Boldly going nowhere: NASA ends plan to put man back on Moon

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robunos

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From the Times Online...

"NASA has begun to wind down construction of the rockets and spacecraft that were to
have taken astronauts back to the Moon —
effectively dismantling the US human spaceflight programme despite a congressional ban
on its doing so."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article7149543.ece


cheers,
Robin.
 

mz

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It all began when Mike Griffin became NASA administrator in 2005 and, with the president's vision for space exploration (return to the moon) as a goal, steered the agency into the unaffordable Constellation program which included new NASA designed rockets and technologies that duplicated existing and flying commercial capabilities. The additional money didn't come through and the superoptimistic schedule didn't happen either (technical difficulties and large changes in plans were done) but they had already started dismantling the shuttle. What can be done at this point?

If you both 1) want to have something lasting and 2) you're given only a steady budget, not a huge bump, you just don't start rebuilding Apollo on steroids.
 

Avimimus

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Not to be political - but the cold war is over and we all need to water down resurgent nationalism/patriotism. A plan to return to the moon as one country isn't polite to allies. Furthermore, for countries like China - it would be better to integrate their quest for prestige (which they perceived as lost under colonial division) with the projects of other nations (and thus keep this quest out of the hands of local would be imperialist factions). It doesn't even earn the U.S. prestige internationally if people from other nations simply view it as a self-satisfied hubris in which they aren't being included. So, I'm not mourning it. :-[

If it has been planned along the lines of the multinational mission in Stanley G. Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey" or some optimistic artwork I've seen that was based on the belief that a Mars mission could only be affordable conducted as a joint American-Soviet effort - I'd mourn it. But manned trips are largely symbolic and the symbolism would only be of how blind one country is towards its allies and non-allies.

Besides - there are plenty of expensive unmanned missions yet to be funded. ;)

Just my two-cents.
 

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mz said:
It all began when Mike Griffin became NASA administrator in 2005 and, with the president's vision for space exploration (return to the moon) as a goal, steered the agency into the unaffordable Constellation program which included new NASA designed rockets and technologies that duplicated existing and flying commercial capabilities.

Oh god, not this canard.

1.) There is no presently flying commercial rocket with the reliability rating of ARES I -- Ares I was designed from the start to be one of the safest man rated vehicles ever -- NASA learned their lesson from Challenger/Columbia.

2.) There is no present commercial rocket that can put 160 tonnes into low earth orbit like ARES V would have.

3.) It doesn't matter which architecture was picked -- ARES Clean Sheet Super SDLV / Jupiter DIRECT SDLV / EELV Man-Rating -- there just is not enough money in NASA's budget to carry out the program to get us the rocket AND the spacecraft AND the lander all at once. This kind of funding isn't available; so any program has to be done sequentially; like Constellation was.

Work on the CSM and Ares I stick that puts it into space first -- then once that's done, begin funding Ares V (it would use five segment solids which would have been pioneered in Ares I) and Altair.

And if you go back to the FY08 budget for NASA; the proposed five year budget had development outlays for ARES I declining off to a "operating costs" level, while funding to develop ARES V was to ramp up to over a billion a year.

But Obama zeroed out that funding in his FY09 budget before he tried to kill it this year.
 

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The problem is, unlike the Military, NASA has to justify it's existence every year to congress. The fact that NASA could run on the cost over runs of one military program really tells you how much NASA has been squeezed. Also, this isn't Democratic or Republican. Both parties talk about how wonderful space exploration is, then short change NASA's budget. With America becoming more and more anti-science every year, it isn't surprising.
 

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Avimimus said:
Not to be political - but the cold war is over and we all need to water down resurgent nationalism/patriotism. A plan to return to the moon as one country isn't polite to allies.

Wow. How can I say "that's the dumbest thing I've read all day" in way that won't irritate the moderators?

*Competition* is really the only way to successfully accomplish much of anything. And that means nation competing against nation, as well as company against company.
 

mz

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RyanCrierie said:
mz said:
It all began when Mike Griffin became NASA administrator in 2005 and, with the president's vision for space exploration (return to the moon) as a goal, steered the agency into the unaffordable Constellation program which included new NASA designed rockets and technologies that duplicated existing and flying commercial capabilities.

Oh god, not this canard.
Please be polite.
1.) There is no presently flying commercial rocket with the reliability rating of ARES I -- Ares I was designed from the start to be one of the safest man rated vehicles ever -- NASA learned their lesson from Challenger/Columbia.

What Ares I? It is not even flying. How can they predict its safety so accurately? MSFC has not designed rockets in decades.

There are questions like the high q because the solid rocket accelerates fast, meaning a huge launch escape tower and high gees. And the solid rocket can not be shut down. What about the thrust oscillations? I don't know if Scott will defend Ares I anymore now that he doesn't work for ATK.

2.) There is no present commercial rocket that can put 160 tonnes into low earth orbit like ARES V would have.

Not in one go.

And when would Ares V have flown? With what money? It's a somewhat vague concept in the distant future that kept growing incredibly. And with what synergies with STS or Ares I? Everything was different. SRB segment number (I haven't followed for a while though), solid propellant chemistry, tank size. Maybe the J-2X was similar to Ares I.

3.) It doesn't matter which architecture was picked -- ARES Clean Sheet Super SDLV / Jupiter DIRECT SDLV / EELV Man-Rating -- there just is not enough money in NASA's budget to carry out the program to get us the rocket AND the spacecraft AND the lander all at once. This kind of funding isn't available; so any program has to be done sequentially; like Constellation was.

Nope, it matters greatly what architecture you pick. For example, if you choose rockets that are already flying, you can actually do something and keep operating the ISS, perhaps even go to asteroids etc because you need to spend less money on development.
Also if you don't tie the architecture to one sole sourced launcher, you can change launchers and introduce improvements to the program. Or rather think it maybe as a capability rather than a program (Oversimplified, a program ends and then you're left with a bunch of flags and footprints and ruins).

Work on the CSM and Ares I stick that puts it into space first -- then once that's done, begin funding Ares V (it would use five segment solids which would have been pioneered in Ares I) and Altair.

And do what meanwhile? Stop all advanced programs since Ares I sucks so much more money? Stop putting humans to space? Deorbit ISS? All the while rockets capable of orbiting humans are flying from the neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Why? Because of some reliability fantasy from MSFC? The ESAS study which chose the 1.5 launch Ares I / V configuration was a sham on EELV:s, getting so much of data wrong that the analysis is worthless in that regard. Some unavoidable black zone trajectories that the contractors could avoid easily, getting stage weights wrong...

And if you go back to the FY08 budget for NASA; the proposed five year budget had development outlays for ARES I declining off to a "operating costs" level, while funding to develop ARES V was to ramp up to over a billion a year.

But Obama zeroed out that funding in his FY09 budget before he tried to kill it this year.

AFAIK, Ares I was not very far because of problems like underperformance and thrust oscillation, but I'm not an expert on this. I also don't know how many billions was spent there.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 was started around the same time, no? I'm not saying it's the world's most magnificient rocket or the best thing since sliced bread but at least it's placed something in orbit, and it hasn't yet cost billions. It's probably overhyped but serves as an interesting context anyway.

There have been experts criticizing Ares I consistently from the get go with valid reasons. It duplicates existing capabilities, it is performance limited because of the fixed first stage, and many other things.

EDIT:
Here's what the Aerospace Corporation found out about using EELV:s: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2009/04/study-eelv-capable-orion-role-griffin-claims-alternatives-fiction/
 

Colonial-Marine

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Gotta love our leaders trying to turn "American exceptionalism" into "American mediocrity".

But we get free health care and Greek style job benefits right?
 

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mz said:
How can they predict its safety so accurately?

Predicting reliability is based on empirical evidence of reliability of the components and systems used. If you use the same methodology for two entirely different vehicles, you can come up with relative reliabilities.

MSFC has not designed rockets in decades.

And they didn't design Ares I, either. That's left to the contractors.

if you choose rockets that are already flying, you can actually do something and keep operating the ISS, perhaps even go to asteroids etc

No rocket currently flying can send a worthwhile mission to the asteroids.
 

sferrin

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Colonial-Marine said:
Gotta love our leaders trying to turn "American exceptionalism" into "American mediocrity".

But we get free health care and Greek style job benefits right?

Only if you're on the government dole. If you're a regular working stiff prepare to get bent over and raped with a pineapple.
 

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mz said:
What Ares I? It is not even flying. How can they predict its safety so accurately? MSFC has not designed rockets in decades.

It's a significant boost in reliability and safety over the current stacked side by side configuration found on Shuttle -- and all the other alternatives, such as Delta IV Heavy -- have side by side configuration -- which means a single failure in a strapon booster (whether liquid or solid) sets off the bomb next to it.

Secondly, it's a TSTO rocket; there's no third stage. This makes the rocket more weight critical, but since a third staging operation is eliminated, reliability goes up.

There are questions like the high q because the solid rocket accelerates fast, meaning a huge launch escape tower and high gees.

Left unsaid is that because of high acceleration, the rocket can launch in higher winds more safely, because it clears the tower faster, rather than slowly nosing about for the proper attitude like the Saturn V did for the first couple seconds.

And five to six gees isn't brutal when you're sitting in a couch, and only have to endure it for a couple minutes before the first stage burns out.

And the solid rocket can not be shut down.

We do it all the time with ICBMs; which require extraordinarily precise stage shutdowns to meet their accuracy goals.

How you shut down a solid rocket is pretty easy -- you have blowout vents on the top of the solid rocket motor; when you want to shut down the motor, you open the vents; and the pressure inside the rocket motor drops to a level too low to sustain combustion, and the engine falls silent.

What about the thrust oscillations?

You mean the oscillations which failed to be a major issue with Ares I-X; which was a properly mass distributed boilerplate?

Not in one go.

Being able to put up 160 tonne modules in LEO is faster and more efficient than slowly assembling 20 tonne modules -- look at the comparative sizes of Skylab versus ISS.

And when would Ares V have flown?

In about 2014-2015.

With what money?

The plan was to do it sequential -- develop the Orion Spacecraft and Ares I for immediate LEO needs; and then once those two have gone into production and are deployed; the money shifts to the Ares V project office. NASA can't develop everything at once anymore. The money isn't there anymore, unlike Apollo.

And with what synergies with STS or Ares I? Everything was different. SRB segment number

The SRBs on Ares V would have been 5 segment, like Ares I.

For example, if you choose rockets that are already flying, you can actually do something and keep operating the ISS, perhaps even go to asteroids etc because you need to spend less money on development.

Actually no. You need to man-rate them first. And that's very $$$$$$$$. Better to leave cargo lifting to cheap expendable rockets that you don't care about if they explode and leave people hauling to rockets that are designed from the start to maximize crew safety and reliability.

And do what meanwhile? Stop all advanced programs since Ares I sucks so much more money? Stop putting humans to space? Deorbit ISS?

This isn't the Gap between Apollo/Skylab and Shuttle; since we can hire the Russians to send cargo and crew up to the ISS, so mothballing it for a couple years makes sense; until we can deploy a large re-entry capsule which can hold six people -- that's the limiting factor on how much we can use ISS -- the rescue vehicles.

Crews were limited to just three people because of the limitations of docked Soyuz; and it costs roughly the same amount of money to run three-man ISS as it does six-man ISS.

The ESAS study which chose the 1.5 launch Ares I / V configuration was a sham on EELV:s, getting so much of data wrong that the analysis is worthless in that regard.

Point out to me any rocket family present or planned which can offer 160 tonne to orbit capability without endless strapons or clustering. That's right, you can't.

AFAIK, Ares I was not very far because of problems like underperformance and thrust oscillation, but I'm not an expert on this. I also don't know how many billions was spent there.

You mean like how thrust oscillation was a complete non-issue in the Ares I-X flight?

Anyway, it really does not matter if Ares I underperforms; because all we need it to do is reliably and safely deliver the CSM stack into orbit. The heavy stuff can go on the non-man-rated Ares V.

I also love the claims about how unsafe segmented solids are -- someone claimed this on NASA Watch:

"Crane operations for stacking are tedious, hazardous, and expensive. If a segment is dropped in the VAB the entire structure is likely to burn down before anyone can escape."

Because you know, we've never invented insensitive solid rocket propellant at all? If you dropped a SRB segment, it would probably dent the casing, and make a ungodly mess on the floor from all the propellant bits, but it wouldn't catch fire spontaneously.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Gosh, who'd'a thought that a thread on the end of the NASA manned space flight program would become political???

Given that it was a purely political decision by His Highness it was inevitable.
 

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I still don't see why it has to be connected with Greece - from the accounts I've heard one of the critical problems is that some people manage to not pay their taxes. But we're discussing a manned space program right? Not making semi random jibes at perceived opponents where there is no hope in responding or even qualifying without creating an ideological firestorm? Right?

Orionblamblam said:
Avimimus said:
Not to be political - but the cold war is over and we all need to water down resurgent nationalism/patriotism. A plan to return to the moon as one country isn't polite to allies.

Wow. How can I say "that's the dumbest thing I've read all day" in way that won't irritate the moderators?

*Competition* is really the only way to successfully accomplish much of anything. And that means nation competing against nation, as well as company against company.

Irritate the moderators? How? I'd like to know. I was just pointing out that people overseas are unlikely to mourn this program. There is no reason why NATO or other countries couldn't have been invited - if it was a joint project it would have been much harder to cancel. It was simply a policy choice not to include others (why I have no idea).

Competition is indeed critical - but why not have firms it be at the level of firms competing for contracts? Why have nations compete against each other? Unlike nations, corporations don't have armies. I don't know about you, but I prefer to go to sports events where the players aren't packing.

Of course, any joint project can have its problems - as can be seen between branches of the military or even branches of different corporations. Why not give all people the dream? But why not mobilise funds and interest of everyone? In this case only the project is shared - the work is still divided. Countries could even compete over the quality of work their teams produce and the amount of funding donated - competitive cooperation - worked perfectly well for the Plains Cree.

The program would have been much more robust in the long term.

P.S. Competition at one level usually masks cooperation at another level - eg. companies work through coordinated action of workers. Even in cases where it it isn't willing cooperation, it is cooperation all the same. For money, security, comradeship or ideas - whatever the reason we help each other complete tasks.
 

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Avimimus said:
I still don't see why it has to be connected with Greece - from the accounts I've heard one of the critical problems is that some people manage to not pay their taxes.

Good for them. However, the real problem with greece - as with virtually ewvery other country on the planet - is that they spend more than they take in. If they fail to rob some people as much as they rob others, it still doesn't change the fact that the Greek government has overspent.

I was just pointing out that people overseas are unlikely to mourn this program.

People often cannot see beyond the end of today. The loss of American manned spaceflight may not seem like much to others, but it's a setback for the *species,* just as the Soviet failure to get to the moon failed the species as a whole. Had they succeeded, the space race almost certainly would have continued in earnest. We'd all be better off with the moon loaded with outposts, scientific and military... they'd be commercially seviced, and the tourists and colonists would soon have followed.

if it was a joint project it would have been much harder to cancel.

It would also have been virtually impossible to actually *accomplish* anything.

Why have nations compete against each other?

Because when they try to work together, it's a logistical disaster. *Somebody* has to be in charge. You think the Brits are going to relish being told what to do by the French? You think the Fench are going to listen to the Germans? You think the Americans are going to tolerate being dictated to by the Dutch?

fVF-4496584._f125_250.png


I don't know about you, but I prefer to go to sports events where the players aren't packing.

I prefer to go to sports events where the fans *are.*

Why not give all people the dream?

The dream is open to anyone who wants to compete.

Countries could even compete over the quality of work their teams produce and the amount of funding donated

Great! Let 'em! If the Japanese, say, have the best quality and funding, they'll get to Mars before those slackers from Slovenia.

For money, security, comradeship or ideas - whatever the reason we help each other complete tasks.

That's nice. But we also setgroups in opposition... individuals, companies, nations. THAT is how you get the best, most efficient, most robust systems. Darwinian evolution trumps "intelligent design" every time, whether it's in biological systems, engineering projects or economic models.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Gosh, who'd'a thought that a thread on the end of the NASA manned space flight program would become political???

Uhm........[cautiously raising hand] :-\

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
 

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Orionblamblam said:
(...) The loss of American manned spaceflight may not seem like much to others, but it's a setback for the *species,* just as the Soviet failure to get to the moon failed the species as a whole. Had they succeeded, the space race almost certainly would have continued in earnest. We'd all be better off with the moon loaded with outposts, scientific and military... they'd be commercially seviced, and the tourists and colonists would soon have followed.

I quote word by word, if Russians got it to the Moon, even as second one, we would never faced the deep space crisis of 70's (the infamous "Post-Apollo Era").
In this scenario Moon would become more similiar to Antarctica of today like anything else.

The Russian "lost Moon" is one of the deepest tragedy in the history of Astronautics as well...
 

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archipeppe said:
In this scenario Moon would become more similiar to Antarctica of today like anything else.

What, with Japanese space-whalers circling it, and well-funded space hippies trying to mess up their business?
 

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As Mike Griffin said it best:

"Other ideas don't have these problems and are ahead of schedule and behind budget, because they're not being built."

Seriously, WHY is there so much hate towards Constellation?

It's basically DIRECT with all the problems fixed:

1.) We won't send people up on a sidemounted booster stack; greatly improving launch abort reliability.

2.) We won't need to launch two large 80 tonne to orbit HLVs in order to support a single manned lunar mission -- we'll just use a much smaller 25 tonne to orbit vehicle to put the astronauts into orbit in addition to our heavy launcher. Plus, we won't have to do in orbit propellant transfer from the other HLV's spent final stage to achieve our mission.

3.) Actual believable weight estimates are applied to the design.

4.) The SSME is eliminated -- why would we want to throw away three $50 million dollar engines ($150m each mission) on an expendable launcher....when we can throw away five $15 million dollar RS-68s ($75m each mission) instead; and also get more mass to orbit (160 tonnes vs 80~ tonnes).

And a lot of the other proposals were clearly long term proposals -- like hypothetical HLVs using 1+ million lbf kerolox engines on their first stages (basically a modern Saturn V) -- they would take a lot longer to develop than shuttle derived hardware (like ARES is). Remember, NASA has not launched any rocket with a 1+ million lbf kerosene/oxygen engine since the last F-1 fired to send Skylab into orbit in the 1970s.
 

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I'm with Scott ninety-five per cent. The only five per cent I don't agree with him is: some (a lot of) people in other countries DO care if NASA goes under. It is a symbol, that something considered impossible can be achieved with HUMAN means: intelligence, money, yes, organization, technology, dedication, inspiration, whatever. D'ya think little of those has been left in NASA ? So, look at what remains of those in everything else.
Why Obamites cancel Constellation ? Well, maybe they want to be remembered for something REALLY historical.
 

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Also remember the $200 billion cost cited for Constellation by people who say it's overpriced, unaffordable, and unsustainable?

What they don't tell you is that it's the 20-30 year total program cost.

Over that same period, it comes out between $6 and $10 billion a year; and NASA's budget is $17 billion...
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Because when they try to work together, it's a logistical disaster. *Somebody* has to be in charge. You think the Brits are going to relish being told what to do by the French? You think the Fench are going to listen to the Germans? You think the Americans are going to tolerate being dictated to by the Dutch?

There's more to it; like one nation wants to go fast (Britain), while one nation (Germany) wants to go slow as a result of budget cutbacks -- ref; the EF-2000 program.

Someone once calculated that it would have been cheaper and faster for Britain to have developed her own advanced fighter than to buy into the EF-2000 program.

Even within the same nation, interservice rivalry is a huge problem -- look at the F-35 -- a large part of the cost overruns are occuring because the F-35B VTOL variant for the Marines is severely overweight, and so weight has to be cut; meaning the USMC VTOL version will be totally incompatible with the A and C models.

For manned space; what I think the best way to handle it is for the US to concentrate on developing the Constellation program of heavy launch vehicles and advanced manned spacecraft. Other countries can develop ancillary equipment such as an advanced cryogenic robotic tug stage or advanced habitat module that can dock with Constellation to extend it's capabilities - e.g. the tug stage can carry a much heavier Orion CSM to the Moon or it can expand the habitable volume inside by a huge deal, making long duration voyages of more than a week possible.

We can also then allow other countries to license Constellation hardware -- e.g. we let the Japanese or Europeans set up a production line to produce their own Block III Orion Spacecraft alongside the Lockheed Martin Block III Production line. (I believe we can do this because the government through NASA owns the design for Constellation).
 

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This FUD (Fear, Uncertainity, and Doubt) is going to be devastating to NASA in more ways than one.

ONE:
The younger engineers who have just gotten in the door at NASA and have spent a few years on Constellation are making value judgements right now about the utility of continued government employment at NASA to work on whatever replaces Constellation; versus leaving for private industry, which pays more, and also has more tangible results like flying hardware.

TWO:
There will be an uptick in retirements or resignations from the Astronaut corps, since flying in low earth orbit isn't as exciting or challenging as flying to the moon.

THREE:
The Contractors are being forced to take the brunt of the cuts -- for example, Lockheed Martin is starting to lay off people in relation to the Orion program; but not one NASA employee is going to be laid off. While the larger tier of contractors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin can afford this; the smaller second and third tier contractors and subcontractors can't. After being burned like this; are they going to be as eager to bid for a future NASA contract?
 

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I just went to NASA news and just yesterday (6-14) it appointed two men to serve as Constellation program managers.

Steve Pace
 

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Orionblamblam said:
mz said:
How can they predict its safety so accurately?

Predicting reliability is based on empirical evidence of reliability of the components and systems used. If you use the same methodology for two entirely different vehicles, you can come up with relative reliabilities.

This is something that confuses me, isn't that assuming there are no systematic design flaws so that the only failures that occur are due to component/system failures?

The big question is, how many flights will it take to remove such flaws and thus get to the part of the maturity curve where the reliability models actually apply?

To take a couple of very different examples:
  • SpaceX Falcon 1 had three initial launch failures due to design flaws
  • Space Shuttle had many flights before two significant design flaws actually resulted in failures

So Falcon 1 has 3 failures out of 5, Space Shuttle 2 out of 130ish - did their initial reliability models (constructed before either vehicle had ever flown) predict those failure rates?

If they did, how?! If they didn't, what makes the Ares/Constellation reliability models any different?
 

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Skybolt said:
I'm with Scott ninety-five per cent. The only five per cent I don't agree with him is: some (a lot of) people in other countries DO care if NASA goes under.

Then you're with me more like 99.9% than 95%. I may not have been as clear as possible, but non-Americans *should* give a damn about NASA.
1) NASA making great strides (manned luanr mission, manned Mars mission, manned asteroid mission, SPS, starship, whatever) would serve as a *general* inspiration along the "hey look what neato things mankind can do" lines.
2) NASA making great strides would serve as a *nationalistic* inspiration. "If those fat, lazy, loud-mouthed scientifically illiterate Americans can do this, why the hell can't we here in Furrinerstan do that?!?! Let's hop to it!"

intelligence, money, yes, organization, technology, dedication, inspiration, whatever. D'ya think little of those has been left in NASA ?

NASA has become seemingly bereft of such features.

Why Obamites cancel Constellation ?

Simple politics. Those who care about such things are not typical Obama voters; and typical Obama voters do not care about such things.
 

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ah well, there's gonna be another recession but on eurozone this time :(

sad to see things freeze to a complete halt :'(
 

mz

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RyanCrierie said:
mz said:
What Ares I? It is not even flying. How can they predict its safety so accurately? MSFC has not designed rockets in decades.

It's a significant boost in reliability and safety over the current stacked side by side configuration found on Shuttle -- and all the other alternatives, such as Delta IV Heavy -- have side by side configuration -- which means a single failure in a strapon booster (whether liquid or solid) sets off the bomb next to it.

Unfounded assumption again. A liquid rocket engine can often be shut down in case there is a problem. And also, it often fails much more gracefully than a solid anyway.
And who says one has to use heavy versions for crew anyway?

Secondly, it's a TSTO rocket; there's no third stage. This makes the rocket more weight critical, but since a third staging operation is eliminated, reliability goes up.

Oh, by the way Delta IV heavy versions without an upper stage were studied too. Soyuz has lots of stages and engines and seems to operate very well. It's bordering on NASA FUD.

There are questions like the high q because the solid rocket accelerates fast, meaning a huge launch escape tower and high gees.

Left unsaid is that because of high acceleration, the rocket can launch in higher winds more safely, because it clears the tower faster, rather than slowly nosing about for the proper attitude like the Saturn V did for the first couple seconds.

And five to six gees isn't brutal when you're sitting in a couch, and only have to endure it for a couple minutes before the first stage burns out.

I meant the gees mainly in case of an abort. Also, other stuff plays into the high wind launchability. How tall is Ares I? How large is the huge hydrogen tank at the top, because of the lousy impulse of the first stage? How does the STS heritage thrust vectoring work off the pad?

And the solid rocket can not be shut down.

We do it all the time with ICBMs; which require extraordinarily precise stage shutdowns to meet their accuracy goals.

How you shut down a solid rocket is pretty easy -- you have blowout vents on the top of the solid rocket motor; when you want to shut down the motor, you open the vents; and the pressure inside the rocket motor drops to a level too low to sustain combustion, and the engine falls silent.

I don't think it was planned for Ares I, IIRC since it's very dangerous on a crewed rocket, same as why it was not planned for STS.

What about the thrust oscillations?

You mean the oscillations which failed to be a major issue with Ares I-X; which was a properly mass distributed boilerplate?

Ares I-X was pretty much a shuttle SRB though that has flown for a long time and doesn't have that much in common with the proposed Ares I solid stage. It also didn't have flight weight structures meaning the structural resonance frequency was probably different. Even the flight software was not related to Ares I.

Not in one go.

Being able to put up 160 tonne modules in LEO is faster and more efficient than slowly assembling 20 tonne modules -- look at the comparative sizes of Skylab versus ISS.

Nah, one can't deduce that from that. Saturn V isn't around anymore for some pretty good reasons - it cost a huge amount of money and it would have been used only rarely with the available money.
Just building a new heavy lifter and wishing it won't happen again is not a good plan. Instead one has to plan for the available money and enable improvements in the architecture.

And when would Ares V have flown?

In about 2014-2015.

With what money?

The plan was to do it sequential -- develop the Orion Spacecraft and Ares I for immediate LEO needs; and then once those two have gone into production and are deployed; the money shifts to the Ares V project office. NASA can't develop everything at once anymore. The money isn't there anymore, unlike Apollo.

And it doesn't even have money to develop stuff sequentially. Once it starts operating something like a NASA dedicated space launcher, that sucks most of the money. All the plans were very overoptimistic. One can spew out dates and capabilities but it doesn't mean anything.

And with what synergies with STS or Ares I? Everything was different. SRB segment number

The SRBs on Ares V would have been 5 segment, like Ares I.

Nope, 5.5 segments on Ares V.

For example, if you choose rockets that are already flying, you can actually do something and keep operating the ISS, perhaps even go to asteroids etc because you need to spend less money on development.

Actually no. You need to man-rate them first. And that's very $$$$$$$$.

Man-rating is a vague concept that NASA can use to claim anything it wants.
For example EELV:s were considered OK for OSP (Orbital Space Plane that preceded ESAS).

The "Black zones" of EELV:s were also a myth.
It's all been documented except by the trade press, hence most people here don't know about it.
Ask professionals who have worked with EELV:s.


Better to leave cargo lifting to cheap expendable rockets that you don't care about if they explode and leave people hauling to rockets that are designed from the start to maximize crew safety and reliability.

Soyuz is pretty reliable by track record, it has quite many engines next to each other etc..

I think nowadays few rockets are designed as not caring about mission failure - they are extremely expensive to businesses and often bad to national security.
The EELV:s were developed with moderate budgets and to a moderate schedule and have flown with a good safety track record. One early engine shutdown inflight so far?

And do what meanwhile? Stop all advanced programs since Ares I sucks so much more money? Stop putting humans to space? Deorbit ISS?

This isn't the Gap between Apollo/Skylab and Shuttle; since we can hire the Russians to send cargo and crew up to the ISS, so mothballing it for a couple years makes sense; until we can deploy a large re-entry capsule which can hold six people -- that's the limiting factor on how much we can use ISS -- the rescue vehicles.

Crews were limited to just three people because of the limitations of docked Soyuz; and it costs roughly the same amount of money to run three-man ISS as it does six-man ISS.
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Or if you have both a Soyuz and say an american small capsule Z there, that both can hold 3 people, you could keep 6 people on ISS.
The rockets have been there since 2002 and more are coming. But since 2004 or so, it's been anathema inside NASA to say a small perhaps commercial capsule could fly to the ISS on an EELV.
Since everything else takes billions upon billions to develop AND to operate and is bordering on fantasy and is certainly very counterproductive.


The ESAS study which chose the 1.5 launch Ares I / V configuration was a sham on EELV:s, getting so much of data wrong that the analysis is worthless in that regard.

Point out to me any rocket family present or planned which can offer 160 tonne to orbit capability without endless strapons or clustering. That's right, you can't.

[/quote]

That was not my point, as anyone can read above. What is clear is that you're not arguing against ESAS' huge flaws. And it is also a false assumption anyway to say you have to launch everything at once. Most of the mass is liquid oxygen.
ESAS again assumed that only one launch pad could be used (uncovering unfounded assumptions happens often if examining space policy with any semblance of rationality, this case was noted by Jon Goff) and hence launch delays would kill any multi-launch scenario. One would tend to think that with so many billions at stake, someone in the team could perhaps have had some imagination?

Really, the most realistic explanation I've seen is that Ares I and V are Mike Griffin's babies from the earlier Planetary Society study. Maybe he thought keeping all those STS 2people in the same jobs would be the most important thing.

AFAIK, Ares I was not very far because of problems like underperformance and thrust oscillation, but I'm not an expert on this. I also don't know how many billions was spent there.

You mean like how thrust oscillation was a complete non-issue in the Ares I-X flight?

Anyway, it really does not matter if Ares I underperforms; because all we need it to do is reliably and safely deliver the CSM stack into orbit. The heavy stuff can go on the non-man-rated Ares V.

Why then go even as heavy as Ares I?
25 tonnes for putting four people in LEO is total overkill. Soyuz is perhaps 8 tonnes.
It doesn't make any sense any way you look at it, except from jobs protection point of view.

I also love the claims about how unsafe segmented solids are -- someone claimed this on NASA Watch:

"Crane operations for stacking are tedious, hazardous, and expensive. If a segment is dropped in the VAB the entire structure is likely to burn down before anyone can escape."

Because you know, we've never invented insensitive solid rocket propellant at all? If you dropped a SRB segment, it would probably dent the casing, and make a ungodly mess on the floor from all the propellant bits, but it wouldn't catch fire spontaneously.

Ares-IX had very little to do with Ares-I except perhaps the shape. I guess it validated some TVC and Aero issues.
For solids, the facilities required are extensive. One Shuttle SRB weighs more than the whole unfueled Saturn V stack. I'm not sure about how it ignites. There was a fireworks display at the propellant factory during the Challenger stand down.
 

sferrin

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mz said:
I'm not sure about how it ignites. There was a fireworks display at the propellant factory during the Challenger stand down.

Yeah, ammonium perchlorate powder. BIG difference.
 

Orionblamblam

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mz said:
For solids, the facilities required are extensive. One Shuttle SRB weighs more than the whole unfueled Saturn V stack. I'm not sure about how it ignites.

With a great deal of effort. While some of the propellants used in some military rockets are tempermental, Shuttle propellant requires a good deal of effort to get going. This is by design and intent.
 
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