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NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, jadebenn said:

Uh, no. SLS Block I does 95 to LEO.

They've upped it from 70 I know, but they have not published specific data that I am aware of, last I heard 80 was being thrown around. Doesn't matter, since Block 1 cannot comanifest anything at all, what's the point, when 70 was enough to send Orion to the crappy orbit they picked for it (because that is what it can do)? All this buys them is some propellant margin, no additional mass is even possible, as the only Block 1 payload is Orion.

2 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Well that’s about to change so don’t panic. Plus there was a 6 year gap between the last Apollo mission (ASTP) and STS-1. So a slightly longer gap is actually completely fine. 

In that period, they developed an utterly new spacecraft and launch system, that was a complete clean sheet design, that was nothing remotely like anything that had ever flown to space before. Kudos to them for that. SLS is no Shuttle.

Regarding upped mass to LEO of Block 1 (presumably due to improved RS-25 operations), perhaps they should dump the ESA service module, and give it a real SM, then maybe at least they can do something with just Orion.

Edited by tater

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, jadebenn said:
 

"This is a pointless distinction. Every single thing on a manned mission could be done with robots. The only thing humans add is danger."

You yourself admit this is an entirely arbitrary line to draw.

 

So you oppose LOP-G because it doesn't do the exact kind of mission you want?

Are you serious? We know literally nothing about how much Starship's R&D will cost - they're nowhere near close to completing CDR, and they're changing essential design decisions every year or so, like when they ditched carbon fiber for aluminum. People who actually think it'll fly before SLS are deluding themselves.

Not a luxury NASA's had since Apollo - and even then, neither the Saturn V nor the shuttle were ever used at the launch cadences the KSC complex was built to support.

This contradicts point one. If a system is "broadly useful" it must be able to complete multiple design objectives, thus there is no singe one objective it follows. Just like a certain other rocket, which has been proposed to do anything from a Mars landing to a lunar space station...

NASA would be taking an extremely large risk cancelling the SLS and hoping some other company will provide it with a working SHLV before 2030 at a cheaper price. Is it possible for that to happen? Yes. It's also possible that the economy crashes tomorrow and the new space companies have to fold up all SHLV development to not go under.

No cancellation without direct replacement. That's how we got the debacle of the shuttle-transition era. NASA neither needs nor wants a repeat of that.

 

It’s nice to have someone on my side for once.

8 minutes ago, tater said:

They've upped it from 70 I know, but they have not published specific data that I am aware of, last I heard 80 was being thrown around. Doesn't matter, since Block 1 cannot comanifest anything at all, what's the point, when 70 was enough to send Orion to the crappy orbit they picked for it (because that is what it can do)? All this buys them is some propellant margin, no additional mass is even possible, as the only Block 1 payload is Orion.

In that period, they developed an utterly new spacecraft and launch system, that was a complete clean sheet design, that was nothing remotely like anything that had ever flown to space before. Kudos to them for that. SLS is no Shuttle.

Regarding upped mass to LEO of Block 1 (presumably due to improved RS-25 operations), perhaps they should dump the ESA service module, and give it a real SM, then maybe at least they can do something with just Orion.

And the shuttle was terrible according to you no? And yet the shuttle was “terrible” and “mismanaged” and yet still ran for 30 years and did more than the previous programs before it. So I’m doubting your comment about SLS/Orion when past history is already against you.

Edited by ZooNamedGames

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Posted (edited)

So the current masses to lunar orbit (all high orbit as far as I am aware) are:

26t for Block 1

37t for Block 1b (EUS)

45t with Block 2.

Orion CSM is 26t, so B1 gets Orion to a high lunar orbit, even at 95t to LEO (it's stuck with a tiny fairing for cargo should they ever do that, so that extra mass is all propellants)

37t is enough to comanifest a small Gateway payload module (docking module, whatever).

45t is enough to send a lander, probably.

This would be useful---if they could fly 2-3 of them within a few days of each other.

7 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

And the shuttle was terrible according to you no? And yet the shuttle was “terrible” and “mismanaged” and yet still ran for 30 years and did more than the previous programs before it. So I’m doubting your comment about SLS/Orion when past history is already against you.

The Shuttle was an opportunity cost. It spent huge sums (and a bunch of lives), and accomplished little, and almost nothing that could not have been done with cargo and crew separated (a few big cargo launches, then smaller crew vehicle to do the crew part) more efficiently.

Shuttle was a cool vehicle, and at least it pushed the envelope. I am not a fan of Shuttle precisely because it didn't do anything terribly interesting. 5/6 of ISS crew time is maintaining ISS. They should have made smaller stations, then iterated the design so that the station needs less care, and the people can do more useful work.

Edited by tater

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, tater said:

I was replying to a comment regarding doing planetary science.

It's not arbitrary, for a given dollar, or kg delivered to the surface of any planet in the solar system, robots will do a better job. If a human Mars mission requires several hundred tons in LEO, that's a lot of robots and sample return missions. Even a single large mission delivers more, since no crew, no ECLSS, not consumables, etc.

 

I oppose it because it doesn't do anything useful at all.

What, aside from radiation damage to actual humans does Gateway do that could not be tested more efficiently/cost effectively in LEO?

 

They aren't using Al, they are using steel.

They don't have 40 billion dollars to spend, they cannot possibly spend as much as SLS/Orion. Hence, if it flies, it will certainly have cost less. They don't even have close to as much money to spend as just Orion has cost so far (not even up to actual flight).

 

So? My point is that a LV system needs to have a purpose. There are 3 choices, a definite purpose, a useful, general purpose, or 3, don't bother building it at all.

I said it has to be one or the other (or not be built). A purpose-built rocket system would be Saturn V/Apollo. It was designed to land humans on the Moon, and return them (sortie mission style). A general purpose LAUNCH vehicle that could achieve this goal (among others), would be a SHLV that could loft at least as much to LEO as would be required for a sortie style lunar mission. Such a vehicle---assuming it was cost effective (a requirement I set)---could also assemble a Mars spacecraft in LEO out of pieces. Cadence matters.

SLS cannot ever build anything to even go to the Moon by itself, since it can only launch at most once a year. It cannot assemble larger vehicles, and it cannot ever launch a single stack anyplace.

SLS is not a SHLV that provides any utility at all. The lift capability doesn't allow lunar landings, and it cannot assemble a Mars vehicle over many years (since the props will all boil off).

What can SLS actually do that people want done? Be specific.

A direct replacement for what capability? Sending humans around the Moon without achieving even a distant, useless orbit?

So the ISS does nothing at all either? Despite being a testing ground for space experiments, operations and research? There’s plenty of research we could do in lunar orbit we can’t do in Earth orbit. So useless is a grand misevaluation of its utility. 

BFR is just a giant water tank right now. This could very well end up going N1, and explode itself into retirement or go Buran and launch once and never be used again. Also I’d like to point out how you complain SLS won’t launch rapidly and yet Musk can’t get a normal sized rocket like the Falcon Heavy to launch more than once a year. We’re almost halfway through 2019, and the first FH launch of this year is in 4 days! BFR/NG are great, but as I’ve always said; SLS is a stop gap and guarantee in case SpaceX or Blue Origin folds. Because if NASA puts all their faith in those companies and they go bust, then we have NO SHLVs at all. 

11 minutes ago, tater said:

So the current masses to lunar orbit (all high orbit as far as I am aware) are:

26t for Block 1

37t for Block 1b (EUS)

45t with Block 2.

Orion CSM is 26t, so B1 gets Orion to a high lunar orbit, even at 95t to LEO (it's stuck with a tiny fairing for cargo should they ever do that, so that extra mass is all propellants)

37t is enough to comanifest a small Gateway payload module (docking module, whatever).

45t is enough to send a lander, probably.

This would be useful---if they could fly 2-3 of them within a few days of each other.

The Shuttle was an opportunity cost. It spent huge sums (and a bunch of lives), and accomplished little, and almost nothing that could not have been done with cargo and crew separated (a few big cargo launches, then smaller crew vehicle to do the crew part) more efficiently.

Shuttle was a cool vehicle, and at least it pushed the envelope. I am not a fan of Shuttle precisely because it didn't do anything terribly interesting. 5/6 of ISS crew time is maintaining ISS. They should have made smaller stations, then iterated the design so that the station needs less care, and the people can do more useful work.

Yet smaller stations have done less, and constantly need to be replaced. Plus we can’t learn how vehicles handle being in space for long durations of time. We can’t have long duration experiments or research operations as the stations would end up being replaced before the experiment could be completed. 

Also I already discussed in great detail why the Space Shuttle was a better choice for us in 1970 than the STS concept. Which would’ve cost us just as many lives to get working as the shuttle.

Edited by ZooNamedGames

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2 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

So the ISS does nothing at all either? Despite being a testing ground for space experiments, operations and research? There’s plenty of research we could do in lunar orbit we can’t do in Earth orbit. So useless is a grand misevaluation of its utility. 

ISS does research oh how humans deal with microgravity over long time periods, that's pretty much it. Microgravity experiments on other things really require free-fliers, as the astronauts disturb the pristine microgravity required for many useful experiments.

Name something that we need to do in lunar orbit. I'll give you one, we can harm astronauts with added radiation exposure, then see of they get cancer, etc down the road.

2 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

BFR is just a giant water tank right now. This could very well end up going N1, and explode itself into retirement or go Buran and launch once and never be used again. Also I’d like to point out how you complain SLS won’t launch rapidly and yet Musk can’t get a normal sized rocket like the Falcon Heavy to launch more than once a year. We’re almost halfway through 2019, and the first FH launch of this year is in 4 days! BFR/NG are great, but as I’ve always said; SLS is a stop gap and guarantee in case SpaceX or Blue Origin folds. Because if NASA puts all their faith in those companies and they go bust, then we have NO SHLVs at all. 

No, SLS is not a stop gap. SLS existed before either had a serious chance to do anything at all. I don't fault any attempt to make something that spends Shuttle amounts of money to do something BLEO at all. I fault what a screwed up mess SLS/Orion is, and I fault it for not being more. For 40-50 billion (by the time it flies, including Constellation work), it should be better, and it should be able to fly more. The problem is that it's cost plus, so there was never any incentive to do better.

Just now, tater said:

Also I’d like to point out how you complain SLS won’t launch rapidly and yet Musk can’t get a normal sized rocket like the Falcon Heavy to launch more than once a year.

And that cost the taxpayer how much? I have no right to complain about SpaceX for this, I have no skin in the game. Commercial Crew (both players) would have been more on schedule except the budget was cannibalized several years ago by people who were against the idea (in favor of the rocket we are discussing).

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1 hour ago, jadebenn said:
Are you serious? We know literally nothing about how much Starship's R&D will cost - they're nowhere near close to completing CDR, and they're changing essential design decisions every year or so, like when they ditched carbon fiber for aluminum. People who actually think it'll fly before SLS are deluding themselves.

Steel, not aluminum.

Also. it flew tonight.

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8 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Steel, not aluminum.

Also. it flew tonight.

“Flew”. Tethered and an inch is not a flight. Just because someone drops a part of the SLS doesn’t mean it’s had a flight.

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I'm going to go back to an earlier critique I always had regarding SLS for a moment, and it's related to the goal issue.

When this project was first proposed, it was rightly attacked for being a rocket to nowhere. Why? Not just the technical aspects we've beaten up back and forth in the last few pages. But because even if there was something for it to do, there's not enough for it to do to justify the program cost of 2.5+ B$/year, even if it doesn't fly.

Back when it started, they talked about being able to fly twice a year. This reminds me of Shuttle. When first discussed, NASA said Shuttle would break even vs expendable LVs if they could fly at least 28 times a year. Their upper limit of flights was 55/yr, in which case the Shuttle looked really rosy as a vehicle. They only fell short of their lowball launch estimate by around 10X. Even at 2X/year, the cost (including program costs) per launch of SLS are so excessive, that the payloads need to be similarly valuable. No one is going to launch a 250 million probe for 3 billion $ launch cost. The payload is supposed to cost MORE than the rocket. There are no 10 billion dollar payloads, and no money to buy them if there were.

 

2 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

“Flew”. Tethered and an inch is not a flight. Just because someone drops a part of the SLS doesn’t mean it’s had a flight.

True. So it's only flown an inch more than SLS has (as of Spring 2019, give it a few months).

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1 minute ago, tater said:

There are no 10 billion dollar payloads

JWST begs to differ.

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(to be fair, it's effectively a static test, but NOT a test stand, which is a meaningful difference, since it's a flight engine, not a test stand engine.

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The low cadence of Falcon Heavy isn't a limitation of design or facilities like SLS. The limitation there is just a lack of customers. Meanwhile, SLS could not possibly launch more than about once per year without major infrastructure improvements.

Also, SLS is not a stopgap. Either you take it at face value as NASA's Plan A, or recognize that it's a jobs program.

At its inception, a NASA only SHLV made a little bit of sense due to a lack of cheap commercial HLVs. There was kind of Delta IV Heavy, but that couldn't be man rated.

Even at the time, though, SLS was a terrible idea. It uses Shuttle hardware in a fashion best designed to send money to entrenched contractors. Those RS-25 engines were never meant to be expended. The SRBs add danger to the design for little good reason. A clean sheet design may well have been less expensive than this mockery of "hardware reuse".

In the current day, it's virtually unjustifiable. Commercial HLVs with a substantial fraction of the capability of SLS are either already present (Falcon Heavy) or soon to come online (New Glenn, Vulcan Heavy) for a tiny fraction of the cost, and more importantly, enough launch cadence for impressive EOR missions. While we don't have a huge deal of experience with EOR... developing that experience would be a lot cheaper than the Shelby Launch System, even if SLS was actually enough for single launch missions.

I'm not even counting Starship here, which is a highly experimental vehicle. Commercial expendable or semi reusable HLVs have reached the point of offsetting SLS's single launch capacity. A clean sheet SHLV would have been justifiable a decade ago, but "let's throw away four of the most expensive and complicated engines ever built with each flight" was never a good idea.

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Just now, Ultimate Steve said:

JWST begs to differ.

Ouch.

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1 minute ago, tater said:

I'm going to go back to an earlier critique I always had regarding SLS for a moment, and it's related to the goal issue.

When this project was first proposed, it was rightly attacked for being a rocket to nowhere. Why? Not just the technical aspects we've beaten up back and forth in the last few pages. But because even if there was something for it to do, there's not enough for it to do to justify the program cost of 2.5+ B$/year, even if it doesn't fly.

Back when it started, they talked about being able to fly twice a year. This reminds me of Shuttle. When first discussed, NASA said Shuttle would break even vs expendable LVs if they could fly at least 28 times a year. Their upper limit of flights was 55/yr, in which case the Shuttle looked really rosy as a vehicle. They only fell short of their lowball launch estimate by around 10X. Even at 2X/year, the cost (including program costs) per launch of SLS are so excessive, that the payloads need to be similarly valuable. No one is going to launch a 250 million probe for 3 billion $ launch cost. The payload is supposed to cost MORE than the rocket. There are no 10 billion dollar payloads, and no money to buy them if there were.

 

True. So it's only flown an inch more than SLS has (as of Spring 2019, give it a few months).

By that logic when they dropped the top of the LH tank it fell several feet. In 2018. 

Besides, it’s launching next year. “But they’ve been reconsidering the launch date”. Reconsidering is not moving the date. They even considered scrubbing the B-2 test stand tests, which aside from one more test of the LES and just assembling the rocket and moving it to the launchpad. Something Musk can not achieve in the remaining 14 months. And to further SLS’ launch date. They are still committed, and they have most of the hardware built. So they have no excuse not to launch, and with the latest announcement for men on the moon, it sounds like they’re eager to actually fly. Choosing a new vehicle won’t meet that goal. SLS only needing assembly, can.

3 minutes ago, Starman4308 said:

The low cadence of Falcon Heavy isn't a limitation of design or facilities like SLS. The limitation there is just a lack of customers..

Almost like Musk just built a heavy lift vehicle hoping it would be used instead of building it for a set goal :thinking: 

Sounds almost like the approach to a giant rocket NASA’s making. 

5 minutes ago, Starman4308 said:

Also, SLS is not a stopgap. Either you take it at face value as NASA's Plan A.

Of course it’s plan A. NASA isn’t developing anything else and the only others who are, are NASA’s backups. Consolation that failure doesn’t mean all is lost to them. Musk and Bezos are literally the background noise to NASA since NASA is paying them to work in LEO- not BEO.

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1 minute ago, ZooNamedGames said:

By that logic when they dropped the top of the LH tank it fell several feet. In 2018. 

Sigh. The comment he made was a joke, anyway, and it did leave the ground under rocket power. That's a weak flight, but a flight (because they have a tether, not launch clamps).

 

1 minute ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Besides, it’s launching next year. “But they’ve been reconsidering the launch date”. Reconsidering is not moving the date. They even considered scrubbing the B-2 test stand tests, which aside from one more test of the LES and just assembling the rocket and moving it to the launchpad. Something Musk can not achieve in the remaining 14 months. And to further SLS’ launch date. They are still committed, and they have most of the hardware built. So they have no excuse not to launch, and with the latest announcement for men on the moon, it sounds like they’re eager to actually fly. Choosing a new vehicle won’t meet that goal. SLS only needing assembly, can.

Mid 2020 is remotely possible, though indications are it will slip to 2021. Maybe their current talk of cutting corners will keep it next year (oddly, not that long ago they were touting the core test as an important milestone, and evidence of their concern for safety, etc).

Quote

Cost increases and schedule delays of Core Stage development can be traced largely to management, technical, and infrastructure issues driven by Boeing’s poor performance. For example, Boeing officials have consistently underestimated the scope of the work to be performed and thus the size and skills of the workforce required.

^^^That's what NASA thinks of core stage management by Boeing (quote from the OIG report from last October).

 

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9 minutes ago, tater said:

I'm going to go back to an earlier critique I always had regarding SLS for a moment, and it's related to the goal issue.

When this project was first proposed, it was rightly attacked for being a rocket to nowhere. Why? Not just the technical aspects we've beaten up back and forth in the last few pages. But because even if there was something for it to do, there's not enough for it to do to justify the program cost of 2.5+ B$/year, even if it doesn't fly.

Back when it started, they talked about being able to fly twice a year. This reminds me of Shuttle. When first discussed, NASA said Shuttle would break even vs expendable LVs if they could fly at least 28 times a year. Their upper limit of flights was 55/yr, in which case the Shuttle looked really rosy as a vehicle. They only fell short of their lowball launch estimate by around 10X. Even at 2X/year, the cost (including program costs) per launch of SLS are so excessive, that the payloads need to be similarly valuable. No one is going to launch a 250 million probe for 3 billion $ launch cost. The payload is supposed to cost MORE than the rocket. There are no 10 billion dollar payloads, and no money to buy them if there were.

 

True. So it's only flown an inch more than SLS has (as of Spring 2019, give it a few months).

Also name me one rocket that hasn’t been overblown by unachievable promises. Not even Musk or Bezos can achieve that. They both eat their words as RnD and actual practical engineering tells them that they’re goals are impractical.

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I'd add that I fully expect SLS to fly, and indeed, I expect EM-2 to fly. Past that, all bets are off.

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Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

By that logic when they dropped the top of the LH tank it fell several feet. In 2018. 

Raptor has now flown under its own power.

Next thing you'll be saying that since SSMEs have flown before, SLS has technically already flown.

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Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

Also name me one rocket that hasn’t been overblown by unachievable promises. Not even Musk or Bezos can achieve that. They both eat their words as RnD and actual practical engineering tells them that they’re goals are impractical.

Who argues this?

But again, it's no skin off my teeth how Bezos spends HIS money. When he starts spending MY money, my attitude will change. Ditto Musk.

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1 minute ago, tater said:

Sigh. The comment he made was a joke, anyway, and it did leave the ground under rocket power. That's a weak flight, but a flight (because they have a tether, not launch clamps).

 

Mid 2020 is remotely possible, though indications are it will slip to 2021. Maybe their current talk of cutting corners will keep it next year (oddly, not that long ago they were touting the core test as an important milestone, and evidence of their concern for safety, etc).

^^^That's what NASA thinks of core stage management by Boeing (quote from the OIG report from last October).

 

Well we’ve tested the core stage many times and at this point known it's proven and it’s already built. So Boeing is at fault for EM-2 hardware, not 2020 EM-1.

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5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

By that logic when they dropped the top of the LH tank it fell several feet. In 2018. 

Besides, it’s launching next year. “But they’ve been reconsidering the launch date”. Reconsidering is not moving the date. They even considered scrubbing the B-2 test stand tests, which aside from one more test of the LES and just assembling the rocket and moving it to the launchpad. Something Musk can not achieve in the remaining 14 months. And to further SLS’ launch date. They are still committed, and they have most of the hardware built. So they have no excuse not to launch, and with the latest announcement for men on the moon, it sounds like they’re eager to actually fly. Choosing a new vehicle won’t meet that goal. SLS only needing assembly, can.

Almost like Musk just built a heavy lift vehicle hoping it would be used instead of building it for a set goal :thinking: 

Sounds almost like the approach to a giant rocket NASA’s making. 

Please stop it with the blatant lies. The Falcon Heavy always had a purpose: booster reuse when SpaceX would otherwise need to expend a Falcon 9. There was a business case established from day 1.

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1 minute ago, sevenperforce said:

Raptor has now flown under its own power.

Next thing you'll be saying that since SSMEs have flown before, SLS has technically already flown.

Well if you want to go with that, sure. Since basically the majority of the core stage is previously flown hardware. Hell the engines are literally SS hardware as are the SRBs. 

Besides all NASA has to do to match Musk right now is built a giant steel water tower and just light the engine. It isn’t a huge leap. Especially since that’s the test article. Not even what’s going to fly. It’ll never reach space.

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Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

Well we’ve tested the core stage many times and at this point known it's proven and it’s already built. So Boeing is at fault for EM-2 hardware, not 2020 EM-1.

They have not tested the core stage. That is all 4 SSMEs doing a full duration burn at the same time. They have said they might kill that in favor of testing as SpaceX does (a static fire on the pad).

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1 minute ago, Starman4308 said:

Please stop it with the blatant lies. The Falcon Heavy always had a purpose: booster reuse when SpaceX would otherwise need to expend a Falcon 9. There was a business case established from day 1.

Uhuh, then why is it that costs are not dropping and as a result, pushing use towards the Atlas V? Which launches more often and is more reliable.

Just now, tater said:

They have not tested the core stage. That is all 4 SSMEs doing a full duration burn at the same time. They have said they might kill that in favor of testing as SpaceX does (a static fire on the pad).

Which would work.

3 minutes ago, tater said:

Who argues this?

But again, it's no skin off my teeth how Bezos spends HIS money. When he starts spending MY money, my attitude will change. Ditto Musk.

You’ve spent roughly ¢10. NASA gets half a cent per tax payer for their programs. The real people funding SLS, is congress and the businesses that run it.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Uhuh, then why is it that costs are not dropping and as a result, pushing use towards the Atlas V? Which launches more often and is more reliable.

We have no idea if the costs are dropping, or by how much. What people PAY is not the cost, and there is zero incentive for SpaceX to leave money on the table. Their cost is a secret, you cannot make this claim at all.

I would assume they are saving money. They are a business, and if reuse costs MORE, they'd have to stop doing it.

Bezos has done this math as well, which is why NG will reuse the booster.

 

Quote

Which would work.

Yeah. Of course we've already paid for the changes to the green run stand, but what's XX million more dollars, right?

Edited by tater

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1 minute ago, tater said:

We have no idea if the cost are dropping. What people PAY is not the cost, and there is zero incentive for SpaceX to leave money on the table.

I would assume they are saving money. They are a business, and if reuse cost MORE, they'd have to stop doing it.

Bezos has done this math as well, which is why NG will reuse the booster.

 

Yeah. Of course we've already paid for the changes to the green run stand, but what's XX million more dollars, right?

They’d only stop using their rockets are it loses their stockholders interests and faith. If profit was so strong, Musk wouldn’t need to keep SpaceX in the limelight doing some new stunt every year.

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