_Augustus_

NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads

Recommended Posts

NASA gets substantially more than a half cent per taxpayer. About $20 billion per year, for which about $5 billion goes to SLS/Orion. That comes out to roughly $15/year per taxpayer, though individual contributions obviously vary based on income.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

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.

They make money if the cost to launch a payload is less than they charge.

There is pretty much no way they are not saving money reusing boosters, it's just a matter of how much they save.

They have no stockholders, SpaceX is private.

5 minutes ago, Starman4308 said:

NASA gets substantially more than a half cent per taxpayer. About $20 billion per year, for which about $5 billion goes to SLS/Orion. That comes out to roughly $15/year per taxpayer, though individual contributions obviously vary based on income.

It might be confusion with the % NASA gets, which is ~0.5%.

During Apollo they got (max) ~4%.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Starman4308 said:

NASA gets substantially more than a half cent per taxpayer. About $20 billion per year, for which about $5 billion goes to SLS/Orion. That comes out to roughly $15/year per taxpayer, though individual contributions obviously vary based on income.

But that doesn’t factor in other programs, and other factors. You can’t just divide NASA’s budget by the population of the US. 

https://www.space.com/amp/10849-nasa-budget-contribute.html

Double checked my source; at 

a family with the median household income ($49,777 according to the U.S. Census Bureau), which pays $6,629 of federal taxes, pays the space agency $33. Misread the penny bit but still. Only $660. Money that could instead end up powering the lights for an office building that no one is in. And rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things, especially over the course of 20 years. At the rate of family income, that is 0.07% of your income. Not even a noticeable amount to NASA.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

But that doesn’t factor in other programs, and other factors. You can’t just divide NASA’s budget by the population of the US. 

https://www.space.com/amp/10849-nasa-budget-contribute.html

Double checked my source; at 

a family with the median household income ($49,777 according to the U.S. Census Bureau), which pays $6,629 of federal taxes, pays the space agency $33. Misread the penny bit but still. Only $660. Money that could instead end up powering the lights for an office building that no one is in. And rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things, especially over the course of 20 years. At the rate of family income, that is 0.07% of your income. Not even a noticeable amount to NASA.

 

"individual contributions obviously vary based on income." As an example, as a PhD student, I pay substantially less.

Other than off the cuff rounding $5B/300 million to $15, the only mistake I made was forgetting that children and possibly others don't pay taxes.

I can still be furious that my money is going to entrenched fat cat contractors instead of either useful programs... or back into my wallet to buy something I want. That money is not being spent efficiently to obtain something of use to the US; it's going to a questionably useful pork barrel project to keep entrenched contractors happy. Any value the SLS program has could be obtained with less taken from the US population. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Starman4308 said:

"individual contributions obviously vary based on income." As an example, as a PhD student, I pay substantially less.

Other than off the cuff rounding $5B/300 million to $15, the only mistake I made was forgetting that children and possibly others don't pay taxes.

I can still be furious that my money is going to entrenched fat cat contractors instead of either useful programs... or back into my wallet to buy something I want. That money is not being spent efficiently to obtain something of use to the US; it's going to a questionably useful pork barrel project to keep entrenched contractors happy. Any value the SLS program has could be obtained with less taken from the US population. 

And Musk or Bezos aren’t one of those fat cats? Again, I’m just seeing favoritism. You may not like SLS but it’s not a pipe dream and actually exists as opposed to either of those fat cats’ concepts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

SLS is a dead end and any money spent on it is a waste. It's a dead program walking. The only thing keeping it going is sunk cost fallacy.

There's nothing SLS block 1b or 1b can do that a handful of launches from an alternative extant booster couldn't do for a fraction of the price. Even Block 2 will never have Mars capability, and that is the purpose for which this booster has been touted. If Block 2 ever flies I'll be truly astounded.

And the gap in human spaceflight capabilities is not ok. It will have been nine years since the shuttle least flew, and everyone knew that retirement date was coming. "Only 50% longer than the Apollo-Shuttle gap" does not make it ok. 6 years then wasn't ok either, although at least that produced a groundbreaking vehicle. Where shuttle went wrong was keeping it in service for 25 years after it became clear it wasn't going to acheive its required cadence.

They should have done something else. The opportunity cost of the last 20 years had been crippling.

Edited by RCgothic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

And Musk or Bezos aren’t one of those fat cats? Again, I’m just seeing favoritism. You may not like SLS but it’s not a pipe dream and actually exists as opposed to either of those fat cats’ concepts. 

SpaceX, ULA, and most likely Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman (with OmegA) can get reasonably large payloads into space for a tiny fraction of the cost of SLS, which is a fairly objective criterion. On top of that, both SpaceX and ULA have well-proven boosters (Falcon 9/Heavy, Atlas V, Delta IV Heavy)... and if you account for the planned cancellations of Atlas V and Delta IV, that literally only leaves SpaceX as a long-term choice with a fully proven booster.

 Vulcan Heavy, New Glenn, OmegA and the Superheavy booster do not quite yet exist, but are based on well-understood technology. The Starship is highly experimental, but even a fully expendable Starship is likely to cost a lot less than SLS. Even if Starship/Superheavy didn't exist at all, SLS still compares unfavorably to extant commercial HLVs (i.e. Falcon Heavy, Delta IV Heavy), and even less favorably to highly-probable near-future HLVs (i.e. Vulcan Heavy, New Glenn, OmegA).

What I'm seeing isn't any objective reason to explain why SLS is a good choice for NASA, but rather a lot of hate for Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, leading to a dismissal of anything they do... and utterly ignoring ULA and Northrop Grumman.

EDIT: Okay, if I'm being honest, there are a few objective factors in favor of SLS... just not enough to outweigh its downsides. Yes, it has more single-launch capability than anything else. Yes, it has a pretty enormous fairing. Yes, it can, with a single launch, transport astronauts to what is technically a lunar orbit. These factors, however, are outweighed by issues like its enormous expense, its slow launch cadence, and the risk posed to astronauts by using such an untested vehicle that still possesses some of the safety flaws of the STS (e.g. a core stack that cannot lift itself without SRBs, enormous SRBs, enormous amounts of highly energetic hydrolox propellant).

Edited by Starman4308

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

And Musk or Bezos aren’t one of those fat cats? Again, I’m just seeing favoritism.

SpaceX has gotten a couple big NASA contracts, but none have been cost plus.

Blue has just gotten what amounts to a pittance from the AF.

So no, they're not (yet) one of those contractors that get paid for showing up, paid for every time they go over schedule, paid every time they decide to charge more after the fact, etc. Boeing was given contract awards for being "excellent" in the SLS core program, even though the OIG now says they have mismanaged that (read the OIG report).

 

Quote

You may not like SLS but it’s not a pipe dream and actually exists as opposed to either of those fat cats’ concepts. 

 

It exists more than NG does at this point. Or Vulcan (though the latter is actually bending metal right now). Starship is probably farther along than Vulcan is at this point (we know they're building the orbital class test vehicle right now (which we can see), but not much past that.).

SLS Blocks 1b and 2 are simply pipe dreams at this point, the EUS (critical) doesn't exist at all.

Edited by tater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, RCgothic said:

SLS is a dead end and any money spent on it is a waste. It's a dead program walking. The only thing keeping it going is sunk cost fallacy.

There's nothing SLS block 1b or 1b can do that a handful of launches from an alternative extant booster couldn't do for a fraction of the price. Even Block 2 will never have Mars capability, and that is the purpose for which this booster has been touted. If Block 2 ever flies I'll be truly astounded.

And the gap in human spaceflight capabilities is not ok. It will have been nine years since the shuttle least flew, and everyone knew that retirement date was coming. "Only 50% longer than the Apollo-Shuttle gap" does not make it ok. 6 years then wasn't ok either, although at least that produced a groundbreaking vehicle. Where shuttle went wrong was keeping it in service for 25 years after it became clear it wasn't going to acheive its required cadence.

They should have done something else. The opportunity cost of the last 20 years had been crippling.

It’s still more productive than waiting for two companies to make a SHLV as they could stop or end up going bankrupt and then we go an additional 10+ years without a launch capability. 

“It ain’t ok”, then do something. You’re literally complaining it’s not acceptable despite people working to rectify it. Either get into politics and do something about what NASA can do or just accept that 2 years longer than apollo-Shuttle is actually commendable considering the scale up. Orion will carry the most crew ever BEO. Needless to say NASA is being careful to not design another Shuttle level hazardous spacecraft, and just blindly screaming past safety checks is a sure way to kill someone. 

2 hours ago, Starman4308 said:

SpaceX, ULA, and most likely Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman (with OmegA) can get reasonably large payloads into space for a tiny fraction of the cost of SLS, which is a fairly objective criterion. On top of that, both SpaceX and ULA have well-proven boosters (Falcon 9/Heavy, Atlas V, Delta IV Heavy)... and if you account for the planned cancellations of Atlas V and Delta IV, that literally only leaves SpaceX as a long-term choice with a fully proven booster.

 Vulcan Heavy, New Glenn, OmegA and the Superheavy booster do not quite yet exist, but are based on well-understood technology. The Starship is highly experimental, but even a fully expendable Starship is likely to cost a lot less than SLS. Even if Starship/Superheavy didn't exist at all, SLS still compares unfavorably to extant commercial HLVs (i.e. Falcon Heavy, Delta IV Heavy), and even less favorably to highly-probable near-future HLVs (i.e. Vulcan Heavy, New Glenn, OmegA).

What I'm seeing isn't any objective reason to explain why SLS is a good choice for NASA, but rather a lot of hate for Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, leading to a dismissal of anything they do... and utterly ignoring ULA and Northrop Grumman.

EDIT: Okay, if I'm being honest, there are a few objective factors in favor of SLS... just not enough to outweigh its downsides. Yes, it has more single-launch capability than anything else. Yes, it has a pretty enormous fairing. Yes, it can, with a single launch, transport astronauts to what is technically a lunar orbit. These factors, however, are outweighed by issues like its enormous expense, its slow launch cadence, and the risk posed to astronauts by using such an untested vehicle that still possesses some of the safety flaws of the STS (e.g. a core stack that cannot lift itself without SRBs, enormous SRBs, enormous amounts of highly energetic hydrolox propellant).

The Delta/Atlas cancellation comes after the arrival of Vulcan which is built on the reliability and effectiveness of those two rocket families. While also bringing a drop in cost with the change of the RD-180s and introduction of SMART. 

My problem is mostly with Musk, who keeps putting the whole industry down because he can’t sit still for more than a year. He keeps making promises and claims that he can’t keep. As a result, he blows 1 accomplishment into a claim that he can suddenly create a reusable Saturn V (in scale) that will go to the moon and back. SpaceX has proven to land and refurb boosters, that’s it. Soon he’ll have crew to add, but that isn’t a huge addition seeing as he’s been talking about D2 since Falcon 9 Heavy (the predecessor to the current FH). I’m currently looking for a link, but memory says that Musk promised launch D2’s to Mars by 2018/2019. Clearly not feasible nor happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SLS fails on its own terms, nevermind any competitors. It was supposed to take humans to Mars and it never can, not even in its most ambitious block 2 format. It can barely manage the moon. It simply costs too much and can't fly often enough.

It fails as a stopgap because it doesn't stop the gap.

Better to cancel it now and focus on designing and building a clean slate big dumb booster with a decent launch cadence and have another 10 year gap, than drag this charade on for another 5 years before realising that cancelling it and starting again is what should have happened in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

My problem is mostly with Musk, who keeps putting the whole industry down because he can’t sit still for more than a year. He keeps making promises and claims that he can’t keep. As a result, he blows 1 accomplishment into a claim that he can suddenly create a reusable Saturn V (in scale) that will go to the moon and back. SpaceX has proven to land and refurb boosters, that’s it. Soon he’ll have crew to add, but that isn’t a huge addition seeing as he’s been talking about D2 since Falcon 9 Heavy (the predecessor to the current FH). I’m currently looking for a link, but memory says that Musk promised launch D2’s to Mars by 2018/2019. Clearly not feasible nor happening.

As I am sure you are aware, FH+D2 to Mars was upstaged by an acceleration of the evolved Raptor-based launch vehicle development. Cancelling one mission in preference for another one isn't a failed promise; it's progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

SLS fails on its own terms, nevermind any competitors. It was supposed to take humans to Mars and it never can, not even in its most ambitious block 2 format. It can barely manage the moon. It simply costs too much and can't fly often enough.

It fails as a stopgap because it doesn't stop the gap.

Better to cancel it now and focus on designing and building a clean slate big dumb booster with a decent launch cadence and have another 10 year gap, than drag this charade on for another 5 years before realising that cancelling it and starting again is what should have happened in the first place.

We aren’t ready for Mars. So we don’t need it for Mars. It isn’t going to Mars either. Cargo at most is slated for lunar orbits, not Martian ones. If you want to continue to bash programs for 5+ year old design plans, then I’ve got a list a mile long that Mr. Musk has promised and had to fall short on. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I keep thinking about an electric based mission architecture for the Moon and Mars...

Could actually work. Which is the weird part. Obviously you wouldn’t put crew on it while it’s in the Van Allen Belts, but once it’s above them you can send the crew up and potentially even extra xenon or argon propellant. 

I ran some simulations in GMAT and found that a system with some decent power (acceleration of 0.3 milligees) can get to a C3 of 14.3 (the same as InSight) in 60 or so days from LEO. If the crew is sent up around day 40 or something they’ll only have 20 days to wait before they’re on a trajectory that can get them to Mars in roughly six months. Of course I haven’t run simulations for braking at Mars, but it shouldn’t be impossible. Still learning GMAT...

The best part of this architecture is that you can bring a lot more payload with less propellant. The low thrust trajectories require more delta-v but as long as the ion engines have high isp you get away with less propellant, and if you’re clever, less total mass in LEO for a given mission payload mass. Potentially significantly less total mass.

For a flags and footprints mission this kind of architecture probably outperforms most others. And if total engine runtime is relatively low the vehicle could even be reusable... 

Such an architecture wouldn’t need a superheavy like SLS, just something that can launch the biggest single piece - probably the lander. Even then it could potentially be launched empty, provided the technology and hardware for propellant transfer is developed.

1 hour ago, ZooNamedGames said:

We aren’t ready for Mars. So we don’t need it for Mars. It isn’t going to Mars either. Cargo at most is slated for lunar orbits, not Martian ones. If you want to continue to bash programs for 5+ year old design plans, then I’ve got a list a mile long that Mr. Musk has promised and had to fall short on. 

Yeah but it’s clear that this rocket is intended to stick around for decades like Shuttle. If NASA ever does do a manned Mars program SLS will be unfit.

Edited by Bill Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

As I am sure you are aware, FH+D2 to Mars was upstaged by an acceleration of the evolved Raptor-based launch vehicle development. Cancelling one mission in preference for another one isn't a failed promise; it's progress.

NASA>cancels ARM>absolute disgrace

SpaceX>cancels overtly ambitious Mars program by early/mid 2020s>heralded as a genius

image0.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Bill Phil said:

I keep thinking about an electric based mission architecture for the Moon and Mars...

Could actually work. Which is the weird part. Obviously you wouldn’t put crew on it while it’s in the Van Allen Belts, but once it’s above them you can send the crew up and potentially even extra xenon or argon propellant. 

I ran some simulations in GMAT and found that a system with some decent power (acceleration of 0.3 milligees) can get to a C3 of 14.3 (the same as InSight) in 60 or so days. If the crew is sent up around day 40 or something they’ll only have 20 days to wait before they’re on a trajectory that can get them to Mars in roughly six months. Of course I haven’t run simulations for braking at Mars, but it shouldn’t be impossible. Still learning GMAT...

The best part of this architecture is that you can bring a lot more payload with less propellant. The low thrust trajectories require more delta-v but as long as the ion engines have high isp you get away with less propellant, and if you’re clever, less total mass in LEO for a given mission payload mass. Potentially significantly less total mass.

The crew vehicle still needs to be accelerated to match the electric vehicle on its way to Mars, and that needs to happen with chemical propellants, but at least you only need to accelerate Orion rather than the entire stack.

Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

NASA>cancels ARM>absolute disgrace

Remind me where I said the cancellation of ARM was an absolute disgrace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Bill Phil said:

Yeah but it’s clear that this rocket is intended to stick around for decades like Shuttle. If NASA ever does do a manned Mars program SLS will be unfit.

There’s no real clear indication it will be used for decades and decades. In fact the opposite appears true as NASA’s current pattern of utilizing commercial launch systems shows. It’s likely that by 2030(ish) NASA will be using BFR/NG/Vulcan over SLS unless EUS picks up the pace. However should the above 3 corporate ventures fall through then SLS may see a longer operational lifetime as it’ll be NASA’s only choice for deep space manned exploration. 

1 minute ago, sevenperforce said:

Remind me where I said the cancellation of ARM was an absolute disgrace.

Point being that NASA cancels anything and you use that to further your argument that SLS isn’t worth our time, but when the very organization you claim will change everything does the same, you claim that as a positive. There is a clear indication of hypocrisy and favoritism in play with any sort of comment like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

The crew vehicle still needs to be accelerated to match the electric vehicle on its way to Mars, and that needs to happen with chemical propellants, but at least you only need to accelerate Orion rather than the entire stack.

I was thinking rendezvousing the crew vehicle and the electric vehicle in a parking orbit above the belts and then continuing after everything’s checked out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We never *will* be ready for the moon or mars or even just significant orbital presence unless and until we have a booster capable of doing the job. Of lifting substantial payloads and performing the required rendezvous mission architectures.

Want to forget the competition? Fine. They're forgotten.

SLS is *still* not the booster that advances manned spaceflight. Its most advanced form can barely recreate Apollo at 1/4 of the flight cadence.

Edited by RCgothic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

We never *will* be ready for the moon or mars or even just significant orbital presence unless and until we have a booster capable of doing the job. Of lifting substantial payloads and performing the required rendezvous mission architectures.

Want to forget the competition? Fine. They're forgotten.

SLS is *still* not the booster that advances manned spaceflight. Its most advanced form can barely recreate Apollo at 1/4 of the flight cadence.

We also don’t need to launch on the time scale Apollo did. Hell NASA only did because the government said we had to. Without it, we can take our time, and design vehicles that won’t kill crew during their trip to the moon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We do need to launch on the timescales Apollo did because that enables rendezvous mission architectures.

Without those we are never going beyond the earth moon system and we are never establishing a significant lunar presence.

Edited by RCgothic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

We do need to launch on the timescales Apollo did because that enables rendezvous mission architectures.

Without those we are never going beyond the earth moon system and we are never establishing a significant lunar presence.

Unless... the whole goal of each mission... is ya know... extended deep space operations. At which point the whole point is to go to a location (let’s say a lunar space station) and stay there for weeks, if not months. After all how can we stay on the surface of the moon for any duration of time, if we can’t make it in lunar orbit.

Not to mention we could launch crew and cargo separately to this ‘station’. Allowing it to be a launch point for future missions perhaps. Hell it would be easier to launch missions from, than from the surface since you’re still in orbit! As opposed to assembling a mission on the surface and having to relaunch the darn thing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Unless... the whole goal of each mission... is ya know... extended deep space operations. At which point the whole point is to go to a location (let’s say a lunar space station) and stay there for weeks, if not months. After all how can we stay on the surface of the moon for any duration of time, if we can’t make it in lunar orbit.

Not to mention we could launch crew and cargo separately to this ‘station’. Allowing it to be a launch point for future missions perhaps. Hell it would be easier to launch missions from, than from the surface since you’re still in orbit! As opposed to assembling a mission on the surface and having to relaunch the darn thing

The math works out in such a way that it turns out to be way more efficient to launch to deep space from LEO than where LOP-G will be. 

The reason for this is the lack of deep space infrastructure. Of course investing in such infrastructure would change this dynamic, but considering that Mars missions are likely to be flags and footprints and occur at intervals of years... well it's not worth it for Mars. Maybe for the Moon, but again with a launch cadence of 1 every 2 years, or even 1 every year, you're not getting enough use to really justify the kind of deep space infrastructure we would need to really make in-depth lunar exploration practical. And of course you're not getting nearly enough launches to even build the infrastructure in the first place... though building it in LEO and sending it to deep space with an electric propulsion bus could work. Honestly that'd be a better way to build Gateway than SLS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Extended deep space operations are pretty pointless if the booster is incapable of taking crew anywhere that requires them.

The only difference between extended deep space operations and extended LEO operations is risk to crew.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

Extended deep space operations are pretty pointless if the booster is incapable of taking crew anywhere that requires them.

The only difference between extended deep space operations and extended LEO operations is risk to crew.

Unless the booster is carrying them to lunar orbit where vehicles capable of carrying them further (and maybe even being so innovative to be reusable?! Crazy right?!!) might be waiting for the crew. SLS Mars Direct is silly. There’s far more practical outcomes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Unless the booster is carrying them to lunar orbit where vehicles capable of carrying them further (and maybe even being so innovative to be reusable?! Crazy right?!!) might be waiting for the crew. SLS Mars Direct is silly. There’s far more practical outcomes.

There's no indication that such vehicles will ever be developed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.