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NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads

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2 hours ago, Dale Christopher said:

@jadebenn the water towers are going up in 2 months from now XD

That’s a single vehicle, and is vastly different from a genuine article. Hence closer to being a water tower than a rocket. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, jadebenn said:

I'm not buying that NET is late 2021. The most uncharitable reading of Bridenstine's comment is simply, "we've given up on 2020."  Berger was the one who jumped to that meaning late 2021, and I take anything he says about SLS with a grain of salt after his (misleading) reporting on the second mobile launcher.

His statement was clearly that 2020 is not even on the table, and he's lowering expectations on 2021 at the same time, saying they "might achieve" 2021. That says at the very least they are thinking it's probably 2022 (else he'd have used a word like probably instead of "might," which implies low order of probability).

 

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If I were a government official tasked with giving a pessimistic-but-realistic estimate for Artemis 1 based on the information currently available, I'd go with mid-2021. That gives you half-a-year to a year of schedule margin to screw-up and/or deal with unforeseen issues with CS-1/the engines/launch infrastructure and still be "on-schedule." Adding to this, I believe this is actually the same estimate the GOA predicted. 

I'd expect them to be aiming for that. The trouble is that they have no excess time in their schedule since a couple years ago. Anything that delays the program delays it. Weather stops something for a week this summer, launch day moves out a week in 2021.

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Any delays after core stage assembly completes will be of a fundamentally different nature to those that came before. Instead of dealing with problems in product development, you'll be dealing with problems in product implementation, or with the testing process itself.

Yeah, for sure. That said, I was deeply surprised by the Bridenstine comment, I was expecting the day to move up if anything due to them pushing harder.

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Vulcan I can buy. It could get delayed too, but I could buy that timeline. They can finish the man-rating process after they start flying, since they're going to be using Atlas V for CCrew at first, so that won't hold them up the way it does with SLS.

Vulcan is going to be incrementally done, so early Vulcan is not the heavy stack, for example.

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Starship's 2021 date is laughable, unless they're trying to claim launching one of the water-towers counts.

They were talking about launching payloads (for customers) in that timeframe. The could put the SSTO version in space soon, apparently, even on Elon time. Doesn't matter if it's a "water tower."

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I don't know enough about NG to comment on it.

NG is a big ? because Blue Origin is so opaque. They've made it sound like they are trying to fly in the same timeframe as Vulcan---difference is that NG is a heavy out of the gate.

Edited by tater

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4 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

That’s a single vehicle, and is vastly different from a genuine article. Hence closer to being a water tower than a rocket. 

I think he is talking about the orbital prototypes that are under construction in both Texas and Florida. Elon tweeted that they should start testing in 2-3 months (although you should take that statement with a grain of salt, its Elon after all). Starhopper is going to do its first hop attempt (hopefully) on Wednesday.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

That’s a single vehicle, and is vastly different from a genuine article. Hence closer to being a water tower than a rocket. 

If it flies to space, or indeed flies under rocket power at all, it's more of a rocket than SLS is right now, or likely will be for 2-2.5 years.

5 minutes ago, NSEP said:

I think he is talking about the orbital prototypes that are under construction in both Texas and Florida. Elon tweeted that they should start testing in 2-3 months (although you should take that statement with a grain of salt, its Elon after all). Starhopper is going to do its first hop attempt (hopefully) on Wednesday.

SLS certainly beats SS to the Moon, that goes without saying. But there's every reason to believe SS is a functional rocket by the time SLS launches, which is pretty astounding.

The job of SLS is jobs, getting to space, doing anything... that's secondary. The longer it takes, the longer there are jobs. SpaceX and Blue are doing things for their own goals, and the goals are not maximal employment in their rocket factories.

Edited by tater

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4 hours ago, tater said:

If it flies to space, or indeed flies under rocket power at all, it's more of a rocket than SLS is right now, or likely will be for 2-2.5 years.

Seeing as Starhopper is just an excuse to test the Raptor engine and has such a small comparison to the final vehicle- then the RS-25 has a leg up on Raptor as the RS-25 has not only left the ground but gone to orbit, landed (albiet not under it's own power)*, and reused* .

*Things RS-25 has done that isn't even needed for SLS

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5 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Seeing as Starhopper is just an excuse to test the Raptor engine and has such a small comparison to the final vehicle- then the RS-25 has a leg up on Raptor as the RS-25 has not only left the ground but gone to orbit, landed (albiet not under it's own power)*, and reused* .

*Things RS-25 has done that isn't even needed for SLS

We are not talking about the Hopper, we're talking about the 2 orbital prototypes. Hopper is supposed to fly this Wednesday, the 2-3 months is orbital prototype hops, and 2-3 months after that is supposedly orbital flight of the prototype.

The engines don't matter, RS-25 has certainly flown many times---as part of Space Shuttle. SLS has never flown at all. ACES uses RL-10s, RL-10s have flown, but ACES doesn't exist, and has not flown, either.

We can argue this on and off for a few years, or simply wait for data. Data will be when Starship flies, and if it does so before SLS.

BTW, it should not even be remotely possible that Starship---any iteration or version of it---flies before SLS which should have already flown to the Moon by now. That there is a race between these two at all is testament to the poor management of the program, and the profound difference in culture between companies whose job is to mine public money, and companies who have either a business goal predicated on providing services, or a goal external to business requirements (Mars for SpaceX, or industry in space for Blue). If Starship doesn't fly to the Moon until 10 years after SLS, they'll be about even (not counting the fact that SLS will have spent vastly more money to get to the same point).

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Oh man, I cannot wait till 2020 to see your reaction.  

There is no way that a full starship stack can launch until at least 5 years from now, as they have no pad available, and an SSTO starship will have less payload than, say, an electron, but cost far more, and be expendable.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Barzon Kerman said:

Oh man, I cannot wait till 2020 to see your reaction.  

What do you expect my reaction will be exactly? SLS does not launch in 2020, we've already been told that officially. ANY flight of Starship in any form, to any altitude (or end) will be exciting to watch, and we won't have SLS to watch next year anyway. I'll love it if Starship flies, but it will have cost me exactly nothing if it doesn't (unlike SLS which costs me, personally, a few hundred bucks a year (rough estimate)).

 

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There is no way that a full starship stack can launch until at least 5 years from now, as they have no pad available, and an SSTO starship will have less payload than, say, an electron, but cost far more, and be expendable.

I didn't say a full stack, but I actually assume a minimal Stage 1 is likely (Staship itself is very nearly SSTO with landing props, so if they give it even 1km/s, they're good to go.

SSTOs are indeed not very useful, the point of SSTO Starship prototype is to test EDL. SLS will at best fly in mid 2021, and that will be definitionally a prototype vehicle, with Artemis-2 as the first operational flight (having only had 1 test flight). Starship unlikely to fly operational flights by 2021, IMO, still test flights---but since it's vastly less expensive, they can test, unlike SLS, since SLS can only launch at best 1/year, they simply cannot test by flying, they have to test in simulation and on the ground (which they have been doing now for years, and each year they spend more than the total dev for SS will be), and assume it works.

Edited by tater

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Posted (edited)

Calling those two pieces of scrap metal "an iteration of Starship" is exceedingly generous. It's like launching a cardboard cutout of the SLS with RS-25s attached.

Edited by jadebenn

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Posted (edited)

To be clear, if SLS flies in 2020, I'll be happy that it's only 4 years late, as their burn rate of money is independent of flying. I paid for SLS, I want it to fly. I'm mad at SLS/Orion because it's poor value for money, since as a taxpayer out of major production districts, I care about what it DOES as spacecraft, not how much money they spend here. Note that there are people here in NM that want none of our military bases to close, they want closures in other States (ours, you see, are vital to national security!). I'm not one of those people, I want the military to have exactly the minimal number of bases required to do their job, and if they need to close 90% of them, I'd prefer that, even if it hurts my state.

4 minutes ago, jadebenn said:

Calling those two pieces of scrap metal "an iteration of Starship" is exceedingly generous. It's like launching a cardboard cutout of the sls with RS-25s attached.

Anything capable of getting to orbit with RS-25s is a launch vehicle. What you think of it doesn't really matter.

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. If it works, it works, literally nothing else matters. If you can make a cardboard SLS that can fly to space, NASA should cancel the current one, and fly yours, instead.

Edited by tater

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1 hour ago, tater said:

To be clear, if SLS flies in 2020, I'll be happy that it's only 4 years late, as their burn rate of money is independent of flying. I paid for SLS, I want it to fly. I'm mad at SLS/Orion because it's poor value for money, since as a taxpayer out of major production districts, I care about what it DOES as spacecraft, not how much money they spend here. Note that there are people here in NM that want none of our military bases to close, they want closures in other States (ours, you see, are vital to national security!). I'm not one of those people, I want the military to have exactly the minimal number of bases required to do their job, and if they need to close 90% of them, I'd prefer that, even if it hurts my state.

You of all people should know not to listen to quick quips by individuals from NASA. Plans change more often than atoms rearrange themselves in a pot of boiling water. Especially missing the chance that again- Bridenstine is intentionally trying to make himself out as a hero by stating work will take longer than it really will so when the work finishes early- he can take the political glory. In the political sphere, that's all that matters to politicians. Proving their POV as the superior one. (Zoo, you're treading awfully close to 2.2b).

Anyway- 

SpaceX comparatively to SLS's complete hardware, is merely a few sheets of metal and a flying test stand. As @Barzon Kerman put it, Starship is an SSTO which poses major challenges. No launchsite, and even if there was one, there's no landing site to support the reuse of the vehicle. Using a re-entry system never before tested, and yet he wants to throw crew members in it. No hint of what systems will keep the crew alive and yet he intends to throw crew in there in under 3 years. Orion, for as bare bones as it is, still has 90% of the vehicle planned out and 100% of the equipment necessary for it to fly. Orion has a proven vehicle minus the life support, Starship is still so far in development the design is still fluctuating. SLS' design has finalized.

As to what the spacecraft does on the first flight is a bit moot since it can't do everything on the first flight and even if it could, NASA still gets flack for flying a crew on a new vehicle and even if they just went with the life support system, that still leaves the problem that the testing is a bit again, moot since there's no crew, and NASA has a history of designing life support systems.

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Spoiler

This whole cardboard box thing reminds me of a line from a certain movie...

 

Regarding Bridenstine's 2021 comment, I'd like to add Jeff Foust's interpretation as well.

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Bridenstine, though, appeared to indicate a first launch of SLS in 2020 was no longer in the cards. “I think 2021 is definitely achievable” for that mission, called Artemis-1.

Here's Eric Berger again for reference (just the article's headline).

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NASA’s large SLS rocket unlikely to fly before at least late 2021

Jeff and Eric have a similar read on this, so I'm inclined to believe that Bridenstine is ruling out a 2020 launch.

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Unless stated otherwise I see no reason why the rocket could not be tested and fully assembled waiting for launch by even mid 2020. As stated before, it won't take 18 months to test a rocket, move it back to the cape, assemble it, and stick it onto the MLP.

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20 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Unless stated otherwise I see no reason why the rocket could not be tested and fully assembled waiting for launch by even mid 2020. As stated before, it won't take 18 months to test a rocket, move it back to the cape, assemble it, and stick it onto the MLP.

Boeing.

Just, Boeing.

And of course bad project management.

But Boeing is putting a pretty large wrench in the NASA bureaucracy, not communicating properly with many NASA project teams among numerous other problems.

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2 minutes ago, Bill Phil said:

Boeing.

Just, Boeing.

And of course bad project management.

But Boeing is putting a pretty large wrench in the NASA bureaucracy, not communicating properly with many NASA project teams among numerous other problems.

Boeing is a large portion of the problems but the core stage already exists. They'd have to be criminally incompetent to create the vehicle, pass initial inspections only to fail the first major test for the stage.

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2 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Boeing is a large portion of the problems but the core stage already exists. They'd have to be criminally incompetent to create the vehicle, pass initial inspections only to fail the first major test for the stage.

It’s not the hardware, it’s the logistics.

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4 minutes ago, Bill Phil said:

It’s not the hardware, it’s the logistics.

As far as I'm aware, it's being moved by barge. Not by plane, even if it was, Boeing has aircraft capable of hefting the stage.

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Guys.

Read what I just said in the revised OP.

Berger lost all of his credibility a while ago. He just says whatever will get Ars clicks and all the SpaceX fans riled up. He's not reporting real facts anymore.

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Thread locked by OP's request. 

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