, F-1B is still under development, but it's very unlikely at this point.

2 hours ago, PB666 said:

NASA should not cancel anything, Congress should stop war-mongering around the world and use the money to fund these programs.

That's not how the world works.

53 minutes ago, wumpus said:

Can they just make a bunch of power point slides, build a facade around a "real" rocket (even space is optional, it just has to go up, look impressive, and come down in the Atlantic out of site)?  And spend the money on things NASA needs?

Or to be less obvious, perhaps giving "priority" to multi-use technologies desperately needed elsewhere (*of course* this is criminal in government contracting.  Don't think it hasn't been tried plenty of times since France was financing the US government).

It isn't even their call to cancel it.  I think it was a SCOTUS decision in the Nixon administration that said the government is required to spend all money congress earmarks for it (that was a political decision, not a technical one, but as far as the Constitution is concerned congress's political concerns are the law).

Your proposal would not work- it would only fuel conspiracy theorists, and anyone can easily tell if a rocket actually goes into Orbit or not.

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2 hours ago, fredinno said:
Quote

That's not how the world works.

Well, and thats the reason Hubble dies in 5 years and there is no suitable replacement. Its a reason the Russians to transports our nauts to space.

If you are asking the question to have a vibrant space program with progressing science, not some science going backwards, then NASA has to progress more rapidly than it has been doing.

Some of you are of the impression that cutting edge technologies have to be perfect or they should not be used, it is in the imperfections that scientist learn.

In the world that exist Ted Cruz could be the next president then congress could cancel the space program entirely. But if you are asking what should be done, we have to think somewhere on a level above that brainless congress that we currently have.

The primary reason, IMHO, that we have not made significantly more progress toward Mars is we lack key infrastructure in space. The last few threads I have introduced basically emphasize the point that when you are in need of 19,000 dV from LEO to Mars to LEO, you are in significant need of space infrastructures. It doesn't matter if you get it by 50 private rockets and a space factory or 5 heavy rockets and minimal space assembly, you still have to be willing to invest in infrastructure if you are going to Mars is a major way. If you are begging for rides from severly economically challenged post-2nd world countries with crumbling infrastructure and a fascist leader, chances are you have already been making the wrong decisions about space. No need to say anymore about what should or shouldn't be done.

If you want a cogent analogy about resource allocation, do an economic study of the veterans administration. You will soon see that the problem with VA functionality has at least some failure on the part of the funding agencies and more specifically the public funding legislation.

 

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1 hour ago, Emperor of the Titan Squid said:

Wasn't Block 1B cancelled? 

No, it's now the primary SLS LV for the forseeable future.

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I was under the impression that Block II was effectively cancelled, but not officially.

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