ZooNamedGames

[New] Space Launch System / Orion Discussion Thread

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

4) Musk can't afford to send crews to Mars without NASA funding and NASA won't fund Musk until they are ready for Mars or the moon. 

I don’t agree. They’re trying to monetise on Earth the tech they are developing for Mars so that it funds itself. 

Starlink, The Boring Company, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar... batteries... it all ideally funds itself and put it together you (almost) get a 360 degree colonisation capability.

Edited by Dale Christopher

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Just now, Cheif Operations Director said:

I will say this again

IF NASA has any delays and SpaceX is successful they will cut NASA funding even more.

I still say unlikely- as NASA is more than just rocket launching. They also fund scientific endeavors across the globe- on the globe, public education, funding scientific groups, funding new aerospace companies, working with the FAA. Honestly it'd be easier to list things NASA doesn't do. So they likely wouldn't cut NASA's budget much since it would just be better spent researching than building and flying.

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Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

I still say unlikely- as NASA is more than just rocket launching. They also fund scientific endeavors across the globe- on the globe, public education, funding scientific groups, funding new aerospace companies, working with the FAA. Honestly it'd be easier to list things NASA doesn't do. So they likely wouldn't cut NASA's budget much since it would just be better spent researching than building and flying.

Do not take this the wrong way, but I am mostly agreeing with you, that NASA will win the race but still IIIFFFFF SpaceX wins the race then congress who always wants to cut funding for programs that are not well known will cut NASA funding to a minimum because frankly the average person does not know the difference between NASA and SpaceX, so their will be no outcry. Congress will give the new money to there salaries as always.

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Just now, Dale Christopher said:

I don’t agree. They’re trying to monetise on Earth the tech they are developing for Mars so that it funds itself. 

Starlink, The Boring Company, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar... batteries... it’s all funding itself and put it together you (almost) get a 360 degree colonisation capability.

Almost. Yet you forget Tesla is constantly under fire for some problem. Starlink has 60 satellites. A very small number- could grow yes, but for the time being that isn't much to say especially since it's only to LEO- Mars orbit is vastly different. Not only is gravity different, but solar radiation is vastly harsher- and there's no way to save the satellites should they drift from orbit. Boring Company is still a developmental company and Hyperloop and those related concepts are just glorified subways but with vastly lower throughput of passengers per hour due to the low vehicle passenger capacity.

Not to mention SpaceX is also struggling just to get crews to Earth orbit- hell- crews to space period. So far we've got a vehicle but it's grounded right next to Boeing. A vehicle which likely isn't even able to leave LEO as it isn't built for deep space radiation or the extended life support. SpaceX has only 1 vehicle that could feasibly do such a mission and it isn't even planned for Mars until 2030 at best- 2040 more likely.

1 minute ago, Cheif Operations Director said:

Do not take this the wrong way, but I am mostly agreeing with you, that NASA will win the race but still IIIFFFFF SpaceX wins the race then congress who always wants to cut funding for programs that are not well known will cut NASA funding to a minimum because frankly the average person does not know the difference between NASA and SpaceX, so their will be no outcry. Congress will give the new money to there salaries as always.

One could easily say that funding the right programs at NASA could yield the same kickback by taking cheap paths on research projects. Thus keeping NASA's budget. Congress does want to cut NASA's budget but the people like NASA (there's a high approval rating overall), so additional funding being cut would only raise more rabble from the people.

But I'll leave that there since this is definitely entering political territory and 2.2b.

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10 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

cut would only raise more rabble from the people.

Again as long as the masses see "bigger" rockets on droneships they will not think that NASA will need the Funding. this is my point if SpaceX beats NASA in the PR Game congress can cut funding since the wider public will not care. 

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Just now, Cheif Operations Director said:

Again as long as the masses see "bigger" rockets on droneships they will not think that NASA will need the Funding. this is my point if SpaceX beats NASA in the PR Game congress can cut funding since the wider public will not care. 

That might work but recently talking to people and people talking to their peers have found that SpaceX ain't as big of a name as we think of it as. A kid in high school polled his peers and most didn't know SpaceX nor any non-NASA agency. And most of my peers in my aviation maintanence course (adults ranging in age from 21-45) also aren't too familiar with SpaceX and have to be reminded- "Elon Musk's company... the one that lands rockets" "... ... ... ... oh yeah I remember that". So don't overestimate SpaceX's value in the public's eyes.

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1 minute ago, ZooNamedGames said:

That might work but recently talking to people and people talking to their peers have found that SpaceX ain't as big of a name as we think of it as. A kid in high school polled his peers and most didn't know SpaceX nor any non-NASA agency. And most of my peers in my aviation maintanence course (adults ranging in age from 21-45) also aren't too familiar with SpaceX and have to be reminded- "Elon Musk's company... the one that lands rockets" "... ... ... ... oh yeah I remember that". So don't overestimate SpaceX's value in the public's eyes.

You just proved my point. If SpaceX does all the heavy lifting and NASA gets the publicity NASA does not need the funding for the PR Boost. This is my point. As long as people see stuff happening they do not care if the logo on the side of the rocket is SpaceX or NASA

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Just now, Cheif Operations Director said:

You just proved my point. If SpaceX does all the heavy lifting and NASA gets the publicity NASA does not need the funding for the PR Boost. This is my point. As long as people see stuff happening they do not care if the logo on the side of the rocket is SpaceX or NASA

But they still identify with NASA as the explorers. So cutting their budget would denote a negative response from the public.

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1 minute ago, ZooNamedGames said:

But they still identify with NASA as the explorers. So cutting their budget would denote a negative response from the public.

They will start asking why we even need NASA anymore if companies can do it

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Just now, Cheif Operations Director said:

They will start asking why we even need NASA anymore if companies can do it

Assuming the people know other agencies other than NASA- but not knowing them- they won't support cutting NASA's budget. They don't see other companies they just see NASA, their beloved space agency's budget being cut. So such a decision would be up to the congress members who, would likely not bite since it's been well known Boeing, Lockheed and other major aerospace companies with investments into NASA don't want to see their budgets wasted so they'd likely kick back some $$$ to make sure their efforts keep going. Plus knowing the people would be happy, Congress would likely agree to support NASA for it. SpaceX just doesn't have the same kind of pull as those big names.

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1 minute ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Assuming the people know other agencies other than NASA- but not knowing them- they won't support cutting NASA's budget. They don't see other companies they just see NASA, their beloved space agency's budget being cut. So such a decision would be up to the congress members who, would likely not bite since it's been well known Boeing, Lockheed and other major aerospace companies with investments into NASA don't want to see their budgets wasted so they'd likely kick back some $$$ to make sure their efforts keep going. Plus knowing the people would be happy, Congress would likely agree to support NASA for it. SpaceX just doesn't have the same kind of pull as those big names.

Ok but this supposes that they care about NASA. People support a space program BUT not nessicarily NASA

 

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Just now, Cheif Operations Director said:

Ok but this supposes that they care about NASA. People support a space program BUT not nessicarily NASA

 

But based on public information they don't know of any other major organizations to explore space other than NASA. So to them it's NASA or nothing. So they care about it thinking it's their only option for space (again from I'm seeing SpaceX ain't as hot as it appears).

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8 minutes ago, Cheif Operations Director said:

They will start asking why we even need NASA anymore if companies can do it

Nah, NASA has a better logo.

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Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

But based on public information they don't know of any other major organizations to explore space other than NASA. So to them it's NASA or nothing. So they care about it thinking it's their only option for space (again from I'm seeing SpaceX ain't as hot as it appears).

This will only take one large PR campaign with the Internet for SpaceX to take that spot, I gtg I will continue the debate tomorrow. Need to be up in two hours for the Atlas Launch since I have tickets

Just now, Nightside said:

Nah, NASA has a better logo.

debatable :) 

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1 minute ago, Cheif Operations Director said:

This will only take one large PR campaign with the Internet for SpaceX to take that spot

SpaceX has already done some big PR pushes. The issue is people forget. And one campaign from the other major names and SpaceX's platform can be thrown off massively- and ofc those other names will be pushing NASA, and not their own since through NASA they can do a lot more than what's shown.

Also I'll step outside for the Atlas launch. I wasn't able to see the launch due to haze but maybe weather will cooperate this time. If you're not local then I hope you've booked multiple days here since it might not go the first time (though being ULA that's actually unlikely).

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2 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Assuming SpaceX/Musk doesn't go bankrupt, Starship development goes smooth and a myriad of other small issues that must align perfectly for it to work.

They'll iterate. Either stage 2 reuse is possible, or space travel literally never gets interesting for humanity, ever. If physics and current materials science allows S2 reuse, they'll likely make it work, IMO.

 

2 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

SLS will fly and will get us there. Yes it's taken time but unlike Musk, NASA doesn't try to bury the practical problems of developing the world's largest rocket.

This is simply delusional.

No one is burying any problems, it's a different style of development. Boeing (SLS) is doing it the old way, SpaceX is doing it empirically. Make a rapid decision, test, learn, iterate. It's different. If NASA had been given all the SLS funding with no political strings attached to develop BLEO human spaceflight, they'd almost certainly have made something nothing at all like SLS.

 

2 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Also A3 is for the moon not Mars. Not even Musk has plans for Mars until the 30s (more likely the 40s or 50s).

Mars is an asprirational goal for SpaceX (as it is for many at NASA, only NASA will literally never get the funding required for Mars the way they have done SLS (hundreds of billions)).

I'm not a Mars person, but anyone alive right now who wants any hope of seeing human boots on Mars should root for SpaceX, cause it ain't gonna be NASA IMO (for strictly fiscal reasons).

1 hour ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Not to mention SpaceX is also struggling just to get crews to Earth orbit- hell- crews to space period. So far we've got a vehicle but it's grounded right next to Boeing.

Orion will fly without people (as an incomplete spacecraft, BTW) about 16 years after they started work. Commercial Crew started about 9 years ago, and had funding pinched a couple times, and has already flown 1 vehicle, and will fly the second (also uncrewed---but both Crew Dragon and Starliner were/are 100% flight article test vehicles, unlike Orion in 2021. Both almost certainly fly 10 years after project start with humans aboard.

 

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Posted (edited)

 

Regarding NASA budget and Starship success, I see it has helpful for NASA. NASA will certainly simply buy cheaper SHLV launches to do what they want to do, and if/when SpaceX gets a crew version operational, they buy rides on that as well. NASA will not be frozen out of lunar aspirations by a private entity out of a bizarre death pact with SLS. They will buy services when those services are demonstrated. SLS/Orion is very likely the last vehcile developed the old, cost-plus way. This goes for Blue Origin as well. Bezos is very, very serious about this endeavor, and he's a chess player. When he builds humans to the Moon capability (100% his life goal, IMO), NASA will hire that as well.

This is predicated on those vehicles actually existing, and working.

NASA can do some exploring instead of building infrastructure. If a US government science expedition goes to Antarctica, that expedition does not have custom cold weather clothing manufactured. They don't also develop their own aircraft to fly them to the pole, they use extant aircraft and gear. Space exploration will be better, and do more when this is the case (then NASA can perhaps concentrate on truly novel spacecraft (NTP, etc)).

Edited by tater

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To be clear:

1. I think SLS will fly at least a few times.

2. I think Orion will likely outlive SLS (since it can always ride on another LV), though it needs a decent SM, and it needs modern automation (gotta have automatic docking, etc).

3. I think it's a dinosaur, and likely any project occupying this timeframe built the old way would be in exactly the same boat. NASA had no way of seeing how rapid change might come, and only their old experience to work with. A contractor acting in the old system will rationally work to mine as much $ from every contract as possible, that's the sensible thing to do. NASA could not really have done much other than they did (though SLS was never a good idea, it's too big for LEO, too small for useful BLEO, and too expensive for, well, anything at all.

4. Boeing, LockMart, et al, have a responsibility to their shareholders, not a responsibility to make humanity spacefaring. I think among all the new space companies right now, the ones that are most interesting are interesting precisely because making money is not in fact their primary goal. Making humanity spacefaring is their primary goal---it's a goal only someone with strict control of the company, and the money to burn can do (and their leadership doesn't change every 4 years).

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6 minutes ago, tater said:

though SLS was never a good idea, it's too big for LEO, too small for useful BLEO, and too expensive for, well, anything at all.

Yeah. I would be much more SLS-positive if they had skipped straight to EUS and had 1 or 2 less budget/schedule overruns.

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18 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Yeah. I would be much more SLS-positive if they had skipped straight to EUS and had 1 or 2 less budget/schedule overruns.

Yeah, the 2.X billion dollar burn rate---regardless of activity in the program---is a huge part of the problem. In effect, SLS is not competitive unless they can manage to launch say 5 a year (for the same 2.5 B$ they spend just to keep the lights on, apparently).

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, tater said:

Making humanity spacefaring is their primary goal

A strange correlation: the persons, whose primary goal is to make humanity spacefaring usually don't have enough money for that, and vice versa.
Which makes presume that they do that for money.

5 hours ago, tater said:

Yeah, the 2.X billion dollar burn rate

USD spending ain't of my business, of course, but you can now develop an economical rocket equation. Even a pair.
And calculate ISP for different space systems.

ISP * g * ln ( (EmptyRocketPrice + RocketFuelPrice + ShipPrice) / (EmptyRocketPrice + ShipPrice)) = 10 km/s for LEO;
or
ISP * g * ln ( (RocketLaunchPrice + ShipPrice) / (RocketLaunchPrice + ShipPrice - RocketFuelPrice)) = 10 km/s for LEO;

so,

ISP = 10 km/s for LEO / (g * ln ( (EmptyRocketPrice + RocketFuelPrice + ShipPrice) / (EmptyRocketPrice + ShipPrice)));
or
ISP = 10 km/s for LEO / (g * ln ( (RocketLaunchPrice + ShipPrice) / (RocketLaunchPrice + ShipPrice - RocketFuelPrice)));

So, you can compare economical ISP of various rockets.

***

Or a simplified ideal form, considering the rocket fully expendable:

ISP = 10 km/s for LEO / (g * ln (RocketLaunchPrice / ShipPrice + 1));

***

So, one can compare efficiency of SLS, SpX, etc, numerically.

Edited by kerbiloid

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9 hours ago, Dale Christopher said:

@ZooNamedGames

I think you’d benefit from assessing your points of view to see for yourself how objective they are.

I’ve assessed enough to know what I’m talking about.

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2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

A strange correlation: the persons, whose primary goal is to make humanity spacefaring usually don't have enough money for that, and vice versa.
Which makes presume that they do that for money.

They are slightly different. SpaceX absolutely has to make money to afford to do anything, for sure.

Bezos doesn't.

Making humanity spacefaring is tied solely to infrastructure (as Bezos would put it). It's cost to space, plain and simple. Make reuse work, and costs drop by orders of magnitude.

As Bono and Gatland put it in the intro to Frontiers of Space (1969):

Quote

As we enter the age of the space rocket much remains to be done before it can take its place alongside more conventional means of transportation. The rocket boosters of today are not recovered for re-use; they are allowed to burn up while penetrating Earth's atmosphere or to splash down wastefully into the sea. No other method of transportation could long survive the extravagance associated with disposal of the carrier vehicle after only one use. Truly efficient space exploration awaits the day when launching can be accomplished by a booster which can be recovered and re-used repeatedly.

This is not a new idea, and not a "new space" idea, indeed the same contractors involved in SLS/Orion proposed reusable systems decades ago---the only difference is that the government took over spaceflight in the 1960s, and so they never had a business incentive to do it any other way than the way they are doing SLS. That's really the difference, private entities that seek to enable this tech want to spend their own money to do it.

 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Cheif Operations Director said:

I will say this again

I sympathise >_<

13 hours ago, Cheif Operations Director said:

IF NASA has any delays and SpaceX is successful they will cut NASA funding even more.

But I don’t believe it necessarily follows that NASA would receive a funding cut if SpaceX strides ahead in launch and transport capability. NASA still do have a hugely important part to play in exploration and expansion. 

Imagine for a sec that SpaceX is able to do everything Starship promises, cheap high volume logistics from Earth to practically any other body in the solar system. Do you really think that the US government will decide to reduce funding for their premier space organisation? Just as the gates of the solar system are thrown open to humanity? 

 

Edited by Dale Christopher

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