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NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads


_Augustus_
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20 minutes ago, NSEP said:

I get why people think the SLS is behind, and isn't really significant compared to what other people are planning to do in the future, but keep in mind that SLS and Orion are the closest thing to a manned BLEO spacecraft and launch vehicle we have right now. If say, they cancel the SLS/Orion program right now, NASA, and maybe even the human species, would be taking a step backwards rather than forwards.

You never know, BFR could fail hard, and Orion would be our last hope.

Orion is so delayed that EM-2 won't happen until 2023 at the earliest, and that'll be a weaksauce Apollo 8 recreation. New Glenn and FH are both capable of the nearly the same deep space payload as Block I, and Block IB is so delayed that it won't fly until the latter half of the 2020s. That means DSG will be delayed or end up flying on commercial LVs anyway. Orion can't fly on FH, but New Glenn should be able to bring it to TLI and a dual Vulcan/ACES launch could as well. SLS is hard to justify with Block IB.... with only Block I it's nearly useless.

Also, a 1970s rocket that costs billions of dollars a year to maintain is not a step forwards.......

2 minutes ago, Canopus said:

So it's only advantage over FH is being actually able to complete the mission it was designed for? Can't say to much about new glenn, but ACES will only be available in 2024 or 25.

SLS Block I was never designed to fly Orion to TLI with comanifested payloads to build DSG, so EM-2 is now going to be a pointless demo flight, as EM-3 will likely be as well.

ACES is literally Centaur V with reuse/longer lifetime upgrades. If NASA wanted ACES, they could get it sooner than 2025. And that's still earlier than Block IB will probably fly. 

Edited by _Augustus_
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2 minutes ago, _Augustus_ said:

SLS Block I was never designed to fly Orion to TLI with comanifested payloads to build DSG, so EM-2 is now going to be a pointless demo flight, as EM-3 will likely be as well.

I know. You said Falcon heavy could replace Block 1 but it couldn't even do that.

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Just now, _Augustus_ said:

Also, a 1970s rocket that costs billions of dollars a year to maintain is not a step forwards.......

But cancelling it wouldn't be a step forwards either. I wasn't saying SLS is a step forwards, i was saying shutting it down is a step backwards.

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39 minutes ago, tater said:

Thought experiment:

Go back in time to the start of Constellation/SLS (whenever the common elements start to exist) and ask this question: If Congress guarantees NASA 15 years, and 40-50 billion dollars, what could you design as a crewed follow-on to the Shuttle, with BLEO as the goal using the existing Shuttle contractors and facilities?

I'm pretty sure we could have gotten something better.

If it was also specified that the program could only ever fly 1 mission a year, how would that change things?

 

Would probably look very much like SLS or Direct/Jupiter just arriving sooner thanks to an assured budget. Also i'd like to know why you think Direct is much better than SLS? Seems to me to be the same thing. Just with one design optimized for earth orbit and the other for Lunar orbit rendezvous

Funny thing is that the latest update on the direct site actually gratulates the decision on SLS over constellation because it uses more legacy shuttle hardware.

Edited by Canopus
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3 hours ago, Bill Phil said:
3 hours ago, sevenperforce said:

Needs more thrust if it is to be used for any sort of variable mission profile.

Well it was never intended to be used much.

 

2 hours ago, Canopus said:

What sort of mission profile are you thinking of? 

Anything other than the single EM-1 it was originally planned for.

Seriously, here's the thought process:

"Let's use NASA to make a big jobs program!"

"Well, we need a rocket."

"Great, let's make one to explore the moon or wherever."

"Or wherever?"

"Yeah, like, Mars or the moon or asteroids or something."

"Well Orion would sorta work for that, but you're gonna need a bigger rocket to actually lobsomething large enough for meaningful BLEO activities. Otherwise Orion just goes and comes back and that's it."

"Fine, fine, we'll make a bigger rocket eventually, but in the meantime let's just build a smaller one to send Orion on a test flight."

"Okay, working on it."

"Actually the bigger rocket is delayed so we'll just use the smaller one for everything for now."

The ICPS was only originally intended for EM-1. That's why it's the "Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage". But with the EUS hopelessly delayed, the ICPS is going to end up flying on multiple missions, which it wasn't designed for.

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2 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

The ICPS was only originally intended for EM-1. That's why it's the "Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage". But with the EUS hopelessly delayed, the ICPS is going to end up flying on multiple missions, which it wasn't designed for.

Other than Clipper all those missions will likely follow a very similar profile though.

Edited by Canopus
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7 minutes ago, Canopus said:

Would probably look very much like SLS or Direct/Jupiter just arriving sooner thanks to an assured budget. Also i'd like to know why you think Direct is much better than SLS? Seems to me to be the same thing. Just with one design optimized for earth orbit and the other for Lunar orbit rendezvous

Funny thing is that the latest update on the direct site actually gratulates the decision on SLS over constellation because it uses more legacy shuttle hardware.

DIRECT was actually intended to use existing Shuttle hardware off the shelf and get flying right away. Four-segment SRBs, a core essentially identical to the Shuttle ET, and only as many engines as you need for a given mission. All with the stated purpose of getting astronauts flying (whether to LEO or beyond) immediately, with the smallest possible gap between the STS and its replacement.

With DIRECT, we could have been sending Orion or Orion Lite to the ISS for the past six years, while building on that infrastructure to send payloads BLEO as well.

 

3 minutes ago, Canopus said:

Other than Clipper all those missions will likely follow a very similar profile though.

But it doesn't have the dV or the thrust for co-manifesting payloads.

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4 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

But it doesn't have the dV or the thrust for co-manifesting payloads.

Well yeah thats the whole problem. The mission will all be EM-1 clones just with a different final orbit. Wasn't saying i liked the idea that EUS was delayed. I meant a similar profile to EM-1

4 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

DIRECT was actually intended to use existing Shuttle hardware off the shelf and get flying right away. Four-segment SRBs, a core essentially identical to the Shuttle ET, and only as many engines as you need for a given mission. All with the stated purpose of getting astronauts flying (whether to LEO or beyond) immediately, with the smallest possible gap between the STS and its replacement.

With DIRECT, we could have been sending Orion or Orion Lite to the ISS for the past six years, while building on that infrastructure to send payloads BLEO as well.

Lets be real though. The transition would have never been very smooth.

Edited by Canopus
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10 minutes ago, Canopus said:

Well yeah thats the whole problem. The mission will all be EM-1 clones just with a different final orbit. Wasn't saying i liked the idea that EUS was delayed. I meant a similar profile to EM-1

ICPS just doesn't have enough throw weight to get a heavy enough payload onto TLI to actually do something useful.

10 minutes ago, Canopus said:

Lets be real though. The transition would have never been very smooth.

No one said it would be peaches and cream. But they would have been flying. And flying actual Shuttle hardware, too...not just the engines.

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31 minutes ago, Canopus said:

So it's only advantage over FH is being actually able to complete the mission it was designed for? Falcon Heavy can't lift Orion to a translunar trajectory so it's not a good replacement. Can't say to much about new glenn, but ACES will only be available in 2024 or 25.

Orion was upmassed. Why? So that only SLS could lift it. CST-100 bid for the same contract and lost. Put a better heatshield on CST-100, and-or stick the SM they pitched for Constellation, and you have an equally capable vehicle that can be flown on something not SLS.

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9 minutes ago, tater said:

Orion was upmassed. Why? So that only SLS could lift it. CST-100 bid for the same contract and lost. Put a better heatshield on CST-100, and-or stick the SM they pitched for Constellation, and you have an equally capable vehicle that can be flown on something not SLS.

I can‘t seem to find very much about CST-100 before 2010 and never anything in relation to Constellation, which was basically over at that point, but always as a commercial crew vehicle.  If you have any links about that and the when exactly the mass addition to Orion happened i‘d be very interested.

Edited by Canopus
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https://www.nature.com/news/2006/060901/full/news060828-7.html

http://www.astronautix.com/c/cevnorthrop.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crew_Exploration_Vehicle

nov_05_frontiers0120_lg.jpg

 

From another article:

While Young would not discuss cost estimates for the design, government and industry sources have said NASA's CEV is expected to cost $5.5 billion to develop and the Crew Launch Vehicle another $3.2 billion. Flight testing is expected to add another $2 billion to $3 billion to the price tag.”

LOL.

Edited by tater
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This boeing design has pretty much nothing in common with CST-100 other than being a capsule though. And the mass increased happened long before there even was a competing commercial rocket on the horizon? Doesn‘t look very conspiratory to me. Interesting though that they proposed lunar orbit rendevouz plans very similar to what may happen now.

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10 minutes ago, Canopus said:

I can‘t seem to find very much about CST-100 before 2010 and never anything in relation to Constellation, which was basically over at that point, but always as a commercial crew vehicle.  If you have any links about that and the when exactly the mass addition to Orion happened i‘d be very interested.

The original post-Shuttle crew vehicle was the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), which received bids from Boeing in partnership with Northrup Grumman and from Lockheed Martin. The original CEV was to mass 8.9 tonnes, but with a smaller service module that made total vehicle mass lower than the Apollo CSM. Little is publicly known about Boeing's losing bid (LM won in August 2006) but what is published shows a capsule essentially identical to CST-100.

The CEV survived the cancellation of Constellation, but in its evolution to the Orion MPCV it gained 17% more mass in its capsule and about a tonne more mass in its service module. 

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I never said the upmass was in response to commercial alternatives. Originally the CEV designes were to fly on Ares 1. The big rocket was exclusively for cargo. When they decided to dump Ares 1 in favor of SLS and put the capsule on top, it bloated to the point where only SLS could really lift it (which suited them just fine).

The Boeing cev was “close enough” to cst-100—even with landing, not splashdown. Remember that this project didn’t have them actually build them, then “fight it out,” they were all paper spacecraft that certainly would have changed over 12+ years.

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5 minutes ago, tater said:

I never said the upmass was in response to commercial alternatives. Originally the CEV designes were to fly on Ares 1. The big rocket was exclusively for cargo. When they decided to dump Ares 1 in favor of SLS and put the capsule on top, it bloated to the point where only SLS could really lift it (which suited them just fine).

The Boeing cev was “close enough” to cst-100—even with landing, not splashdown. Remember that this project didn’t have them actually build them, then “fight it out,” they were all paper spacecraft that certainly would have changed over 12+ years.

Wasn‘t lockheeds Orion also originally supposed to land in the desert? I recall illustrations of that. Anyway Orion weighs something like 25 tons now, and at the End of Constellation around 21 tons? 

Edited by Canopus
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Yeah. SLS was designed from the start to lift Orion, but since they dumped the (kooky) Ares 1 capsule on an SRB contraption, they had to also make SLS have a big upper stage since they would no longer have a cheap crew LV, then loft a huge cargo with props to do the TLI, it all had to be on one stack. 

SLS would have been better keeping crew to some other LV, imho.

They could have used Delta IV M+ I think for Orion and been fine. They’d then just man rate an existing rocket, and use SLS for cargo.

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8 hours ago, tater said:

Clearly it still exceeds NG in throw mass, but if NG is literally an order of magnitude cheaper with the same effective diameter, then you can just use multiple flights.


Yeah, let's "save" money by making our payload development and construction much more complicated, by increased mission risks in the form of orbital assembly and/or refueling, etc... etc...

Or, to put it another way.  No.  You cannot "just" use multiple flights.  It doesn't work that way.

53 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

The CEV survived the cancellation of Constellation, but in its evolution to the Orion MPCV it gained 17% more mass in its capsule and about a tonne more mass in its service module. 

Rule of thumb:  Everything gains in mass as it moves from paper to bending metal.

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13 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:

Yeah, let's "save" money by making our payload development and construction much more complicated, by increased mission risks in the form of orbital assembly and/or refueling, etc... etc...

Or, to put it another way.  No.  You cannot "just" use multiple flights.  It doesn't work that way.

There are no payloads for SLS as it is. None, except Orion.

So the dev and construction projects right now are still blank paper, and can be altered to fit available LVs. In addition, with the recent announcement of continued block 1 flights, any elements of LOP-G to be flown will necessarily fly on commercial LVs anyway, as they cannot co-manifest with Orion on top of block 1. So we're at multiple launches anyway by default. (does anyone know if ICPS has any margin to take Orion with even a small payload launched on another LV to NRHO?)  The alternative is that block 1 flies a bunch of times with no destination at all (Orion flights to cislunar with no DSG/LOP-G there to meet up with).

Orbital assembly? ISS was built via orbital assembly of small pieces----because small pieces is what Shuttle could deliver. Small Shuttle sized pieces (Unity, Harmony, etc) can likely be delivered to cislunar by commercial LVs, and honestly, Earth Orbit Rendezvous-style mission architectures are very much worth practicing as an end unto themselves. ULA is already pushing ACES in this role. Two Vulcan launches, one with ACES, another with the no-engine ACES tank variant to top it off in LEO. ACES then acts as a tug, doing another rendezvous with a cargo (third launch) to take BLEO. This is where even the "old space" players are at in terms of thought process (and it's a great idea).

So yeah, IMO, it will work that way---at some point---or I don't see it happening at all any time soon. Minus Block 1b, SLS flies nothing at all to NRHO except Orion, since they haven't even talked about a fairing on anything short of block 2, and 1 cannot co-manifest cargo.

 

Edited by tater
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I should add that block 2 is fantasy right now, it's not even on the timeline in a way that matters. Minus a purpose-built cargo version of SLS, all cargos have to be able to comanifest on the block 1b stack. That necessarily makes them small. DSG cargoes except the PPE all have docking on at least both ends, so attaching them on orbit in LEO is not a big deal, and as I said, that needs to become routine, anyway.

So a small hab 1 launch, and an ACES on another (maybe 2 if ACES needs a refill). They dock, and ACES takes it to LOP-G. The alternative is something like the PPE, which is already now looking at a commercial vehicle to get there, direct. Anything so big for LOP-G that it needs SLS, needs block 1b at the very least for a 1-stack flight.

Edited by tater
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10 hours ago, tater said:

Orion was upmassed. Why? So that only SLS could lift it. CST-100 bid for the same contract and lost. Put a better heatshield on CST-100, and-or stick the SM they pitched for Constellation, and you have an equally capable vehicle that can be flown on something not SLS.

 

9 hours ago, tater said:

https://www.nature.com/news/2006/060901/full/news060828-7.html

http://www.astronautix.com/c/cevnorthrop.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crew_Exploration_Vehicle

nov_05_frontiers0120_lg.jpg

 

From another article:

While Young would not discuss cost estimates for the design, government and industry sources have said NASA's CEV is expected to cost $5.5 billion to develop and the Crew Launch Vehicle another $3.2 billion. Flight testing is expected to add another $2 billion to $3 billion to the price tag.”

LOL.

CST-100 wasn't developed for the same contract, only Boeing's CEV proposal was.

Just look at the pictures provided in your links (in particular the second, the reentry capsule doesn't even have the same shape as CST-100 or Orion). The picture in your post shows most likely an early proposal of Orion, after Lockheed-Martin gave up on the idea of a space plane for CEV.

And if CST-100 is a derivative of Boeing's CEV proposal, Bigelow (Boeings partner for CST-100) worked on an Orion lite proposal (essentially a stripped down version of Orion for LEO) together with Lockheed Martin. So in that sense, CST-100, a collaboration project between Boeing and Bigelow, would be a derivative of both Boeing's CEV proposal and of Bigelow's Orion Lite, and through the latter a derivative of Lockheed Martin's Orion.

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There were all sorts of artist's conceptions out there for the CEV proposals. I have seen a number of variants. Exactly how much of Boeing's footwork for CEV was used in CST-100 is unknown, but I'm confident it is non-zero. Regardless, either current commercial crew vehicle could likely be tasked with the same role as Orion with some modification (probably the avionics being a big part of that for certification, I don't think the heat shields are an issue).

All that said, I've always thought of CST-100 as the loser to LockMart for the CEV contract since the details of both were always sorta sketchy artists conceptions, but I could clearly be wrong about the extent of the project that was moved into commercial crew, if so, my bad. It doesn't change the fact that Orion has grown to fit the LV is was assigned to, since in the SLS era there was no constraint for Orion to be LV agnostic---thought it demonstrably can fly on top of Delta IV Heavy at the very least, and D IV Heavy even while really expensive is dirt cheap compared to SLS, so I think it's worth considering scrapping SLS as the Orion LV, and man-rating D IV, instead, then concentrating on a fairing. Yeah, this would end up requiring an EOR architecture with 2 launches, adding complications, but then SLS could loft cargo and an upper stage, and the crew is on a separate vehicle.

 

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10 hours ago, tater said:

There are no payloads for SLS as it is. None, except Orion.

That is the root of all the problems with NASA right now. There is no payload. But there is no payload, because there is no mission. LOP-G is just what happens in the vaccum of 'we have no idea what to do now'. Go to the Moon? Maybe at some point, but we won't appropiate money just now. Mars? Yeah, try next administration. But 'it's the notional goal'. repurposed bovine waste. If it was, a plan to get there would be drafted, and the payloads neccesary to do so would be contracted out, and then launchers would be selected, or planned if none were suitable.

 

Until NASA starts designing payloads to go somewhere with humans, it won't get anywhere with humans, no matter what its budget is. And those payloads aren't souped-up versions of Apollo with a 18 billion dollar pricetag, they are in-space stages, long duration habitats, landers, and perhaps fuel depots. None of those things are funded, or plan to be funded in the near future. That is how I know NASA won't do anything of significance in human spaceflight this decade.

 

And yes, the only flight of SLS that makes the slightest bit of sense is Clipper. Because it is the only one that started as a payload, with a destination.

 

Rune. Funny how it doesn't really need the SLS, BTW.

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@tater has it right. Anything beyond SLS Block 1 is at least as notional and vaporous as ACES or Vulcan or NG or BFR.

15 minutes ago, tater said:

It doesn't change the fact that Orion has grown to fit the LV is was assigned to, since in the SLS era there was no constraint for Orion to be LV agnostic---thought it demonstrably can fly on top of Delta IV Heavy at the very least, and D IV Heavy even while really expensive is dirt cheap compared to SLS, so I think it's worth considering scrapping SLS as the Orion LV, and man-rating D IV, instead, then concentrating on a fairing. Yeah, this would end up requiring an EOR architecture with 2 launches, adding complications, but then SLS could loft cargo and an upper stage, and the crew is on a separate vehicle.

Man-rating DIVH is kinda a non-starter because of how temperamental (and prone to flame-belching) those RS68s are. I am still of the opinion that Orion is simply not needed. Better to spend development time and dollars on a reusable, dockable hab and IVF tech.

But EOR is where the future is. Seriously. We have been flying EOR with the ISS for how many years now? Enough already. If NASA had simply funded the development of ACES (or an earlier cryogenic IVF and prop trans system) to begin with, we'd be so much further ahead already.

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1 hour ago, sevenperforce said:

@tater has it right. Anything beyond SLS Block 1 is at least as notional and vaporous as ACES or Vulcan or NG or BFR.

Man-rating DIVH is kinda a non-starter because of how temperamental (and prone to flame-belching) those RS68s are. I am still of the opinion that Orion is simply not needed. Better to spend development time and dollars on a reusable, dockable hab and IVF tech.

But EOR is where the future is. Seriously. We have been flying EOR with the ISS for how many years now? Enough already. If NASA had simply funded the development of ACES (or an earlier cryogenic IVF and prop trans system) to begin with, we'd be so much further ahead already.

Yeah, for all the flak people give ULA vs New Space, ACES is a brilliant idea, using tech that they have honed to perfection already with likely the single best rocket stage ever built, Centaur. Short of huge, Apollo stacks, EOR is a way to go that minimizes risk (since all components can be tested in LEO), and maximizes the use of as many contractors as possible. This is non-trivial, because instead of making a single vehicle that is partially expensive because it uses so many contractors, it can have several vertically integrated LVs (from an mfg standpoint, not how they are stacked) that are more cost effective.

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