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New trouble for the Ares V...and a new version of direct...

robunos

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Not sure where to post this, so I'll put it here... Mods, feel free to move it to somewhere else if more appropriate.

Looking to see if it contained an 'APR Corner' article,[it does], I opened this :-

http://www.aiaa-houston.org/newsletter/jun09/jun09.pdf

Check out pages 8,9, and 10. Seems the Ares V main engine needs to be redesigned..... :eek:

Also the Direct people have re-worked their proposal to mitigate the problem.. now Direct V3,
details available here :-

http://www.launchcomplexmodels.com/Direct/documents/DIRECT_ISDC_2009.pdf


cheers,
Robin.
 

CFE

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I don't know if possible issues with RS-68 have been on the Augustine Commission's radar screen. As we've seen with thrust oscillation, air-start SSME's and other Ares problems, NASA doesn't seem to be paying enough attention to the technical challenges of their chosen designs when they commit to a particular configuration. It really seems like the NASA "rocket scientists" need some independent oversight.
 

Archibald

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I've spent the last months absorbing stuff at the NASA forums. I can tell you that Ares V and Ares I are in deep trouble.

Ares I is too weak for Orion, and plagued by the famous thrust oscillations.

Ares V is a monster with six RS-68 and 5.5 segment SRBs, 180 tons to LEO (!) Not only it is too heavy for the crawlers and VAB, it is also way to expensive: something like 1.5 billion $ per launch, for two launches per year at best.
Another problem is the six or seven RS-68 cause base heating problems. In other words, they threaten to literally incinerate Ares V first stage at take-off!

So the Augustine commission re-examined various launchers options, all reduced to a maximum of 70 tons to LEO at best. Uprated EELVs, Direct, Shuttle C... and, with that, different mission profiles according to budget levels.
The most favourable is called flexible path:instead of building a moonbase, period, it consists of a large number of missions to various targets, including Phobos and asteroids.
Btw, the shuttle may be extended to 2015, and the ISS to 2020.
 

pathology_doc

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What on Earth is wrong with NASA? They went to the moon forty years ago, for God's sake! This should be old hat by now! Why are they getting this so badly wrong?

Or has the magnitude of the problems that were faced then been diminished by time?
 

mz

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NASA Marshall hasn't designed rockets for a while. Space shuttle was done in the seventies, and Saturn in the sixties.

There are many companies in USA that had developed successful launch vehicles though, but they cannot be used for non-technical reasons.

The whole moon and other exploration architecture is not based on rational assumptions. It does not function by logic where needs would lead to solutions. Hence we get all kinds of anachronisms.

It is for example a question to ask, why should MSFC even have the capability to design rockets? And acquire it in this very expensive way.
 

sferrin

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mz said:
It is for example a question to ask, why should MSFC even have the capability to design rockets? And acquire it in this very expensive way.

Somebody has to do it. I'll agree though, having the gov do it is about the least efficient way to do it. On the other hand NASA can tinker on the taxpayers dime whereas Boeing or LM won't do it on their own dime so at least SOMETHING gets done. That said, making Ares V too big for the crawler is forehead-smacking stupidity. I've heard talk of beefing them up or making them new, but if new you can be certain they'd cost a billion a pop once the gov got it's mitts on it.
 

Just call me Ray

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mz said:
There are many companies in USA that had developed successful launch vehicles though, but they cannot be used for non-technical reasons.

When you say "non-technical" you mean political, right?
 

mz

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sferrin said:
mz said:
It is for example a question to ask, why should MSFC even have the capability to design rockets? And acquire it in this very expensive way.

Somebody has to do it. I'll agree though, having the gov do it is about the least efficient way to do it. On the other hand NASA can tinker on the taxpayers dime whereas Boeing or LM won't do it on their own dime so at least SOMETHING gets done. That said, making Ares V too big for the crawler is forehead-smacking stupidity. I've heard talk of beefing them up or making them new, but if new you can be certain they'd cost a billion a pop once the gov got it's mitts on it.

Well, somebody has already done it and is doing it. LM, Boeing, Orbital, SpaceX in the USA. Many others elsewhere. The market is already pretty much saturated and there is plenty of room and capability to make more rockets in the existing factories.

NASA / MSFC has just produced abortions since STS. It's soon 30 years from the first flight.

It is definitely not the way to get progress in spaceflight either, to get NASA to design itself a special rocket (if it even can do it) that then flies a few times per year. Ares V could fly less than once a year.

There should be multiple capabilities, competition, and the rockets should be small enough so that you could have a higher launch rate which would mean less standing armies and more competition and incentive for improvement. Lower cost, redundancy and reliability.

Ultimately switch to reusable launch vehicles - since there would be a market for that - NASA's lunar exploration.

But no, NASA keeps emulating Apollo, just what Wernher von Braun feared.

Most of a lunar exploration stack is propellant, namely liquid oxygen. If a propellant depot was used, you could divide that to as many launches as you wanted, reliability would go up, launch rate would go up, you could cancel your expensive heavy lifter and put the standing armies to work on something productive, it's a win win scenario.

But it's not even analyzed as a possible path because it doesn't fit the anachronistic preconceptions of high level planners at NASA.
 

sferrin

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mz said:
sferrin said:
mz said:
It is for example a question to ask, why should MSFC even have the capability to design rockets? And acquire it in this very expensive way.

Somebody has to do it. I'll agree though, having the gov do it is about the least efficient way to do it. On the other hand NASA can tinker on the taxpayers dime whereas Boeing or LM won't do it on their own dime so at least SOMETHING gets done. That said, making Ares V too big for the crawler is forehead-smacking stupidity. I've heard talk of beefing them up or making them new, but if new you can be certain they'd cost a billion a pop once the gov got it's mitts on it.

Well, somebody has already done it and is doing it. LM, Boeing, Orbital, SpaceX in the USA. Many others elsewhere. The market is already pretty much saturated and there is plenty of room and capability to make more rockets in the existing factories.

Really? I'm not aware of any 300k lbs to LEO being designed by any of those companies.





mz said:
NASA / MSFC has just produced abortions since STS. It's soon 30 years from the first flight.

It is definitely not the way to get progress in spaceflight either, to get NASA to design itself a special rocket (if it even can do it) that then flies a few times per year. Ares V could fly less than once a year.

There should be multiple capabilities, competition, and the rockets should be small enough so that you could have a higher launch rate which would mean less standing armies and more competition and incentive for improvement. Lower cost, redundancy and reliability.

Ultimately switch to reusable launch vehicles - since there would be a market for that - NASA's lunar exploration.

But no, NASA keeps emulating Apollo, just what Wernher von Braun feared.

Most of a lunar exploration stack is propellant, namely liquid oxygen. If a propellant depot was used, you could divide that to as many launches as you wanted, reliability would go up, launch rate would go up, you could cancel your expensive heavy lifter and put the standing armies to work on something productive, it's a win win scenario.

But it's not even analyzed as a possible path because it doesn't fit the anachronistic preconceptions of high level planners at NASA.

I agree with most of that. Thing is it would require a big change in mindset for NASA and the US gov and that ain't gonna happen. Personally I think we need to stop looking at launch vehicles as giant Swiss watches and more like 18-wheelers when it comes to precision. Most NASA stuff is so far down the diminishing returns curve you could practically use it for jewelry. Big Dumb Booster / Sea Dragon level of tech. needs a good hard look IMO.
 

mz

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sferrin said:
mz said:
sferrin said:
mz said:
It is for example a question to ask, why should MSFC even have the capability to design rockets? And acquire it in this very expensive way.

Somebody has to do it.

Well, somebody has already done it and is doing it. LM, Boeing, Orbital, SpaceX in the USA. Many others elsewhere. The market is already pretty much saturated and there is plenty of room and capability to make more rockets in the existing factories.

Really? I'm not aware of any 300k lbs to LEO being designed by any of those companies.

Well, currently Atlas V and Delta IV can do it. Not in one launch of course, but that's a separate question that has to be examined rationally (which has not been done by NASA).

In the near future possibly Falcon 9 and Taurus II.
Abroad, Ariane, Proton, Zenit, H-II, Long March, launch multiple times every year etc etc...
Probably Ariane launches maybe 100 tonnes LEO equivalent every year (but they continue to GTO).

IIRC NASA's exploration needs would quadruple the US launch market.

mz said:
NASA / MSFC has just produced abortions since STS. It's soon 30 years from the first flight.

It is definitely not the way to get progress in spaceflight either, to get NASA to design itself a special rocket (if it even can do it) that then flies a few times per year. Ares V could fly less than once a year.

There should be multiple capabilities, competition, and the rockets should be small enough so that you could have a higher launch rate which would mean less standing armies and more competition and incentive for improvement. Lower cost, redundancy and reliability.

Ultimately switch to reusable launch vehicles - since there would be a market for that - NASA's lunar exploration.

But no, NASA keeps emulating Apollo, just what Wernher von Braun feared.

Most of a lunar exploration stack is propellant, namely liquid oxygen. If a propellant depot was used, you could divide that to as many launches as you wanted, reliability would go up, launch rate would go up, you could cancel your expensive heavy lifter and put the standing armies to work on something productive, it's a win win scenario.

But it's not even analyzed as a possible path because it doesn't fit the anachronistic preconceptions of high level planners at NASA.

I agree with most of that. Thing is it would require a big change in mindset for NASA and the US gov and that ain't gonna happen. Personally I think we need to stop looking at launch vehicles as giant Swiss watches and more like 18-wheelers when it comes to precision. Most NASA stuff is so far down the diminishing returns curve you could practically use it for jewelry. Big Dumb Booster / Sea Dragon level of tech. needs a good hard look IMO.

Launch rate needs to go up. And there needs to be more, smaller steps in technology development. Also multiple parallel paths must be explored as there are certain to be not very well working solutions that can be found by trying them. You have to tolerate failure in design space exploration, otherwise you aren't exploring. Smallish companies would be (and are) good at doing this.

I'm not a fan of BDB:s - they would fly so rarely that that they would be expensive anyway. For example ships costs a lot but they recoup the investment by operating for a long time.

Refuel and go again level reusable launch vehicles are what's needed to reduce space access cost by an order of magnitude. They do not require any fundamentally new technology - moderate rocket engines are enough.
 

sferrin

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mz said:
Well, currently Atlas V and Delta IV can do it. Not in one launch of course, but that's a separate question that has to be examined rationally (which has not been done by NASA).


You sure about that? I'm pretty sure they didn't just draw a number out of a hat and base their decision on that. Besides, if you went with the Delta IV Heavy (The Atlas V heavy is a paper design) you're taking about six launches vs one. (Not just launch vehicle cost but the cost of the launch itself.) Also, now you'd have to design with that 50k or less limit and hope to dock everything together in orbit (more risk). Add to that your diameter limits and the problems it brings with it and it wouldn't surprise me if it were more expensive AND less capable.



mz said:
In the near future possibly Falcon 9 and Taurus II.

Taurus II? Are you joking? You want to try to mate up TWENTY launches in orbit? Good luck.



mz said:
Abroad, Ariane, Proton, Zenit, H-II, Long March, launch multiple times every year etc etc...

All of which are non-starters.


mz said:
mz said:
NASA / MSFC has just produced abortions since STS. It's soon 30 years from the first flight.


A large part of that is due to politics. Never underestimate the power of political idiocy to screw up a program.




mz said:
I'm not a fan of BDB:s - they would fly so rarely that that they would be expensive anyway. For example ships costs a lot but they recoup the investment by operating for a long time.

Refuel and go again level reusable launch vehicles are what's needed to reduce space access cost by an order of magnitude. They do not require any fundamentally new technology - moderate rocket engines are enough.


The problem is NASA and the gov are plagued with a terror of risk. They practically wet their pants at the mention of the word. The result is nothing of note ever gets done or accomplished other than blowing through a lot of money. NASA should have taken the DC-X as far as it could. At least PROVE the thing doesn't work instead of giving up at the first sign of success.
 

quellish

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sferrin said:
Taurus II? Are you joking? You want to try to mate up TWENTY launches in orbit? Good luck.

Are you saying mating is a problem for NASA engineers?
 

quellish

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What do engineers use for birth control?

Their personalities.
 

mz

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sferrin said:
mz said:
Well, currently Atlas V and Delta IV can do it. Not in one launch of course, but that's a separate question that has to be examined rationally (which has not been done by NASA).
You sure about that? I'm pretty sure they didn't just draw a number out of a hat and base their decision on that.

I'm afraid the ESAS study was not entirely rational. They assumed that in a multi launch architecture you can use only one launch pad and you won't use a propellant depot - hence a single launch delay or a failure would break the whole mission.

Everyone listen to the Augustine Panel's Beyond LEO subgroup's report (it's under a week old) on how to *really* do things:
http://vimeo.com/6037790

Besides, if you went with the Delta IV Heavy (The Atlas V heavy is a paper design) you're taking about six launches vs one. (Not just launch vehicle cost but the cost of the launch itself.) Also, now you'd have to design with that 50k or less limit and hope to dock everything together in orbit (more risk). Add to that your diameter limits and the problems it brings with it and it wouldn't surprise me if it were more expensive AND less capable.

That depends. This approach was never analyzed. Note that even the current vehicles are all below 25 t in weight, if you take the liquid oxygen out of the EDS and LSAM.

The current Ares approach already has two launches.

If you are using a depot, you don't really need to count propellant launches as the depot can have margin and redundancy.
The crew and exploration hardware (EDS, LSAM, Orion) could go up in three launches. Thus no dramatic difference.

Soyuz, Shuttle, ATV, Orbital Express. Docking in space is a well demonstrated technology today, unlike in the sixties when the Apollo missions were designed.

And one point, Atlas V heavy is still much further in design than Ares I. The boosters manufactured today are capable of the heavy configuration I'm told - their design philosophy was not to make them customized like with Delta IV.

I don't know what work would be required. I have heard 18 month timetables but that could be hubris.

mz said:
In the near future possibly Falcon 9 and Taurus II.

Taurus II? Are you joking? You want to try to mate up TWENTY launches in orbit? Good luck.

We don't know how launching propellants scales, as it has been studied very little. NASA has overlooked it historically.

And I'm not saying one should use *only* Taurus II to launch propellant. (Or people or supplies or whatever.)

I'm somewhat sceptical of it's usefulness, though it could do much better with a better upper stage. It's not designed for high launch rate anyway since the first stage engine supply is finite, and it's a Delta II cheaper-at-low-rate replacement at the same time.

mz said:
Abroad, Ariane, Proton, Zenit, H-II, Long March, launch multiple times every year etc etc...

All of which are non-starters.

They could parttake in sending up propellants. It's an option. Russia and Europe already supply the ISS. Soyuz and Progress proved vital when STS was inoperable. I wouldn't dismiss this offhand.

Russians and Europeans seem to do quite well on the open but security conservative expensive comsat market too.

mz said:
I'm not a fan of BDB:s - they would fly so rarely that that they would be expensive anyway. For example ships costs a lot but they recoup the investment by operating for a long time.

Refuel and go again level reusable launch vehicles are what's needed to reduce space access cost by an order of magnitude. They do not require any fundamentally new technology - moderate rocket engines are enough.

The problem is NASA and the gov are plagued with a terror of risk. They practically wet their pants at the mention of the word. The result is nothing of note ever gets done or accomplished other than blowing through a lot of money. NASA should have taken the DC-X as far as it could. At least PROVE the thing doesn't work instead of giving up at the first sign of success.

Yes, NASA should do multiple smaller programs as technology exploration that would be allowed to try and fail, instead of banking everything on one gigaprogram.

Government research and private application have enabled good improvements in many technology fields and could do it for space as well.
 

mz

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Okay, looks like finally:

"The program of record (i.e. Ares I/V/Orion/Altair), which exceeds the expected budget substantially, will no longer be in the options table but kept separately just as a reference."

http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=14525
 

sferrin

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And how much money did they already blow through on that? It's a perfect example of what I'm saying. They need to decide on something and actually finish it. Oh, and first they need to grab a dozen or three former NASA engineers out of retirement to give whatever hairbrain scheme they come up with next a sniff to see if it passes the bull$hit test. :mad:
 

mz

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sferrin said:
And how much money did they already blow through on that? It's a perfect example of what I'm saying. They need to decide on something and actually finish it.

The sunk cost fallacy would be to keep on doing stuff even if it's the worse alternative.

What you want to see is how much it will cost in the future.

If you have a 10 billion 10 year project and you've spent 9 billion and 9 years, if a new invention enables to do the whole thing with 500 million in six months, and the things are otherwise equal, it is rational to change to the new way.

The Ares I / V plan was unworkable from the beginning. The ESAS analysis that it was based on was hogwash. People have been pointing that out for years.

Oh, and first they need to grab a dozen or three former NASA engineers out of retirement to give whatever hairbrain scheme they come up with next a sniff to see if it passes the bull$hit test. :mad:

You need careful top level planning before committing hundreds of billions of money and decades of time. You need to make this planning open so experts can point out obvious mistakes. ESAS did a lot of work in secret, and didn't ask experts for input. EELV data was provided by NASA, not Lockheed or Boeing for example.
 

sferrin

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mz said:
sferrin said:
And how much money did they already blow through on that? It's a perfect example of what I'm saying. They need to decide on something and actually finish it.

The sunk cost fallacy would be to keep on doing stuff even if it's the worse alternative.

True but constantly giving up isn't going to deliver either. Like I said, billions wasted and nothing to show for it but a bunch of powerpoints and hardware that will get moved to some corner of a warehouse or scraped.


mz said:
If you have a 10 billion 10 year project and you've spent 9 billion and 9 years, if a new invention enables to do the whole thing with 500 million in six months, and the things are otherwise equal, it is rational to change to the new way.


Except that that's not what's happening. It's more like spend 9 billion and nine years then discover it will lower the cost to orbit by an order of magnitude to try this other thing for ten more years and another ten billion and then discover "ooh that sounds a bit risky", cancel the whole ball of wax and then look for something off the shelf. Only to discover after five years and more money down the toilet that "hey this doesn't meet our requirement".

mz said:
You need careful top level planning before committing hundreds of billions of money and decades of time. You need to make this planning open so experts can point out obvious mistakes. ESAS did a lot of work in secret, and didn't ask experts for input. EELV data was provided by NASA, not Lockheed or Boeing for example.

To a degree. It's amazing how fast millions can be burned through "analyzing" and never getting anywhere. And does it ever stick? Nope. Gets shoved in a box somewhere and lost when the people who produced the study move on so we get to do it all over again later. That's the problem with doing one monster project every 30 years. Instead we should be up to X-150 or so and have a viable single-stage to orbit.
 

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sferrin said:
mz said:
The sunk cost fallacy would be to keep on doing stuff even if it's the worse alternative.

True but constantly giving up isn't going to deliver either. Like I said, billions wasted and nothing to show for it but a bunch of powerpoints and hardware that will get moved to some corner of a warehouse or scraped.

Yep. Giving up is smarter though when you realize you're doing something irredeemably stupid. The problem is, it either

a) should be obvious beforehand if you're doing something stupid (Very unrealistic *technical* assumptions both in NASP and X-33)

b) should be tested at such a small scale that dead ends don't prove so expensive and don't stop all other parallel progress by sucking all of the budget money

mz said:
If you have a 10 billion 10 year project and you've spent 9 billion and 9 years, if a new invention enables to do the whole thing with 500 million in six months, and the things are otherwise equal, it is rational to change to the new way.


Except that that's not what's happening. It's more like spend 9 billion and nine years then discover it will lower the cost to orbit by an order of magnitude to try this other thing for ten more years and another ten billion and then discover "ooh that sounds a bit risky", cancel the whole ball of wax and then look for something off the shelf. Only to discover after five years and more money down the toilet that "hey this doesn't meet our requirement".

Yeah, that's not exactly what's happening, it was just to demonstrate the sunk cost fallacy. NASA won't ever do anything sustainable if it wants to operate a huge standing army just for its launchers.

mz said:
You need careful top level planning before committing hundreds of billions of money and decades of time. You need to make this planning open so experts can point out obvious mistakes. ESAS did a lot of work in secret, and didn't ask experts for input. EELV data was provided by NASA, not Lockheed or Boeing for example.

To a degree. It's amazing how fast millions can be burned through "analyzing" and never getting anywhere. And does it ever stick? Nope. Gets shoved in a box somewhere and lost when the people who produced the study move on so we get to do it all over again later. That's the problem with doing one monster project every 30 years. Instead we should be up to X-150 or so and have a viable single-stage to orbit.

Therefore your planning needs to be rational and open, and include a literature search.

There are ideas like Earth-Moon Lagrange point 2 for lunar staging (I think from the seventies already), that actually requires less delta vee than L1 or low Lunar orbit. But it is never even mentioned in NASA top level planning documents.

And countless other things - stuff that is happening inside NASA - that the decision makers are unwilling to listen or take into account.

Mike Griffin was the worst in his arrogance - and he's still loudly defending the Program of Record.

Sounds like Robert McNamara syndrome.

And at the same time there is rational and open architecture planning, there needs to be real research into new spaceflight technology, AND usage of metal-bent test stand and flying demonstrators that advance the state of the art.

And I agree about X-150. Sometimes the advances are not in energy efficiency (traditional rocketry optimization), but in better operability and workforce efficiency. You have to try and test how to operate rockets in cheaper ways. The original idea of X-vehicles was to try one or maybe a few techniques, to keep it small and to build multiple craft in case there were crashes (and there were). X-33 et al completely went against this - too many critical technologies in one. The composite tank materials could have been bench tested with a thousandth of the cost of the X-33 program - and would have been found unsuitable. This is not perfect hindsight, this is rational open planning. You don't start a billion dollar program just building blindly!

I don't think SSTO or higher ISP rockets are necessary for significantly lower cost to LEO. My best hunch would be two stage reusable lox-kerosene rockets (glide or vertical landing for first stage, same or parawing for the second stage). There is sufficient performance margin there with two stages with propulsion techology about 50 years old. It's a pretty straightforward way. It just requires evolution - multiple smaller X vehicles to develop the technologies to operational status, and then a requirement for enough flight rate that multiple different commercial vehicles will be economical per tonne in orbit.
If NASA would try to build a vehicle like that straight away, it would not be economical. You have to test what works first with smaller ones. Do the exploration.
 
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