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More Flights of SLS Block 1



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 14th 18, 09:40 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

NASA is apparently having problem with their new upper stage and is
now planning on flying at least the next three missions on the
original SLS Block 1 hardware. Current estimates say the new upper
stage won't be ready until at least the mid-2020's.

This means a couple of things.

1) NASA is talking about flying three missions and using 12 of their
small stock of Shuttle engines on missions that don't really further
their plans. Block 1 hardware with Ares on it is about 9 tonnes short
in payload, which means none of the Lunar Gateway deployment can
happen.

2) They could just as easily fly those missions on something like
Falcon Heavy and save a lot of money (and those engines).

By the time they get the new upper stage ready, they'll need funding
for a new contract to produce more engines so that Block 1B can fly.


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
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  #2  
Old April 14th 18, 05:18 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
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Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

In article ,
says...

NASA is apparently having problem with their new upper stage and is
now planning on flying at least the next three missions on the
original SLS Block 1 hardware. Current estimates say the new upper
stage won't be ready until at least the mid-2020's.

This means a couple of things.

1) NASA is talking about flying three missions and using 12 of their
small stock of Shuttle engines on missions that don't really further
their plans. Block 1 hardware with Ares on it is about 9 tonnes short
in payload, which means none of the Lunar Gateway deployment can
happen.


Agreed. Waste of perfectly good SSME's. Plus it's putting people on an
upper stage that wasn't planned to be "man rated". But NASA writes the
rules and the waivers, so that's never been a real problem.

The "upside" is that it "gets Orion flying more often and sooner", so
the Congresscritters will be happy that their pork spending is
"producing results".

2) They could just as easily fly those missions on something like
Falcon Heavy and save a lot of money (and those engines).


Clearly, but then people would ask why we're ****ing away billions of
$$$ on SLS without it even flying!

By the time they get the new upper stage ready, they'll need funding
for a new contract to produce more engines so that Block 1B can fly.


This is some serious bull$hit. Saturn I's upper stage used 6 RL-10
engines. It's not that f#cking hard to design and build a new upper
stage using LOX/LH2 using *existing* engines.

Pardon my language, but SLS is a burning dumpster fire. The lost
opportunity cost, going forward from here, is staggering. This is
doubly true because we have alternatives to SLS which are far cheaper
and can perform all of the planned missions for SLS.

Note that I'm not counting fantasy missions which are decades away (like
a lunar landing mission or a manned Mars mission). I'm talking about
Deep Space Gateway (all of the modules for that are small and could go
up by themselves on Delta IV Heavy and/or Falcon Heavy) and the deep
space probes (which could go up on Delta IV Heavy as long as they're
sized appropriately).


And, if we're lucky, BFR will be flying by the time the Exploration
Upper Stage starts flying. Maybe, finally, we can kill SLS when a fully
reusable TSTO with better payload capability is flying. Until then,
keep the pork flowing! :-P

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #3  
Old April 14th 18, 08:34 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

JF Mezei wrote on Sat, 14 Apr 2018
15:13:55 -0400:


It's important to consider that at the time the Shuttle was killed,
"COTS" had not proven itself yet AND NASA was now stuck with lots of
"rocket business" staff with nothing to do.


But they didn't go on to do 'rocket business'. They went on to invent
a preposterously expensive launcher that was required to be based on
'Shuttle technology'.


A make work project for NASA's rocket busines makes sense to keep the
organisation going so that if commercial doesn't pan out, NASA can
return to making rockets to fill the gap commercial had failed to fill.


That makes no sense at all. No multi-billion dollar per year program
should be 'make work'.


Imagine if the "make work" mandate had been to let engineers loose and
given a mandate to develop the warp drive or whatever else they could
come up with. (aka: a true R&D organisation for the rocket business,
just as NASA does a lot of R&D for commercial airplanes).


That ought to be NASA's role in space launchers these days.
Unfortunately, there is such an incestuous relationship with ULA that
they probably couldn't do that correctly, either.


While NASA might not have come up with a "rocket" system, surely its
engineers would have come up with a number of useful technologies and
also tested certain tech and found them to not be the way to go.



On 2018-04-14 12:18, Jeff Findley wrote:

Agreed. Waste of perfectly good SSME's.


In a context where SLS is to have a fixed number of flights, then yeah,
you want each flight to count as much as possible since any additional
test flight ends up killing a real flight at the end.

In a context where production of SSMEs has restarted and is fully funded
forever, then it matters less that it takes 3 more flights to get the
new second stage.


Except nothing is 'fully funded forever'. This smacks of NASA burning
up engines for no good reason in an insane game of Three Card Monte
where they continually try to make the cost already sunk large enough
that more must be spent to 'use' it. Burn up all the engines before
the new stage is ready and Congress HAS to support follow-on engine
orders.



Plus it's putting people on an
upper stage that wasn't planned to be "man rated". But NASA writes the
rules and the waivers, so that's never been a real problem.


From a hardware/software point of view, is there much difference between
a man rated second stage and one that isn't?


Probably not, but the expensive part is PROVING that and documenting
it.


(apart from the obvious need to support capsule and its ejection system).

At launch, apart from the design to allow capsule ejection, is the
second stage otherwise considered inert, so man rating is all about its
mission after MECO and when Stage1 has separated?


You need certain reliability when it comes to NOT firing or blowing up
and firing on command and for precisely what is commanded. All that
has to be proven and documented.



The "upside" is that it "gets Orion flying more often and sooner", so
the Congresscritters will be happy that their pork spending is
"producing results".


Different spin:

NASA to congress: We have completed the development and testing of
SLS/ORION and are now ready to do space missions with it. So please
authorize funding to start on-going SSME production.


That point is half a decade down the road or more. Remember that for
SLS, 'more frequent flight' means one a year or fewer.


At that point, if they don't authorize it, it looks like Congress spent
billions and billions of dollars to get NASA to develop new rocket but
won't make use of it.

On the other hand, if you get a couple of flights that are "production"
before the initial batch of SSMEs runs out, it is possible that
Congress will declare "Mission Accomplished" and shut it down.

So SLS may have greater chance of getting an extension if the end of
funding corresponds end of test flights.


Except that would be even more insane.



Pardon my language, but SLS is a burning dumpster fire. The lost
opportunity cost, going forward from here, is staggering.


Correct when you look at it from the point of view of NASA as a
science/exploration organisation.

But if you look at NASA as a means to keep ATK and Michoud alive then
SLS has been highly succesfull in its mission.


Not really, since the money sunk into NASA could have done that
mission much more cheaply.



And, if we're lucky, BFR will be flying by the time the Exploration
Upper Stage starts flying.


BFR becomes a huge headache for ATK lobbyists because politicians will
need much stronger ammunition to contine to fund that boondogle when BFR
can do more at lower cost.


There will be some reason they can't use it.


It's a lot easier to get the military to spend $500 on a hammer because
it can stipulate that military missions require gold plated hammers to
ensure fake reason which nobody can challenge. But for commercial
flight, when BFR uses standard $10 hammers without problem, it becomes
harder for NASA to claim that the $500 hammers are absolutely necessary.


I see you don't understand why things for the military cost what they
do. IT'S THE PAPERWORK REQUIRED BY LAW.


But taking a step back, it is also possible to see SLS in a good way:
backup solution using proven military-grade excessive spending to build
a rocket in case the inexpensive commercial method doesn't pan out.


Utter bull****.


Today, SLS looks like a boondogle because SpaceX succeeded. But had all
the commercial ventures flopped, the conclusion might have been that
rockets really need lots of time and money to get done right and cutting
corners doesn't work, and SLS might be viewd as necessarily expensive
but at least having delivered.


No. SLS was an expensive boondoggle when judged by the old standards.


Now that commercial ventures have shown they can do the job, the
question becomes: what happens to NASA's rocket scientists once SLS is
put out of its misery. Does NASA become a pure R&D for rocket science
and its engineers let loose to think up the next generation of rockets,
or does NASA wind down rocket business because in the end, private
enterprise gets to innovate at faster rate?


NASA will stay in the 'rocket business' because that's where the
civilian jobs come from (manufacturing ****).


--
"Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the
truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."
-- Thomas Jefferson
  #4  
Old April 15th 18, 01:52 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,482
Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

In article ,
says...

It's important to consider that at the time the Shuttle was killed,
"COTS" had not proven itself yet AND NASA was now stuck with lots of
"rocket business" staff with nothing to do.


I'm talking about today. SLS is bull$hit today. You don't allow
something this expensive and useless to keep on going due to decisions
made in the past based on assumptions that have changed.

A make work project for NASA's rocket busines makes sense to keep the
organisation going so that if commercial doesn't pan out, NASA can
return to making rockets to fill the gap commercial had failed to fill.


Commercial launch vehicles are here and they're cheaper than ever.
Falcon Heavy works. Delta IV Heavy works too (it's just a lot more
expensive). Even Atlas V works for slightly smaller payloads (like
Boeing's Starliner spacecraft which will carry crew to ISS).

Imagine if the "make work" mandate had been to let engineers loose and
given a mandate to develop the warp drive or whatever else they could
come up with. (aka: a true R&D organisation for the rocket business,
just as NASA does a lot of R&D for commercial airplanes).

While NASA might not have come up with a "rocket" system, surely its
engineers would have come up with a number of useful technologies and
also tested certain tech and found them to not be the way to go.


This is the classic spin-off argument. That's almost always bull$hit
too because the SLS program isn't doing much in the way of scientific
research, it's engineers doing standard R&D work. If you want better
welding techniques for aluminum-lithium alloy, invest in R&D for that.
Don't spend billions on a huge government program that will invest a few
million in better welding techniques.

On 2018-04-14 12:18, Jeff Findley wrote:

Agreed. Waste of perfectly good SSME's.


In a context where SLS is to have a fixed number of flights, then yeah,
you want each flight to count as much as possible since any additional
test flight ends up killing a real flight at the end.

In a context where production of SSMEs has restarted and is fully funded
forever, then it matters less that it takes 3 more flights to get the
new second stage.


But they'll still be dropping *all* of the SLS hardware in the ocean for
each and every flight. In a world where reusables are coming into their
own, that's just stupid.

Plus it's putting people on an
upper stage that wasn't planned to be "man rated". But NASA writes the
rules and the waivers, so that's never been a real problem.


From a hardware/software point of view, is there much difference between
a man rated second stage and one that isn't?

(apart from the obvious need to support capsule and its ejection system).

At launch, apart from the design to allow capsule ejection, is the
second stage otherwise considered inert, so man rating is all about its
mission after MECO and when Stage1 has separated?


It's about margins of safety, redundancy, failure monitoring systems,
and etc. Not all of that is needed for an unmanned launch.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #5  
Old April 15th 18, 03:10 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Posts: 9,487
Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

JF Mezei wrote on Sat, 14 Apr 2018
16:23:52 -0400:

On 2018-04-14 15:34, Fred J. McCall wrote:

No. SLS was an expensive boondoggle when judged by the old standards.


Yes. But still a "placeholder" project to keep NASA rocket business
alive.


No. It's far too expensive for that. It eats the seed corn of any
future endeavour, so isn't holding a place for anything.


Out of curiosity, forgetting red tape and politics.

If you build a new rocket using existing technologies (SRBs, the ET and
SSMEs), is there a reason why it should take so long and cost so much?


Yes, there is, because those individual parts are expensive and would
be being used in ways for which they were not originally intended.
That means you have to do some amount of reengineering (in some cases
to the extent of essentially redesigning things).


I can understand the SRBs causing problems with vibration as you grow
them. But apart from that, shouldn't building SLS have been a no
brainer? What sort of challenges were there that caused the project to
fail so miserably?


Uh, I don't think the ET is used at all on SLS. Calling something the
same name doesn't make it the same thing.


They would have known right away that the ET would need structural
changes since it would no longer support a side load (the shuttle) but
instead support a top load AND engines at the bottom. So no surprises
there, right?


Not the same thing.


In terms of the SSME upgrades. Wouldn't the new electronics simply
re-use the same logic as the old controllers? (I realise that there
still needs to be tested, but if you already know the outcome, it
becomes easier to ensure the new controlers reproduce the same outcome
as the old ones.

(the fact that Rocketdyne would be studying new more efficient ways to
produce new SSMEs should not slow down the work to use already-built SSMEs)


NASA will stay in the 'rocket business' because that's where the
civilian jobs come from (manufacturing ****).


Wasn't much of Michoud converted into a movie studio? In the end, is
there logic behind maintaining a NASA presence there if there is no need
for that production facility?


Irrelevant. The jobs everyone cares about are at contractors like
Boeing and Lockheed.


If NASA were s private "Facilities" owner (aka: no red tape), would
outfits such as SpaceX see an campetitive edge in renting space at
Michoud to do work?


I wouldn't think so. What's the advantage in assembling things in New
Orleans when all your launches are somewhere else?


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #6  
Old April 15th 18, 04:48 AM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
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Posts: 2,468
Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

ANYTHING having to do with SLS gives me a headache these days.

Just say no.

Dave
  #7  
Old April 16th 18, 02:13 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Posts: 9,487
Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

JF Mezei wrote on Sun, 15 Apr 2018
20:35:30 -0400:

On 2018-04-14 20:52, Jeff Findley wrote:

I'm talking about today. SLS is bull$hit today. You don't allow
something this expensive and useless to keep on going due to decisions
made in the past based on assumptions that have changed.


But it can be argued that until SpaceX's manned Dragon flies
succesfully, it could be wise to continue NASA's manned rockets
development just in case. (what happens if Musk's business has to go
chapter 11, or some technical probvlem indefinitely delayed manned
Dragon etc etc.


You're confusing rockets with capsules. Manned Dragon and Orion don't
compete, since the purpose of one is LEO trips and that's only a
secondary mission for the other.


And if Dragon is to become real say by end of 2018, then continuing SLS
until end of 2018 isn't that big a deal in the grand schjeme of things
(where military spends 700 billion a year).


You're comparing apples (manned capsules) with aardvarks (launch
vehicles).



Commercial launch vehicles are here and they're cheaper than ever.


Not manned ones. (not yet)


You're comparing apples (manned capsules) with aardvarks (launch
vehicles).



This is the classic spin-off argument. That's almost always bull$hit
too because the SLS program isn't doing much in the way of scientific
research,


No debate there. I was arguing that NASA direction should have been to
do massive R&D to develop new technooogies instead of being directed to
build a new rocket with technology choices imposed by politicians.


And just who picks the 'new technologies'?



But they'll still be dropping *all* of the SLS hardware in the ocean for
each and every flight. In a world where reusables are coming into their
own, that's just stupid.


At the time ARES/Orion were launched, it was decided expandable was
cheaper than re-usable. SpaceX proved that to be very wrong, but that
is only very recent.


Well, no, not so much.


For NASA, it is still better to have a bloody expensive SLS/Orion than
nothing (in case all other projects fail).


Except that NASA is more likely to fail (and cause others to fail by
expending preposterous amounts of money) than anyone else.


I suspect that once commercial has manned programmes proven and running,
it will be the end of NASA trying to build rockets, and NASA's
involvement with rockets will be the same as it has for commercial
airplanes. Pure R&D.


I suspect you're wrong.


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #8  
Old April 16th 18, 02:30 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Posts: 9,487
Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

JF Mezei wrote on Sun, 15 Apr 2018
20:37:44 -0400:

On 2018-04-14 22:10, Fred J. McCall wrote:

I wouldn't think so. What's the advantage in assembling things in New
Orleans when all your launches are somewhere else?


So, how do policitians find a face saving way out of Michoud if it loses
what is left of rocket building activity/jobs there ?


Why, they'll continue to fund some rocket to nowhere, just like they
do now, of course. Look at where we are. SLS Block 1 is roughly
equivalent to Falcon Heavy. NASA will now be flying SLS Block 1 at
least through 2025. By the time SLS Block 1A is ready, it will
probably once again be behind the commercial competition.

Has SLS been cancelled? Nope. Nor will it be.



--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #10  
Old April 17th 18, 10:51 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
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Posts: 1,482
Default More Flights of SLS Block 1

In article ,
says...

On 2018-04-14 20:52, Jeff Findley wrote:

I'm talking about today. SLS is bull$hit today. You don't allow
something this expensive and useless to keep on going due to decisions
made in the past based on assumptions that have changed.


But it can be argued that until SpaceX's manned Dragon flies
succesfully, it could be wise to continue NASA's manned rockets
development just in case. (what happens if Musk's business has to go
chapter 11, or some technical probvlem indefinitely delayed manned
Dragon etc etc.

And if Dragon is to become real say by end of 2018, then continuing SLS
until end of 2018 isn't that big a deal in the grand schjeme of things
(where military spends 700 billion a year).


Boeing's CST-100 (Starliner) is following the same schedule as Dragon 2.
The US will have 3 manned capsules, if Orion ever flies.

Commercial launch vehicles are here and they're cheaper than ever.


Not manned ones. (not yet)


Unmanned tests this year for both Dragon 2 and Starliner with possible
manned tests by the end of the year. NASA expects those dates to slip
with only the unmanned tests happening this year. From news reports,
it's NASA's certification process (they don't have enough people with
the right experience to review progress) that's slowing things down, not
the contractor's progress.

This is the classic spin-off argument. That's almost always bull$hit
too because the SLS program isn't doing much in the way of scientific
research,


No debate there. I was arguing that NASA direction should have been to
do massive R&D to develop new technooogies instead of being directed to
build a new rocket with technology choices imposed by politicians.


I'll buy that, but they should be working on near term tech with direct
application to space transportation. Things like fuel depots and the
like.

Nuclear thermal propulsion wouldn't be bad either, but I don't have much
confidence that today's risk averse NASA would make the same kind of
rapid progress they did on NTR that they did in the 1960s. This is one
reason I don't support NTR today. Even if funded, I feel like it would
always be "five years away" from first flight with NASA managing the
process.

But they'll still be dropping *all* of the SLS hardware in the ocean

for
each and every flight. In a world where reusables are coming into their
own, that's just stupid.


At the time ARES/Orion were launched, it was decided expandable was
cheaper than re-usable. SpaceX proved that to be very wrong, but that
is only very recent.


So what? We're talking about where we go from here, not where we should
go 10+ years ago!

For NASA, it is still better to have a bloody expensive SLS/Orion than
nothing (in case all other projects fail).


But all other projects have not failed. Falcon Heavy is a reality.
Both Dragon 2 and Starliner are both set to fly years before Orion.

Have you read the news? The Exploration Upper Stage for SLS is
slipping, BADLY! NASA is switching to using the Interim Upper Stage
for the first several SLS flights instead of just the first. The other
two commercial crew programs are not facing the same constant delays of
key pieces of their systems.

I suspect that once commercial has manned programmes proven and running,
it will be the end of NASA trying to build rockets, and NASA's
involvement with rockets will be the same as it has for commercial
airplanes. Pure R&D.


If that were true, we'd have just a scant two more years of SLS funding
meaning it wouldn't even get to first flight (which is still about 3
years away). I have a feeling the pork will keep flowing at least
through a few flights. Perhaps the Exploration Upper Stage will finally
be canceled, but I doubt that too.

I figure it will take both BFR and New Armstrong both flying before the
Congresscritters admit defeat and cancel SLS. So, we've got 5-10 years
to go by my guess. That's easily a lost opportunity cost of tens of
billions of dollars from here on out.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
 




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