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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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