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NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads


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12 hours ago, Cassel said:

Hahaha NASA at the finest :-)

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

You are giving NASA far too little credit. SLS, Orion, and their ground systems combined are less than 1/4 of NASA's budget. In the meantime, NASA is:

Maintaining the ISS.

Churning out a steady stream of unmanned missions to LEO and beyond: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/?type=current is just the currently active missions, not counting retired missions and upcoming missions.

Developing new technologies and effectively sponsoring upcoming aerospace companies.

Maintaining the Deep Space Network dishes that are necessary for... well, deep space missions.

Engaging in education and outreach activities.

 

There is one part of NASA, benefiting from political patronage, that is effectively a jobs program. Most of the rest is an excellent scientific institution.

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NASA is awesome, and SLS is a small part of what they are doing. Different NASA centers have different priorities, and they sometimes are in conflict.

I dearly wish SLS was not the train wreck it is. There are numerous problems that seriously harm it, not even counting poor management. I think the entire notion of the core being a sustainer stage ends up crippling it in the long term as reuse technology evolves.

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10 minutes ago, tater said:

I think the entire notion of the core being a sustainer stage ends up crippling it in the long term as reuse technology evolves.

I’m not entirely sure that’s a problem.

s1200?webp=false

I mean, aside from reusability not even being on the horizon for the SLS given its launch tempo.

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31 minutes ago, DDE said:

I’m not entirely sure that’s a problem.

s1200?webp=false

I mean, aside from reusability not even being on the horizon for the SLS given its launch tempo.

Wake me when that actually flies, then when it gets reflown. 

 

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9 minutes ago, tater said:

Wake me when that actually flies, then when it gets reflown. 

Come on, it’s the stand-up guy child of a Shuttle and its ET, and looks a lot like an early Starship design. Fairly low-risk as far as reusability goes.

Entirely unrelated.

Quote

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine made no mention of the proposed deferral of the SLS Block 1B in remarks March 11 at the Kennedy Space Center to discuss the agency’s budget request. “It is a critical piece of the architecture that enables us to deliver reusability to the moon,” he said of SLS. “This is a transformational strategic capability for the United States of America.”

I think Roscosmos will have to up their game to beat those mental gymnastics.

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3 minutes ago, DDE said:

Come on, it’s the stand-up guy child of a Shuttle and its ET, and looks a lot like an early Starship design. Fairly low-risk as far as reusability goes.

Looks really cool. Then again Shuttle C would have done decent heavy lifting with almost zero dev required, and that’s equally nonexistent.

I spent literally decades watching notional rockets not ever get off of a piece of paper, I’m done with that, I want to see metal getting bent, or it might as well be science fiction.

Edited by tater
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46 minutes ago, tater said:

I spent literally decades watching notional rockets not ever get off of a piece of paper, I’m done with that, I want to see metal getting bent, or it might as well be science fiction.

Just imagine if they had KSP in 1950s...

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1 hour ago, tater said:

Looks really cool. Then again Shuttle C would have done decent heavy lifting with almost zero dev required, and that’s equally nonexistent.

I spent literally decades watching notional rockets not ever get off of a piece of paper, I’m done with that, I want to see metal getting bent, or it might as well be science fiction.

So've I, for over 50 years, for my memory goes back to at least Gemini 12.  From what I've seen and what I've read, it takes something more, usually international competition, to penetrate consistently into people's thoughts to maintain the political will.  Don't expect commercial space programs to replace this, for there's no market that's really worth it outside of LEO and GTO business.  There's nothing out in space that doesn't have a cheaper source or alternative on Earth, beyond wanting to go to space like Malory wanted to climb Everest, because it's there.  There's defence from the threat of Earth impactors, but that's a hard sell.

As we saw with Constellation, political pork to subcontractors doesn't appear to be enough to maintain a space launch system program of enough quality and activity long enough.  From the initial USAF contracts that started the development of the F1 engine to the all-up launches of the first Saturn V's was 10 years.  The Shuttle program only kept enough going by expanding to take over most NASA and DoD launches.  Constellation didn't have Apollo-level support and eventually couldn't find the right path with what resources it had.  SLS appears to be going the same way.  And if the programs aren't maintained, they're not a faucet that can be turned on again in a few years.  No engineering product or project is like that.  Be idle long enough and you start almost all the way back again.

As others have pointed out, NASA is a lot more than SLS.  Even NASA's space programs and projects are a lot more than SLS.  SLS not being the new Saturn program isn't quite NASA's fault as it has a lot more to keep going than just SLS.  And what could NASA have done to do this better?

In some ways, NASA has done what it needed to do with the Commercial Crew Development Program, to ensure there's 2 launch systems and crew spacecraft capable of accessing LEO.  Losing that twice, between Apollo and Shuttle and later between Shuttle and now, is bad for keeping space in people's minds.

In the end, maybe the only thing that will truly drive consistent crew space exploration beyond LEO will be competition with China.

Edited by Jacke
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11 hours ago, Starman4308 said:

You are giving NASA far too little credit. SLS, Orion, and their ground systems combined are less than 1/4 of NASA's budget. In the meantime, NASA is:

Maintaining the ISS.
Churning out a steady stream of unmanned missions to LEO and beyond: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/?type=current is just the currently active missions, not counting retired missions and upcoming missions.
Developing new technologies and effectively sponsoring upcoming aerospace companies.
Maintaining the Deep Space Network dishes that are necessary for... well, deep space missions.
Engaging in education and outreach activities. [zeroes out in current budget, but I doubt the House cares.  And nothing happens until the House passes their budget]

There is one part of NASA, benefiting from political patronage, that is effectively a jobs program. Most of the rest is an excellent scientific institution.

You left out the JWST.  Presumably that will advance science, but it has been devouring NASA's budget for years.

5 hours ago, tater said:

Looks really cool. Then again Shuttle C would have done decent heavy lifting with almost zero dev required, and that’s equally nonexistent.

I spent literally decades watching notional rockets not ever get off of a piece of paper, I’m done with that, I want to see metal getting bent, or it might as well be science fiction.

I can't see Shuttle C having less developmental costs than the SLS.  On the other hand, if the shuttle was an ongoing program, you wouldn't have to throw *so* much pork at the shuttle suppliers.

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7 minutes ago, wumpus said:

You left out the JWST.  Presumably that will advance science, but it has been devouring NASA's budget for years.

I can't see Shuttle C having less developmental costs than the SLS.  On the other hand, if the shuttle was an ongoing program, you wouldn't have to throw *so* much pork at the shuttle suppliers.

Shuttle-C wouldn’t have required a redesigned external tank, redesigned SRBs, or anything of the sort...

SLS is not using that much actual Shuttle hardware. Shuttle-C would have.

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4 hours ago, Jacke said:

In the end, maybe the only thing that will truly drive consistent crew space exploration beyond LEO will be

an alien invasion from another star, 100 ly from here. We need it. We have a lack of it.

It would be a kick-starter of the next human jump.

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But then EM-2, which would presumably use EM-1's SLS, could potentially be the first flight of a rocket but still be manned. I heard that they may use ground testing as a substitute for flight testing... Hmm.

 

Also:

If I were them, I'd choose Delta IV heavy to get Orion into LEO as it's more proven, and has flown EFT-1, and then Falcon Heavy to boost its full stage two to orbit for cost reasons.

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21 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

If I were them, I'd choose Delta IV heavy to get Orion into LEO as it's more proven, and has flown EFT-1, and then Falcon Heavy to boost its full stage two to orbit for cost reasons.

I've heard Delta IV (regular and heavy) are basically impossible to human-rate due to properties of the RS-68, including the hydrogen fire at launch.  If so, the options for manned launches seem to be:

-Human-rate the Falcon Heavy and launch the Orion on that

-Use two heavy-lift rockets to lift the Orion and upper stage, and ANOTHER, human-rated rocket (e.g., Atlas V orFalcon 9) with a crew capsule.  Then transfer the crew to the Orion in orbit.

 

If/when Vulcan and/or New Glenn become operational, could be a few more options.

Edited by Aegolius13
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17 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

If I were them, I'd choose Delta IV heavy to get Orion into LEO as it's more proven, and has flown EFT-1, and then Falcon Heavy to boost its full stage two to orbit for cost reasons.

DCSS wet mass is 30 tons. You can launch two of them with one expendable FH. Or just one, with 2/3 reusable FH.

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4 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Jaw.......dropped.

Me, LITERALLY YESTERDAY....

Spoiler


Quote

 

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.

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.

 

 

4 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

If I were them, I'd choose Delta IV heavy to get Orion into LEO as it's more proven, and has flown EFT-1, and then Falcon Heavy to boost its full stage two to orbit for cost reasons.

I would choose DIVH for the TLI because it has better BLEO performance. 

Just now, Aegolius13 said:

I've heard Delta IV (regular and heavy) are basically impossible to human-rate due to properties of the RS-68, including the hydrogen fire at launch.  If so, the options for manned launches seem to be:

-Human-rate the Falcon Heavy and launch the Orion on that

-Use two heavy-lift rockets to lift the Orion and upper stage, and ANOTHER, human-rated rocket (e.g., Atlas V orFalcon 9) with a crew capsule.  Then transfer the crew to the Orion in orbit.

If/when Vulcan and/or New Glenn become operational, could be a few more options.

For EM-1, there is no crew and so you don't need to man-rate anything.

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WAIT. GUYS. Orion capsule + ESM weighs 26 tons. DCSS is 30 tons. 56t total. One FH can lift the stack in one launch. I think it can even do it with 2 ASDS booster landings.

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6 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

For EM-1, there is no crew and so you don't need to man-rate anything.

True.  But I was referring to Berger's suggestion that you could do all future Orion missions this way.

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3 minutes ago, sh1pman said:

DCSS wet mass is 30 tons. You can launch two of them with one expendable FH. Or just one, with 2/3 reusable FH.

SpaceX will not be amenable to plumbing any of its pads for cryogens other than the ones it uses.

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7 minutes ago, sh1pman said:

WAIT. GUYS. Orion capsule + ESM weighs 26 tons. DCSS is 30 tons. 56t total. One FH can lift the stack in one launch. I think it can even do it with 2 ASDS booster landings.

 

5 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

SpaceX will not be amenable to plumbing any of its pads for cryogens other than the ones it uses.


There could also be issues with Falcon's horizontal integration.  Doesn't the Centaur need to be vertically integrated?

EDIT - maybe this is different with DCSS compared to Centaur... unsure.

Edited by Aegolius13
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Just now, Aegolius13 said:

True.  But I was referring to Berger's suggestion that you could do all future Orion missions this way.

Yes, you certainly can. If they are open to distributed launch then the solar system becomes your space-oyster.

Just now, sh1pman said:

WAIT. GUYS. Orion capsule + ESM weighs 26 tons. DCSS is 30 tons. 56t total. One FH can lift the stack in one launch. I think it can even do it with 2 ASDS booster landings.

Even if SpaceX plumbed pad 39A with hydrogen, this would be a non-starter because of dimensions. Also, the Falcon upper stage's payload adapter isn't really set up to hold anything nearly that heavy; notional payload to LEO is more about residuals (as @tater is always quick to point out).

 

10 minutes ago, Aegolius13 said:

The options for manned launches seem to be:

-Human-rate the Falcon Heavy and launch the Orion on that

-Use two heavy-lift rockets to lift the Orion and upper stage, and ANOTHER, human-rated rocket (e.g., Atlas V orFalcon 9) with a crew capsule.  Then transfer the crew to the Orion in orbit.

If/when Vulcan and/or New Glenn become operational, could be a few more options.

They could stage Orion from the ISS. Send the crew up via Commercial Crew (in whatever way you like) and then launch Orion and send it to the ISS. Crew gets into Orion, departs, and goes to meet its transfer stage. 

4 minutes ago, Aegolius13 said:

There could also be issues with Falcon's horizontal integration.  Doesn't the Centaur need to be vertically integrated?

EDIT - maybe this is different with DCSS compared to Centaur... unsure.

Centaur is vertically integrated; DCSS and DIVM/H are horizontal.

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22 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

SpaceX will not be amenable to plumbing any of its pads for cryogens other than the ones it uses.

Isn’t 39A already plumbed for hydrogen? 

17 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Even if SpaceX plumbed pad 39A with hydrogen, this would be a non-starter because of dimensions.

DCSS is 5m wide, a bit less than F9 fairing diameter. It’ll probably look silly, but not sillier than Atlas V with Starliner. Payload adapter can be redesigned for heavy payloads.

17 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

notional payload to LEO is more about residuals (as @tater is always quick to point out).

Or fueled stages. Fuel is dense enough.

These are all minor issues. If NASA decides to launch the entire thing on one FH, they will be worked out.

Edited by sh1pman
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According to Berger the suggestion came from SpaceX, so they are amenable to whatever is required, apparently, by definition.

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