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NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads

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1 minute ago, tater said:

Any reference to Apollo is meaningless, as they simply will not have the resources they were given for Apollo. Period.

The idea that the usual suspects come up with a lander in short order, and at a cost that is remotely plausible is absurd on its face. SLS was supposed to cost what, 9 Billion, all in to development completion? It;s what now? 20-something?

Experience is a resource. They may not have money or parts but they know what landing on the moon means. What it takes. In the Apollo era, it was guess work stitched together by probe missions (Surveyor program). Now they have in the field practiced, proven and detailed experience.

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My bad. By late 2020, the total tab for SLS/Orion is expected to exceed 50 billion. I think Orion is ~17B$. So SLS is then closer to 30-something. Don't forget time. SLS was supposed to fly 5 years after Shuttle (by law).

Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

Experience is a resource. They may not have money or parts but they know what landing on the moon means. What it takes. In the Apollo era, it was guess work stitched together by probe missions (Surveyor program). Now they have in the field practiced, proven and detailed experience.

No one who worked on the LEM is still working. No one.

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They didn't even know if man could walk on the moon. They thought they would sink into the lunar dust. Or that the dust would ignite once it came into contact with oxygen. These are questions and problems no longer faced by NASA as they've been there and done that.

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While Apollo and this have many differences, and aren't that good of comparisons, the comparison of this plan and Apollo is probably the best one we can make.

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Just now, tater said:

No one who worked on the LEM is still working. No one.

We have documents? We don't have the per worker adjustments, but we know buyinlarge what was ON and USED by the Lunar Module. What equipment was essential, what was redundant, what was used for what, and so on. These are things that can be used as a basis, a standard for a new lander.

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1 hour ago, ZooNamedGames said:

We have documents? We don't have the per worker adjustments, but we know buyinlarge what was ON and USED by the Lunar Module. What equipment was essential, what was redundant, what was used for what, and so on. These are things that can be used as a basis, a standard for a new lander.

Sure but is the LM even a good basis for a new lander?

Let alone a partially reusable one.

The missions are different, the design requirements are different. The engineering will be different. 

Not to say we won’t be able to benefit from studying the Apollo LM. 

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According to rumors, NASA would have created the rocket Apollo 18,19 and 20. It would have carried out these missions in secret.

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1 hour ago, DNKKING said:

According to rumors, NASA would have created the rocket Apollo 18,19 and 20. It would have carried out these missions in secret.

Rocket launches to the moon isn't exactly something you can do in secret. Even in the early 70's.

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Apollo was a system. The Apollo LM has pretty much in zero in common with anything that would be built now.

Crew number is different.

Delta v requirements are different.

Automation is different.

 

Any new design will be clean sheet, and will be pretty unrelated to the LM other than the basic function. It doesn't speed production at all. By that logic SLS should have already flown, as the contractors had loads of experience with both Apollo, AND a huge number of Space Shuttle flights. SLS should have been easy and fast. LOL.

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4 hours ago, DNKKING said:

According to rumors, NASA would have created the rocket Apollo 18,19 and 20. It would have carried out these missions in secret.

No. This isn't even 1% true or accurate.

Saturn V's are massive vehicles measuring at 365ft tall, with only one launchsite, which is the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which is surrounded by Titusville and the space coast. High populations centers, with massive tourist traps surrounding it. My grandfather has even said that from 100 miles away where they lived at the time, "it was like watching the sunrise, it was so bright". There isn't anything secret about launching the largest rocket ever designed by humans. What your thinking is a conspiracy driven myth which was made famous by the terrible Apollo 18 film.

Though there were vehicles for Apollos 18-20 already created, however they were not at all secret. In fact the booster slated for Apollo 18 was used to launch Skylab in 1973. Apollos 18-20 were cancelled due to budget cuts. Nothing secret about it. With large portions of the remaining Apollo Command Service Modules used for Skylabs II, III, IV, and their final mission, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP). What remained after ASTP, was either scrapped, or sold to museums were they remain today. (Fun fact; apparently the real lunar module hanging at the KSC Visitor Center is going to be lowered down this month, so now's the best time to get an up close view! I don't have much money but I definitely want to do what I can to see it up close).

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4 hours ago, DNKKING said:

According to rumors, NASA would have created the rocket Apollo 18,19 and 20. It would have carried out these missions in secret.

The Saturn Vs for the last three Apollo missions were indeed built. 

Apollo 18's Saturn V was used for Skylab, with the actual Skylab module being built from a Saturn IB's S-IVB stage.

The remaining two Saturn V's are on display (well their parts are on display) around the United States. Perfectly accounted for.

One of the last Saturn V's S-IVBs was also converted to a Skylab module, for backup purposes. I think.

Apollos 18, 19, and 20 were cancelled for a variety of reasons. What was worse was the plans to cancel Apollos 17 and I think 16. We're lucky we got as many landings as we did.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, DNKKING said:

According to rumors, NASA would have created the rocket Apollo 18,19 and 20. It would have carried out these missions in secret.

According to rumours, monkeys have been spotted escaping from my rear end. Personally I don’t believe them but there you go.

Edit. Hat tip to the sensible answers up there, posted by people with more tolerance for conspiracy theories than I can be bothered to muster.

Edited by KSK

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I can tell you exactly where those three remaining flight-ready Saturn Vs went when Apollo was cancelled. One launched Skylab. The other two?

AqPkiDe.jpg

This one's made of completely flight-ready hardware and is displayed at JSC in Houston. However, its parts are in rough shape because it was stored outdoors for several decades. They almost certainly only did an aesthetic restoration when they moved it indoors.

2gWE1Mr.jpg

This one's mostly made of flight-ready hardware and is displayed at KSC in Florida. It was also outdoors for some time, but it seems to be in better condition than the Houston one.

I'd speculate that between these two leftovers, and with enough elbow grease, you could theoretically assemble a working Saturn V from the parts. Not that that'll ever happen, but it's neat to think about!

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6 minutes ago, jadebenn said:

I'd speculate that between these two leftovers, and with enough elbow grease, you could theoretically assemble a working Saturn V from the parts. Not that that'll ever happen, but it's neat to think about!

I had an idea for a story a while back. I never wrote it, as I am perpetually short on time, but the premise was that an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and there is no rocket big enough to launch and redirect it in time, so they would have to quickly refurbish a Saturn V and launch it. Keep in mind that I think I came up with this before Falcon Heavy was a thing. Delta IV heavy was a thing, but it would not have been ready in time, most likely. Practical distributed lift isn't a mainstream option yet (although it may be in an end of the world scenario) and definitely wasn't several years ago.

It wouldn't have worked, though. The launch pad would need to be modified significantly to support Saturn missions again, and you would have to get the equipment to move this rocket to the launch pad. Speaking of which, I wonder how it got in those buildings...

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30 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Speaking of which, I wonder how it got in those buildings...

For the Houston one at least, the building was literally built around it. I'd imagine the same is true of the one in Florida.

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There are much Saturn V

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6 minutes ago, Nightside said:

Are they still reusing the boosters like on the shuttle?

I don't think so. These are 5-segment boosters, and Shuttle used 4-segment. This will put the nozzles too deep underwater for divers to plug. At least, that's what I read somewhere.

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1 hour ago, StrandedonEarth said:

I don't think so. These are 5-segment boosters, and Shuttle used 4-segment. This will put the nozzles too deep underwater for divers to plug. At least, that's what I read somewhere.

As I understand it- they're just too big and heavy to reuse.

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SRB reuse was, at-best, an economic wash anyways, and the 5-segments are going to seperate much further downrange than the 4-segments did. Plus, they need to phase out the old shuttle-derived SRBs anyways if they want to meet their 130 t payload target for Block 2, so it sort of makes sense to use them expendably.

OmegA's got a nice bit of synergy with the SLS. NGIS (aka Orbital ATK aka whatever they were called during the shuttle era) has been developing improved SRBs for it, and they've had the SLS in mind since day one, so the designs ought to be pretty transferable. According to them, the new boosters would be 4-segment, but each segment would be bigger, so that the new 4-segment SRBs would be more powerful than the 5-segment modified shuttle SRBs the SLS will initially be flying with. Still don't think they'd be enough to boost the SLS's payload capacity to 130 t without a 5th RS-25 on the core, so it wouldn't be a "true" Block 2, but it'd probably be close.

Gotta admit though, if that switch ever happens, it's gonna make the SLS look like one hell of a mismatched rocket from an aesthetic point of view. White and orange work pretty well as far as color combinations go. White and orange and black... really doesn't. :sticktongue:

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On 5/2/2019 at 7:11 AM, ZooNamedGames said:

Experience is a resource. They may not have money or parts but they know what landing on the moon means. What it takes. In the Apollo era, it was guess work stitched together by probe missions (Surveyor program). Now they have in the field practiced, proven and detailed experience.

Most of it theoretical. Despite all the oral history projects, about 95% of the experience is lost irretrievably.

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On 5/9/2019 at 6:06 AM, DDE said:

Most of it theoretical. Despite all the oral history projects, about 95% of the experience is lost irretrievably.

and practical. We know what we do need, and what we don't need. The first time we didn't know which would be needed and which wouldn't be. We've put concepts to the test and seen which are effective and which are a wash.

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3 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

and practical. We know what we do need, and what we don't need. The first time we didn't know which would be needed and which wouldn't be. We've put concepts to the test and seen which are effective and which are a wash.

A friend's dad was a Los Alamos guy. Nukes.

I remember him telling us that there was a lot of art in nuclear weapon design, and that the new people worked on computer models, and had never built and tested a real device, and didn't really have a feel for the work as a result. He said any of us with a BS in Physics could make a bomb, but could we make a good bomb? NASA institutional knowledge is much the same Re:Apollo. No one at NASA now knows any more about Apollo systems than SpaceX or Blue Origin, or ULA employees doing the same work (it's public domain, anyway).

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On 5/11/2019 at 2:43 AM, tater said:

A friend's dad was a Los Alamos guy. Nukes.

I remember him telling us that there was a lot of art in nuclear weapon design, and that the new people worked on computer models, and had never built and tested a real device, and didn't really have a feel for the work as a result. He said any of us with a BS in Physics could make a bomb, but could we make a good bomb? NASA institutional knowledge is much the same Re:Apollo. No one at NASA now knows any more about Apollo systems than SpaceX or Blue Origin, or ULA employees doing the same work (it's public domain, anyway).

A good bomb is one that doesn't blow up during storage/transportation/waiting for use (there is one lost in a Carolina swamp that is said to have only managed this trick by luck).  Anything else is gravy.

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