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KarelXWB
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Orion project may get canceled

Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:27 pm

Lots of uncertainty about Orion, the spacecraft that should fly on SLS. Nobody is sure if the thing will ever fly humans into space.

NASA has initiated a process that raises questions about the future of its Orion spacecraft. So far, this procedural effort has flown largely under the radar, because it came in the form of a subtle Request for Information (RFI) that nominally seeks to extend NASA’s contract to acquire future Orion vehicles after Exploration Mission-2, which likely will fly sometime between 2021 and 2023.

Nevertheless, three sources familiar with the RFI, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, told Ars there is more to the request than a simple extension for Orion’s primary contractor, Lockheed Martin. Perhaps most radically, the RFI may even open the way for a competitor, such as Boeing or SpaceX, to substitute its own upgraded capsule for Orion in the mid-2020s.


Lockheed already spent $10 billion on Orion, just imagine if Trump Administration pulls the plug.

Lockheed Martin won the initial contract to design and develop the deep-space Orion spacecraft, which was supposed to fly its first crewed mission in 2014. While the contractor has had to manage several significant change requests, there is nonetheless growing frustration with Lockheed inside NASA. The agency has spent nearly $10 billion so far on Orion, and although there was an uncrewed test flight in 2014, the first human mission won’t come for at least five more years.


As Trump takes over, NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft

Soon there will be a SLS rocket without payload/mission.
What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived.
 
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QuarkFly
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Good Riddance...the whole SLS and Orion concept is a white elephant with no mission. I can't stand Trump, but fine if he kills this program -- which is nothing but welfare for contractors and pork for red state NASA centers at Huntsville Alabama, Houston Texas, Michoud Louisiana, Stennis in Mississippi and giant solid-rocket motors built in Utah. Kill it all !!
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kc135topboom
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:04 am

Orion only had the ARM mission, which is really a pipe dream anyway. Why on Earth would you want to capture an asteroid, tow it, and place it in orbit around the Moon? It does nothing to further exploration of space or advance man into space beyond the Moon. We might as well just build a Moon Colony and use that as a jumping off point to Mars and points beyond.

Orion can be used to go to the Moon, but beyond that it is just to small for long distance space travel. It has a habitable volume of only 320 cubic feet, about 9 m3. With a crew of 4-6 Astronauts, that is not much room per crewmember.
 
WIederling
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:56 pm

"We might as well just build a Moon Colony and use that as a jumping off point to Mars and points beyond."

Inefficient. you have to go down the moons gravity well and back up for every access.
Murphy is an optimist
 
bmacleod
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:36 pm

They can't just cancel the whole project - it's mostly developed and built - testing and other less intensive work is all that's left right?

Only other related vehicles and are still in development are Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Dragon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CST-100_Starliner

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Dragon
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bmacleod
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:49 pm

Next Orion test flight delayed/pushed from 2018 to 2019.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/senior-official-nasa-will-delay-first-flight-of-new-sls-rocket-until-2019/

Odds are Trump won't be POTUS when Orion is ready for crewed flights - earliest is now 2021...
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TWA772LR
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:03 pm

QuarkFly wrote:
Good Riddance...the whole SLS and Orion concept is a white elephant with no mission. I can't stand Trump, but fine if he kills this program -- which is nothing but welfare for contractors and pork for red state NASA centers at Huntsville Alabama, Houston Texas, Michoud Louisiana, Stennis in Mississippi and giant solid-rocket motors built in Utah. Kill it all !!

Tone it down bud. I live in Houston and aerospace (NASA) is our third largest sector of our local economy, which is already depressed because of the oil slowdown.

Houston (and the rest of Texas) was the nations hedge during the 07-08 Recession. Oil was sky-rocketing, and the Texas economy was booming, enough to have the US limp along until the economy recovered to pre-Recession levels in December 2012. You'd rather let politics triumph over thousands of high-paying jobs? Mind you all the major cities in Texas and their adjacent counties are blue, and Houston is the largest nation in the state, 4th largest in the US, and 26th largest economy in the world. Put your ideology aside and look at the big picture.

You need help dude.
"It's not getting to the land of the nonrev that's the problem, it's getting back." ~~Captain Hector Barbossa
 
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QuarkFly
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:31 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
QuarkFly wrote:
Good Riddance...the whole SLS and Orion concept is a white elephant with no mission. I can't stand Trump, but fine if he kills this program -- which is nothing but welfare for contractors and pork for red state NASA centers at Huntsville Alabama, Houston Texas, Michoud Louisiana, Stennis in Mississippi and giant solid-rocket motors built in Utah. Kill it all !!

Tone it down bud. I live in Houston and aerospace (NASA) is our third largest sector of our local economy, which is already depressed because of the oil slowdown.

Houston (and the rest of Texas) was the nations hedge during the 07-08 Recession. Oil was sky-rocketing, and the Texas economy was booming, enough to have the US limp along until the economy recovered to pre-Recession levels in December 2012. You'd rather let politics triumph over thousands of high-paying jobs? Mind you all the major cities in Texas and their adjacent counties are blue, and Houston is the largest nation in the state, 4th largest in the US, and 26th largest economy in the world. Put your ideology aside and look at the big picture.

You need help dude.


So you love Houston, great! That has nothing to do with anything. We don't build rockets because the oil price is low. Cancel this stupid rocket because It is expensive and has no mission. It does not matter how may high paying jobs are being subsidized or if it's in red or blue cities/states. Last news was STS/Orion and may fly once a year at most and cost $1 billion per flight...all for nothing. Yes, kill it and the fine people of Houston certainly will figure out more worthwhile things to be paid for.
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TWA772LR
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:49 pm

QuarkFly wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
QuarkFly wrote:
Good Riddance...the whole SLS and Orion concept is a white elephant with no mission. I can't stand Trump, but fine if he kills this program -- which is nothing but welfare for contractors and pork for red state NASA centers at Huntsville Alabama, Houston Texas, Michoud Louisiana, Stennis in Mississippi and giant solid-rocket motors built in Utah. Kill it all !!

Tone it down bud. I live in Houston and aerospace (NASA) is our third largest sector of our local economy, which is already depressed because of the oil slowdown.

Houston (and the rest of Texas) was the nations hedge during the 07-08 Recession. Oil was sky-rocketing, and the Texas economy was booming, enough to have the US limp along until the economy recovered to pre-Recession levels in December 2012. You'd rather let politics triumph over thousands of high-paying jobs? Mind you all the major cities in Texas and their adjacent counties are blue, and Houston is the largest nation in the state, 4th largest in the US, and 26th largest economy in the world. Put your ideology aside and look at the big picture.

You need help dude.


So you love Houston, great! That has nothing to do with anything. We don't build rockets because the oil price is low. Cancel this stupid rocket because It is expensive and has no mission. It does not matter how may high paying jobs are being subsidized or if it's in red or blue cities/states. Last news was STS/Orion and may fly once a year at most and cost $1 billion per flight...all for nothing. Yes, kill it and the fine people of Houston certainly will figure out more worthwhile things to be paid for.

Wanting to depress an already depressed economy is a bad thing. It's just like wanting to shut down Ford, GM, and Chrysler because automobiles make pollution, and thus killing the entire city of Detroit.

I'm ending this. Your rude comments are not warranted and I don't know why I'm even responding to them. Go get your help.
"It's not getting to the land of the nonrev that's the problem, it's getting back." ~~Captain Hector Barbossa
 
tommy1808
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:24 am

WIederling wrote:
Inefficient. you have to go down the moons gravity well and back up for access.


That depends on the kind of base, doesn't it?

~9-9.5 km/s from lunar surface to Mars surface is a hell lot better than 17 km/'s or so for earth surface to Mars surface.

If you make fuel on the moon, it may very well be worth it.

Best regards
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Times are changing: 70 years ago the USA went to war to defeat the Nazis, now they elect them to run their country.
 
WIederling
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:16 am

Think Heinlein.:-)

go to Earth Moon L1 for your facility.

Move fuel up ( as automatic as possible ) by electromagnetic catapult to your facility.

Still a beanstalk would be much more interesting.
(nearly) zero fuel from planet to planet ( with a receiving beanstalk present.)
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smithbs
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:18 pm

I think NASA is in a bind, but the blame isn't really theirs - the nation seems to not have any pressing need to send people into space at this time. Congress is too wrapped up in other issues to pay attention to NASA, let alone give it clear directions that are adequately funded, and the news media doesn't seem to either care about Orion or even know about its existence.

During Apollo, the nation was seized with the program and it was widely reported and recognized. Congress fully funded it, which considering the vast sum and the duration of the spending, was an amazing feat in itself.

For government bureaucracies, often it is difficult to go from an enormous Apollo-like footprint to a much smaller one based on space probes, satellite development and such. There is a strong inertia to keep the budget dollars flowing and to find something to do. NASA made the jump from Apollo with Space Shuttle, which was even more expensive and huge. They lobbied hard for it, applied a lot of PR and got their funding and mission. They made a lot of promises too, many of which didn't work out with Space Shuttle, but oh well, the nation thought it was a cool project anyways and appreciated it. The nation was happy to spend on space during the 1970s and into the 1980s.

Today, the perceived public desire for manned spaceflight seems to be finding new lows. This means that Congress won't care about it until the space-based constituencies lose their jobs. And I don't hear NASA lobbying hard for Orion or doing a lot of PR about it either - or if they are, the general public seems tone deaf to it. I would say NASA isn't lobbying hard because they seem to be funding Orion through the quietest avenues possible - not as bad as paying for air refueling tankers through O&M funds, but it feels like it.

Which is a shame because the result makes Orion look like a "make work" project. But generally, the public doesn't seem to be seized with missions beyond Earth's orbit, and I don't think anybody thinks such missions are worth the enormous cost - certainly not Congress for the last 10 years.
 
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:52 pm

The case is still controversial even marginal for putting people in space. It is hard to make the case that a person can do about anything which instruments and robots can do about as well - and for a whole lot less money. I would agree that some human presence in space is useful - just that the majority should be scientific and technological.

It is a high adventure to do such a thing - I'd volunteer in a trice, but doubt that anyone would think it worth a $Billion or two of taxpayers money. The science from unmanned has been astounding (as was our astronauts rescue of Hubble), but even that was from a well thought out pursuit of science.
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bmacleod
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:09 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
The case is still controversial even marginal for putting people in space. It is hard to make the case that a person can do about anything which instruments and robots can do about as well - and for a whole lot less money. I would agree that some human presence in space is useful - just that the majority should be scientific and technological.

It is a high adventure to do such a thing - I'd volunteer in a trice, but doubt that anyone would think it worth a $Billion or two of taxpayers money. The science from unmanned has been astounding (as was our astronauts rescue of Hubble), but even that was from a well thought out pursuit of science.


Highly probable Trump will be first POTUS since Jimmy Carter not to preside over any US manned launches during his term.

With the current state of US-Russia relations shelling out tax dough for piggybacking on a Russian Soyuz seems silly to say the least.

Which is why getting Orion, CST-100 and Space X Dragon online ASAP should be critical.
"What good are wings without the courage to fly?" - Atticus
 
smithbs
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:50 pm

bmacleod wrote:
Highly probable Trump will be first POTUS since Jimmy Carter not to preside over any US manned launches during his term.

Yes, but the Carter Administration was pumping vast loads of cash into Space Shuttle. I doubt the Trump Administration is going to sign up for anything comparable.

bmacleod wrote:
With the current state of US-Russia relations shelling out tax dough for piggybacking on a Russian Soyuz seems silly to say the least.

Which is why getting Orion, CST-100 and Space X Dragon online ASAP should be critical.

Agreed.
 
opticalilyushin
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:31 pm

I can't help but feel that going from the Shuttle to Orion is like a technological step back. I'd love to see the future embrace a combination of Space X reusable rockets coupled with the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser
 
bmacleod
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:49 pm

opticalilyushin wrote:
I can't help but feel that going from the Shuttle to Orion is like a technological step back. I'd love to see the future embrace a combination of Space X reusable rockets coupled with the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser


Orion's cockpit was designed using Space Shuttle cockpit technology if this image is accurate....

https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7528/15744571407_b296a5ce67_b.jpg
"What good are wings without the courage to fly?" - Atticus
 
finnishway
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:25 am

This is bull****.

First Project Constellation was cancelled now maybe Orion. They are definitely not going forward in NASA.
 
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alberchico
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:36 am

So at this point we ain't going to the moon, the asteroid project is cancelled and the mission to Mars is too damn expensive.

And the SLS rocket is a massive white elephant that will be horrendously expensive to operate.

So what is the future of NASA ?
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ThePointblank
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:56 am

alberchico wrote:
So at this point we ain't going to the moon, the asteroid project is cancelled and the mission to Mars is too damn expensive.

And the SLS rocket is a massive white elephant that will be horrendously expensive to operate.

So what is the future of NASA ?

Not on a NASA-designed rocket and capsule... I'm sure SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin could easily adapt their commercial crewed vehicles to do what Orion was supposed to do...
 
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KarelXWB
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:31 am

ThePointblank wrote:
I'm sure SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin could easily adapt their commercial crewed vehicles to do what Orion was supposed to do...


I wouldn't be so sure about that. The Dragon vehicle is rather small compared to Orion, and doesn't have the service module that can support astronauts up to 30 days in space.
What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:36 am

KarelXWB wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
I'm sure SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin could easily adapt their commercial crewed vehicles to do what Orion was supposed to do...


I wouldn't be so sure about that. The Dragon vehicle is rather small compared to Orion, and doesn't have the service module that can support astronauts up to 30 days in space.

They are working on Dragon V2, which has the same habitable volume as Orion internally.

I believe the intention with Orion is that it will operate with the under development Deep Space Habitat module attached to the capsule for long duration missions. That should provide the necessary living space onboard for long duration missions.

And there's also SpaceX's plans for the Interplanetary Transport System... they hope to have that thing flying with a crew in 2024... that thing should easily have the volume necessary for whatever NASA wants to do.
 
bmacleod
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:47 pm

finnishway wrote:

First Project Constellation was cancelled now maybe Orion. They are definitely not going forward in NASA.



alberchico wrote:
So at this point we ain't going to the moon, the asteroid project is cancelled and the mission to Mars is too damn expensive.

And the SLS rocket is a massive white elephant that will be horrendously expensive to operate.

So what is the future of NASA ?


First and foremost ..Nothing regarding possible cancellation of Orion has been reported. :banghead:

Orion has already been developed - testing and certification are all that remains..however it's a longer process that will take until 2020-2021.

It's a safe bet there will be a moon landing by 2029. Whether it's by NASA or private enterprise remains to be seen.

As far as Mars I can't see going there using current rocket technology.

Plasma engine technology will be needed for a Mars trip thought earliest I can see it is no earlier than 2040.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_propulsion_engine
"What good are wings without the courage to fly?" - Atticus
 
parapente
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:12 am

The big news (IMHO) in the last 2 weeks is that NASA has returned to Nuclear Thermal rocket engines.So much work was done on this in the 60-70's till the Mars project was cancelled.It is probably the most practical way to go to Mars --and back!
Furthermore the original idea was to lift such engines out of earths gravity Well via the Saturn rocket system.Of course the same could be done with the SLSs system.Thus giving it a meaningful long term role.
As for Orion,who knows.As stated it is now built.And so is Dragon.No harm in having both I suppose.

Moon?Quite possibly (political) but right now there is no lander with thrust since Red Dragon lander has been cancelled.
 
estorilm
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:09 pm

QuarkFly wrote:
Good Riddance...the whole SLS and Orion concept is a white elephant with no mission. I can't stand Trump, but fine if he kills this program -- which is nothing but welfare for contractors and pork for red state NASA centers at Huntsville Alabama, Houston Texas, Michoud Louisiana, Stennis in Mississippi and giant solid-rocket motors built in Utah. Kill it all !!

I can't even believe you're on these forums with a point-of-view like this.

You're talking about some of the most brilliant minds, organizations, companies, and historically-significant air and space facilities in the WORLD - and you'd just have them all burned to the ground, so you can meet some crazy snowflake political agendas and get homeless people silver-level health insurance plans at no-cost?

As others have said, these areas carried the economy through thick and thin, and are the very backbone of the most critical and influential space programs ever undertaken. In many ways they define the USA and what it's capable of.

Sorry, but I can't just throw that out the window so we can dump the $$$ into free colleges.

Again, most people on here understand the extremely complex programs and engineering required for civil and military aviation, but space programs are an entirely different animal all-together. NASA did something no one else could do (at the time, easily.. many would argue differently 50 years later..) to suggest abandoning an organization like that is simply blasphemy - though I know many who don't understand, appreciate, or REMEMBER what they did would disagree.

I'm fine with NASA partnering with the big contractors to develop key new technologies that benefit commercial aviation, safety, etc.. but as a space program, NASA is the first thing that pops into peoples minds world-wide. Forgive me for being proud of my country, but I don't want to see that change anytime soon - especially with a fairly mature project nearing first-flight stages. The money has been spent, let's see what it can do. The system as a whole is fairly flexible, especially as a carrier for extremely heavy LEO payloads. It's not a white elephant by any means.
 
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QuarkFly
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:18 pm

estorilm wrote:
...You're talking about some of the most brilliant minds, organizations, companies, and historically-significant air and space facilities in the WORLD - and you'd just have them all burned to the ground, so you can meet some crazy snowflake political agendas and get homeless people silver-level health insurance plans at no-cost?

As others have said, these areas carried the economy through thick and thin, and are the very backbone of the most critical and influential space programs ever undertaken. In many ways they define the USA and what it's capable of.

Sorry, but I can't just throw that out the window so we can dump the $$$ into free colleges.

Again, most people on here understand the extremely complex programs and engineering required for civil and military aviation, but space programs are an entirely different animal all-together. NASA did something no one else could do (at the time, easily.. many would argue differently 50 years later..) to suggest abandoning an organization like that is simply blasphemy - though I know many who don't understand, appreciate, or REMEMBER what they did would disagree.

I'm fine with NASA partnering with the big contractors to develop key new technologies that benefit commercial aviation, safety, etc.. but as a space program, NASA is the first thing that pops into peoples minds world-wide. Forgive me for being proud of my country, but I don't want to see that change anytime soon - especially with a fairly mature project nearing first-flight stages. The money has been spent, let's see what it can do. The system as a whole is fairly flexible, especially as a carrier for extremely heavy LEO payloads. It's not a white elephant by any means.


No, Sorry...We are talking about money grubbing NASA contractors who lobbied to take obsolete space-shuttle hardware to make this new SLS Franken-Rocket with no mission. That hurts the country. It will cost at least $1 billion for each launch, then what?...It has no mission. We already have private companies competing for launch services and designing all new low cost launchers...Including one that successfully builds re-usable boosters, and plans to put people on Mars next decade -- unrealistic in my view...But eliminates the need for a SLS giant rocket that nobody has any idea what to use for. NASA should get out of the space launch business and stick to science.

Your nonsense about homeless people and college money is besides the point. I will happily join conservatives who also have criticized the SLS budget and liberals who agree that this is a total waste and the money should be used for something else.

estorilm wrote:
I can't even believe you're on these forums with a point-of-view like this.

So who's the snowflake? Don't like my point of view...want me off the forums? Sorry, I'm staying...If you can't handle it -- Go to a safe space !!
Always take the Red Eye if possible
 
SCAT15F
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:55 pm

In my opinion they shot themselves in the foot with both Ares V and SLS because they insisted on sticking with Space Shuttle derived hardware. Orion? good riddance to bad rubbish, and give it up already with the SRB's. Pyrios (F-1B) was the way to go and is far more efficient than solids.
What a cluster.

Honestly, things really started going downhill with the extremely shortsighted cancellation of the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter and its advanced nuclear propulsion system. I'm still pissed about that one. It would have given NASA an edge over SpaceX and other competitiors.

Rant finished.
 
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Tugger
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:18 pm

There is absolute truth to the fact that the Ares then SLS etc. were really gimme's to the status quo industrial partners of NASA's space program. They were ostensibly to keep America in the game and using "tried and true" tech based on the defunct Space Shuttle program. But really it was mostly congressional pork with a side purpose of not abandoning space. Of course no one could have foreseen the rise of brand new unknown entrants having the success (and the private backing) that these new ventures have had.

At this point, for the most part Orion and SLS really are unneeded and definitely way too expensive when compared to the commercial based options. So they could be dropped without any real loss. But I think until private services are reliably sending humans to space some version of the programs will continue. I love the tech and development but I hate the wasted cost.

Tugg
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moo
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:10 am

SCAT15F wrote:
In my opinion they shot themselves in the foot with both Ares V and SLS because they insisted on sticking with Space Shuttle derived hardware.


The Shuttle hardware is decent, the platform was what failed.

SCAT15F wrote:
give it up already with the SRB's. Pyrios (F-1B) was the way to go and is far more efficient than solids.


The Shuttle SRBs are the most powerful rocket motors ever to fly - they maxed out at 3.1million lbf, double that of the F-1 and more than a third more than the F-1B.

For all their issues, you would struggle to get a comparable thrust from anything else in that size package.
 
WIederling
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:30 pm

moo wrote:
SCAT15F wrote:
In my opinion they shot themselves in the foot with both Ares V and SLS because they insisted on sticking with Space Shuttle derived hardware.


The Shuttle hardware is decent, the platform was what failed.


The application was daft.
Adding another segment to the solid booster while putting the payload on top introduced pogo oscillations to no end.
AFAIR force transfer for the shuttle from booster to main tank was done at the lowest segment.
Stage separation did not work out as expected an afaics intrinsic problem.
Murphy is an optimist
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:40 am

bmacleod wrote:
They can't just cancel the whole project - it's mostly developed and built - testing and other less intensive work is all that's left right?


That would be a sunk cost fallacy. What we've spent to date is irrelevant. If we don't need Orion or SLS to accomplish our manned spaceflight objectives, then it's irrational to spend another dollar on them.

Now whether we need them is a separate question. NASA's recently announced Deep Space Gateway mission concept makes good use of the SLS booster. Both Orion and SLS appear safe from cancellation at this time.

finnishway wrote:
This is bull****. First Project Constellation was cancelled now maybe Orion. They are definitely not going forward in NASA.


For the record: Project Constellation was a gross display of government waste. The details would shock and insult you. NASA would be far worse today had Constellation not been cancelled. Direct your scorn at those damned fools who conceived that misbegotten program in the first place. I'm still embarrassed to admit that - for time - I entertained the idea Constellation would work.

KarelXWB wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
I'm sure SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin could easily adapt their commercial crewed vehicles to do what Orion was supposed to do...


I wouldn't be so sure about that. The Dragon vehicle is rather small compared to Orion, and doesn't have the service module that can support astronauts up to 30 days in space.


Any capsule is just a taxi to transport the crew to a mission module. Specifying a huge capsule volume just increases the mass of the heat shield, landing system, abort system, etc. The capsule should just be kept to a minimum volume necessary to reach the mission module. In practical terms, that means a free-flight of 7 days each way to the various staging points in the Earth-Moon system.

WIederling wrote:
AFAIR force transfer for the shuttle from booster to main tank was done at the lowest segment..


It's the upper segment that transmits force from the SRB into the External Tank (or booster core with SLS). There's a big cross-beam between the LOX and LH2 tank that carries the load. It's much more stress-efficient to "lift" from the middle of the stack.

alberchico wrote:
So at this point we ain't going to the moon, the asteroid project is cancelled and the mission to Mars is too damn expensive. And the SLS rocket is a massive white elephant that will be horrendously expensive to operate. So what is the future of NASA ?


The current plan is to construct a Deep Space Gateway and Deep Space Transport vehicle:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/deep-space ... stinations

The Deep Space Gateway would be a minimalist space station located near the Earth-Moon L2 point. This is a special gravitational point that is basically a stone's throw to anywhere in the inner solar system. It only takes another 1 km/s delta-V to leave EML2 for Mars. This makes an ideal staging ground for the solar-electric powered Deep Space Transport. Solar-electric propulsion is very mass efficient, but accelerates very slowly.

I think it's actually a pretty ingenious plan. It's flexible for many different mission types. It mitigates technology risk by reusing proven elements from the ISS. It's mass efficient. It accommodates international partners. It has lots of opportunities for commercial contracting. It's a nice, incremental, not-radical way to explore the inner solar system.
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ITMercure
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:18 pm

"I think it's actually a pretty ingenious plan. It's flexible for many different mission types. It mitigates technology risk by reusing proven elements from the ISS. It's mass efficient. It accommodates international partners. It has lots of opportunities for commercial contracting. It's a nice, incremental, not-radical way to explore the inner solar system."

But it would be outside the Earth's protective magnetic field, right?
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:00 pm

ITMercure wrote:
"I think it's actually a pretty ingenious plan. It's flexible for many different mission types. It mitigates technology risk by reusing proven elements from the ISS. It's mass efficient. It accommodates international partners. It has lots of opportunities for commercial contracting. It's a nice, incremental, not-radical way to explore the inner solar system."

But it would be outside the Earth's protective magnetic field, right?


Yes. Just like the Apollo lunar missions, accessing the DSG would require a fast transit through the Van Allen radiation belts as the crew leaves Earth's magnetic field.
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:42 pm

So this L2 station would not be permanently crewed?
 
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:05 pm

"Brightest minds" have been mentioned in this thread. To be honest I would expect the brightest minds at NASA (engineers, not scientists or course) to have been picked up by private competitors some time ago.
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DfwRevolution
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:48 pm

ITMercure wrote:
So this L2 station would not be permanently crewed?


Correct. It would be temporarily manned. It's just a way station for the crew to rendezvous with mission modules.

Aesma wrote:
"Brightest minds" have been mentioned in this thread. To be honest I would expect the brightest minds at NASA (engineers, not scientists or course) to have been picked up by private competitors some time ago.


Yes and no. There has been some brain drain as NASA decided it would narrow its internal skill set and rely on external contractors for more. I think that's been a win-win for everyone. But at the same time, different folks are motivated by different things. If you've got kids and a family, then moving to Hawthorne to work 80 hours a week at SpaceX probably doesn't carry great appeal.
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Francoflier
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:53 am

QuarkFly wrote:
o, Sorry...We are talking about money grubbing NASA contractors who lobbied to take obsolete space-shuttle hardware to make this new SLS Franken-Rocket with no mission. That hurts the country. It will cost at least $1 billion for each launch, then what?...It has no mission. We already have private companies competing for launch services and designing all new low cost launchers...Including one that successfully builds re-usable boosters, and plans to put people on Mars next decade -- unrealistic in my view...But eliminates the need for a SLS giant rocket that nobody has any idea what to use for. NASA should get out of the space launch business and stick to science.

Your nonsense about homeless people and college money is besides the point. I will happily join conservatives who also have criticized the SLS budget and liberals who agree that this is a total waste and the money should be used for something else.


I don't understand your point, and I think you don't either.

Fundamentally, space exploration has no return on investment, other than scientific and to satisfy human curiosity.
Nasa could well outsource all of the exploration stuff to Musk and Bezos, but at the end of the day, designing clean sheet heavy launch systems that are man-rated is going to be astronomically expensive no matter who designs it. And since no money will be made, Nasa would bear the cost anyway... the only question is whether SpaceX or Blue Origin could make it cheaper than the SLS.
In fact, Nasa has funded most of SpaceX's rocket development. They're the reason Musk has been able to go from 'barely able to successfully launch a small payload' to 'successfully launching a semi-reusable heavy launcher on a regular basis' in about a decade...

SLS came about when the US had lost its ability to launch humans into space and had to depend on old rivals to do it for them, all the while being challenged by China's rapidly advancing and very ambitious space program... As far as I know, that is still the case.

Basically, you have to ask yourself whether you want some of your tax dollars to go towards space exploration at all.
If you don't, then I suppose that's your prerogative. The US might stick to commercial LEO and GTO and let China go back to the Moon, Mars and beyond, probably with help from Russia.
But if you do, then you're entitled to want the most bang for your taxed buck. In that case, whether the SLS is a good and dollar-effective way of doing it is certainly up for debate, but I know it's still way cheaper than designing a new system from the ground up, and for all the confidence and outlandish dreams and volition of Musk and Bezos, I'm not sure they could do it for less in a reasonable time frame. Not to mention that despite their achievements, they're still not in the man-rated game yet.

The SLS is not perfect nor cheap, but it's doable, and within a few years. That's more than anybody or anything else can claim right now.

Now, as much as I like the appeal of massive rockets and single launch missions, I can see a future where Nasa would subcontract more efficient private launchers to fling the hardware up and then use a smaller rocket to launch the astronauts and their re-entry capsule once everything is ready up there.
Cue Falcon Heavy...
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QuarkFly
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:31 am

Francoflier wrote:
QuarkFly wrote:
o, Sorry...We are talking about money grubbing NASA contractors who lobbied to take obsolete space-shuttle hardware to make this new SLS Franken-Rocket with no mission. That hurts the country. It will cost at least $1 billion for each launch, then what?...It has no mission. We already have private companies competing for launch services and designing all new low cost launchers...Including one that successfully builds re-usable boosters, and plans to put people on Mars next decade -- unrealistic in my view...But eliminates the need for a SLS giant rocket that nobody has any idea what to use for. NASA should get out of the space launch business and stick to science.

Your nonsense about homeless people and college money is besides the point. I will happily join conservatives who also have criticized the SLS budget and liberals who agree that this is a total waste and the money should be used for something else.


I don't understand your point, and I think you don't either.

Fundamentally, space exploration has no return on investment, other than scientific and to satisfy human curiosity.
Nasa could well outsource all of the exploration stuff to Musk and Bezos, but at the end of the day, designing clean sheet heavy launch systems that are man-rated is going to be astronomically expensive no matter who designs it. And since no money will be made, Nasa would bear the cost anyway... the only question is whether SpaceX or Blue Origin could make it cheaper than the SLS.
In fact, Nasa has funded most of SpaceX's rocket development. They're the reason Musk has been able to go from 'barely able to successfully launch a small payload' to 'successfully launching a semi-reusable heavy launcher on a regular basis' in about a decade...

SLS came about when the US had lost its ability to launch humans into space and had to depend on old rivals to do it for them, all the while being challenged by China's rapidly advancing and very ambitious space program... As far as I know, that is still the case.

Basically, you have to ask yourself whether you want some of your tax dollars to go towards space exploration at all.
If you don't, then I suppose that's your prerogative. The US might stick to commercial LEO and GTO and let China go back to the Moon, Mars and beyond, probably with help from Russia.
But if you do, then you're entitled to want the most bang for your taxed buck. In that case, whether the SLS is a good and dollar-effective way of doing it is certainly up for debate, but I know it's still way cheaper than designing a new system from the ground up, and for all the confidence and outlandish dreams and volition of Musk and Bezos, I'm not sure they could do it for less in a reasonable time frame. Not to mention that despite their achievements, they're still not in the man-rated game yet.

The SLS is not perfect nor cheap, but it's doable, and within a few years. That's more than anybody or anything else can claim right now.

Now, as much as I like the appeal of massive rockets and single launch missions, I can see a future where Nasa would subcontract more efficient private launchers to fling the hardware up and then use a smaller rocket to launch the astronauts and their re-entry capsule once everything is ready up there.
Cue Falcon Heavy...


Actually I don't understand your point...NASA already has two systems in development to put astronauts in space on rockets that are already in service -- the Boeing CST-100 with an ULA rocket (Atlas at first) and the SpaceX Dragon/Falcon-9. So why do we need this giant SLS rocket with 9-million pounds thrust at liftoff, that costs at least $1 billion per launch? To put a few astronauts in space? It will probably only be launched once, maybe twice per year -- so what's the point?

The plan for SLS and the Orion capsule originally was for the moon but that was cancelled..then go to an asteroid, now that's likely canceled...Mars isn't going to get funded by the US any time soon...How does SLS do anything other than drain away funding for more worthwhile space exploration - especially unmanned probes that produce the most science, which sadly is being cut back!

The real reason for SLS getting built is the following...To pour money into NASA Marshall AL and Michoud LA space centers (Shuttle derived tanks and structure) ATK (obsolete Shuttle solid boosters made in Utah), Lockheed (Orion capsule), Rocketdyn (Space Shuttle RS25 main engines). All these old Shuttle contractors looking for work and $$...that is the real reason for SLS.
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Channex757
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:52 am

Probably only a sidebar to the debate but Elon Musk is on record as saying that the reason Falcon 9 works so well is not just that it is partially reusable, but that SpaceX is concentrated in one area.

Having NASA so spread-out across the country might have been politically desirable, but it adds a huge amount of cost to the operation and additionally slows development right down. Facilities get duplicated, worker counts are artificially inflated and sharing development work (prototyping especially or physical modelling) is made harder by hundreds or even thousands of miles between those test benches.

IIRC he cited an example of a SRB that is manufactured in one location, then shipped across the country to be filled with propellant. It then has to be shipped again to the assembly and launch site. SpaceX does all that sort of thing in one facility.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:12 pm

QuarkFly wrote:
Actually I don't understand your point...NASA already has two systems in development to put astronauts in space on rockets that are already in service -- the Boeing CST-100 with an ULA rocket (Atlas at first) and the SpaceX Dragon/Falcon-9. So why do we need this giant SLS rocket with 9-million pounds thrust at liftoff, that costs at least $1 billion per launch? To put a few astronauts in space? It will probably only be launched once, maybe twice per year -- so what's the point?


Well, Nasa is only developing one of those three systems. the CST and Dragon are privately designed, Nasa only supplies the money.
They are designed as Earth orbit astronaut shuttling vehicles only. They do not carry much of a payload and they're not designed to go any farther than the ISS.
Nasa's plan is to subcontract ISS resupply missions, for both cargo and astronauts, to private companies (SpaceX and Boeing).

The Orion, on the other hand, is designed by Nasa and its purpose is to launch astronauts on beyond-orbit missions into the solar system.
Whereas Dragon and CST-100 will be launched on moderately sized rockets as the only need to lift a few pax and limited cargo to LEO, Orion will be launched along with all the hardware (or some of the hardware, for more complex missions) necessary to perform a long-duration mission far away from Earth. Hence the need for the massive SLS.

There could have been some optimization between the capsules, such as a giving one of the contractors the task to upscale their capsule to replace Orion, but as I'm not very erudite in capsule design, I don't know what the differences are between designing a capsule to shuttle astronauts up and down the ISS and designing one to send people to the Moon and back... Is suspect they would be large enough to require a separate machine.

As for the SLS's missions, well, I can think of quite a few I'd like to see happen, but at the end of the day, Nasa has to decide what they want to do with it with the money they're given.
I have no choice but to agree with you on one thing: If they can't find and fund missions for the SLS, then it will indeed become a very expensive white elephant.
But there will be nothing in the short future from any private contractor that will be able to do what the SLS will do, so if the US wants to get back in the manned space exploration game, this will have to do.
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aviationaware
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:36 pm

KarelXWB wrote:
Lockheed already spent $10 billion on Orion, just imagine if Trump Administration pulls the plug.


It's not like they weren't reimbursed for that.
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:56 am

QuarkFly wrote:
Actually I don't understand your point...NASA already has two systems in development to put astronauts in space on rockets that are already in service -- the Boeing CST-100 with an ULA rocket (Atlas at first) and the SpaceX Dragon/Falcon-9. So why do we need this giant SLS rocket with 9-million pounds thrust at liftoff, that costs at least $1 billion per launch? To put a few astronauts in space? It will probably only be launched once, maybe twice per year -- so what's the point?


SLS will have unique capabilities versus any current or soon-to-be flown booster, namely:
- Accommodation of payloads over 5 meter diameter
- Insertion of payloads between 70,000-100,000 kg to LEO
- Fast transfer of small payloads to outer solar system

Even though Falcon 9 Heavy will be nipping at its heels on LEO payload, SpaceX still won't be able to lift payloads of equal volume. Nor does SpaceX have a high-energy upper stage to send that LEO payload beyond Earth orbit. In other words, SLS has a big payload advantage going to the moon and beyond. Granted, I think it's entirely defensible to say it would be more cost-effective for NASA to invest in bigger payload fairings or compacting vehicles into more manageable pieces so they can launch on existing boosters.

QuarkFly wrote:
The plan for SLS and the Orion capsule originally was for the moon but that was cancelled..then go to an asteroid, now that's likely canceled...Mars isn't going to get funded by the US any time soon...How does SLS do anything other than drain away funding for more worthwhile space exploration - especially unmanned probes that produce the most science, which sadly is being cut back!


See: Deep Space Gateway and Deep Space Transport.

QuarkFly wrote:
The real reason for SLS getting built is the following...To pour money into NASA Marshall AL and Michoud LA space centers (Shuttle derived tanks and structure) ATK (obsolete Shuttle solid boosters made in Utah), Lockheed (Orion capsule), Rocketdyn (Space Shuttle RS25 main engines). All these old Shuttle contractors looking for work and $$...that is the real reason for SLS.


I don't dispute that but remember that NASA doesn't decide it's budget. Congress does. Congress has specified that NASA develop SLS so that's what they're doing.

Francoflier wrote:
Now, as much as I like the appeal of massive rockets and single launch missions, I can see a future where Nasa would subcontract more efficient private launchers to fling the hardware up and then use a smaller rocket to launch the astronauts and their re-entry capsule once everything is ready up there


I think the tedious experience of constructing the ISS over something like 30 flights is still fresh in NASA's memory. However, I don't think they've swung back to single-launch missions. The current DSG and DST mission plans show about 4-5 assembly flights with the possibility of commercial flights in-between. I would say that is a reasonable position for now.
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Channex757
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:10 pm

Orion is too expensive and too slow to mature. Those two points alone should be enough to cause it major problems.

NASA may be trying to do the job to the best of their abilities, but to the uneducated Senator or Congress critter it looks like a boondoggle project. They are the people holding the purse strings at the end of all this. Trump doesn't have line-veto on budgets so if Congress kills it at the budget stage he can't do anything but go along with it or send the budget back.

It should by now have been flying hardware. the yardstick of Apollo will be applied, which went from startup to feet on the moon in under a decade. Politicians will regard this as a NASA program of salaries, pensions and healthcare that designs the occasional rocket and kill it as being wasteful.
 
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:55 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
SLS will have unique capabilities versus any current or soon-to-be flown booster, namely:
- Accommodation of payloads over 5 meter diameter
- Insertion of payloads between 70,000-100,000 kg to LEO
- Fast transfer of small payloads to outer solar system
...
See: Deep Space Gateway and Deep Space Transport.


Any plan for transporting large payloads out of earth orbit should be designed, funded and in place before any SLS rocket is built to implement it. I suspect in about a year or two, we won't be hearing much about NASA Deep Space plans, because there is no interest in Congress or the public to fund it. Sending astronauts far outside earth orbit is not a useful exercise when unmanned space probes provide much more scientific payback at a much lower cost....the New Horizons probe to Pluto and the Kuiper belt launched on an Atlas V rocket proves that point.

SLS and its 1970s technology is being funded as make-work to keep politically connected contractors and NASA centers busy, not for any real scientific or exploratory reason.
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Channex757
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:40 pm

QuarkFly wrote:
Any plan for transporting large payloads out of earth orbit should be designed, funded and in place before any SLS rocket is built to implement it. I suspect in about a year or two, we won't be hearing much about NASA Deep Space plans, because there is no interest in Congress or the public to fund it. Sending astronauts far outside earth orbit is not a useful exercise when unmanned space probes provide much more scientific payback at a much lower cost....the New Horizons probe to Pluto and the Kuiper belt launched on an Atlas V rocket proves that point.

SLS and its 1970s technology is being funded as make-work to keep politically connected contractors and NASA centers busy, not for any real scientific or exploratory reason.

It's your last line that is the most important.....1970s technology.

With that I certainly agree with you. NASA has their Breakthrough Propulsion laboratories; instead of SLS the money should be flowing there. What is the point of sending people out on manned chemical rockets?

Better to wait for a new, faster propulsion to come about and that means inventing it first. Let SpaceX and the rest handle orbital launches and probes, and get NASA inventing stuff again and not just trying to reinvent the 70s wheel.
 
WIederling
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:10 pm

Apollo was a rather uncompromised disposable design.

Shuttle in its realized form was compromised to no end.
The Dyane of rockets. Not the stark simplicity of a 2VC nor the full featuredness of a real car like the DS or ID.

Refurbishing the orbiter was time consuming and expensive. projected turnaround times unachievable.
Refurbishing the boosters was possible but was limited by similar issues.

Add in NASA as an institution that was busily trampling along the path of Jerry Pournelles "Iron Law of Bureaucracy"
ref: https://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/iron.html
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DfwRevolution
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:48 pm

QuarkFly wrote:
Any plan for transporting large payloads out of earth orbit should be designed, funded and in place before any SLS rocket is built to implement it.


Why before? An optimal project plan would have the payload and booster finished at the same time. That's starting to happening now. SLS development funding is ramping-down and payload funding is ramping-up. NASA issued RFPs for the first Deep Space Gateway modules a few months ago.

QuarkFly wrote:
Sending astronauts far outside earth orbit is not a useful exercise when unmanned space probes provide much more scientific payback at a much lower cost....the New Horizons probe to Pluto and the Kuiper belt launched on an Atlas V rocket proves that point.


No one is disputing the value of unmanned exploration. However, the U.S. has also maintained a policy of conducting manned space flight for decades. Support for that policy is not wavering. I think it is no coincidence that the U.S. has both the most active manned spaceflight programs and most active unmanned exploration programs. They reinforce public interest in each other.

Channex757 wrote:
With that I certainly agree with you. NASA has their Breakthrough Propulsion laboratories; instead of SLS the money should be flowing there. What is the point of sending people out on manned chemical rockets?


NASA is actively funding an exploration architecture based on solar-electric propulsion. The DSG Power & Propulsion module would feature the largest ion engine ever flown.

Even with advanced propulsion systems, most architectures still rely on chemical propulsion to push the crew out of low-Earth orbit. The crew needs to transit the Van Allen radiation belts quickly or else they're going to be cooked extra crispy. Taking a slow spiral-out trajectory on a solar-electric vehicle is no-good. That's the point of the Deep Space Gateway. Send the crew on a fast-transit from LEO and then rendezvous with a mass-efficient solar-electric transport vehicle for journey's to Mars.

Channex757 wrote:
Let SpaceX and the rest handle orbital launches and probes, and get NASA inventing stuff again and not just trying to reinvent the 70s wheel.


What "wheel" presently exists to send 40,000 kg beyond earth orbit?
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Francoflier
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:28 am

Channex757 wrote:
Better to wait for a new, faster propulsion to come about and that means inventing it first. Let SpaceX and the rest handle orbital launches and probes, and get NASA inventing stuff again and not just trying to reinvent the 70s wheel.


As DfwRevolution said, there is no other propulsion method other than the chemical rocket with the ability to provide the thrust to weight ratio needed to push payloads up Earth's gravity well and through its thick atmosphere.

There are a number of advanced propulsion systems being developed, but while they are all extremely efficient and would potentially allow long distance intra system human travel (very high Isp), none of them even remotely approach a 1:1 thrust to weight ratio (I think VASIMR is up to about 1 lbf of thrust for several hundred lbs of weight...), let alone trying to rival the 180:1 currently achieved by chemical rockets.

Any technology that would allow to replace the rocket engine to push us up into space is highly theoretical at this stage. We're talking electromagnetic ramps and space elevators.

Worthy of mention here is Stratolaunch's effort at a mixed mode launcher which would take advantage of the relative efficiency of a 'conventional' airplane to carry a rocket some of the way up and give it some of the speed. But many (including Musk) argue that the added complexity and weight limitations more than balance out the relatively small altitude and speed boost you get from such a system.

In short, this wheel hasn't been reinvented for the same reason that the conventional wheel hasn't either. There's just nothing better within our foreseeable technological advancements.
And the fact that it is 70's tech is not a damning condemnation of the hardware involved. If we're going to use rockets, they need to be powerful and safe. There's comparatively little performance to be gained from a brand new design compared to what it would cost to conceive, build and certify to the desired reliability. That's the whole idea behind SLS.

The tech currently used to launch astronauts into space is a lot older than what the SLS will use...

The one major technological advance that would drive down the cost of orbiting stuff is reusability, which is what Musk and Bezos are going for, but developing the SLS to be partly reusable would essentially mean a clean sheet and drive the cost up by up to an order of magnitude and take many more years.
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WIederling
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:57 am

Francoflier wrote:
The one major technological advance that would drive down the cost of orbiting stuff is reusability,


Yes.
But only if you achieve whole vehicle turn around in a reasonable timeframe comparable to transport airplanes.
Just topping off kind of maintainance and regular _planned_ replacement of worn parts.

Skylon goes much more in that direction than the "get a bag of parts back and refurbish" path taken by SpaceX.
Murphy is an optimist
 
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moo
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Re: Orion project may get canceled

Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:14 am

Francoflier wrote:
Channex757 wrote:
Better to wait for a new, faster propulsion to come about and that means inventing it first. Let SpaceX and the rest handle orbital launches and probes, and get NASA inventing stuff again and not just trying to reinvent the 70s wheel.


As DfwRevolution said, there is no other propulsion method other than the chemical rocket with the ability to provide the thrust to weight ratio needed to push payloads up Earth's gravity well and through its thick atmosphere.


NERVA would do it...

The 1960s designs were at least twice as efficient as chemical rocket engines and flight designs were comparable in thrust as well.

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