_Augustus_

NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads - RIP DSG

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Posted (edited)

New thread on SLS/Orion since the old one got combined with the SpaceX and Blue Origin ones for... some reason.

On 12/6/2017 at 1:30 PM, Canopus said:

This is the polar opposite of the SpaceX thread. [The SpaceX thread is] filled with undue optimism and naive admiration and the [SLS thread is filled] with overcritical disillusioned people and general resentment. I still prefer this one though.

sls_block1_foam_afterburner.jpg

SLS FAQ:

What is SLS?

SLS is NASA's new super heavy lift rocket, derived from the earlier Ares IV and Ares V proposals. Using 4 RS-25 engines and 2 five-segment SRBs on its first stage, the various versions of SLS will be able to loft between 90 and 130 metric tons to LEO.

What is Orion?

Orion is NASA's new crew capsule, designed to deliver crew to BEO destinations. Orion flew as a boilerplate on top of a Delta IV Heavy in 2014, and was originally proposed and developed for the Constellation program in the mid-to-late 2000s. Orion's service module, at least for the first one or two flights, is being built by ESA, while the capsule is built by Lockheed Martin. Future flights may not use an ESA service module due to the costs and delays associated with getting SMs from them; a US contractor like Orbital ATK may take over instead (though this is all speculation and assumes Orion will fly more than 2 missions).

I like to bash SLS a lot, but Orion is a pretty nice vehicle, and commercial vehicles like Starliner and Dragon 2 just don't quite match it in terms of capability. Orion itself doesn't even cost a whole lot, and it's possible that the pressure vessels could someday be reused like with SpaceX's Dragon. The problem is that Orion is stuck flying on a rocket way too big and expensive for it, and it's being proposed to be used for the wrong things. If/when SLS is cancelled I'd like to think that NASA might save Orion (like with Constellation) and fly it on New Glenn (Bezos' 70t to LEO reusable booster) or Vulcan (slightly enlarged Atlas V replacement).

What was the Deep Space Gateway (DSG)?

DSG, originally known as the Exploration Gateway Platform, is a conceptual make-work international project for SLS/Orion that involves building a small space station in orbit around the Moon in the 2020s, using surplus ISS modules Node 4 and Raffaello as well as numerous new international or privately built modules. It has (thankfully) yet to be funded. 

The reason I criticize DSG is because it serves little to no purpose besides make-work for SLS and Orion. Russia can't afford an SHLV to send their future PTK-NP spacecraft there anyway, so the only option to deliver crew would be Orion. The science that can be done in lunar orbit with DSG could also be done with unmanned platforms that don't waste billions and subject astronauts to unneeded radiation (though I could say the same about the ISS).

As of December 2017, it looks like DSG will be cancelled thanks to the new President's interest in direct expeditions to the lunar surface.

What is the Deep Space Transport (DST)?

The DST is a extremely vague design for a reusable SEP or VASIMR powered vehicle to send crew to Mars orbit in the first half of the 2030s. It'd be assembled and tested at the DSG in the late 2020s/early 2030s. DST is even more vaporware than DSG is, though, and may never be funded, just like the DSG.

What is Mars Base Camp?

Mars Base Camp is one of many DST proposals; it in particular being proposed by Lockheed Martin. The idea is for MBC/DST to be sent to Mars orbit and for astronauts to either land on Phobos or teleoperate  rovers from orbit. 

When will SLS and Orion fly?

SLS is scheduled to fly its first flight, EM-1, sometime..... We really don't know at this point. Some sources are saying EM-1 might not happen until 2023! The original proposed flight dates were autumn 2017 (original proposed launch date), autumn 2018 (launch date until early 2017), 2019 (launch date from mid to late 2017), and 2020 (late 2017) respectively. The flight will be with an interim Delta IV upper stage and an unmanned Orion capsule, sending Orion on a lunar free-return trajectory.

The launch pad will take a while to modify for use with SLS' proper upper stage, the EUS, so the earliest SLS can fly again is probably about 2 or 3 years after EM-1. SLS' second flight will deliver the Europa Clipper probe to Jupiter to test the EUS before a manned Orion flight, EM-2. 

It's very possible now that Europa Clipper will fly on a vehicle like Vulcan, Falcon Heavy, or New Glenn due to SLS' continuous delays, and it's also completely possible that SLS will be cancelled before EM-2 (and maybe even before EM-1).

When will/would the DSG fly?

The first DSG module, the unmanned service module PPE, would fly on EM-2, while the next module, a small resupply/airlock vehicle, ESPRIT, would fly on EM-3. A few more modules and extra supplies would fly on future Orion flights which would happen a little more often than once a year.

How often will SLS and Orion fly?

SLS has a limit of 2 flights a year with its subcontractors' current manufacturing capacity, but due to a lack of payloads and funding for them, it is projected to make one flight a year or maybe a little more/less on average.

Who is building SLS?

SLS' RS-25 and RL-10 engines are made by Aerojet Rocketdyne, while the 5-segment SRBs are made by Orbital ATK/Northrop Grumman. The SLS fuel tanks and structure are being made by Boeing at Michoud Assembly Facility.

How much does SLS/Orion cost?

Over $18 billion has already been spent on SLS/Orion, with $10 billion going to SLS, $6 billion going to Orion, and the remaining $2 billion going to upgrading LC-39B for use with SLS/Orion. But that's not including the cost of the predecessor program Constellation, which is where Orion came from and SLS is derived. The US government spent $9 billion on Constellation.

Basically, $27 billion (almost two years' worth of NASA funding) has now been spent in some form on SLS and Orion, and yet the first flight won't be for another 5 years. Predictions are that another $15 billion will be spent in that 5 years. So by the time SLS makes its first flight, $42 billion will have been spent on it. That's over 1/3 of the cost of the Apollo program, but yet without any of the tangible achievements of Apollo. 

If SLS makes one flight a year from 2022 to 2035 and remains on track with spending $3-$4 billion a year (for a total of $87 or so billion on average), that would give it a cost of $6.5 billion or so per launch if you count development costs. Even if we DOUBLE that flight rate, it's still $3.25 billion per launch - more expensive than the Saturn V ($1.16 billion/launch) or Shuttle ($196 billion total program cost / 135 flights = $1.45 billion/launch) BY FAR.

What is the purpose of SLS?

SLS' "purpose" has been touted as enabling a human mission to Mars, but NASA lacks the funding to build the rest of the architecture needed for that system. The Obama administration had a plan to use SLS to send Orion to an asteroid, but that devolved into retrieving a boulder from an asteroid, putting it in lunar orbit, and sending Orion to that, and it was cancelled by the Trump administration. It now looks like SLS might be used for lunar surface missions, but it's all rather unclear.

The real purpose of SLS is not to accomplish meaningful human or unmanned space missions. It's to give the former Shuttle contractors jobs. That's it.

Why does everyone on here bash SLS so much?

See above; it costs a ton, won't fly for a few more years, and doesn't have a real objective.

 

 

 

Edited by _Augustus_

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Please do not start new threads on this at this time.

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Allright, lets try this out again.

It seems like the old threads will stay glued, but we believe the new ones won't give you trouble.

*turns thread back on*

*steps back cautiously*

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Buh, bye early 2019.

 

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Well, i don't like the fact.

Lightweights. Others drop landers on Mars. I hope nobody had a foot under it.

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1 minute ago, tater said:

Buh, bye early 2019.

 

If this is true, SLS will be mothballed.

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They have no slop in their schedule right now.

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1 hour ago, _Augustus_ said:

If this is true, SLS will be mothballed.

It will already be scrapped after 2 or 3 missions. They only have the engines for 4 flights and the place that makes them was closed down so no more are coming.

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Presumably the tank is needed to actually test something, though, or was it to test the tooling?

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It already tested the tool and the new black project is off and running! ><

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EM-1 will not be manned.  EM-2 will be the first crewed flight.

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EM-1 won't be manned.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/05/nasa-em-1-uncrewed-costs-main-reason/

Additional delays thanks to the accident this week and the fact that apparently the LH2 tank was defective mean that it's unlikely that even 2019 is going to work - EM-1 will probably push into 2020.

I will not be surprised if Congress or POTUS cancels SLS after Elon flies his Moon mission.

 

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Posted (edited)

SLS will fly a couple times at least. past that, it's hard to say. They've spent a ton of money, and they never quit while they are ahead.

The marked difference in crew rating SLS vs COTS is pretty stunning. Crew on SLS after ONE launch, no crew on D2/F9 or CST-100/Atlas until 7 flights with a locked design configuration.

Edited by tater

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Come on...

Again?

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Posted (edited)

SLS/Orion has zero excess time in their schedule at this point, and while they are supposed to run at 20-30% in contingency funds, they spend every penny they get, they have zero money for problems. Seems like a single worker taking a sick day would actually impact program schedule, lol.

They're rapidly approaching a point where it is possible that BO will be flying a reusable booster capable of lofting a payload in a flush, 7m fairing (so they could easily bump it to SLS-diameter) before EM-2. Given their hopefully good relationship with ULA (supplying the engines for Vulcan), it seems like NG might be a reasonable LV for Orion, actually, along with perhaps even the SLS EUS (or a version of it).

Edited by tater

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, tater said:

It seems like NG might be a reasonable LV for Orion, actually, along with perhaps even the SLS EUS (or a version of it).

Orion would work very well on New Glenn, but unless you flew it expendable you couldn't get it to EML2.

NG has its own 3rd stage that will probably be better than EUS.

Edited by _Augustus_

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Or they could use a centaur/ACES variant. Centaur is bulletproof, and NASA stuff intentionally spreads stuff out. SLS/Orion employs thousands of people in 44 States. Hence broad support...

 

 

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Posted (edited)

offtop

Spoiler

When I was a child, I everytime got confused looking at "Spaceship" attractions in amuzement parks.
Why do they call a strange tiny conical thing "a spaceship", when "spaceship" is a large sphere with a cylinder behind, where two spacemen are flying in zero-G.
Nobody could answer me, too, until years later I saw this strange thing in an encyclopaedia.

 

Edited by kerbiloid

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On 5/10/2017 at 2:34 PM, Frozen_Heart said:

It will already be scrapped after 2 or 3 missions. They only have the engines for 4 flights and the place that makes them was closed down so no more are coming.

I thought RS-25E or RS-25F were to be made as replacements for the RS-25.  They (Aeroject Rocketdyne) haven't even started manufacturing them.

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aww...I was looking forward to seeing the SLS launch before the 2020s, :(

I have always wanted to see a absolutely huge rocket take off, but all I can see now is the F9

not that its bad, but I want to see something like the Saturn V take off, without that really bad 1960s cameras

oh well... :/

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NASA is apparently looking into a Delta IV Heavy launch for Orion (launch abort test at max Q?).

Seems like a FH could be modified for the same task for less than the difference between 90 M$ and 375 M$ (D IVH).

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