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NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, jadebenn said:

To quote a user on reddit: "If the bar for "jobs program" is "a public official said it created jobs", then I have bad news for you about literally everything publicly funded."

While certainly true, my personal bar would be if the primary goal is creating jobs. I think in the case of SLS this is true, since the vehicle has had no specific mission goal enumerated from inception. (Crewed lunar landing is such a goal, as would be a mission to Mars, etc. Their goals have always been post hoc.)

Edited by tater

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Let's just agree to disagree on that front.

Anyways, here's a neat little comparison of the changes in plan required by the switch from the initial goal of a manned landing by 2028 to the current goal of 2024:

31mVqjU.jpg

 

Basically confirming that NASA wants to keep the critical path under their sole control as much as humanly possible.

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Today, Bridenstine announced that the PPE is being built by Maxar.

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Having watched several of NASA's latest videos. There does seem to be a growing concern I have about NASA's current mission architecture. Mainly asking the question- what happens if there's a fault, a failure or a straight up loss of the spacecraft? How will this affect NASA's timeline? Can NASA continue without PPE or the Gateway? If so, would the plan to just commit to the first true instance of LOR and just have the lander launched to lunar orbit and Orion dock to it while it's freely orbiting? Or would the timeline be delayed to compensate for repairing/replacing Gateway? 

I just got to thinking since that despite the PPE being based on vary well known technologies and concepts and not pushing the envelope very far, there's still a lot riding on the deployment mission and any fault could end up damaging the program as a whole.

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The honest answer is that if there's a LOV event, the 2024 timeline goes out the window. There's no redundancy built into the aggressive timeline; anything going kaput delays the landing. I guess there might be a way to jerry-rig an approach depending on the failure mode (i.e. if the PPE just stops accepting signals instead of literally blowing up), but NASA's already cutting it close as-is. It's likely any major issues would push a manned landing out to 2025+.

I can't answer any specific questions about the PPE itself, but from what I've read it seems pretty integral to the functioning of the Gateway. Again, depends on the specific failure. Loss of PPE on launch means large, unavoidable delay. Loss of PPE in transit means large, unavoidable delay. Loss of PPE in lunar orbit means large, possibly salvageable delay (assuming it doesn't explode and there's a way to get it working again before it's flung out of NRHO into cis-lunar space). Basically, the PPE is very much on the critical path to a 2024 Moon landing. 

Incidentally, I'd imagine this is why NASA chose Maxar for the PPE. They have a lot of experience with high-powered electric propulsion systems, so their schedule and technical risks were (relatively) minimal compared to the other bidders.

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The core stage LOX and LH2 tanks have been joined.

8PiPmJB.jpgp

in awe of the size of this lad. absolute unit.

Boeing Space chimed in pretty soon after the NASA announcement, stating that the core stage is 4/5ths done now. All that's left (I believe) is the engine boattail, and then it ships off to Stennis for the green run.

 

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Posted (edited)

https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-377

rId19_image2.png

Quote

What GAO Found

Due to continued production and testing challenges, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) three related human spaceflight programs have encountered additional launch delays and cost growth. In November 2018, within one year of announcing an up to 19-month delay for the three programs—the Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle, the Orion spacecraft, and supporting ground systems—NASA senior leaders acknowledged the revised date of June 2020 is unlikely. Any issues uncovered during planned integration and testing may push the launch date as late as June 2021. Moreover, while NASA acknowledges about $1 billion in cost growth for the SLS program, it is understated. This is because NASA shifted some planned SLS scope to future missions but did not reduce the program's cost baseline accordingly. When GAO reduced the baseline to account for the reduced scope, the cost growth is about $1.8 billion.

Full report:

https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/699823.pdf

 

 

Edited by tater

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The GAO report is the worst-case scenario, but I can hardly blame them for assuming such. Their job isn't to make government programs look good, after all, it's to try and analyze them objectively. In that regard it's safer bet to assume the worst and (hopefully) be pleasantly surprised than to be over-optimistic and have things go wrong.

SLS core stage manufacturing is (amazingly) still going smoothly (cross your fingers that this holds), so that might actually get done before the end of the year. The RS-25s are planned to be shipped over pretty soon and attached to the engine section, and once that's done it'll be joined to the already-joined hydrolox tanks, upon which the core stage will be essentially complete and ready to head to Stennis for the green run. So it's looking like the green run is the big schedule risk here - if some very bad things are uncovered during testing, you can kiss goodbye any chance of a 2020 launch. On the other hand, if it goes smoothly, they're still in the running.

I have to admit, as a long-time follower of the program, I'm feeling better and better about the plans for it as the maiden launch draws near. It's easy to forget, but things have improved since the rocket was initially announced.

  • Initial SLS estimates were one launch every two years - now it's at least once per year once production ramps up, with a possibility for two launches per year, and three during a surge (but you'd need to "stockpile" one in order to do the latter).
  • Initially there were no concrete missions for the SLS aside from some half-baked "Mars" and "asteroid" ideas - now it's going to be the crew transport and heavy lifter of a renewed lunar exploration campaign. 
  • Initially there was an unavoidable 33 month gap in-between Artemis 1 and Artemis 2 (aka EM-1 and EM-2) due to the mobile launcher requiring upgrades - now there's going to be a second ML, so that's no longer an issue, meaning that Artemis 2's schedule is almost completely independent of Artemis 1's.

I'm personally expecting to see a split within the space community upon a successful launch of Artemis 1, because in my view, a lot of the cynicism surrounding it isn't actually grounded in whether or not the idea is solid, and is instead fueled by a feeling that "It'll never launch." Whether or not this is a good thing depends on your POV, but to a lot of people, just seeing that monster rocket lift off the pad will wipe away any doubts whether all this was worthwhile (or at the very least, make them least militant about it).

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On 6/21/2019 at 6:05 PM, jadebenn said:

The GAO report is the worst-case scenario, but I can hardly blame them for assuming such. Their job isn't to make government programs look good, after all, it's to try and analyze them objectively. In that regard it's safer bet to assume the worst and (hopefully) be pleasantly surprised than to be over-optimistic and have things go wrong.

SLS core stage manufacturing is (amazingly) still going smoothly (cross your fingers that this holds), so that might actually get done before the end of the year. The RS-25s are planned to be shipped over pretty soon and attached to the engine section, and once that's done it'll be joined to the already-joined hydrolox tanks, upon which the core stage will be essentially complete and ready to head to Stennis for the green run. So it's looking like the green run is the big schedule risk here - if some very bad things are uncovered during testing, you can kiss goodbye any chance of a 2020 launch. On the other hand, if it goes smoothly, they're still in the running.

I have to admit, as a long-time follower of the program, I'm feeling better and better about the plans for it as the maiden launch draws near. It's easy to forget, but things have improved since the rocket was initially announced.

  • Initial SLS estimates were one launch every two years - now it's at least once per year once production ramps up, with a possibility for two launches per year, and three during a surge (but you'd need to "stockpile" one in order to do the latter).
  • Initially there were no concrete missions for the SLS aside from some half-baked "Mars" and "asteroid" ideas - now it's going to be the crew transport and heavy lifter of a renewed lunar exploration campaign. 
  • Initially there was an unavoidable 33 month gap in-between Artemis 1 and Artemis 2 (aka EM-1 and EM-2) due to the mobile launcher requiring upgrades - now there's going to be a second ML, so that's no longer an issue, meaning that Artemis 2's schedule is almost completely independent of Artemis 1's.

I'm personally expecting to see a split within the space community upon a successful launch of Artemis 1, because in my view, a lot of the cynicism surrounding it isn't actually grounded in whether or not the idea is solid, and is instead fueled by a feeling that "It'll never launch." Whether or not this is a good thing depends on your POV, but to a lot of people, just seeing that monster rocket lift off the pad will wipe away any doubts whether all this was worthwhile (or at the very least, make them least militant about it).

SLS has been slow, but at this point there's only so many remaining hurdles. As you said, production is going by lightning fast by my observation. They're nearly done with the core, and the engine section is the big delay now. After which is 2 tests (AA and the Stennis test burn) and then shipping back to the cape. At which point all that remains is assembly. Which is going to be rather quick since everything is already built and awaiting their debut. The Stennis test could reveal issues but I'm not too concerned since they've already tested every facet of the vehicle to the point of mind numbing nausea. That said- I'm disappointed that they won't include the SRBs in the test since I'm most interested in how the RS-25 engines will respond to the boosters being much closer to the RS-25 engines. With the Space Shuttle, they had a dozen or so meters between them and the boosters. Now they are next to each other. The addition of an additional engine doesn't concern me as much as that. Since the SRBs generate a lot more heat and noise than the RS-25s do. That noise could cause shaking that could affect the performance or stability of the RS-25. But I digress as we won't find that out until Launch Day.

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Posted (edited)

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/nasa-deputy-administrator-views-sls-rocket-progress-at-michoud.html

" NASA Deputy Administrator James Morhard speaks with media in front of flight hardware for Artemis 1 during his first visit to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans Friday, June 28, 2019. Michoud is manufacturing the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. SLS will send astronauts aboard the agency’s Orion spacecraft to the Gateway in lunar orbit for missions to the surface of the Moon, and ultimately Mars. Morhard, joined by Robert Champion, director of Michoud, and Paul McConnaughey, deputy director of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, toured the Louisiana facility to see the latest progress in assembling and manufacturing some of the largest and most complex parts of SLS and Orion for the first two Artemis missions to the Moon. Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed test flight, followed by Artemis 2 with crew. NASA and Boeing, the core stage lead contractor, recently completed assembling four of the five parts of the rocket’s core stage. The SLS engine section and four RS-25 engines will be integrated to the stage later this summer. "

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/artemis-1-engines-delivered-to-nasa-s-michoud-assembly-facility.html

" Crews delivered the last of four RS-25 engines for Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft, from NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans Thursday, June 27, 2019. The engines, located at the bottom of the rocket’s massive core stage, are fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. When Artemis 1 launches to the Moon, the four RS-25 engines will fire nonstop for 8.5 minutes, providing the rocket 2 million of its 8.8 million pounds of maximum thrust at liftoff. Technicians from NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne, the lead contractor for the engines, at Michoud will now prepare the four engines for installation to the rest of the core stage later this summer. "

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/last-test-article-for-sls-departs-maf.html

" The last of four structural test articles for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) was loaded onto NASA’s Pegasus barge Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The barge will deliver the liquid oxygen (LOX) tank structural test article from Michoud to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for critical structural testing. The liquid oxygen tank is one of two propellant tanks in the rocket’s core stage that will produce more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help send Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft and SLS, to the Moon. The nearly 70-foot-long test article is structurally identical to the flight version, which will hold 196,000 gallons of liquid oxygen super cooled to minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit. "

 

Edited by ZooNamedGames

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Posted (edited)

It's still amazing to me that we know that the cost for the core stage includes ~$708,000,000 in engines alone (the 50M$ we paid for each RS-25 already for Shuttle, plus the 127M$ AJR got paid to refurbish each of the SLS engines to be used.

It would be bad enough at 200 M$, but that would be for simply reusing engines just sitting around. The fact that reusing them cost almost 3 times buying them new borders on criminal, IMO.

Edited by tater

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So the engines alone for SLS cost as much as five or six band new falcon heavys. Insane.

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41 minutes ago, tater said:

It's still amazing to me that we know that the cost for the core stage includes ~$708,000,000 in engines alone (the 50M$ we paid for each RS-25 already for Shuttle, plus the 127M$ AJR got paid to refurbish each of the SLS engines to be used.

It would be bad enough at 200 M$, but that would be for simply reusing engines just sitting around. The fact that reusing them cost almost 3 times buying them new borders on criminal, IMO.

Bear in mind, this is far from the final product of SLS. And much different engines. You say they've been refurbished but they've been altered to generate an addition 10% thrust the Space Shuttle variant never had, as well as looking into cheaper design technologies. So initial cost is indeed high, but that's definitely a peak. As new SLS engines will be built from scratch with the most modern and cost effective solutions in mind. They've changed a lot with the new engines.

Also, the first batch of any new product is always the most costly. Just wait for production to ramp up. Economy of scale will see the price drop.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Bear in mind, this is far from the final product of SLS. And much different engines. You say they've been refurbished but they've been altered to generate an addition 10% thrust the Space Shuttle variant never had, as well as looking into cheaper design technologies.

The entire point of SLS was to use Shuttle tech to reduce cost. They only needed more thrust because of poor design (bloat of Orion, and having to use the SRBs, presumably).

 

Quote

So initial cost is indeed high, but that's definitely a peak. As new SLS engines will be built from scratch with the most modern and cost effective solutions in mind. They've changed a lot with the new engines.

They were given 2.something billion for 16 engines. It's not like they will be given 2 billion in the future for 100 engines (that would still be too much). Raptors are expected to cost $200,000 in full production. Raptor is pretty close to SSME in thrust (and the version that cannot deep throttle exceeds it). Isp obviously better on SSME. Still, I don't see them even getting RS-25 to 100 times more expensive than Raptor. There is simply no excuse for an expendable engine to cost that much, and there is no excuse for the dev of a new version of RS-25 to cost 2 B$ for small, marginal improvements.

Everyone (contractors like Boeing, AJR, etc) associated with SLS should be fired, I can't wait for it to be obviated by commercial providers who don't cheat the taxpayer.

Edited by tater

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1 minute ago, tater said:

The entire point of SLS was to use Shuttle tech to reduce cost. The only needed more thrust because of poor design.

They did use Shuttle tech- but surprise surprise, engines and equipment built for LEO flight isn't ready out of the box for deep space flight. It requires modifications and changes to make it functional. Those changes are costly, and for every change, there's a battery of tests to go with them, and, each test costs money to run. Thus furthering the cost.

3 minutes ago, tater said:

They were given 2.something billion for 16 engines. It's not like they will be given 2 billion in the future for 100 engines (that would still be too much). Raptors are expected to cost $200,000 in full production. Raptor is pretty close to SSME in thrust (and the version that cannot deep throttle exceeds it). Isp obviously better on SSME. Still, I don't see them even getting RS-25 to 100 times more expensive than Raptor. There is simply no excuse for an expendable engine to cost that much, and there is no excuse for the dev of a new version of RS-25 to cost 2 B$ for small, marginal improvements.

Perhaps it has the same thrust, or higher. Perhaps it has the same ISP, or greater. But can it throttle to the specifications needed for SLS? Can it handle an 8.5 minute long burn? How does it handle such a burn? How does it behave when fired alongside 2 solid rocket boosters (creating a lot of noise, vibrations and heat)? All of these are legitimate questions for NASA. Plus, the RS-25 has 135 crewed launches under it's belt. Raptor has test fires. Even if a cousin, to the variant flown on the Space Shuttle, the current RS-25 still has a known history and is man rated. That out of the box makes the RS-25 a league above in standards for the Raptor. The Raptor, may one day be man rated, but in today's world, it is not. Not to mention, the RS-25 and the Raptor are 2 different engines, from 2 different points of history when it comes down to their internal design specifications. The RS-25 in function was designed in the 60s (HG-3). Now a large portion of the RS-25's design has been updated with modern manufacturing methods and technologies but the basis of it's design is still rooted in the 60s. The Raptor was built in 2000s-2010s. And even then, further comparison is unfair as they are still different engines. One is hydrolox- the other is metholox.

15 minutes ago, tater said:

Everyone associated with SLS should be fired, I can't wait for it to be obviated by commercial providers who don't cheat the taxpayer.

Another thing to bear in mind is that NASA is a government entity and doesn't need to worry about minmaxing every aspect of development. Because of that, NASA can take their time and focus on building a reliable, safe, and most importantly, the only SHLV available. Only NASA and SpaceX (Starship is not a SHLV, that would be Super Heavy which does not exist yet) have physical pieces of their SHLVs, but only NASA has a man rated SHLV. Musk may be able to fly crews on Starship, but NASA won't seriously consider such a vehicle for the Artemis program until it's proven safe and reliable.

Starship/Super Heavy won't reach those requirements for a minimum of another decade. Musk going at ludicrous speed as he is now, or not. Raptor is untested, Starhopper is the closest we have to flight hardware and still hasn't left the ground and Super Heavy won't even exist for another month.

 

There's a reason why- inefficiently and costly or not, that NASA remains the only entity in the world with a physical man rated SHLV. Because they have the spending power to make it happen.

Also, fun fact, even if NASA is inefficient with RnD- it's not like that money is wasted and disappears into the ether. It's going back into the economy. There's a reason why NASA hires companies like Boeing, Lockheed, and so on. Because they can spend that income on technologies to benefit other aspects of the economy. Boeing can spend that money on advancing the RnD of the 797 (or the 737-800 right now), or put that money into RnD and develop a more fuel efficient engine for their aircraft, which can cut cost for airlines, which can cut costs for business travelers and vacation travelers. More travel, means more income for industries based in travel. (I can already hear someone saying that the money will instead go into the military sector because it's Boeing or Lockheed but there are other aspects of the economy than military, even if the US government is a cash cow).

So again, NASA may not be the most economical with it's contracts- but it's not like the average consumer doesn't benefit from their deals and agreements.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

They did use Shuttle tech- but surprise surprise, engines and equipment built for LEO flight isn't ready out of the box for deep space flight. It requires modifications and changes to make it functional. Those changes are costly, and for every change, there's a battery of tests to go with them, and, each test costs money to run. Thus furthering the cost.

The point of "Shuttle derived" launch vehicles was to quickly, and cost-effectively come up with new capabilities.

SLS/Orion has accomplished neither of these requirements.

For the expense they have made, the might as well have done a clean sheet design.

Quote

Perhaps it has the same thrust, or higher. Perhaps it has the same ISP, or greater. But can it throttle to the specifications needed for SLS? Can it handle an 8.5 minute long burn? How does it handle such a burn? How does it behave when fired alongside 2 solid rocket boosters (creating a lot of noise, vibrations and heat)? All of these are legitimate questions for NASA. Plus, the RS-25 has 135 crewed launches under it's belt. Raptor has test fires. Even if a cousin, to the variant flown on the Space Shuttle, the current RS-25 still has a known history and is man rated. That out of the box makes the RS-25 a league above in standards for the Raptor. The Raptor, may one day be man rated, but in today's world, it is not. Not to mention, the RS-25 and the Raptor are 2 different engines, from 2 different points of history when it comes down to their internal design specifications. The RS-25 in function was designed in the 60s (HG-3). Now a large portion of the RS-25's design has been updated with modern manufacturing methods and technologies but the basis of it's design is still rooted in the 60s. The Raptor was built in 2000s-2010s. And even then, further comparison is unfair as they are still different engines. One is hydrolox- the other is metholox.

I'm not suggesting replacing RS-25 with Raptor, Raptor is not even for sale.

I am saying that a new engine of similar capability was built from scratch for a tiny fraction of the cost. If RS-25 is allowed to fly with people with any significant changes (to reduce cost, for example) from the SSME, then it strikes me that the new, highly altered design needs to be re-rated. If the changes are minor enough to not impact man-rating, why did they cost 127 M$/engine to accomplish?

Quote

Another thing to bear in mind is that NASA is a government entity and doesn't need to worry about minmaxing every aspect of development. Because of that, NASA can take their time and focus on building a reliable, safe, and most importantly, the only SHLV available. Only NASA and SpaceX (Starship is not a SHLV, that would be Super Heavy which does not exist yet) have physical pieces of their SHLVs, but only NASA has a man rated SHLV. Musk may be able to fly crews on Starship, but NASA won't seriously consider such a vehicle for the Artemis program until it's proven safe and reliable.

SLS/Orion is not a rocket program, it's a jobs program. I never once suggested replacing SLS with Starship, I said I cannot wait for commercial vehicles to obviate the program. There is no need for a single stack when you can put 100+ tons into LEO cheaply. Loft a crew rated vehicle that includes a transfer stage--with no crew aboard at launch. Loft a crew vehicle some other way (CST-100, Crew Dragon, etc), and dock the 2. Big enough transfer stage and you don't need Orion at all, brake into LEO, then reenter at lower velocity instead of direct return. Everything is possible with cheap LEO for large payloads.

Quote

Starship/Super Heavy won't reach those requirements for a minimum of another decade. Musk going at ludicrous speed as he is now, or not. Raptor is untested, Starhopper is the closest we have to flight hardware and still hasn't left the ground and Super Heavy won't even exist for another month.

LOL (my emphasis).

I'm not arguing for SSH, I'm pointing out what a train wreck/dumpster fire SLS is.

Quote

There's a reason why- inefficiently and costly or not, that NASA remains the only entity in the world with a physical man rated SHLV. Because they have the spending power to make it happen.

How is SLS man-rated right now? It has flown, let's see, zero times.

The engines are man0rated---assuming they fly exactly as they did on the Shuttle, if they have changed in any meaningful way, I'd say that should un-man-rate them. The tank was supposed to be Main Tank (flown many times) derived, but changed utterly (odd since the shuttle failure rate was considerably worse than the commercial crew requirement). So the tank is brand new, but man-rated, because they say so. The upper stage has flown, but never on a crew vehicle, ever, but that's man rated (because they say so). Orion will fly on Artemis-1 as a boilerplate. Orion literally flies the first time "all up" with crew aboard, but magically gets to be called man-rated.

 

Edited by tater

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Just now, tater said:

The point of "Shuttle derived" launch vehicles was to quickly, and cost-effectively come up with new capabilities.

SLS/Orion has accomplished neither of these requirements.

For the expense they have made, the might as well have done a clean sheet design.

I am saying that a new engine of similar capability was built from scratch for a tiny fraction of the cost. If RS-25 is allowed to fly with people with any significant changes (to reduce cost, for example) from the SSME, then it strickes me that the new, highly altered design needs to be rerated. If the changes are minor enough to not impact man-rating, why did they cost 127 M$/engine to accomplish?

NASA doesn't have the luxery of future sight sadly. Besides, without an increase in funding, it's possible that with a clean sheet design, we may be even further from launch day of a SHLV than we are now. But we can't say for certain since we don't exist in that timeline.

2 minutes ago, tater said:

SLS/Orion is not a rocket program, it's a jobs program. I never once suggested replacing SLS with Starship, I said I cannot wait for commercial vehicles to obviate the program. There is no need for a single stack when you can put 100+ tons into LEO cheaply. Loft a crew rated vehicle that includes a transfer stage. Loft a crew vehicle some other way, and dock the 2. Big enough transfer stage and you don't need Orion at all, brake into LEO, then reenter at lower velocity instead of direct return. Everything is possible with cheap LEO for large payloads.

 

Notice, the largest vehicles we've ever docked in history is the Space Shuttle and the ISS. One of which, is largely immobile. So docking on that scale poses a large amount of new and untested and unexperienced engineering and development challenges. It might be a good idea on paper but in practice we have no idea how that will pan out.

4 minutes ago, tater said:

I'm not arguing for SSH, I'm pointing out what a train wreck/dumpster fire SLS is.

It's either the dumpster fire or nothing for another 10 years as we wait for SSH. With SLS, we actually have a shot to have men on the moon within the next decade (whether by Bridenstine's 2024 date or not).

6 minutes ago, tater said:

How is SLS man-rated right now? It has flown, let's see, zero times.

It's built from the ground up, to be man rated. Every facet of the vehicle is built with a man-rated safe reliable agenda in mind. Not a cost-first or job-first priorities.

8 minutes ago, tater said:

The engines are man0rated---assuming they fly exactly as they did on the Shuttle, if they have changed in any meaningful way, I'd say that should un-man-rate them. The tank was supposed to be Main Tank (flown many times) derived, but changed utterly (odd since the shuttle failure rate was considerably worse than the commercial crew requirement). So the tank is brand new, but man-rated, because they say so. The upper stage has flown, but never on a crew vehicle, ever, but that's man rated (because they say so). Orion will fly on Artemis-1 as a boilerplate. Orion literally flies the first time "all up" with crew aboard, but magically gets to be called man-rated.

 

Because SLS/Orion are the only vehicles to have undergone every single test we on Earth (and in space thanks to EFT-1/Artemis-1) can possibly apply to these vehicles. SSH hasn't and I don't see any plans for it to undergo the same lengthy battery of tests SLS has. We have put it through every challenge, every hurdle and every test we can create. The only SHLV to undergo such lengthy, monotonous, tedious tests.

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There is zero requirement for a man-rated superheavy launcher.

You don't need a superheavy to put a crew in orbit, and you don't need to man-rate a cargo superheavy and make everything five times more expensive than it needs to be.

RS-25 only had to be uprated because of the poor launcher architecture. Does Raptor need to withstand the heat and vibration of solid boosters? No, it doesn't. Because raptor will only fly on competently designed vehicles. 

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3 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

There is zero requirement for a man-rated superheavy launcher.

SLS is the only man-rated SHLV that will be ready to fly by 2021. So to advance the Artemis program, there is a need for a man rated SHLV.

3 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

You don't need a superheavy to put a crew in orbit, and you don't need to man-rate a cargo superheavy and make everything five times more expensive than it needs to be.

We barely have the orbital Starship yet- so I wouldn't rest my hat on Cargo variant either at the moment. That said, with the exception of ACES (which doesn't even exist yet and likely won't in full development until after the 2021 launch date of Art-2) there exist no orbital tugs available to transfer crews from LEO to Lunar Orbit.

5 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

RS-25 only had to be uprated because of the poor launcher architecture. Does Raptor need to withstand the heat and vibration of solid boosters? No, it doesn't. Because raptor will only fly on competently designed vehicles. 

Remind me again what happened to the Starhopper nosecone? Which led to Musk on the fly saying "we don't need it"?

Oh and don't forget the 'free falling' booster design. Something I still don't believe will work in practice and am eagerly awaiting to see tested in reality.

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

NASA doesn't have the luxery of future sight sadly. Besides, without an increase in funding, it's possible that with a clean sheet design, we may be even further from launch day of a SHLV than we are now. But we can't say for certain since we don't exist in that timeline.

Internal audits have shown the project as mismanaged.

They don't need future sight, they need capable management, and incentives to achieve the desired goals. The incentive structures were never designed to accomplish the goals, in fact, the opposite.

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Notice, the largest vehicles we've ever docked in history is the Space Shuttle and the ISS. One of which, is largely immobile. So docking on that scale poses a large amount of new and untested and unexperienced engineering and development challenges. It might be a good idea on paper but in practice we have no idea how that will pan out.

Docking is not a problem, this is not 1960.

If docking is a problem, the SLS should be shut down now, as the only mission envisioned for it is Gateway---which requires autonomous docking at the Moon for it to even exist.

 

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It's either the dumpster fire or nothing for another 10 years as we wait for SSH. With SLS, we actually have a shot to have men on the moon within the next decade (whether by Bridenstine's 2024 date or not).

Orion exists independent of SLS, and could conceivably fly on other LVs. FH could be man-rated at some point, Starship (expendable stage 2 has been mentioned by Musk already) could be used to loft it, as could New Glenn (crew rated from day one by design). As could Vulcan.

The shot at the moon literally requires non-SLS LVs to be a thing, many are the same LVs that could loft Orion, instead. Somehow EoR is a daunting task that complicates a mission, but LoR of the same elements is supposed to be easy. For reasons.

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It's built from the ground up, to be man rated. Every facet of the vehicle is built with a man-rated safe reliable agenda in mind. Not a cost-first or job-first priorities.

It was designed to use the same workforce. Every single thing that changes from "Shuttle derived" is an unknown. ICPS is untested. It will have flown once by Artemis-2. Orion will literally fly the first time ever as a real spacecraft with crew aboard.

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Because SLS/Orion are the only vehicles to have undergone every single test we on Earth (and in space thanks to EFT-1/Artemis-1) can possibly apply to these vehicles. SSH hasn't and I don't see any plans for it to undergo the same lengthy battery of tests SLS has. We have put it through every challenge, every hurdle and every test we can create. The only SHLV to undergo such lengthy, monotonous, tedious tests.

It's not every test. There is literally no reason not to fly flight article Orion on EM-1. When it comes down to it, the real test will be flying. Shuttle did all those tests too. 2/138 LOV.

19 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

SLS is the only man-rated SHLV that will be ready to fly by 2021. So to advance the Artemis program, there is a need for a man rated SHLV.

It was absurd to man-rate a SHLV in the first place. Constellation had that part right. Separate crew and SH cargoes. SLS won't be flying for real (with crew, since that ls literally the only thing it can launch) until Artemis-2.

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We barely have the orbital Starship yet- so I wouldn't rest my hat on Cargo variant either at the moment. That said, with the exception of ACES (which doesn't even exist yet and likely won't in full development until after the 2021 launch date of Art-2) there exist no orbital tugs available to transfer crews from LEO to Lunar Orbit.

What is there to do in lunar orbit again? Oh, yeah, exposing crews to high radiation levels so we can know we have exposed them. Cause we need to harm astronauts to learn that somethign self-evidently harmful is, you know, harmful (nothing in the Orion/Gateway plan includes anything capable of radiation mitigation testing, that makes it far too large).

The only interesting thing Gateway can ever be used for involves... a private company making a lander, and if the a company can get a huge lander and tug to Gateway... they could get Orion there, too, it's lighter.

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Remind me again what happened to the Starhopper nosecone? Which led to Musk on the fly saying "we don't need it"?

It was for looks. So what, how much of your tax money did that nosecone cost you? What about the SLS tank dome? They didn;t charge NASA for that, right? (LOL)

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Oh and don't forget the 'free falling' booster design. Something I still don't believe will work in practice and am eagerly awaiting to see tested in reality.

What is a free falling booster? You mean like F9? Or do you mean the SH booster, which is simply a large F9 (that's a done deal, they know that regime better than literally anyone on Earth right now, short of some mechanical failure, I'd expect them to land SH first try.) Or do you mean Starship (not a booster, it's S2)?

Starship reuse is absolutely the long pole, but expendable upper stages for SSH are already a stated thing, and I expect that the goal will be to launch commercial payloads that offset the cost of testing EDL of Starship. I don't expect fully operational Starship (cargo, not crew) for a while---where operational means full reuse. I expect launches probably about when they say so.

Edited by tater

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Just now, tater said:

Internal audits have shown the project as mismanaged.

They don't need future sight, they need capable management, and incentives to achieve the desired goals. The incentive structures were never designed to accomplish the goals, in fact, the opposite.

Well Bridenstine is working to give NASA an incentive structure through Artemis.

1 minute ago, tater said:

Docking is not a problem, this is not 1960.

If docking is a problem, the SLS should be shut down now, as the only mission envisioned for it is Gateway---which requires autonomous docking at the Moon for it to even exist.

1966*

Regardless- docking two super massive structures has never been attempted. There are strains put on the vehicles as each moves. A docking assembly would need to be designed to handle very large amounts of force as one moves in reference to the other. This is untested territory. We can't just bring up two vehicles and dock them together- there are other factors that apply here that are on small scales with current vehicles making them a no-factor. Especially docking in LEO poses the challenge of microaerodynamic properties of the vehicle. This will cause strain on the docking mechanism and cause damage as one vehicle is pulled away.

Docking with Orion and docking with SSH/ACES is not remotely the same. Orion and LOP-G is on the scale of Apollo and Skylab, something we've seen in practice and tested with the ISS. We've only docked with one orbital tug vehicle before with a manned craft, and that was the Agena TV in the 60s. And docking with SSH is again, on a scale we've never tested.

5 minutes ago, tater said:

Orion exists independent of SLS, and could conceivably fly on other LVs. FH could be man-rated at some point, Starship (expendable stage 2 has been mentioned by Musk already) could be used to loft it, as could New Glenn (crew rated from day one by design).

All very possible. Though Orion is built on legacy technologies. (Apollo, Space Shuttle, etc) so the only remaining portion, the Service Module, won't be a massive change to how the vehicle behaves in testing. What's more important to NASA right now, is making sure it can make it's mark and bring the vehicle back safely. That will give NASA the green light and likely the momentum to continue to a manned flight of SLS/Orion and eventually the later lunar landing. Though I do support a Apollo 7 style LEO mission using a commercial booster. But perhaps Bridenstine knows something I don't with Orion's SM.

8 minutes ago, tater said:

The shot at the moon literally requires non-SLS LVs to be a thing, many are the same LVs that could lost Orion, instead. Somehow EoR is a daunting task that complicates a mission, but LoR of the same elements is supposed to be easy. For reasons.

Bear in mind, EOR is great and all but it also requires boosting and transport to lunar orbit. That's where things change. It's easier and more reliable to build the lunar kickstage into the launch vehicle as opposed to launching 2 vehicles, making sure both don't fail, successfully dock, the tug functions correctly and gets the cargo to the proper destination. We've never used a tug to ferry crew to another celestial body before. How will the internal forces of the crew moving around effect the CoM/CoT with the tug? What about any dumps (urine, feces, soiled samples, etc) on the way there? Many questions that must be factored into the design of vehicle that doesn't exist in 2019.

 

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5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

1966*

Docking was none the less considered a possible problem long before Gemini, it's one reason NASA was pro EoR, since at least it could be done close to home. I picked the date I picked not in reference to any actual docking for a reason.

5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Regardless- docking two super massive structures has never been attempted. There are strains put on the vehicles as each moves. A docking assembly would need to be designed to handle very large amounts of force as one moves in reference to the other. This is untested territory. We can't just bring up two vehicles and dock them together- there are other factors that apply here that are on small scales with current vehicles making them a no-factor. Especially docking in LEO poses the challenge of microaerodynamic properties of the vehicle. This will cause strain on the docking mechanism and cause damage as one vehicle is pulled away.

Nothing super heavy needs to be docked.

We've already docked the Apollo CSM to SIVb with the LEM attached. Nothing needs to be any larger than that, or indeed any larger than anything already required to dock (autonomously) to Gateway. Loft the transfer stage with a commercial vehicle, dock Orion to it. Same ring they use now, the same ring that would be used to dock a transfer tug to the lander (larger than the Orion CSM).

5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Docking with Orion and docking with SSH/ACES is not remotely the same. Orion and LOP-G is on the scale of Apollo and Skylab, something we've seen in practice and tested with the ISS. We've only docked with one orbital tug vehicle before with a manned craft, and that was the Agena TV in the 60s. And docking with SSH is again, on a scale we've never tested.

Who said aythign at all about docking Starship to anything. Starship is an upper stage. The cargo it carries is a cargo it carries that fits in a 9m payload bay.

5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

All very possible. Though Orion is built on legacy technologies. (Apollo, Space Shuttle, etc) so the only remaining portion, the Service Module, won't be a massive change to how the vehicle behaves in testing. What's more important to NASA right now, is making sure it can make it's mark and bring the vehicle back safely. That will give NASA the green light and likely the momentum to continue to a manned flight of SLS/Orion and eventually the later lunar landing. Though I do support a Apollo 7 style LEO mission using a commercial booster. But perhaps Bridenstine knows something I don't with Orion's SM.

Yeah, it's a boilerplate to test the (changed) heatshield. There is no reason to use SLS for this, except they also want to test SLS. If they are spending a few billion dollars on SLS, the least they could do is test the rest. It will be a catastrophic delay if somethign comes up on the first crew flight because they didn't bother to actually fly a flight article Orion CSM.

5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Bear in mind, EOR is great and all but it also requires boosting and transport to lunar orbit. That's where things change. It's easier and more reliable to build the lunar kickstage into the launch vehicle as opposed to launching 2 vehicles, making sure both don't fail, successfully dock, the tug functions correctly and gets the cargo to the proper destination. We've never used a tug to ferry crew to another celestial body before. How will the internal forces of the crew moving around effect the CoM/CoT with the tug? What about any dumps (urine, feces, soiled samples, etc) on the way there? Many questions that must be factored into the design of vehicle that doesn't exist in 2019.

Not a problem, and no worse than doing the exact same thing in a NRHO out by the Moon.

Gateway by itself is make-work. It serves no useful function at all, and does nothing that could not be done better by robots in terms of exploring the Moon. The only point at which Gateway becomes useful (and it's not really even useful for this) is to the extent it allows surface missions---all of which all the things you say are untested/hard in Earth orbit, but are none the less fully required for any lunar sorties.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Regardless- docking two super massive structures has never been attempted.

61526main_image_feature_189_jwfull.jpg

How massive are we talking?

Edited by Wjolcz

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