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30 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

not just pork- there's other legitimate reasons like bringing the badly aging Stennis facilities to the 21st century

That's called "pork." Stennis doesn't need government money at all. If their facilities are desirable, charge industry to use them. Figure out what it costs annually to maintain, and charge accordingly. If that is too expensive for customers? Close the test facility, or sell it.

How many tests do they do a week?

SpaceX has a test facility. BO has a test facility. Why doesn't AJR have their own facility? You'd think for 15X the cost of a Be-4 per RS-25 (being generous to AJR) AJR could afford to build their own test facility. If the money they have been paid over the years actually went into Stennis... sell it to AJR.

A rocket test facility requires rural real estate, and some water.

 

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2 hours ago, tater said:

That's called "pork." Stennis doesn't need government money at all. If their facilities are desirable, charge industry to use them. Figure out what it costs annually to maintain, and charge accordingly. If that is too expensive for customers? Close the test facility, or sell it.

How many tests do they do a week?

SpaceX has a test facility. BO has a test facility. Why doesn't AJR have their own facility? You'd think for 15X the cost of a Be-4 per RS-25 (being generous to AJR) AJR could afford to build their own test facility. If the money they have been paid over the years actually went into Stennis... sell it to AJR.

A rocket test facility requires rural real estate, and some water.

 

You do realize it also employs many people, people who can turn around & spread their experience to groups like BO & SpaceX?

Moreover, the reason why Stennis doesn't get companies to work there is precisely because it isn't modern enough to handle current vehicles. It'd be nice to welcome groups like SpaceX or Blue but they can't afford to make the upgrades to the facilities needed- NASA, who doesn't need to concern themselves over profits or expenditure v income- can. Plus going back to my earlier point- all this work will not only hire more people but open it up to not just the likes of Blue Origin, SpaceX, ULA or NASA but other new start ups too who need access to a test facility but might not be able to afford rural real estate & the equipment needed to fuel a rocket like that.

Also there's more needed than just those 2 things. For one, permission from the government to do such testing as well as properly setup disposal procedures if there's toxic fuel included (which includes Kerosene), as well as the test stand itself which needs to be able to hand not just the thrust loads but also the sound & thermal dynamics of running a rocket engine near the ground. A complex setup which a simple bill to give Stennis a refurb could easily solve & thus- give smaller, newer startup companies making their rockets a government available, leg up in testing.

Again- SLS staying there forever is stupid. The bill to upgrade Stennis is not. After all- if it didn't go to Stennis, then it likely wouldn't have fallen in the space sector at all. More likely to more military spending or some other use which we'd see far less of a return on.

Edited by ZooNamedGames
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3 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

You do realize it also employs many people, people who can turn around & spread their experience to groups like BO & SpaceX?

Don't care.

If it's closed, BO and SpaceX can hire them. Or not. I'd wager both companies do more tests than Stennis, anyway, so they actually have more, not less experience.

I didn't say to close Stennis, I said to close the testing facility, if there are people doing other valuable work, they can do that.

 

3 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Moreover, the reason why Stennis doesn't get companies to work there is precisely because it isn't modern enough to handle current vehicles. It'd be nice to welcome groups like SpaceX or Blue but they can't afford to make the upgrades to the facilities needed- NASA, who doesn't need to concern themselves over profits or expenditure v income- can. Plus going back to my earlier point- all this work will not only hire more people but open it up to not just the likes of Blue Origin, SpaceX, ULA or NASA but other new start ups too who need access to a test facility but might not be able to afford rural real estate & the equipment needed to fuel a rocket like that.

There is ZERO reason for the government to modernize a facility so SpaceX can use it—they have their own. they do multiple tests per day. How many tests does Stennis do? Seriously. Each RS-25 by itself, and Green Run. Any others lately?

 

3 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Also there's more needed than just those 2 things. For one, permission from the government to do such testing as well as properly setup disposal procedures if there's toxic fuel included (which includes Kerosene), as well as the test stand itself which needs to be able to hand not just the thrust loads but also the sound & thermal dynamics of running a rocket engine near the ground. A complex setup which a simple bill to give Stennis a refurb could easily solve & thus- give smaller, newer startup companies making their rockets a government available, leg up in testing.

A total waste of money.

How many tests do they do? What would a government style upgrade on the facility cost? I'd wager more than SpaceX has spent so far building Boca Chica, lol.

3 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Again- SLS staying there forever is stupid. The bill to upgrade Stennis is not. After all- if it didn't go to Stennis, then it likely wouldn't have fallen in the space sector at all. More likely to more military spending or some other use which we'd see far less of a return on.

Upgrading Stennis is indeed stupid, and wasteful. We have a commercial space industry actively competing for fixed-price contracts. There is no reason at all for NASA to ever develop a new launch vehicle again. SLS is it. Never gonna happen again.

If they want to stay in the testing loop, build a huge vacuum chamber to test vacuum engines. Anything short of that is throwing good money after bad.

NASA needs to realize that launch is now off the shelf, just as researchers working in Antarctica don't have to invent new modes of travel to arrive there (they use a C-130), NASA doesn't need to invent new launch vehicles that are obsolete by the time they fly. NASA should pivot to advanced propulsion, and up the TRLs on NTP, VASIMR, etc. Anything that is actually more difficult for commercial to do than government (nukes, in short).

That keeps NASA usefully busy, and pushing the envelope.

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As a reality check there's a guy on youtube with cameras pointed at the SpaceX facility in McGregor, TX. He's only been posting for a month, and he doesn't capture every test.

2 days ago SpaceX did at least 6 engine tests. 2 Raptors (~30s), 2 M1D (full duration), one MVac (full duration), and hot gas RCS (for SS/SH). May 17 he has 4 tests recorded, a bunch of days with 3, and many onesy-twosy days. Again, it's just some guy, and he doesn't do every test. It's clear that they do tests on I think every engine. So 1 Mvac every couple weeks (that's how many launches), and some M1Ds here and there, and every single new Raptor, likely several times (They're up to 80 or something, right, so at least a couple hundred Raptor tests in the last year or so?).

That's a propulsion test facility. No idea what it costs to run. The metrics that would be useful would be total tests, total unique engines tested,and total seconds of firing time. That gives an idea of the cost per engine, per second of firing, etc. Maybe then we'd have a better idea of what Stennis is worth.

Wow: The NASA Stennis budget seems to be pretty tiny, under $150M. That's actually much lower than I was assuming.

How many tests do they do per year, though? It's such a small amount of money, it seems reasonable to pass that cost on to the engine manufacturers. If ULA (and parents independently), AJR, NG, etc can't scrape up $150M between them, dunno what they are blowing all that pork on. Of course if they only do a test a month or fewer, then the cost per test is ridiculous.

 

Edited by tater
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48 minutes ago, southernplain said:

Despite how ungodly expensive it is, SLS is going to look good once it is all stacked.

I like the way cargo SLS Block 1B/2 looks, but I find it very ugly with Orion on top.

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On 3/22/2021 at 7:48 PM, tater said:

Yeah, DIRECT was great.

Pick a set of mission goals, then design something that can accomplish those mission goals.

A Jack of all trades approach (master of none ;) )I am actually fine with—but SLS is definitively not a JoaT, since it is not really a Jack of any trade. To be a multi-purpose system, it would have to be capable of multiple mission profiles.

I love the look and performance of (RE)DIRECT

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  • 3 weeks later...
15 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Hmm, I wonder what commercial SHLV that could possibly be. There are so many commercial companies building superheavy launch vehicles! :P

Expanding to 2 flights/year in the 2030s.

That will be sad if it ever happens, because for that to be a thing, we have to assume that SpaceX has utterly failed with SS/SH, and in fact tanks completely as a company instead of figuring something out that works. It also implies the total failure of BO.

I see no plausible "early 2030s" timeline where SLS is even slightly competitive short of both SpaceX and BO failing completely.

Edited by tater
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On 7/7/2021 at 1:05 PM, tater said:

Expanding to 2 flights/year in the 2030s.

That will be sad if it ever happens, because for that to be a thing, we have to assume that SpaceX has utterly failed with SS/SH, and in fact tanks completely as a company instead of figuring something out that works. It also implies the total failure of BO.

I see no plausible "early 2030s" timeline where SLS is even slightly competitive short of both SpaceX and BO failing completely.

If cost competitiveness was a real concern it would not have been designed or built as it was.

For good or ill, so long as it has sufficient backing in the halls of government, SLS need not worry about any sort of cost-based competition.

 

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