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[New] Space Launch System / Orion Discussion Thread


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SLS *may* still be the way to get crew back to the moon at the earliest, but this certainly isn't sustainable.

There are existing heavy lift rockets capable of assembling an EOR mission for a fraction of the price.

There are no long poles for a crewed expendable Superheavy mission, and it's looking somewhere in the region of 3x as capable as SaturnV for a marginal cost in the region of Falcon Heavy.

With a little bit of waiting, Starship plus full reuse plus refilling blows all of these options away.

There really is no need to keep spending vast sums on SLS.

 

With HLS for the marginal price of a single SLS launch we're getting *two* lunar landings, one of which crewed, development price included. Just add LEO taxi.

Edited by RCgothic
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6 hours ago, RCgothic said:

There really is no need to keep spending vast sums on SLS.

This argument becomes much stronger once there is more than one alternative launch provider with the needed capability.

'Not keeping all your eggs in one basket' may or may not be just an excuse, but it is sufficient reason not to scrap SLS yet, especially when Starship is not yet flight-proven.

SLS might well stick around as a project until both New Glen and Starship are crew certified.

(I hope that they would let it die at that point, especially if it has not yet flown)

 

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9 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Hmmm, someone has been doodling. Could be promising, actually. 
 

 

If Orion has to stay for many decades for whatever reason, it would be very nice to see a Commercial Heavy Crew Program or something to replace SLS eventually.

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40 minutes ago, Minmus Taster said:

Maybe I was to harsh on SLS, maybe it's not THAT ugly ;)

Block 1B/2 Cargo would be pretty. Orion is just awful (would be OK with a decent SM, but then SLS is not big enough).

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3 hours ago, tater said:

Block 1B/2 Cargo would be pretty. Orion is just awful (would be OK with a decent SM, but then SLS is not big enough).

Block 1B cargo has been cancelled I believe

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It is very surreal to see it on the pad, considering I first saw a rendering/CG art of it 11 years ago, and the rollout itself was supposed to happen half a decade ago. So much has happened since then (both personally and in the wider world), SLS feels out of place. Kind of like how the Spruce Goose didn’t fly until the war it was required to transport supplies for ended.

Starship, which probably could have been developed to carry Orion alongside its standard capabilities at the same pace, is already here after all.

It is a nice rocket and I think it is cool, but until it actually flies (that is, does something) it is a bit hard to get excited about more tests. The photos are a nice addition though.

Also, I have a question. How is EUS doing? If it takes too long, but Orion has to stay and Congress is too dumb to create a Commercial Heavy Crew Program, is it possible that the “Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage” could become the “Inertial Cryogenic Upper Stage”? In the same way the Shuttle’s Interim Upper Stage became the Inertial Upper Stage when Shuttle-Centaur was canceled.

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ICPS really is a garbage stage. It was only supposed to fly once to test EDL from the Moon. The multiple burns required to get Orion to NRHO with ICPS are a serious problem, IMO.

Each is a relight, and potential loss of mission (Orion can return the crew regardless, luckily). Each burn more than just 1 upps the crew radiation exposure, as they have to take multiple trips through the Van Allen belts (in both directions each orbit). They require 4 burns I think right now, 3 by ICPS, 1 with Orion.

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