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#1 2016-01-13 12:08:19

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
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Space Launch System

It would seem that SLS ("Senate Launch System" as some have called it) is encountering the big problem that it is too expensive to use, and it will become available both after the Falcon Heavy and about the time the "Mars Transport" megarocket is launched:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/01/ … fest-plan/

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#2 2016-01-13 18:14:04

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

I posted the same chart of mission line ups contained in the article for the coming years in pg 7 of the topic "The SLS: too expensive for exploration? " While the articles does have a few items its more about choices to go with the final stage and not spend funds on the intermediate step and with the funding for Orion and the block 1xxx launcher of SLS eating up all the funding set aside for it to be perfected with nothing remaining other than flyby mission around the moon and nothing else for that particular years funds....

groan... sad

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#3 2016-01-13 18:44:11

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,834

Re: Space Launch System

I have no idea why NASA thought killing the Space Shuttle would magically free up funding for other projects.  All monies available were simply squandered designing an entirely new launch system.  There were three courses of action that NASA could have taken many times throughout the course of the Space Shuttle program, but implemented absolutely none of those solutions.

1. Throw away the Space Shuttle and start from scratch.  This could mean updating Saturn V hardware and rebuilding Saturn V, designing an entirely new rocket that's so cheap to build and use once that it doesn't matter if you throw it away, or to designing a rocket that's actually reusable without months of refurbishment.

2. Create an unmanned cargo-only variant of the Space Shuttle with minimal design changes, such as the Shuttle-C concept, and run the program in tandem with the Space Shuttle program.  If NASA or the government was determined to use Space Shuttle hardware, there was no reason to stop launching Space Shuttles.  It was one of the most thoroughly tested and well understood launch vehicles available.

3. Through a process of incremental improvements and updates, the Space Shuttle could have been made more affordable, even given its unique and sometimes conflicting design requirements, to free up funds for more advanced projects like SLS.  NASA operated the Space Shuttle for three decades.  In that time, one would think a tile laying robot could have been developed, on orbit repair of damaged tiles developed, single seal SRB's developed with motors cast using a continuous pour technique, and Space Shuttle specific hardware replaced with general purpose use hardware.  In partnership with private aerospace corporations, more affordable vehicles for launch of regular cargo should have been pursued.

Unfortunately, none of that was done.  Naturally, we're reaching the inevitable conclusion to pursuit of impractical launch vehicles and throwing money at projects to give contractors something to do rather than deciding what the agency requires to meet stated objectives.

Scrap SLS, scrap Orion, pour money into the Boeing and SpaceX capsules, and use affordable rockets.  Force the existing industry players to be competitive at providing launch services and vehicles.  Focus funds on requirements unique to space exploration objectives and let the aerospace industry design rockets and capsules instead of mandating arbitrary and expensive operational practices like vertical assembly.

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#4 2016-01-13 19:46:35

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,700
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Re: Space Launch System

I talked to a few engineers who worked on the Space Shuttle, while it was flying. They all tell me they came up with ideas to reduce work involved to prepare Shuttle for another flight. This would increase the flight rate, and reduce the cost per launch. Every single one of them told me management of the contractor they worked for told them to shut the F*** up! That they were taking money from employee's mouths. Corporate executives for contractors were deliberately trying to increase the cost per launch, in order to increase corporate profit. NASA isn't entirely blameless, but don't claim contractors are the magic solution. Corporate executives are the primary problem.

You want to scrap Orion, instead pour money into Boeing? You realize Orion is designed and built by Boeing? The only reason Boeing came up with a cut-down, affordable version of Orion (CST-100) was competition from SpaceX.

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#5 2016-01-13 21:28:09

kbd512
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Posts: 2,834

Re: Space Launch System

RobertDyck wrote:

I talked to a few engineers who worked on the Space Shuttle, while it was flying. They all tell me they came up with ideas to reduce work involved to prepare Shuttle for another flight. This would increase the flight rate, and reduce the cost per launch. Every single one of them told me management of the contractor they worked for told them to shut the F*** up! That they were taking money from employee's mouths. Corporate executives for contractors were deliberately trying to increase the cost per launch, in order to increase corporate profit. NASA isn't entirely blameless, but don't claim contractors are the magic solution. Corporate executives are the primary problem.

Management is all about maximizing profits for the company they work for, but NASA shouldn't be.  That means no cost plus contracts.  Orion is merely a sequel to the insanely expensive Space Shuttle.

RobertDyck wrote:

You want to scrap Orion, instead pour money into Boeing? You realize Orion is designed and built by Boeing? The only reason Boeing came up with a cut-down, affordable version of Orion (CST-100) was competition from SpaceX.

Lockheed is the prime contractor for Orion, but I see your point.  I'm use the Boeing CST-100 capsule to service a requirement for letting federal government contracts, which is competitive bidding.  NASA should give each of its bidders the same amount of money and go forward with the most affordable solution that meets design requirements.  If Boeing is not interested in building affordable space capsules, then cut their contract.  Obviously that would mean the SpaceX Dragon capsule is what we use to take astronauts to ISS and the MTV.

I want to scrap Orion because it's a single purpose design that's nothing more than a massive dead weight for a journey to Mars.  It's not big enough to sustain a crew for any significant duration, but heavy enough to require a heavy lift rocket.  Every time I see it I'm reminded of the Space Shuttle.

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#6 2016-01-14 10:08:28

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,523
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Re: Space Launch System

Quote from above post:  Management is all about maximizing profits for the company they work for, but NASA shouldn't be.

But it is. 

Y'all have heard me rail about the giant-corporate welfare state before.  That's what SLS/Orion is all about:  corporate welfare for industry giant near-monopoly Boeing and all the former NASA contractors it has absorbed.  It not about launching anything or going anywhere.  That's why nothing about it makes sense:  it doesn't have to.

Once the giant-corporate monies have bought the appropriate congressmen and agency heads,  then there is no need for a government lab to demand any results from the money it spends.  That's how it works.  Doesn't matter what the contract says.  Cost-plus,  fixed-fee,  all irrelevant under giant-corporate welfare. 

This started with military stuff in the 1950's,  which Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell speech.  Space is a piece of that.  It has since spread to other sectors of the economy.  It is why lots of money gets spent,  but little of consequence gets done. 

It is also why we are spending trillions on a top fighter for USAF,  USN,  and USMC that won't fight.  That job was impossible to begin with.  But that doesn't matter under giant-corporate welfare,  when your stuff doesn't really have to work. 

Example:  B-2 that cannot be based in salty deserts or near salty oceans because salt destroys stealth.  Without stealth it is useless,  being $2.2B/airframe,  yet flying only twice as far,  only twice as fast,  with only twice the payload of a 1940-vintage B-17E. 

Example:  B-1B that cannot be used to penetrate high-density air defense zones (its primary mission) because the 3 critical avionics systems to enable that mission cannot function simultaneously,  they interfere fatally with each other.  The problem was not fixable,  required starting over.  Avionics was 2/3 the price of the airframe,  USAF could not afford to correct it. 

This goes back decades,  as my examples indicate.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#7 2016-01-14 12:18:31

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,700
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Re: Space Launch System

kbd512 wrote:

Lockheed is the prime contractor for Orion, but I see your point.

I forgetting. For the CEV competition, Lockheed-Martin's original proposal was the left image, Northrop-Grumman the right. I always thought the Northrop proposal was the best. It had lowest launch mass, it could be launched by an Atlas V 402. The design was based on the GE proposal from 1960 called Apollo D2.
zcevcomp.jpg
Boeing's proposal was the one that looked like Apollo. But NASA liked the one that looked like Apollo, so all the other contractors came up with a new design that did so too.
zcevboem.jpg

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#8 2016-01-14 18:08:28

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

Orginally when Nasa was to stop using the shuttle and transition to what would be the craft of choice there was to be a competition between the usual players but by time the fly off was to happen in 2008 we had another change of command and it was killed.

The supposed problem with resurrecting the Saturn V was that it was built with manual machines since long gone and with blue prints both of which you need a bit of the art to frabricate using these machines.

Nasa sqaundered its chances to make a shuttle c when all that it had was a mock up of the concept.

Nasa did make many improvements on the internals of shuttles over its useage and when it needed another it proved even then hard to build it but it happened.

So what have we gotten from the contracts and source of money which was about 3.5 billion a year during the shuttle era since 2010 to current...I would say not much for the grand sum of money....

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#9 2016-01-14 18:35:19

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,633

Re: Space Launch System

The article confirms completely the impression I have gained over the years of NASA's "space drift".  From the ultimate focussed agency of the 1960s it has now become the plaything of pork barrel politics, corporate greed, and vested scientific interests.

I am not saying the following is possible,as things stand, but I think it would be better if (a) the Lunar and Mars exploration and colonisation function (vague though it is) was split off from NASA and given 25% of NASA's budget (call it what you will e.g. US Space Exploration Agency) to create permanent settlements on the Moon and Mars and (b) if NASA became essentially a commissioning agency - making use of Space X, USAF vehicles and so on.   

25% of NASA's budget would be $4.25 billion or thereabouts - more than enough to mount a focussed settlement project for both the Moon and Mars.

RobS wrote:

It would seem that SLS ("Senate Launch System" as some have called it) is encountering the big problem that it is too expensive to use, and it will become available both after the Falcon Heavy and about the time the "Mars Transport" megarocket is launched:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/01/ … fest-plan/


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#10 2016-01-14 19:34:36

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,523
Website

Re: Space Launch System

On-line headline tonight:  NASA adds third company to supply / astronaut ferry effort to ISS.  Sierra Nevada is back in the game and funded for its Dreamchaser mini-shuttle.  Hooray!

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#11 2016-01-14 20:12:49

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

Nasa has spent money on many things since the Orion was started engine developements in versions of J2, Rs68 and others then again some money went into lunar vehicles, inflateable mockups for the moon ect.... not just sls as we were led to believe....

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#12 2016-01-14 21:14:48

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,700
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Re: Space Launch System

GW Johnson wrote:

On-line headline tonight:  NASA adds third company to supply / astronaut ferry effort to ISS.  Sierra Nevada is back in the game and funded for its Dreamchaser mini-shuttle.  Hooray!

Hooray!

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#13 2016-01-14 21:58:30

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

Just posted more in the COTS topic....

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#14 2016-01-14 23:59:57

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,834

Re: Space Launch System

SpaceNut wrote:

Orginally when Nasa was to stop using the shuttle and transition to what would be the craft of choice there was to be a competition between the usual players but by time the fly off was to happen in 2008 we had another change of command and it was killed.

In other words, politics as usual.  One of the most fundamental problems our government has had, as of late, is following its own rules.  That's a deeper and far more troubling problem than what direction our space agency is headed.

SpaceNut wrote:

The supposed problem with resurrecting the Saturn V was that it was built with manual machines since long gone and with blue prints both of which you need a bit of the art to frabricate using these machines.

I've heard that nonsensical argument before.  Our engineers are not so incompetent that they can't build an improved version of Saturn V.  We're going to end up funding development of J-2X and F-1B whether it's a good idea or not.  So, I have to ask- Why on Earth are we not using that technology?  Has building giant aluminum gas cans become a major issue for NASA?  They've only been doing it for the past half century.

SpaceNut wrote:

Nasa sqaundered its chances to make a shuttle c when all that it had was a mock up of the concept.

I never thought using the world's most expensive and complicated reusable flight hardware to launch a disposable vehicle made any sense back then, either.  If a new Saturn V variant was not feasible, then Shuttle C was what was most feasible from an infrastructure, technical knowledge, and tribal knowledge standpoint.  I think a Shuttle C that permitted recovery of the engines would have been a reasonable compromise between payload capacity and launch vehicle cost.

SpaceNut wrote:

Nasa did make many improvements on the internals of shuttles over its useage and when it needed another it proved even then hard to build it but it happened.

That's true, but the aspects of the Space Shuttle that needed the most improvement to contain costs were never addressed.

SpaceNut wrote:

So what have we gotten from the contracts and source of money which was about 3.5 billion a year during the shuttle era since 2010 to current...I would say not much for the grand sum of money....

I think our Space Shuttles are valuable national assets, but NASA should always use tools that are appropriate for the job.  Once you pay for the unique capabilities and technical knowledge required to make something as complicated as the Saturn V or the Space Shuttle work, you never give it up until something so revolutionary comes along that it makes whatever you have obsolete.  There are no new launch vehicles or spacecraft that make Saturn V or Space Shuttle obsolete.  However, for many types of Earth orbital missions there are now less expensive options available to us.  If it were up to me, all of our Space Shuttles would be refurbished to flight readiness and stored for future use, if required.  If not required, then all that's lost is a little bit of money that NASA would otherwise spend on things it was never all that serious about using to begin with.

Somehow, the lessons that really should've been learned from the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs were not.

To wit:

Any spacecraft development program that requires a new launch vehicle is also a launch vehicle development program.

True heavy lift capability may not be required for actual exploration missions, but in some instances it can make those missions much simpler to execute.

Any piece of hardware that requires significant refurbishment after use is not reusable.

Whatever you think your recurring or operational costs for a program will be, double it and you're probably pretty close to what it will actually cost.

Making a simple task complicated is not a sign of ingenuity, it's a sign of inanity.

Last edited by kbd512 (2016-01-15 00:02:13)

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#15 2016-01-15 22:03:14

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

The reuseable costs were devided into the SRB,Shuttle heatshield,Shuttle RS25 engines and lots more parts....

SUMMARY REFURBISHMENT COST STUDY OF THE THERMAL PROTECTION SYSTEM OF A SPACE SHUTTLE VEHICLE PHASE II

SRB REFURBISHMENT PRACTICES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Main_Engine

Both these are pay to read documents that follow
http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.1972-374
A study of refurbishment costs and techniques for Space Shuttle Thermal Protection Systems /TPS/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar … 6579900067
Economics of the solid rocket booster for space shuttle

I agree that if we need to do a large amount of work to any part of a rocket then its cheaper to build a new one....

Shuttle c was to be a fully capable to orbit cargo canister payload deliver system but what if we made it release the payload at near orbit and sent the shuttle back down with the payload having an appropriately sized kick stage to finish the job of getting it to orbit?

While we are at it we can reduce the size of the external tank by using lox/kerosene and change the shuttle C engines to use it. Make the SRB as well a liquid fueled flyback design and we now have a reuseable configuration with lower cost.....

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#16 2016-01-17 17:28:00

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

Panel warns of creeping risks to NASA crews

An independent safety panel last week warned that NASA is gradually allowing funding and schedule pressures to increase risks to future human spaceflight missions, even in programs years away from launching astronauts.

"Even at this relatively early stage, schedule pressures appear to be impacting safety," said NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, or ASAP, in its 2015 annual report.

The 42-page report focused most on preparations to launch the 322-foot Space Launch System rocket and Orion exploration capsule from Kennedy Space Center.

http://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/asap/documents/ … Report.pdf

NASA's test program for SLS and Orion has "gradually eroded." Concerns cited included a less extensive test of a launch abort system planned from Cape Canaveral; late changes to Orion's heat shield; and flying the capsule's life support system for the first time with a crew on board.

"This plan appears to incur an increased risk without a clearly articulated rationale," the reports says of the life support plan. The unmanned test flight planned in 2018, NASA has committed to launching a first crew in Orion by 2023, but says it continues to work toward a more aggressive launch date in 2021.

But this also fails to meantion the new upper stage and other system tweeks in order to make it all work.

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#17 2016-01-18 17:46:23

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

The budget dollars that Nasa has had to get SLS going...
1452975214166571.png

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#18 2016-01-24 10:40:23

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

Steady as Nasa goes with ramp up SLS flight production for 2018 maiden flight...Not....plus its still an unmanned test flight....

This is still a prototype build with no reduction in costs toward manufacturing the steady state rocket to be used in the future....it is still sucking the coffers dry.....

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#19 2016-02-10 17:42:26

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

More gimics to say that we must delay building the rocket to mars....about $260 million less than this year’s budget.
The White House is seeking to trim NASA’s overall budget by a modest 1.5% in the next fiscal year
Obama's proposed NASA budget cuts could hit Marshall center   President Barack Obama’s proposed $19 billion fiscal 2017 budget for NASA budget “consistent” with the administration’s recent budget proposals despite deep cuts in space exploration and the Space Launch System.
Obama’s budget includes cuts of about $800 million for space exploration and $700 million for the Space Launch System.

NASA still plans a maiden test launch of an SLS rocket, without the exploration upper stage, as early as 2018, and a first test crewed mission using the Orion space capsule, perhaps to circle the moon, for shortly after that.
What’s more, the budget provides some direct assurance of funding for Kennedy Space Center to accommodate the SLS. It provides $429 million for ground systems support. That’s a 5 percent increase, and much of that money would go to KSC.
Grayson said one reason the SLS program faces cuts in the president’s budget may be that NASA does not yet appear to have figured out what it wants to do with the rocket, other than go to Mars in 20 years.

To that end, last year, Congress provided $175 million for NASA to continue formulating a mission to Europa, calling on the agency to launch by 2022 or 2023. In this year’s budget request, however, the White House only asked for $49.6 million to develop the Europa mission, and didn’t anticipate launching before the late 2020s.

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#20 2016-02-14 12:29:00

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Space Launch System

Interesting how Obama's only frugality with public spending, comes when it is oriented towards the US Military or NASA. Obama is spend-thrifty on everything else, especially if it is wasteful!

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#21 2016-02-14 13:53:04

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,523
Website

Re: Space Launch System

If Obama is so spend-thrifty on everything else,  then where are all the repaired and renewed infrastructure things,  like roads,  bridges,  electric grids,  etc? 

You are not entitled to your own facts,  only your own opinions. 

The fault does not lie with Obama,  or even the entire set of Democrats,  it lies with ALL of them.  They work only for who bought their offices for them. 

They value party advantage above good-of-the-people,  which is treason in my book,  but that's only a circus to distract us from noticing they don't work for us anymore. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#22 2016-02-14 18:27:53

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

This is also one of those trickle down funding issues to for each state that has also sqaundered the funds, by not even trying to control the insurance racket with health care still on a downward spiral paying even more for the bandaid service that they are getting....the whole tree is rotten.....

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#23 2016-02-14 19:06:50

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,834

Re: Space Launch System

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

Interesting how Obama's only frugality with public spending, comes when it is oriented towards the US Military or NASA. Obama is spend-thrifty on everything else, especially if it is wasteful!

Tom,

President Obama is not preventing NASA or our military from meeting national space exploration or national defense objectives.

NASA's human space exploration program has repeatedly done everything except what they need to do to enable human space exploration missions beyond LEO.  Their results have been in stark contrast to our robotic space exploration program, which has demonstrated repeated success in missions beyond LEO.  The human space exploration program has spent many hundreds of billions of our tax dollars, but we're still stuck in LEO.

Our military has repeatedly spent many more hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money on things that clearly weren't required to win wars.  The most recent examples that come to mind are:

Air Force:

JSF/F-35

Army:

FCS
Stryker

Navy:
Two classes of LCS, both with serious developmental issues
Zumwalt class destroyers, ships without the requisite firepower to sustain combat operations
America class amphibious ships that compromise the performance of the vessel for air or amphibious transport

The President is not and could never be the root cause of all that ails our nation.  Our problems are much, much deeper than anything one man could meaningfully affect.

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#24 2016-02-17 19:49:01

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

Well the ramp up of flight hardware has taken another swerve in the road to space.... NASA moves to enforce early switch to EUS for SLS with a “stop work order” in relation to the human-rating of the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage for Block I. This ICPS is a hold over of the Ares I aka Da Stick....

2016-02-15-165801-350x249.jpg

The early plan for the Constellation Program involved a Moon First approach, a stepping stone to Mars on the “Vision for Space Exploration” (VSE) path with schedule slips and technical issues continually plagued the Ares-based architecture, although engineers cite funding issues were also a major impact on their efforts. The VSE’s “Moon, Mars and Beyond” manifest – produced in 2006 – showed the program that would have already been deep into providing crew rotation mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2016 – three years away from a return of crewed missions to the surface of the Moon – via the combination of Ares I, Orion, Ares V and the Altair lunar lander.

Of course all that said we will need to make the upperstage with four RL-1OC-3 engines, and the gantry will need to be altered as well...as the stage will be larger. With the possibility of slowed funding in future years when the change over in the upper stage it was decided that it would be wiser to cut to the chase with EM-1 whch is currently expected to take place in 2018 as a result of the change. With all that in the works I see no reason for EM-2 being delayed with the second launch into 2023 to 24 timeframe. But wait EM-1 is empty of life support....

NASA Marshall's SLS takes a hit in President's 2017 budget request

"Enacted budget in '16 allows us to start on the Exploration Upper Stage, and we're actually on-track to complete a preliminary design review this year," May said.  "It also allows us to keep the EM-2 mission accelerated to 2021, and so far, we're meeting all of those goals."

The SLS, as the name implies, is not just one rocket.  Evolutions of the rocket are planned to fly in the 2020's.  The 2018 SLS is known as the Block IA, which was scheduled to fly in 2021 with crew.  The Block IB would use a larger upper stage, called the Exploration Upper Stage or EUS. 

The 2016 budget allowed for the EUS to move up a mission, essentially speeding up the evolution of the rocket.  The 2017 request, if enacted, would not only put a hold on the EUS, but also ensure that a crewed SLS does not fly until 2023.

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#25 2017-07-15 10:22:47

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,587

Re: Space Launch System

Getting closer to first flight but its still way to slow....
SLS Upper Stage set to take up residence in the former home of ISS modules

The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS)

Z2AAF-350x139.jpg

Artist concept of apperance for it being mated to the Orion and SM

2017-07-11-191246-350x269.jpg

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