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NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads

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49 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Yeah. I think that the design should be able to hold the 4 people on Orion. Getting stuck with an interim lander intended to be replaced by something more powerful in the future could very well end up going the way of the ICPS...

But if it's a choice between 2 people or 0 people, I'd choose 2.

I’d just like to see a modified Orion that would have a new SM which lands and can re-enter orbit. 

Course if Dragon 2 can actually revive the propulsive element of its landings, we could use it.

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2 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

I’d just like to see a modified Orion that would have a new SM which lands and can re-enter orbit. 

Course if Dragon 2 can actually revive the propulsive element of its landings, we could use it.

Both Dragon and Orion have enormous dry masses which mean any lander derived from then would have to be extremely large.

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54 minutes ago, ment18 said:

Both Dragon and Orion have enormous dry masses which mean any lander derived from then would have to be extremely large.

Yeah, enormously inefficient to haul a heat shield and TLI propellants down and up the gravity well. Unless the D/A stage is fully reusable, but it would be huge

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47 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Yeah, enormously inefficient to haul a heat shield and TLI propellants down and up the gravity well. Unless the D/A stage is fully reusable, but it would be huge

I would assume if you made a lunar lander version, you’d drop those Earth only components.

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3 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

I would assume if you made a lunar lander version, you’d drop those Earth only components.

Whoops, missed the implied stipulation that it would never return to terra firma.

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6 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

I would assume if you made a lunar lander version, you’d drop those Earth only components.

Lunar lander with superdracos? Aren’t they a bit OP for lunar gravity?

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2 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Whoops, missed the implied stipulation that it would never return to terra firma.

I probably didn’t mention it, so you were to right to assume it.

4 minutes ago, sh1pman said:

Lunar lander with superdracos? Aren’t they a bit OP for lunar gravity?

Perhaps. Perhaps they could adjust it. Just a concept.

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Or... you could adapt a BFR for lunar landing by removing all 'atmospheric' elements, decreasing number of Merlins and even reducing the amount of propellant onboard. Still huge, but it could do everything you would want from a lander - and then some more :)

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Posted (edited)

Had two tabs open, I think. Moved.

Edited by tater

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2 minutes ago, Scotius said:

Or... you could adapt a BFR for lunar landing by removing all 'atmospheric' elements, decreasing number of Merlins and even reducing the amount of propellant onboard. Still huge, but it could do everything you would want from a lander - and then some more :)

Could, but that’d take longer. Flyby in 2023, which would mean a quick turnaround to land within 2 years

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Edited. I pasted in the wrong tab, lol.

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The Orion LES is almost 10 tonnes. Wow.

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13 hours ago, tater said:
The Orion LES is almost 10 tonnes. Wow.

You remember how I said the Orion MPCV was still saddled with lots of design decisions from its days on the Ares I? This is one of them.

Turns out that when your entire first stage was supposed to be an SRB that can't be turned off, you needed to design a pretty beefy LES to be capable of outrunning it.

I'm not sure if it was intentionally kept around after the demise of the Ares I because being able to outrun a flaming SRB is still advantageous from a safety perspective on the SLS, but it's there, one way or another.

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4 hours ago, jadebenn said:

You remember how I said the Orion MPCV was still saddled with lots of design decisions from its days on the Ares I? This is one of them.

Turns out that when your entire first stage was supposed to be an SRB that can't be turned off, you needed to design a pretty beefy LES to be capable of outrunning it.

I'm not sure if it was intentionally kept around after the demise of the Ares I because being able to outrun a flaming SRB is still advantageous from a safety perspective on the SLS, but it's there, one way or another.

Yeah, since the SRBs are still there, it's likely held over for that reason (I remember watching the SRBs flying off when Challenger blew up).

It's still amazing, though, that the tractor LAS is almost as massive as the entire launch mass of CST-100 (~13t).

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Yet another reason SRBs have no business being anywhere near a man rated launcher.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, RCgothic said:

Yet another reason SRBs have no business being anywhere near a man rated launcher.

Half-agree. There are technical reasons, like this, that show why sticking with SRBs was suboptimal, but I think it's justifiable in the case of the SLS when it really wasn't for the shuttle. With the return to conventional stacking, a Challenger-like scenario occuring on the SLS would only result in the loss of the rocket, not the crew.

We know that on the shuttle, all of the crew were most likely alive in the intact crewed orbiter section after the explosion, and we know for certain from some adjusted dials and switches that a few were conscious (though hopefully not until the very end, because that's a horrifying thought). The deaths of all crew members only occurred once the severed shuttle's crew cabin hit the water.

If it had been a conventional stacked-capsule system like the SLS, the capsule would've been able to detach, and the crew would've been safely pulled clear of the ensuing explosion.

Without a compromised design like the side-mounted shuttle, the safety factor of SRBs is not any more of an issue than with conventional liquid-fuelled rockets. There are technical reasons they're still somewhat suboptimal on manned rockets, but when it comes to safety, they're really not any more-or-less safe than liquid-fuelled boosters in that scenario. Just something that you need to design around.

Edited by jadebenn

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Posted (edited)

On one hand: RIP 2020. On the other hand: the chances of EM-1 blowing up on the pad have drastically gone down. So, eh. :/

I'm glad they were objective about it at least. Launch fever isn't a good thing. If you do a genuine analysis and it says you shouldn't skip the test, you shouldn't skip the test.

Edited by jadebenn

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Report is still to be released though so there's a chance they could still wave it.

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Posted (edited)

They're getting ready to mate the LH2 tank to the forward assembly.

nXMg0zJ.jpg

To save time, they're switching from vertical to horizontal integration for this step, and they're also doing it "out of order."

Article Link

Quote

“We had major join 1, that’s the forward skirt, the LOX tank, and the intertank,” Craig Williams, Boeing’s Core Stage Integrated Product Team Director, said in an April 8 interview. “That one independently is unchanged, that was all stacked vertically and it’s just about complete.”

[...]

“The second join was originally the LH2 (liquid hydrogen) tank to the engine section and that was originally planned to be done vertically here at MAF. So what we had come up with to expedite this plan was a horizontal approach.”[/quote]

“Our new plan then would be taking the LH2 that we just talked about that was planned to be a vertical mate to the engine section, not do that but mate the LH2 initially to the forward join horizontally in our Area 47/48,” Williams explained. “So that would be our second mate.”

The final assembly with the engines will still need to be done vertically, and there are some other parts they actually will have to hold off on doing until they go vertical again, but they're hoping they'll save them a few months, since they won't have to wait on the engine section to be ready. With these assembly changes, they're betting on the core stage being done by the end of the year.

Strangely, none of the people who proclaim the BFR will fly before the SLS will take me up on my offer of a wager once I point this out. 

(To be fair to them, that's usually because they were unaware the flight hardware for SLS was actually already produced. One even seemed to change their mind after seeing that picture.)

Edited by jadebenn
The quote feature on this software sucks. Let me just use BBCode, dangit! >:(

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, jadebenn said:

Strangely, none of the people who proclaim the BFR will fly before the SLS will take me up on my offer of a wager once I point this out. 

(To be fair to them, that's usually because they were unaware the flight hardware for SLS was actually already produced. One even seemed to change their mind after seeing that picture.)

I've never seen anyone make this claim that I can remember. I've seen people say that BFR (no crew) is likely to fly before SLS flies crew since that's not for another couple years at least.

I don't say it's likely, but I think it's at least a coin flip for the latter (depending on how you define it flying: full stack, Stage 2 to space, etc). Even Musk's "aspirational" timeline wasn't for it to fly before EM-1, after all.

Edited by tater

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, tater said:

I've never seen anyone make this claim that I can remember. I've seen people say that BFR (no crew) is likely to fly before SLS flies crew since that's not for another couple years at least.

There are quite a few people on the sites I frequent who would seriously claim that. My first post on the NASASpaceFlight forums (which I made last week or so) was actually me being incensed that the BFR won a super-majority on a poll of whether the BFR or SLS would fly first. I'd lurked on the site for years before that point, but that poll result flabbergasted me so much I felt like I had to make a post expressing my displeasure at it. 

I'd argue that EM-2 will fly first as well, but I can at least get why someone might believe the BFR may fly manned before the SLS does. I don't share that opinion, but I understand it. But the idea that the flight of EM-1 will somehow get beaten by the BFR when the SLS is being assembled is really, really, absurd at this juncture. Barring some huge unexpected catastrophe, there's no way that'll happen.

Edited by jadebenn

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Yeah, I agree as well. I think BFR is pretty transformative, and I think that they are gunning for rapid flight at this point (I see BO's NG as competition for unmanned BFR as being the driver here), but there's no way barring some sort of Green Run catastrophe that this happens before SLS flies EM-1. I think flying before EM-2... is possible, remotely, though with the caveat that I'd see this as a Starship orbital test flight, not a full stack, operational BFR.

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