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Blue Origin Thread (merged)

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I'm talking about human exploration equipment, not telescopes and probes. The whole point of my argument was about giving the monopoly to deep space for certain companies is a dead end. Private corporations are way ahead of NASA in the equipment needed for missions beyond LEO. Competition should have been open for designing the Space Launch System too. Many corporations out there are able to build a lunar base or do the ARM for less money than NASA would have to give into these alone, all by 2020. Instead we have the SLS not being ready for 4 years and having the first manned mission 7 years form now and beyond that, who knows.

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I'm talking about human exploration equipment, not telescopes and probes.

So am I. The entire human exploration program is focused on BLEO, and F9H is no good for it. That kerolox engine and tankage may be cheap, but it ruins C3 values.

The whole point of my argument was about giving the monopoly to deep space for certain companies is a dead end.

See anybody else with plausible capability to make an HLV? SX Only has Kerolox and F9 tooling, they'd have to build something equivalent to Michoud from scratch, move into development of larger engines and real high-energy upper-stages, et.c. et.c. Producing all of this redundant capability just to produce a semblance of competition would be insane.

Private corporations are way ahead of NASA in the equipment needed for missions beyond LEO.

Yes, hence NASA hiring a private company to produce this one. Repeat after me; NASA does not have, and has never had, any production capabilities.

Competition should have been open for designing the Space Launch System too.

There's one set of infrastructure available to produce a rocket of this size, and this design is the most practical to produce with it. Again, replicating that for a different rocket would drive costs through the roof.

Many corporations out there are able to build a lunar base or do the ARM for less money than NASA would have to give into these alone, all by 2020.

NASA is not going to build a lunar base, and you can bet private industry will be instrumental in ARM.

Instead we have the SLS not being ready for 4 years and having the first manned mission 7 years form now and beyond that, who knows.

Paper projects are always faster and cheaper than real ones. Paper falcon 9 was fully half the price of the rocket we have now, to pick an example.

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Okay once again... My problem is the lack of competition for the Space Launch System project, so it could have been a real next generation launch vehicle, but it's not even the SLS, but Orion is the problem. Do you think it is the only good option for beyond earth orbit missions? There should have been a tender for aerospace companies. Just look at the Russian PTK-NP. Orion is really just a modernized Apollo. And it is quite insane that the SLS development costs almost 20 billion to build it up for just one mission. I know NASA isn't going to build a lunar base, that's why I said it could. If any new mission is going to be assigned to the SLS program, it'll be an additional 3-4 billion dollars to develop a habitation module by NASA itself, though Bigelow already has a better solution for habitation than the proposed deep space habitat. That's why I listed the proposed possibilities by the contractors. They aren't introducing these concepts for nothing.

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Okay once again... My problem is the lack of competition for the Space Launch System project, so it could have been a real next generation launch vehicle, but it's not even the SLS, but Orion is the problem. Do you think it is the only good option for beyond earth orbit missions?

Orion was ultimately selected through the CEV program, which was competed.

There should have been a tender for aerospace companies. Just look at the Russian PTK-NP.

That tender was effectively symbolic; Energiya is the only contractor with experience with crewed spacecraft, and they already had designs.

Orion is really just a modernized Apollo.

Apollo worked. Putting new technology into something doesn't inherently make it better; just look at how badly the SS2 program's been screwed over by their 'innovative' hybrid engines.

And it is quite insane that the SLS development costs almost 20 billion to build it up for just one mission.

I'm sorry, this sentence doesn't even make sense.

I know NASA isn't going to build a lunar base, that's why I said it could.

It doesn't want to. This isn't relevant to anything.

If any new mission is going to be assigned to the SLS program, it'll be an additional 3-4 billion dollars to develop a habitation module by NASA itself, though Bigelow already has a better solution for habitation than the proposed deep space habitat. That's why I listed the proposed possibilities by the contractors. They aren't introducing these concepts for nothing.

Bigelow's habs aren't a plausible contender for this kind of mission, because you need more than just space. Any hab would have to be, of necessity, mostly filled with supplies and equipment before setting off; that doesn't work well with inflatables.

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Sorry, I edited the sentences a lot. I meant is that the SLS/Orion costs approx. 20 billion dollars from the start of the development to the test of the Block I and anything beyond that will cost billions more. SLS just doesn't give us any advanced technology. Could you tell me how and why you think it's going to be cost effective?

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First of all, you can't use the CCDev crew taxis for interplanetary missions, because that's not what they are designed for. NASA's BEO requirements include: interplanetary radiation shielding, 21-days life support, EVA support, translunar (and trans-Mars) rated heatshield, and enough dV to perform a TEI burn. Dragon, CST, and DC are simply not designed for those things. They don't have a large service module, a thick-enough heatshield, or vacuum-rated cabins and depress/repress equipment for EVA.

The CCDev vehicles are Minis for trips down the street. Orion is a Land Rover. You wouldn't take a Mini across the desert or through the jungle.

509027_M.jpg

You could heavily modify the Mini, but you'd be better off getting a Land Rover from the start.

1.jpg

As for SLS, its purpose is to build BEO capability. The SLS requirements are 130mT to LEO, with an Orion, a reusable interplanetary upper-stage and other mission-specific hardware. At the time the program was started, SpaceX hadn't launched Falcon 1 yet, so there was no reason for them to participate in the competition against LM, Boeing, RocketDyne, ATK, and all the other private corporations in the space industry who already had products and capabilities off-the-shelf.

As for the rest of your posts, you are mistaked on the real purpose of SLS. It was conceived purely as a pork program, to provide jobs for the consistuencies of the most influencial members of Congress after Constellation and Shuttle were cancelled. It isn't designed to be cost-effective. It's designed to channel as much money as possible into a handful of States and contractors.

The actual exploration missions it was designed for will probably not happen because there is no funding for Lunar or Mars payloads because nobody gives a hoot about exploration. If Congress was serious about exploration, they would have set a goal and then looked for the best way to achieve that goal. They are interested first by the jobs and second by the "capability". That's it, and SLS meets those requirements perfectly.

Edited by Nibb31

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Crew Capsule, Service Module, and Launch Abort system

No, the EFT-1 test flight scheduled for december 2014 carries a dummy SM and a dummy LAS. It is basically just an avionics and heatshield test.

We'll have to wait for EM-1 for the first (unmanned) flight of the full SLS/Orion stack, with a real SM and LAS, in 2017.

EM-2 will be the first manned flight at least 4 years later. It might be the ARM mission, but it is more likely to be a circumlunar flight.

Only 2 service modules have been commissioned. There are no other flights manifested and no additional payload hardware has been funded for any exploration missions beyond EM-2.

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As for the rest of your posts, you are mistaked on the real purpose of SLS. It was conceived purely as a pork program, to provide jobs for the consistuencies of the most influencial members of Congress after Constellation and Shuttle were cancelled. It isn't designed to be cost-effective. It's designed to channel as much money as possible into a handful of States and contractors.

The actual exploration missions it was designed for will probably not happen because there is no funding for Lunar or Mars payloads because nobody gives a hoot about exploration. If Congress was serious about exploration, they would have set a goal and then looked for the best way to achieve that goal. They are interested first by the jobs and second by the "capability". That's it, and SLS meets those requirements perfectly.

That's right. I wasn't mistaken, I think it is very much obvious. Of course for BEO missions I wasn't talking about the first versions of CST-100 and Dragon.

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That's right. I wasn't mistaken, I think it is very much obvious. Of course for BEO missions I wasn't talking about the first versions of CST-100 and Dragon.

Even a Mini Crossover is still a Mini. It will still perform worse than a Land Rover in the jungle.

RTEmagicC_mini-crossover-suv-automobile-front.jpg.jpg

A BEO version of CST-100 would look a lot like the actual MPCV, since CST-100 is a pretty much a cut-down version of it. As for Dragon, to provide the same capabilities as Orion, you would have to redesign it from scratch, add a proper service module, shielding, and EVA capabilities. It would be likely be heavier than an Orion because of all that extra landing hardware and reusability stuff which would serve no purpose for most of the BEO mission.

There is no reason to believe that a CCDev taxi modified to BEO-specification would be cheaper or more capable than a purpose-built BEO vehicle. It's the requirements that drive the design of the vehicle.

Edited by Nibb31

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I don't understand why NASA wants to take the Orion capsule all the way to Mars and back.

To have something to ferry astronauts between the transfer vehicle and the hab/lander, and also so that they can do a direct earth return and entry from Mars transfer without having to do a powered capture.

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To have something to ferry astronauts between the transfer vehicle and the hab/lander, and also so that they can do a direct earth return and entry from Mars transfer without having to do a powered capture.

I thought the Crew MTV was supposed to be reusable for the Mars Design Reference Mission?

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There isn't much to reuse except a 2 year old inflatable hab that's run out of supplies and full of trash. You would need a lot of propellant to brake it into LEO from a Mars return trajectory, and you would have to carry all that propellant all the way to Mars and back, which would weigh much more than an Orion.

Not worth it.

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Regardless of any worries about how useful it will be, this is great news! As is any news that we haven't totally abandoned the manned exploration of space.

The one thing that keeps going through my mind, though, is that THIS THING BETTER NOT BLOW UP! If this fails, I doubt we'll see any kind of manned NASA projects in the next few decades.

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Regardless of any worries about how useful it will be, this is great news! As is any news that we haven't totally abandoned the manned exploration of space.

The one thing that keeps going through my mind, though, is that THIS THING BETTER NOT BLOW UP! If this fails, I doubt we'll see any kind of manned NASA projects in the next few decades.

Commercial Crew Program will pick up the manned program at a fraction of the SLS cost. Right now they only plan to fly to LEO, but Elon is determined to go to Mars.

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Duuuun duun.... Duuuun duun.

ksc-2014-3688_0.jpg

http://www.nasa.gov/content/delta-iv-booster-integration-another-step-toward-first-orion-flight/index.html#.VCguTfldWYc

While I'm not very happy we're wasting all these tax dollars on SLS, the 'spaceship to nowhere', when private industry is more than capable of building rockets cheaper/ better than the US Govt., and while I wish NASA would be allowed to focus on what it does best : paradigm shifting, outside the box, revolutionary tech, cutting edge, inspirational SPACE EXPLORATION, she sure is going to be pretty. So I'm trying to look on the bright side, and embrace her into the family.

Go baby, go!

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While I'm not very happy we're wasting all these tax dollars on SLS, the 'spaceship to nowhere', when private industry is more than capable of building rockets cheaper/ better than the US Govt.

The Delta IV in that picture is Boeing. Orion is Lockheed Martin. Those are private industry.

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Ummm. I'm not going to rehash what's been said before here, I'm trying to be happy about this thing. Plus I'm getting kinda sick of the negative nellies in the Forum lately (not u Nibb), but I'll halfheartedly post some stuff in my defense.

Sometime in 2015, SpaceX plans to perform the inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. When it flies, it will be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V that sent astronauts to the Moon. Its entire development costs will have been paid for by SpaceX on its own. As I mentioned on page 61 of a book I released last year called The Plundering of NASA: “Now ponder this idea. If SpaceX can build a rocket with three quarters of the payload capacity of the SLS Block 1 without taxpayer money, what could they do with just a fraction of the money that is being spent on SLS?â€Â

[TABLE=width: 40%, align: right]

[TR]

[TD=class: pullquote]Considering the evidence as presented by both the new GAO report and the earlier BAH study, it is reasonable to conclude that the SLS development program was doomed before it even got started.[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Indeed, before Congress forced SLS on NASA, it asked both United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to submit proposals to develop a super rocket with capabilities similar to the most powerful proposed version of the SLS. The quoted costs with fixed priced contracts were many billions of dollars less than the most optimistic cost projections for SLS. What’s more, it appears that going the SLS route has increased US reliance on Russian rocket technology for both the Department of Defense and NASA because it has taken funds away from efforts that would have weaned us from that dependence (see “NASA’s big rocket gives Putin a big advantageâ€Â, The Space Review, June 16, 2014).

Above emphasis is mine.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2583/1

As for the rest of your posts, you are mistaked on the real purpose of SLS. It was conceived purely as a pork program, to provide jobs for the consistuencies of the most influencial members of Congress after Constellation and Shuttle were cancelled. It isn't designed to be cost-effective. It's designed to channel as much money as possible into a handful of States and contractors.

The actual exploration missions it was designed for will probably not happen because there is no funding for Lunar or Mars payloads because nobody gives a hoot about exploration. If Congress was serious about exploration, they would have set a goal and then looked for the best way to achieve that goal. They are interested first by the jobs and second by the "capability". That's it, and SLS meets those requirements perfectly.

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Who else do you want to perform this flight, exactly? FH isn't going to even fly for months and has a backlog a few years long; nothing else has the capability.

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Who else do you want to perform this flight, exactly? FH isn't going to even fly for months and has a backlog a few years long; nothing else has the capability.

FH is currently scheduled to fly in 2015, SLS in 2017 maybe 2018. NASA could have easily reserved an FH flight in 2017 or earlier if they'd gone that path.

Orion isn't really the problem (though IMO it would have been much cheaper to pay SpaceX to give crew Dragon longer-trip capabilities). SLS is the problem - it'll be obsolete before it ever flies. They should have done a lunar lander & deep space habitat with the money spent on SLS.

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Orion isn't really the problem (though IMO it would have been much cheaper to pay SpaceX to give crew Dragon longer-trip capabilities). SLS is the problem - it'll be obsolete before it ever flies. They should have done a lunar lander & deep space habitat with the money spent on SLS.

I agree. Orion is cool, but SLS seems superfluous, especially with Falcon Heavy being ready for testing significantly earlier. A family friend of ours works for Boeing (albeit in a different division) and explained some of the red tape to me- the test assembly for one of the engines costs several billion dollars and took hundreds of man-hours to simply get approved for use. Not fun.

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FH is currently scheduled to fly in 2015, SLS in 2017 maybe 2018. NASA could have easily reserved an FH flight in 2017 or earlier if they'd gone that path.

Read what I was responding to-he was complaining about the Orion test flight on a a Delta IV heavy, which is sat on the pad as I'm writing this. Even leaving that aside, FH as planned won't have remotely SLS' capability for BLEO trajectories; LEO might be good for bragging rights, but it's not a current government objective or large commercial market.

Edited by Kryten

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