Jump to content

NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads


Recommended Posts

 

13 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Goal for the time being is to establish a station around the moon via a space station. Orion is merely the transfer craft. It will complete the same objective as the Soyuz does today and deliver crews, with the possibility of cargo modules to the station as well, something Soyuz cannot do. 

It's make-work for the system they have. Not a mission they started with, with SLS/Orion built for that mission.

So it has no mission.

EM-2 is no longer Gateway. You know that, right? It's just a highly elliptical loop around Earth that goes past the Moon.  EM-3 is 2024 (assuming no slips).

 

Quote

SLS will provide experience in operating a super launch vehicle. Something no other agency or company currently has realistically planned (Musk’s BFR is not currently in the realistically planned camp but I’ll mention BFR in a second). Yes 1 launch a year is slow. But that’s early estimates, and things could change. 

No, it's not going to change. They don't have the budget, and won't. It doesn't do anything useful, and assuming there is ever 1b cargo, there are not a line of multi-billion dollar payloads waiting to be launched for 4 billion a launch.

Quote

As to being too small? Maybe. But that’s where B1A and B2 come in. “But they aren’t ready yet”, and they will take their normal political cadence in completing it. It will take time. That’s NASAs style. NASA takes their time for guaranteed results over immediate benefits by turning around existing hardware ala Shuttle C style.

If there was an alternative, like BFR by the time SLS launched, then NASA would fly it, albeit, after BFR has a proven flight record. But until SpaceX gets the experience and flight time that the SLS intends to provide.

Blue will be flying NG before people are atop SLS. 45 tonnes to LEO, 7m flush fairing (easy to make ~8m SLS cargo sized if needed). Launch cadence will certainly be higher. Using Orion to send crew... kinda pointless, as it has a crappy SM that can't get the job done (where the job is defined as anything useful).

 

13 minutes ago, Jacke said:

Something like Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct and what he lays out in his The Case for Mars strike me as better plans with a better chance of coming to fruition.

If SLS is the available LV, Mars Direct never happens, and that's risky compared to the NASA version (their Mars DRAs are based on MD, but with additional launches). The NASA Reference Architecture has something like 2-3 SLS launches in rapid succession required a couple years apart (meaning 2-3 launches within a few months one year, then 2 years later the same, so 4-6 total (I'd have to dig out the PDF to check)). That's never gonna happen.

Edited by tater
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, tater said:

 

It's make-work for the system they have. Not a mission they started with, with SLS/Orion built for that mission.

So it has no mission.

EM-2 is no longer Gateway. You know that, right? It's just a highly elliptical loop around Earth that goes past the Moon.  EM-3 is 2024 (assuming no slips).

 

No, it's not going to change. They don't have the budget, and won't. It doesn't do anything useful, and assuming there is ever 1b cargo, there are not a line of multi-billion dollar payloads waiting to be launched for 4 billion a launch.

Blue will be flying NG before people are atop SLS. 45 tonnes to LEO, 7m flush fairing (easy to make ~8m SLS cargo sized if needed). Launch cadence will certainly be higher. Using Orion to send crew... kinda pointless, as it has a crappy SM that can't get the job done (where the job is defined as anything useful).

 

If SLS is the available LV, Mars Direct never happens, and that's risky compared to the NASA version (their Mars DRAs are based on MD, but with additional launches). The NASA reference Architecture has something like 2-3 SLS launches in rapid succession required a couple years apart. That's never gonna happen.

I’m not going to argue. Fact is you’ve got SLS, New Glenn and BFR coming in the near future. If anything happens, SpaceX or BO could go under and take their research with them. That’s why there’s NASA. 

You can continue to scream at NASA but this late into development I’m fairly certain they won’t listen. So I instead of screaming and getting mad, will be celebrating that NASA is actually achieving something as opposed to constantly shifting gears to appease every armchair aerospace engineer who claims they know better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another rant (I should go to bed, lol).

EM-1 is also useless.

The Orion is in effect a boilerplate (again). Untested heat shield, then they won't even have the ECLSS aboard to test that. EM-2 is literally the first all-up test. It would make far more sense to have EM-1 appropriately "all up," so that EM-2 could be useful (within the limits of usefulness given the goofy Gateway plan).

As is, the first actual mission that is not a waste of time (EM-2 is very much a waste of time, way less of a flight than Apollo 8) will be 2024, assuming no slips in a program that has used all the slop in the schedule.

 

1 minute ago, ZooNamedGames said:

I’m not going to argue. Fact is you’ve got SLS, New Glenn and BFR coming in the near future. If anything happens, SpaceX or BO could go under and take their research with them. That’s why there’s NASA. 

NASA is a aerospace jobs program. It's one I love, and support, but I'd prefer if it was more focused on things like planetary exploration, the scientific return is better.

Also, NASA doesn't make stuff. Contractors make stuff. The only reason NASA continues to make stuff with those contractors is because they give them loads of cash. If NASA gave loads of cash to Blue instead of Boeing, they could have New Armstrong, instead someday. AJR is around because they get this cash (look at how ridiculous their payout is for RL-10s, 2 for starliner basically cost as much as buying a launch. They are getting 3X what they charged new to resell us used SSMEs we already paid for.

 

1 minute ago, ZooNamedGames said:

You can continue to scream at NASA but this late into development I’m fairly certain they won’t listen. So I instead of screaming and getting mad, will be celebrating that NASA is actually achieving something as opposed to constantly shifting gears to appease every armchair aerospace engineer who claims they know better.

Pretty much everyone paying attention (who isn't employed on the project) thinks its a garbage plan. I'll be happy when it flies (I paid for it), but it's not really going to achieve anything. Honestly, the only thing that would make me consider it an achievement worth any celebration would be Europa Clipper---but if they don't start bending metal right away, that's not a thing in their claimed timeframe of what, 4 years from now?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

And the easy answer to the SLS problem may be "but SpaceX" or "but Blue Origin" in reference to BFR and New Glenn launch vehicles respectively. They are corporate entities tied to a fluctuating economy with the only guarantee of funding coming from their investors and stock holders, whom can cause a large sway on the companies direction. Not to mention both companies, tied to that same economy, can falter and fail to achieve any of their promises and goals as they go bankrupt. NASA however, has the benefit of not having to worry about stockholder demands or ensuring profitability. "But NASA is subject to Congress' demands" yes, but they are limited by the scope of the law, and once funding for a project is set, it is set in stone with NASA wholly set to achieve it and nothing else. Though NASA's objectives may shift with the change in the political party in the White House, and with the changing presidents dreams and expectations, their funding and their expectations set for them by Congress remain a priority with the president's demands having to run alongside the current obligations, not in competition.

That’s a poor comparison. Note that none of the big corporate players in NuSpace are public companies - which means they are instead beholden to a single investor, or a, pardon the dramaticism, shadowy cabal theoreof. This may be a more reliable arrangement than a herd of pork-hungry cats in three-piece suits - so long as the investor lives and doesn’t lose interest *cough* Stratolaunch *cough* In fact, arguably the most massive leaps in spaceflight were achieved under such an “investor” - Nikita Khrushchev.

Also, you’re writing as if NASA has never developed an SHLV before. I’m sure the moon landing hoxers will be delighted :sticktongue:

 

2 hours ago, tater said:

EM-1 is also useless.

Pretty much any platform in search of a mission before it’s even built is useless.

Orion has been this since the renaming, at least. It’s optimized for a narrow range of Apollo-esque lunar and NEO missions in an era when we should be moving away from Apollo-esque missions. Journey to Mars bordered on fraud at times, given the ways it was being sold to the public (the apex of it was a journo at an RS-25 test fire who got the impression Orion can land on Mars); LOPped-G (or, per Zubrin, the lunar orbit tollbooth) is uttery ridiculous once you remember most of the modules are co-manifested, making them fairly mass-inefficient - while launching the Orion without co-manifested cargo is overkill for the SLS.

So excuse me while I toot my horn, but NASA is about two decades behind the Soviet Union.

Edited by Deddly
Link to post
Share on other sites

NASA has done a great job providing human spaceflight rockets, it is not time for others to take over that role.

*SpaceX comes in screaming*

*Starliner feels insulted by this*

NASA should be for training astronauts and monitoring safety and providing probes only...

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

And again with the NASA bashing hate.

First: I'm mostly bashing Congress, Boeing, and other contractors. You know, the ones who are keeping this zombie horse alive whilst sucking enormous amounts of money from more useful projects.

6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:
  • Overspending and slow development has been a staple of NASA since before Apollo 11 (and that isn't even a joke). The Lunar Module was also behind schedule and overbudget, initially expected to be 500 million dollars before inflating to more than 1 billion dollars in development. As well as running behind schedule with Apollo 8's original mission profile basically being what Apollo 9 later achieved, but due to delays and the inability to launch before the end of the 1968 year, NASA launched a mission anyway without the Lunar Module.

That doesn't make it better, nor does it excuse cost overruns on the LEM, part of a project that was mostly intended to stick it to the Soviets. Apollo is not a sacred cow. It just had the political will behind it to power through its problems.

6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:
  • As said by someone acting as Tom Kelly in the HBO miniseries From The Earth To The Moon, speaking on the subject of the Lunar Module development- "Perhaps the main reason we were behind schedule and overbudget was because budgets and schedules are based on previous experience with similar projects. We really didn't know how much it would cost to build a LM or how long it would take." Simple fact is that NASA has no experience with building a super heavy lift vehicle. Even if every part is being reused from a previous design (which for the first stage is just the engines), that still leaves a large portion of the vehicle uncharted territory for NASA. Territory NASA will test, and retest until satisfied to put the lives of several people on top of that rocket in 2022/2023.

We're talking about the same cluster of organizations (NASA and its major contractors) who are one of only two organizations to ever build an SHLV, right?

And the political influence continues to show itself, as political pressure ensures astronauts will be placed on the SLS with a vastly abbreviated testing campaign compared to the commercial crew vehicles. SLS is not being driven by safety; the current lunar landing plans are neither the safest nor the most efficient way to get to the Moon, it's just the only one that can go on the SLS.

6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:
  • And an additional quote from the same is another reason for the SLS being costly, "every LM will have to be handmade. There were no suppliers to buy LM parts from, and because everything on a LM was new, everything had to be tested, and tested, and tested again. The thrusters, the engines, the deployment of the landing gear, we would have to know how a LM would react when exposed to extreme sunlight or when pelted with dust. We had to know how the landing gear would perform if the LM would land on a slope. Thousands of tests, day after day, for years. Some of the tests went well. Some of them did not". Note, of course I know the SLS is not the Lunar Module, and vice versa, but the point is that new rocket, spacecraft or any development of a manned vehicle tested and put through developments for every aspect of every part so that when the launch comes, NASA is as confident as possible with the outcome and this is a style of operation built over 60 years of launching manned spacecraft. Some may claim that NASA has been unwise in the past to choose vehicles like the Space Shuttle, but the fact is NASA has always been pressured towards design compromises and changes by political ideologies, and without drifting into the politics, all that needs to be said is that a NASA has never had a day in it's existence, whether Freedom 7, Apollo 17, STS-135, or EM-2, the fact remains that there has been and always will be tests, and elaborate review panels on everything NASA does as NASA does not want to make another foobar like the shuttle again and certainly not make the same mistake which cost 14 brave astronauts their lives, and hasty decisions without their review is exactly what caused their deaths in the first place. As someone who's getting into the aviation industry myself, I can tell you there's a long and lengthy reason behind everything that agencies like NASA or the FAA does, always. It may not be the economical choice, but it's has a good reason for it. Not that it needs to be the economical choice as again, NASA has the benefit of government funding. Which leads to my next point-

That an organization can be over-funded and suck needless taxpayer dollars from other programs doesn't excuse the fact that Congress is engaging in wasteful porkbarrel spending on a bridge-to-nowhere.

6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:
  • NASA has the option to be overbudget. It's why it's government funded. Fact is large developments such as a super heavy launch vehicle incur unexpected and exceptionally large costs. Things that cannot be predicted as we haven't built one before. We've theorized or conceptualized designs, but as any test pilot will tell you, what's on paper, does not always equate to what works in reality. And unlike your ventures into KSP, NASA does not use it's astronauts as test dummies.

Given the extensive history we have with Boeing and these other long-time contractors, it would have been very safe to say from the outset that the budget was a fantasy and that the contractors would suck every penny possible out of a cost-plus contract while providing the bare minimum product.

Also, you're talking to somebody who habitually puts launch-abort systems on his KSP launch vehicles and runs unmanned tests of everything first, not to mention somebody who is extensively criticizing the idea of using the Superheavy/Starship to launch astronauts without an LES. So, please, don't make assumptions about me.

6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:
  • And the easy answer to the SLS problem may be "but SpaceX" or "but Blue Origin" in reference to BFR and New Glenn launch vehicles respectively. They are corporate entities tied to a fluctuating economy with the only guarantee of funding coming from their investors and stock holders, whom can cause a large sway on the companies direction. Not to mention both companies, tied to that same economy, can falter and fail to achieve any of their promises and goals as they go bankrupt. NASA however, has the benefit of not having to worry about stockholder demands or ensuring profitability. "But NASA is subject to Congress' demands" yes, but they are limited by the scope of the law, and once funding for a project is set, it is set in stone with NASA wholly set to achieve it and nothing else. Though NASA's objectives may shift with the change in the political party in the White House, and with the changing presidents dreams and expectations, their funding and their expectations set for them by Congress remain a priority with the president's demands having to run alongside the current obligations, not in competition.

The goals set for NASA are to funnel money to Shuttle-era contractors, not to do anything actually productive. While it was slightly less insane at its conception, where Delta IV Heavy was the only commercial US-built HLV, it's just about unjustifiable in today's climate. Semi-reusable commercial LVs are here to stay; even if SpaceX goes bankrupt, it's almost guaranteed that somebody will snap up the Falcon 9/Heavy. Multiple companies are working on further semi-reusables. Even expendable LVs are getting cheaper, with the power to launch significant blocks of any mission that requires assembly.

6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:
  • NASA is not wholly wasteful either- they are THE driving force behind companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, driving reusability and more importantly, ensuring that NASA's, and more importantly, the American tax dollars, return to the economy well spent, and well used. SLS isn't meant to be profitable. Like the Space Shuttle, it is intended to be a powerhouse, and more importantly, a first of it's kind. Providing NASA the essential experience and knowledge from developing, operating and flying a super heavy launch vehicle. Information that will undoubtedly prove to be essential for companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. Elon Musk having even come forward and stating that the knowledge and experience gained from the Space Shuttle helped Musk design and develop the Falcon 9 rocket. The fact is the technology they engineer on their 'inefficient' rockets, still comes around to benefit the aerospace industry as a whole. Though other companies could achieve the first more cost effectively or on a faster schedule, they are unreliable and are subject to changing their focus or failing altogether yielding no benefit whatsoever.

I would concur that NASA is not wholly wasteful. The unmanned program (with the possible exception of JWST) has been very effective at expanding our knowledge of the universe. The key subsidies to SpaceX and other upcoming companies like Rocket Lab are driving new commercial growth. It's mostly SLS that I'm complaining about.

I would disagree about SLS being unprofitable. It's very profitable... for Shuttle-era contractors. Not for the American people to which NASA is theoretically beholden.

It's also very much not first-of-its-kind. That would be the Saturn V. Or the Shuttle. SLS isn't driving technology forwards. It's using primarily 1970s/1980s technology in ways best designed to funnel money to entrenched contractors.

Additionally, it's not exactly hard to take a look at the state of the commercial launch industry, and design payloads that could fit on multiple LVs, including proven expendable (or, in one case, semi-reusable) LVs, in case any specific one fails.

6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

I think I've gone on long enough and have made my point quite clear. SLS brings a lot of good to the industry. If you stop looking at the red, you'll see it as the proof is right out in the open. Again, the reason why I feel this thread achieves nothing in the long run is because so many are blindly team SpaceX and follow cultural norms saying that "NASA is wasteful, NASA only builds expendable rockets, SpaceX reuses, so clearly they're better" without actually doing any comprehensive or in depth analytical research for themselves. I'm not saying SpaceX isn't doing the industry good, but SpaceX would still be testing Grasshopper and launching the Falcon 1 if it weren't for NASA's help, NASA's past research, NASA's flight experience, and most importantly, NASA's funding.

NASA brings a lot of good to the industry.

SLS brings a lot of good to very specific, entrenched Shuttle-era contractors. There's nothing really novel about it: the engines are largely warmed-over Shuttle engines with a dose of RL-10 engines, and the structure and fuel tanks are, to my knowledge, pretty conventional.

Any way you slice it, SLS is an expensive bridge to nowhere, liable to be cancelled the moment the US government gets into a budget-cutting mood and Shelby gets over-ruled. The few missions tasked to it are being designed around its capabilities, instead of SLS being the best solution to any given mission. Even with LOP-G, everything is being warped around what SLS can do instead of being the best way to get to the Moon.

In the current economic climate, there is no justification for SLS. With the rapid advances in commercial LVs, what is called for is a wait-and-see approach. Continue to make probes, maybe build some modules for a space station that can go to LEO on extant commercial LVs. If we get a good crop of heavy LVs with costs an order of magnitude less than SLS with an order of magnitude better flight rate, then NASA can make much more ambitious plans that are an effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. If we don't... well, we still have a crop of probes to launch and an LEO station, and we can consider restarting the SHLV program with a clean-sheet design, made for a purpose instead of purposes being made for it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Starman4308 said:

It's also very much not first-of-its-kind.

Emphatically.

i?id=144688e9ad2adfa2fdf632544482ae4b-l&

I can’t stress Glushko’s program-designing genius enough.

20 minutes ago, Starman4308 said:

we still have a crop of probes to launch and an LEO station, and we can consider restarting the SHLV program with a clean-sheet design, made for a purpose instead of purposes being made for it.

A counterargument to this that I can imagine is that, should the commercial (S)HLV indistry fail after SLS’s cancellation, its utter failure would make any other SHLV, no matter its merits, politically unacceptable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a very interesting development, though unsurprising (it’s only a matter of time). 

SLS is a dead rocket walking. Alabama won’t let it die a dignified death, but die it will.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, tater said:

SLS is a dead rocket walking. Alabama won’t let it die a dignified death, but die it will.

Ideally it will be kept on (minimal) life support until we have at least one proven VHLV on the market(at this point BFR looks like the leading candidate).  Letting it die before that happens risks not having any VHLV capability at all should something happen to the private provider candidates.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Cassel said:

The best part is that NASA has more experience in not completing projects than on flights to other planets.

To be fair, noone has more experience in flights to other planets than NASA.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sh1pman said:

To be fair, noone has more experience in flights to other planets than NASA.

But many has less experience in canceling their costly programs ;-)
So when you compare those two factors NASA isn't that great...

Edited by Cassel
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Terwin said:

Ideally it will be kept on (minimal) life support until we have at least one proven VHLV on the market(at this point BFR looks like the leading candidate).  Letting it die before that happens risks not having any VHLV capability at all should something happen to the private provider candidates.

Honestly New Glenn is an SLS-killer and may launch before BFR. 

Even Vulcan-ACES could kill SLS with distributed launch, though it likely will not be operational before BFR.

2 hours ago, Terwin said:

Letting it die before that happens risks not having any VHLV capability at all should something happen to the private provider candidates.

Counterpoint: SLS has no VHLV payloads. Orion is not very heavy; it's just heavy if you are trying to throw it to the moon.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, sevenperforce said:

Honestly New Glenn is an SLS-killer and may launch before BFR. 

New Glenn seems to get 13 tons to GTO, 2 tons more than Ariane 5. So without a refueling strategy similar to ACES, i wouldn't call it an SLS killer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Canopus said:

New Glenn seems to get 13 tons to GTO, 2 tons more than Ariane 5. So without a refueling strategy similar to ACES, i wouldn't call it an SLS killer.

I find it unlikely that Bezos will not have some sort of refueling and prop management system in place. Pretty sure that with two launches it could throw more to cislunar space than even Block 1B.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, sevenperforce said:

I find it unlikely that Bezos will not have some sort of refueling and prop management system in place. Pretty sure that with two launches it could throw more to cislunar space than even Block 1B.

Upper stage refueling seems to be planned in blue Origins future roadmap but new glenn won't start flying with it. Who knows how far off it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Canopus said:

Upper stage refueling seems to be planned in blue Origins future roadmap but new glenn won't start flying with it. Who knows how far off it is.

Let's see here.

EM-3, the first notional use of Block 1B with the EUS, would need to send Orion (26 tonnes) plus ESPRIT (4 tonnes) to NRHO, which needs 3.124 km/s out of a 28 degree, 200 km LEO.

Working back-of-the-envelope: if NG can place 45 tonnes in LEO, then it can put the 30-tonne Orion+ESPRIT combo into LEO with 15 tonnes of propellant residuals. Comparing the dimensions of the NG upper stage to the DCSS I would estimate dry mass at 5.7 tonnes; let's call it 6.5 tonnes to be super conservative. The BE-3U is an open expander cycle with unknown specific impulse, but it would be shocking if it didn't develop at least 435 seconds, so I'll put that in.

By the rocket equation, NG could place Orion+ESPRIT into an elliptical orbit that's 1.467 km/s (let's round down to 1.4 for conservatism) beyond LEO.

As long as NG's upper stage has basic RCS (cold gas or boiloff) and a decent battery life, then it could have already launched an empty NG upper stage with a docking ring into the same orbit. NG can push 45 tonnes into LEO, so it can send at least 45 tonnes of residuals into LEO. Kicking it out onto the elliptical trajectory to wait for Orion would drop residuals down to 30 tonnes. By mating to a docking ring on the base of ESPRIT (which can be accomplished with Orion's RCS), you end up with a NG upper stage and 30 tonnes of residuals mated to ESPRIT, mated to Orion. A single burn at perigee gives an additional 2.56 km/s, which comes to over 4 km/s beyond LEO, which is more than enough margin.

Hell, even if you ignore leftover props in the Orion-stack launch stage and do the rendezvous in simple circular LEO, you've got 3.4 km/s in excess velocity past LEO, so you're still golden.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...