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[New] Space Launch System / Orion Discussion Thread


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6 hours ago, Nightside said:

Can you elaborate on this?

It's a big expansive expandable rocket and it looks cool.

(Probably I'm the only only one who doesn't dislike its price.)

Edited by Space Nerd
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31 minutes ago, Space Nerd said:

(Probably I'm the only only one who doesn't dislike its price.)

This part I just don't understand.

I can get it's a big rocket (cool).

I can get it'll be an interesting launch (solids make for a spectacular launch).

I can't see any remote benefit in it being literally an order of magnitude too expensive. With Orion, and counting what the SM actually costs, it will be billions per flight. SLS core is ~1-2B$, SRBS are ~1B$ for a pair (or was it half a billion for 2, not one?), Orion is a billion, and the SM has to be 100s of millions. Oh, and ICPS is ~175M$, EUS has to be some multiple of that. Call a Block 1B 4 billion $? That's just nuts. If it cost what it should, they could fly it more. If it's cool, wouldn't it be better to see it fly a few times a year?

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48 minutes ago, Entropian said:

I knew it was way too expensive, but that really puts it into perspective.

I get that money isn't the point, and that the money would not be spent some other way (it's earmarked), but if the SLS/Orion program got the same amount of money, spent with the same contractors—but they could make 3 stacks, or 4, etc for the same money... it looks totally different. It's more like Shuttle. Same cost roughly per year as Shuttle, and little reason not to fly at least 2 times a year for that same amount of money, maybe 3.

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2 hours ago, tater said:

4 billion $?

According to wiki, that's 4 / 153 * 25 ~= 0.65 bln in the Apollo-time prices.

So, if compare it to Saturn V + Apollo, they were probably even more expensive.

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1 hour ago, EchoLima said:

Random q: Is the Orion in Artemis 1 going to NRHO, or just a generic (presumably not polar) "distant retrograde orbit"?

Neither, it's not entering lunar orbit at all I think.

EDIT: The Artemis I mission has changed, it is indeed orbital now (good).

Quote

The outbound trip to the Moon will take several days, during which time engineers will evaluate the spacecraft’s systems and, as needed, correct its trajectory. Orion will fly about 62 miles (100 km) above the surface of the Moon, and then use the Moon’s gravitational force to propel Orion into a new deep retrograde, or opposite, orbit about 40,000 miles (70,000 km) from the Moon.

The spacecraft will stay in that orbit for approximately six days to collect data and allow mission controllers to assess the performance of the spacecraft. During this period, Orion will travel in a direction around the Moon retrograde from the direction the Moon travels around Earth.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/around-the-moon-with-nasa-s-first-launch-of-sls-with-orion

Edited by tater
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50 minutes ago, catloaf said:

Why can't NASA recover the srb's? Do they travel too far?

Even in the shuttle  era, it didn't  make sense, it was cheaper  to throw  them away and buy new, the cost of " refurbishment " was higher than building them new anyway

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40 minutes ago, Flavio hc16 said:

Even in the shuttle  era, it didn't  make sense, it was cheaper  to throw  them away and buy new, the cost of " refurbishment " was higher than building them new anyway

What's your source for this?

As much as people here like to complain about them, NASA isn't totally stupid. If the SRBs were genuinely more expensive to recover and reuse, why did they keep recovering and reusing them?

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16 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

What's your source for this?

As much as people here like to complain about them, NASA isn't totally stupid. If the SRBs were genuinely more expensive to recover and reuse, why did they keep recovering and reusing them?

For the same reason NASA is still developing  a useless heavy launcher that is unfeasible  thanks to cost even though  it reused shuttle parts ( in theory): politics. Reusing the srbs was a way of giving jobs to hundreds  of people  who vote

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10 minutes ago, Flavio hc16 said:

For the same reason NASA is still developing  a useless heavy launcher that is unfeasible  thanks to cost even though  it reused shuttle parts ( in theory): politics. Reusing the srbs was a way of giving jobs to hundreds  of people  who vote

That's not a source. I believe I asked you to provide a source for your claim.

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It was my understanding that refurbing the 4-segment Shuttle SRB's was very close to the cost of new boosters...

As for not recovering the 5-segment SRBs from SLS, the biggest hurdle is that the nozzle is deeper in the water, past the point where regular scuba divers can plug it. Specialized divers would have been needed, adding extra complications and expense to a task that already had a questionable return.

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6 hours ago, catloaf said:

Why can't NASA recover the srb's? Do they travel too far?

They were really expensive to refurbish anyway.

Of course each set of 2 for SLS costs $971,000,000.

6 expended FH flights.

Pure insanity.

4 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

What's your source for this?

As much as people here like to complain about them, NASA isn't totally stupid. If the SRBs were genuinely more expensive to recover and reuse, why did they keep recovering and reusing them?

To be fair I had heard this before as well. The refurb costs on the RS-25s for SLS were a multiple of their new cost, so it's not completely impossible, I suppose. Let's see what I can find

 

LOL, one link said 30M to refurb the SRB... I might have thought that was a huge % of booster cost since it would be absurd for a SRM to cost more than maybe 50M (and even that would be outrageously high frankly). Little did I know I was literally off by an order of magnitude.

Edited by tater
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4 hours ago, tater said:

They were really expensive to refurbish anyway.

Of course each set of 2 for SLS costs $971,000,000.

6 expended FH flights.

Pure insanity.

To be fair I had heard this before as well. The refurb costs on the RS-25s for SLS were a multiple of their new cost, so it's not completely impossible, I suppose. Let's see what I can find

 

LOL, one link said 30M to refurb the SRB... I might have thought that was a huge % of booster cost since it would be absurd for a SRM to cost more than maybe 50M (and even that would be outrageously high frankly). Little did I know I was literally off by an order of magnitude.

Wait, can't 6 expended falcon heavy's easily do a crewed moon mission via low Earth orbit rendezvous?

For the cost of TWO boosters.

Ridiculous!

Edit: removed part of draft that was accidentally posted.

Edited by catloaf
And I thought boosters were a cheap way to increase your twr.
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4 hours ago, tater said:

LOL, one link said 30M to refurb the SRB... I might have thought that was a huge % of booster cost since it would be absurd for a SRM to cost more than maybe 50M (and even that would be outrageously high frankly). Little did I know I was literally off by an order of magnitude.

Funny. A week ago it was published that new Proton costs 30+, while Angara will cost 50+.

A perfect match.

***

Though, afaik, the Shuttle's SRB were having been fully disassembled into metal sheets and skirts, then reassembled with addition of new parts, so the first and the last Shuttle flight used same skirt on one SRB.

Probably this should be called recycling rather than reuse.

Anyway, why drop a metal sheet if it's still intact.

Edited by kerbiloid
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Distributed launch could certainly do a lunar mission, such a conversation would be better suited for the Artemis thread, though. Currently, Orion has no other way to get to space at all with crew other than SLS.

NG (coming soon) will be able to get Orion to LEO, then a distributed system could be contemplated. The trick with F9 and FH for this use is that the bulk of the mass to LEO they throw is in fact residual propellants. It's not KSP where you just sick them together and transfer props after some arbitrary time. So any distributed launch with FH can only really talk about what fits under the fairing, IMO, except the last launch before TLI, which could be a "naked" FH.

In short, replacing SLS with FH with other limitations (like having to use Orion) is a mess, it's probably easier to do a clean sheet.

My cost comparison was more one of complexity vs cost. There is no even remotely plausible reason 2 SRBs should cost as much as 18 F9 boosters, plus 6 upper stages. It's absurd.

Edited by tater
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5 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

SLS: one test per month.

Starship: two tests in one day.

To be fair the test stand alone probably cost more than SpaceX has spent in Boca Chica in total, there's a lot more at risk. With the core stage added in it certainly costs more than SpaceX has spent to date in Boca Chica I'd wager. (counting zero SLS dev costs, because adding those in it starts getting silly)

Edited by tater
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