fredinno

COTS-2: NASA Offers More Details on Cargo Contract Desision

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( http://spacenews.com/nasa-offers-more-details-on-cargo-contract-decision/)

 

As we all know, SpaceX, OrbitalATK, and Sierra Nevada were awarded cargo contracts for ISS resupply, using their Cargo Dragon V1, Cygnus Extended, and Dream Chaser Cargo. NASA has now come out an explained how the 3 companies were selected- proposals were evaluated by price, past performance, and mission suitability, with price being the most important, followed by mission suitability, and then past performance. Of the 3 companies selected (Boeing and LockMart gave proposals too, but their proposals were rejected) SpaceX had the best score of the three companies selected in mission suitability- (922/1000) followed by OrbitalATK (880/1000) and Sierra Nevada (879/1000); meanwhile, all (including Sierra Nevada, apparently) of the companies selected got a "high" rating in past performance (NASA is being very secretive for some reason this time around...)

 

However, things get more notable when NASA evaluated the companies by price (though all were considered reasonable). NASA evaluated their price score on the amount of pressurised cargo delivered per $ (this is the most important type of ISS cargo, and is common on all cargo resupply spacecraft); assuming each company delivered half of NASA's ISS cargo per year.

 

OrbitalATK offered the lowest price per kg, followed by Sierra Nevada, then by SpaceX, who offered the highest pressurised cargo price per kg.

 

Of course, this is slightly misleading- OrbitalATK's Cygnus can only deliver pressurised cargo (along with disposal capability for ISS trash), while Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser can bring pressurised cargo, 500kg of unpressurised cargo, and ~3000kg back to Earth for return (along with disposal capability). SpaceX's Dragon can carry only ~3000kg of pressurised cargo, lower than its competitors, and ~3000kg of unpressurised cargo (however, the ISS almost never needs that amount of unpressurised cargo capacity), and brings ~3000kg back to Earth (the Dragon cannot dispose of ISS trash by burning.) However, this is still notable- SpaceX quietly agreed to deliver more launches for less pay than its fellow awardees with CRS-2.

 

According to the official who made the final decision on who was awarded the CRS-2 contract, stated that the higer costs by SpaceX was due to the production and size of the Dragon V1 (cargo Dragon); having two production lines for crew and cargo Dragon (required due to the need to use different ISS ports for crew and cargo) along with an oversized rocket (due to Falcon 9 upgrades- it may be a good idea to revive Falcon 5, Elon) and small capsule volume (thus, able to carry less cargo- both Cygnus and Dream Chaser can carry more).

 

However, NASA still belived the 3 companies met or exceeded their requirements, and thus, awarded all of them a contract.

 

NASA has also confirmed Boeing and LockMart were the only others to submit CRS-2 proposals, but offered little information to why they were not selected.

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17 minutes ago, legoclone09 said:

I'd like the Falcon 5 to come back, bring small things to LEO.

Yeah, Falcon 9 is really OP for LEO.

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1 hour ago, legoclone09 said:

I'd like the Falcon 5 to come back, bring small things to LEO.

The problem is, there isn't much market for LEO...  Which is why Falcon 1 died and 5 was stillborn.

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2 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:

The problem is, there isn't much market for LEO...  Which is why Falcon 1 died and 5 was stillborn.

Not really. SpaceX needs a LEO LV if they want to launch their internet constellation in any sane manner (otherwise, there's too much of a need for expensive incination changes), not to mention Dragon V1/V2, and the DOD loves 8-10 T rockets. Seriously, just ask the Atlas V 401. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_V#Variants

 

Falcon 1 was killed just as the smallsat market was showing potential. Sad.

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3 hours ago, legoclone09 said:

I'd like the Falcon 5 to come back, bring small things to LEO.

Yeah, I'd like to see what it would've looked like.

 

3 minutes ago, fredinno said:

Not really. SpaceX needs a LEO LV if they want to launch their internet constellation in any sane manner (otherwise, there's too much of a need for expensive incination changes), not to mention Dragon V1/V2, and the DOD loves 8-10 T rockets. Seriously, just ask the Atlas V 401. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_V#Variants

 

Falcon 1 was killed just as the smallsat market was showing potential. Sad.

Wouldn't the falcon 9 easily put large chunks of internet satellites in orbit around Earth, or am I missing something here?

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1 hour ago, Spaceception said:

Yeah, I'd like to see what it would've looked like.

 

Wouldn't the falcon 9 easily put large chunks of internet satellites in orbit around Earth, or am I missing something here?

Falcon 9 is too goddamn big. Actually, it's way too big for Dragon too.

Edited by fredinno

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7 hours ago, fredinno said:

Not really. SpaceX needs a LEO LV if they want to launch their internet constellation in any sane manner (otherwise, there's too much of a need for expensive incination changes), not to mention Dragon V1/V2, and the DOD loves 8-10 T rockets. Seriously, just ask the Atlas V 401. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_V#Variants

 

Falcon 1 was killed just as the smallsat market was showing potential. Sad.

SpaceX needing something isn't the same as the existence of an external market sufficient to keep the lights on and the production lines rolling.

Not to mention the Atlas 401 has ten times the payload of the Falcon 1 and twice the payload of the -5.  As I said, the -1 and the -5 were aimed at markets that don't exist.

And the potential for smallsats mostly exists because they can hitch a ride very cheaply on someone else's larger bird.

 

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2 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:

SpaceX needing something isn't the same as the existence of an external market sufficient to keep the lights on and the production lines rolling.

Not to mention the Atlas 401 has ten times the payload of the Falcon 1 and twice the payload of the -5.  As I said, the -1 and the -5 were aimed at markets that don't exist.

And the potential for smallsats mostly exists because they can hitch a ride very cheaply on someone else's larger bird.

 

Falcon 5 today would be a 8-10 T launcher due to the need for commonality with Falcon 9 FT- the Merlin upgrades means that a 5-engine Merlin launcher would be a lot bigger than proposed originally- and a lot more like the original Falcon 9 1.0.

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I actually thought the LockMart Jupiter would be a really good idea. It would be really cool to have a tug up there bringing up modules from Atlas V Centaur stages. However the only setback is that it can't send pressurized cargo back to Earth. 

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3 hours ago, Delta_8930 said:

I actually thought the LockMart Jupiter would be a really good idea. It would be really cool to have a tug up there bringing up modules from Atlas V Centaur stages. However the only setback is that it can't send pressurized cargo back to Earth. 

Yeah, it probably got shut down because NASA wasn't confident it could be developed in time, as it required Orbital Refueling, IVF, and a new cargo spacecraft.

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8 hours ago, fredinno said:

Falcon 5 today would be a 8-10 T launcher due to the need for commonality with Falcon 9 FT- the Merlin upgrades means that a 5-engine Merlin launcher would be a lot bigger than proposed originally- and a lot more like the original Falcon 9 1.0.

A presumption, not a known fact.

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