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Fred22

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Well heres something coming from the new space policy for NASA. I must confess Boeing being involved increases my confidence a lot
http://boeing.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=1054
Looks pretty basic :) I wonder how long it will take for this program or the others to produce a viable vehicle for LEO work? I also would hasten to add Im interested in a technical analysis not a political one :)
Cheers
fred
 

WillMarchant

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Looks interesting. Hopefully it will lead to more than a study. I like the sound of "multiple launch vehicles" but that is very difficult to do in practice. I find it *very* interesting that they mentioned Bigelow! If Boeing is willing to plow some of their own money into this they could take over human spaceflight...
 

spacecadet

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Let me get this right.
Are Ares and Constellation de facto cancelled if Obama's budget passes?
 

Fred22

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I'll check back in 20 years then :(
I hear ya and at first blush my reaction was actually much more negative then yours to say the least but hope springs eternal :) I am beginning to belive that LEO could be handled differently. A major player like Boeing has been building this stuff a long time :) The proof will come in the pudding when real concepts start flying and not just great webpages and speeches:) Also keeping ISS going makes sence to me:) I would like to see some of this exploration stuff like an orbiting construction of spacecraft :) We'll see.
Cheers
Fred
 

bobkrech

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In the plainest and simplest terms possible, Ares-1 was the wrong vehicle for the job. It cost way too much, and that's why it was canceled after an honest, non-political performance evaluation was conducted over the past year.

A solid rocket motor is the best solution for a strategic ballistic missile that has to be ready to go at a moments notice anytime in a 20 year period, but it's the worst solution for an OLV (orbital launch vehicle) that should be designed to throw the maximum amount of payload into space at a minimal cost.

You have to look a price to performance ratios to make this evaluation. First and foremost is propellant cost and performance. In round numbers, An Ares-1 uses a SRM with the sea level specific impulse of ~235 s, whereas the Atlas V with LOX/kerosene engines has a sea level specific impulse of 311 s, and a Delta IV with LOX/LH2 engines has a specific impulse of 365 s.

Specific impulse is the push per unit weight of propellant. The performance difference is enormous. One kg of LOX/LH2 delivers ~3.6 kN-s of impulse. You need 1.17 kg of LOX/kerosene, or 1.55 kg of APCP to deliver the same impulse, so on a strictly propellant weight basis, LOX/LH2 is the best propellant.

But weight is not the whole story. Vehicle size also comes into play for logistical and aerodynamic reasons and the density specific impulse must also be considered. Density specific impulse is the amount of push you can get per unit tank volume. Here solids win. The sea-level density specific impulse of Ares-1 APCP propellant is 4.07 kN-s/l, vs 3.1 kN-s/l for the Atlas V LOX/Kerosene propellant and 1.2 kN-s/l for the Atlas V LOX/LH2 propellant.

While at first glance, this makes the solid look attractive, but remember that the solid is manufactured and loaded at the factory, and must be transported to the launch site. This is a complicated and expensive operation as the loaded motor is a hazardous cargo and weights 20 times more than an equivalent liquid fueled rocket that is shipped empty and fueled at the pad.

To put it in perspective, imagine buying a "car" that could only be fueled at the factory. It would be huge, and expensive to operate compared with our current cars that can be filled at any gas station, but that's how the Shuttle and Ares-1 SRM function.

After considering both specific impulse and density specific impulse and operational costs, you see how Von Braun came up with the Saturn V as a minimum weight, minimum cost OLV.

The first stage used cheap, dense LOX kerosene propellant in a relatively compact tank to minimize drag, and the upper stages use the more powerful but bulky LOX/kerosene when the vehicle is above the dense atmosphere to minimize weight. The Saturn V was moved out to the pad empty and weighed about 750,000 pounds unfueled. The Ares-1 weighs more than twice this weight and the Shuttle was close to 3 times this rolling out to the launch site.

What was even more ridiculous is that both the existing Delta IV and Atlas V rockets are more capable and less expensive OLVs than the Ares-1 could be, even after adding the cost of the modifications to man-rate them.

Politics, not technology, dictated the Constellation design, and economics was never considered. The failure of government over the last decade to properly budget and control expenditures, and the failure of government to provide proper oversight of costs and expenditures lead us into the economic mess we are experiencing today. The impending demise of US manned spaceflight capability is an unfortunate result of a decade of incompetent government, and not the decision made last week.

Bob
 

sylvie369

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Thank you, Bob, for another informative post.
These are real gems, in my opinion.
 

aerostadt

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It depends on whose figures you look at. Mike Griffin, former NASA head, had figures in the Forida newspaper that showed Ares-1 was cheaper per flight than liquids. For liquids the propellants are cheaper than solids, but the hardware is more expensive, also, the lift-off thrust-to-weight ratio is in general lower. For EELV's you throw away the liquid hardware. It's gone. The RSRM cases and nozzle parts are re-used. (You also get to look at the hardware to see if there are any in-flight anomalies.) The Ares-1 would use the same solid rocket motor cases as the shuttle. So most of the parts are already there. In the middle 1990's the solid boosters stopped becoming the hold-up or delay items in launch readiness reviews (The bugs are out of the system. The heritage is excellent.), thereafter the liquid components became the main delay component for on-time launches. The RSRM has twice the thrust of an F-1 engine that no longer exists. We are about to throw all this away.

Bob
 

bobkrech

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It depends on whose figures you look at. Mike Griffin, former NASA head, had figures in the Florida newspaper that showed Ares-1 was cheaper per flight than liquids. For liquids the propellants are cheaper than solids, but the hardware is more expensive, also, the lift-off thrust-to-weight ratio is in general lower. For EELV's you throw away the liquid hardware. It's gone. The RSRM cases and nozzle parts are re-used. (You also get to look at the hardware to see if there are any in-flight anomalies.) The Ares-1 would use the same solid rocket motor cases as the shuttle. So most of the parts are already there. In the middle 1990's the solid boosters stopped becoming the hold-up or delay items in launch readiness reviews (The bugs are out of the system. The heritage is excellent.), thereafter the liquid components became the main delay component for on-time launches. The RSRM has twice the thrust of an F-1 engine that no longer exists. We are about to throw all this away.

Bob
Bob

The RSRM needs to have more thrust than a liquid because the Isp is so low. The first-order estimate is simply the ratio of the specific impulse, but this is overly optimistic. The velocity change you get from a stage is:

delta-V = g*Isp*ln(1/propellant fraction)

For a given propellant fraction, delta-V is directly proportional to Isp. The function of a booster is to get the payload out of the atmosphere, and you can have a choice of having a very large inefficient booster that needs a lot of thrust to lift its own weight, or have a much lighter booster that needs less thrust to move its own weight, or if you look at payload fraction, a physically smaller and lighter booster will provide the same delta-v for the payload.

Griffin's cost argument is the same on that was used to develop the Shuttle, and since it was wrong for the Shuttle, what makes it different for Ares-1? NASA had questions and commissioned the Aerospace Corporation to perform the study. See below.

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2009/06/delta-iv-heavy-is-cheaper-than-ares-1-wow-who-knew.html

http://www.floridatoday.com/content/blogs/space/2009/08/nasa-releases-ares-i-vs-delta-iv-heavy.shtml

http://www.floridatoday.com/content/blogs/space/EELVHumanRating.pdf

The recovery of the booster is not economical. The cost of a 10' diameter steel pipe is small compared to the cost to recover it. NASA has to maintain a fleet of (3) 170' recovery ships and and pay their full time crews for 5 or 6 launches a year, and this doesn't even begin to account for the fuel, transportation and refurbishment costs of what is simply a 10' diameter steel pipe. Any other parts that are recycled have to be refurbished and re-qualified and this too costs more than buying new parts. All of this might have been worth it if NASA had actually studied and analyzed the recovered SRB parts before the Challenger tragedy....

The Ares-1 uses 5 SRB segments rather than 4 on the Shuttle. Other than the pipe diameter, virtually all the other parts are different as the motor is 25 percent heavier and develops more thrust, and has not yet been flight tested. Please recall that the Ares-1x flight was a unneeded 4 segment shuttle booster with a dummy 5 segment so the real rocket still has no flight heritage.

Both the Delta-IV and the Atlas-V have been in production for several years and have flight heritage. It would have been far easier and much cheaper in 2005 to man-rate either one or both of these vehicle, and 5 years later we would have 2 manned launch options.

Furthermore, even if the Ares-1 booster was ready, which is it not, and would not have been for several years from now, the US does not have a man-rated space capsule. The Orion was designed originally for a 6 man crew and a Martian return. It is vastly overweight, and the crew capacity has shrunk in half in an attempt to get a short term solution. NASA originally wanted to use PICO as the heat shield but finally went back to Textron (the old AVCO Wilmington) what made the Apollo heat shield.

Even though all the tooling is long gone, if the decision was made back in 2005 to remake Apollo, we would have a man-rated space craft by now as well.

A significant number of NASA folks proposed alternate, less expensive LVs using proven technology instead of Constellation, but their voices were ignored. One of the proported claims of modern US space efforts is to use COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) technology, and the Atlas V uses RD-180 Russian LOX/Kerosene engines. While the F-1 now longer is in production, the more powerfull Russian RD-171 is in production and can be purchased as a COTS item, and though it is has been tested and rated for 20 missions, it is cheaper to use it just once, so why can't we simply buy them? There would have been no development costs. It obvious that our ego and national pride outweighs our common sense.

It took less than 10 years to put a man on the moon, and less than 5 years to get a man in orbit. One would think that with all the advances in technology today we could do it quicker now, but Constellation showed that some things never change: the most expensive gvernment program that can be funded will be funded, so again we have failed to utilize the lessons of the past to make the future better.

Shame on us.

Bob
 
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Fred22

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Am inciteful analysis but I am hoping that Bolden follows through a little.:)
Cheers
fred
 

aerostadt

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Bob,

I have worked on the shuttle SRB's as an engineer in the Fluid Dynamics section for the past 25 years, so I can tell you as a fact that all the case segments are the same for the segment booster. The cases are made by a US company called Ladish. I believe that the igniter, aft skirt, nozzle metal parts are all on the same. If you count Challenger (Columbia was not a motor failure) in the data base, than shuttle SRB's have a failure rate of about 1 percent, which for manned flight is unacceptable. The High Performance Motors (HPM) were replaced after Challenger with the Redesigned Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM). If you count only those motors, the success rate is 100 percent. As I recall the RSRM primary O-ring, which is backed up by a secondary O-ring, has not had any O-ring erosion in those flights. The heritage is excellent!

Let's look at Space-X. The Falcon-1, which has 1 one engine, has had 5 flights with the first 3 being failures. The current flight rate is about one per year, which is not good. The success rate is 40 percent, which is poor for even commerical standards. The failures were attributed as follows: (1) corroded bolt due to sea salt air, (2) liquid propellants sloshing with no anti-slosh baffles, (3) the first stage colliding with the second stage due to first-stage residual thrust. These are all problems that known in the industry. How can the experience didn't feed into the design until after the failure on 3 different occasions?

The first Falcon-9, which has nine engines, is scheduled to fly next month on March 8. Elon Musk has stated that the success rate for this flight somewhere between 0 and 100 percent. That's the full possible range. To get to the thrust range of the Ares-1, we will need the Falcon-9 Heavy, which has 27 engines, but that is years away and right now there is no heritage.

Everything I have read about the 2 EELV's, Atlas 5 and Delta IV, says that the military is not keen about using them for manned space.

I would ask the question is it wise to cancel a manned space flight program, when it is not even clear what the alternative program is yet?

Bob
 

bobkrech

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Bob,

I have worked on the shuttle SRB's as an engineer in the Fluid Dynamics section for the past 25 years, so I can tell you as a fact that all the case segments are the same for the segment booster. The cases are made by a US company called Ladish. I believe that the igniter, aft skirt, nozzle metal parts are all on the same. If you count Challenger (Columbia was not a motor failure) in the data base, than shuttle SRB's have a failure rate of about 1 percent, which for manned flight is unacceptable. The High Performance Motors (HPM) were replaced after Challenger with the Redesigned Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM). If you count only those motors, the success rate is 100 percent. As I recall the RSRM primary O-ring, which is backed up by a secondary O-ring, has not had any O-ring erosion in those flights. The heritage is excellent!

Let's look at Space-X. The Falcon-1, which has 1 one engine, has had 5 flights with the first 3 being failures. The current flight rate is about one per year, which is not good. The success rate is 40 percent, which is poor for even commerical standards. The failures were attributed as follows: (1) corroded bolt due to sea salt air, (2) liquid propellants sloshing with no anti-slosh baffles, (3) the first stage colliding with the second stage due to first-stage residual thrust. These are all problems that known in the industry. How can the experience didn't feed into the design until after the failure on 3 different occasions?

The first Falcon-9, which has nine engines, is scheduled to fly next month on March 8. Elon Musk has stated that the success rate for this flight somewhere between 0 and 100 percent. That's the full possible range. To get to the thrust range of the Ares-1, we will need the Falcon-9 Heavy, which has 27 engines, but that is years away and right now there is no heritage.

Everything I have read about the 2 EELV's, Atlas 5 and Delta IV, says that the military is not keen about using them for manned space.

I would ask the question is it wise to cancel a manned space flight program, when it is not even clear what the alternative program is yet?

Bob
Bob

My point was that 5 years ago, the most economical new LV for bussing men to ISS and the moon would have been a man-rated Delta IV or Atlas V.

I am well aware that the new RSRM has had a perfect record after the Challenger failure, but I also believe the SSME has a perfect record over the entire program. I also know Ladish and they are an excellent compamy, as is ATK, as are the folks who make it happen at the Cape. I'm not claiming that Ares-1 would not work, but I am saying it was not the most cost effect approach. The Ares-1x that launched was not a real Ares-1. For a rocket that is built out of COTS RSRM components, why wasn't a 5 segment motor flown on the Ares-1x flight?

If the Ares-1 is almost a COTS rocket, why was the first launch originally scheduled for June 2011, 4.5 years after the January 2007 SSR? The only believable reason is that it is a new LV, and developing an entirely new LV takes time and money.

When I mention COTS, I mean proven hardware. The Delta IV and the Atlas hardware has been flown successfully, and are also made by legacy companies that get it right. The 2009 NASA funded Aerospace report notes that only minor modifications to introduce redundancy would be required to man rate the Delta IV. Had this effort been started in 2005 as a lot of folks had recommended, it would have been completed and flown by now.

While I believe Space-X will succeed, I wouldn't classify them as COTS, but rather as a lower overhead shop. That they succeeded in getting something into orbit on their third test flight is a great accomplishment in my opinion considering that the entire Falcon 1 rocket had no heritage what so ever. And the Falcon 9 hasn't even been launched once so it has no flight heritage at all. They need to prove that they can get it right every time, so I agree with you that I wouldn't put all my eggs in Space-X's basket, which again shows that the government didn't do its job right over the past decade.

I agree with your last question, but my solution is much simplier. Keep the Shuttle flying until it's replacement is ready and flight proven because it works. As I've posted many times before, the two failures of the Shuttle were a failure of operations management, not the Shuttle. If you operate any advanced system outside the specified envelop you're going to have failures. The Shuttle is 100% when it's been operated according to the authorized flight procedures: launched at reasonable temperatures and without external tank debris impacts. Had the book been followed, these accidents would not have happened and the Shuttle would have a perfect flight record.

Bob
 

Adrian A

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Bob

My point was that 5 years ago, the most economical new LV for bussing men to ISS and the moon would have been a man-rated Delta IV or Atlas V.

I am well aware that the new RSRM has had a perfect record after the Challenger failure, but I also believe the SSME has a perfect record over the entire program. I also know Ladish and they are an excellent compamy, as is ATK, as are the folks who make it happen at the Cape. I'm not claiming that Ares-1 would not work, but I am saying it was not the most cost effect approach. The Ares-1x that launched was not a real Ares-1. For a rocket that is built out of COTS RSRM components, why wasn't a 5 segment motor flown on the Ares-1x flight?

If the Ares-1 is almost a COTS rocket, why was the first launch originally scheduled for June 2011, 4.5 years after the January 2007 SSR? The only believable reason is that it is a new LV, and developing an entirely new LV takes time and money.

When I mention COTS, I mean proven hardware. The Delta IV and the Atlas hardware has been flown successfully, and are also made by legacy companies that get it right. The 2009 NASA funded Aerospace report notes that only minor modifications to introduce redundancy would be required to man rate the Delta IV. Had this effort been started in 2005 as a lot of folks had recommended, it would have been completed and flown by now.

While I believe Space-X will succeed, I wouldn't classify them as COTS, but rather as a lower overhead shop. That they succeeded in getting something into orbit on their third test flight is a great accomplishment in my opinion considering that the entire Falcon 1 rocket had no heritage what so ever. And the Falcon 9 hasn't even been launched once so it has no flight heritage at all. They need to prove that they can get it right every time, so I agree with you that I wouldn't put all my eggs in Space-X's basket, which again shows that the government didn't do its job right over the past decade.

I agree with your last question, but my solution is much simplier. Keep the Shuttle flying until it's replacement is ready and flight proven because it works. As I've posted many times before, the two failures of the Shuttle were a failure of operations management, not the Shuttle. If you operate any advanced system outside the specified envelop you're going to have failures. The Shuttle is 100% when it's been operated according to the authorized flight procedures: launched at reasonable temperatures and without external tank debris impacts. Had the book been followed, these accidents would not have happened and the Shuttle would have a perfect flight record.

Bob
Bob,

While COTS usually means "Completely Off The Shelf," in this context it's the name of the specific program that NASA competed about 4 years ago, and that is paying for Space-X's ISS cargo flight development right now. (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services)

I agree that the Challenger accident was a management/operations failure, but I wouldn't put the Columbia accident into the same category. Side-mounting the orbiter, which puts safety-critical wing leading edges beneath a cryo tank, is just an inherently flawed design. The foam reduced, but never eliminated, the debris you will always get from cryo tanks with ice shaking loose. And the shuttle has almost no backup or escape options for any major failure during launch. The re-introduction of the Launch Abort System is a big step forward in safety.

In order to really carve out the budget required to build the next crewed spacecraft, you have to cancel the old one. Gaps between spacecraft are natural. That's how the shuttle got completed, for example. Now whether we need to cancel Constellation in order to give Space-X and Orbital the budget and focus that they need, is debatable. I'm hoping to see the Shuttle safely fly out its remaining 4 flights, and then have NASA do a streamlined, less-oversight version of Orion in parallel with COTS. Let Space-X demonstrate safe flight with the cargo missions and then we can start talking about adding a LAS for them along with crew.
 

luke strawwalker

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You guys can argue this til the cows come home, but the simple fact is, Ares failed to deliver and we COULD NOT AFFORD IT ON THE BUDGET WE GOT.

Some will argue "it was never properly funded" because they were promised "X" more money in a speech or something. Simple fact is, they CHOSE to continue with Ares after repeated changes and limitations and problems with the designs decreased performance below what was required, even when it impacted the capabilities and safety of the capsule and defunding of the lander, and when the schedules slipped off the edge of the charts, and the costs spiked completely past any reasonable budget. Nobody doubts that Ares could have been done had enough money been thrown at it (blank check) but sorry, this isn't 1961 anymore and we're all out of blank checks (at least for NASA, the whole darn country will be soon enough I believe).

There were PLENTY of alternatives out there that COULD have been built that would have MUCH cheaper to develop and would have done the job just as well, and within the ALLOCATED BUDGET (not the "promised budget", not the "hoped for" budget, not the "dream budget", the actual alotted funds) and yet NASA spent the last 5 years poo-pooing all comers and plunging ahead despite every bit of evidence coming down the pike saying what they were doing was headed for a budgetary, technical, and schedule trainwreck and couldn't even perform the mission it was required to do.

Sorry, that's just bad management no matter how you slice it.

SO, now the chickens have come home to roost and someone else (commercial companies) are being given a crack at it. They can't POSSIBLY do worse than NASA was doing. Maybe just maybe they CAN deliver-- NASA was building a 'bridge to nowhere' and couldn't even accomplish that.

$9 billion sunk, and NOTHING to show for it. That $9 billion would have MORE than payed for EELV manrating, even with NASA's grossly inflated numbers.

The proof is in the pudding.

Later! OL JR :)
 

aerostadt

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I wouldn't mind seeing the Shuttle continue to fly, but the Columbia accident put an end to that possibility. Just look at the post-accident commission report. In any case the Shuttle was due for a full re-certification, which would have cost time and money. Possibly, congress could have over-rided this requirement, but they didn't. As you know a five-segment booster was static tested in October 2009 and it worked.

The equation delta-V = exhaust velocity * ln(MR) is strictly correct for a rocket operating in a vacuum with no gravity. Hence, for real trajectories there are penalties for gravity and air drag. The Delta IV with its hydrogen engines has terrific specific impulse, but is laboring at lift-off to get vertical velocity due to its low thrust-to-weight ratio. Consequently, there are restrictions on the trajectory that it takes. I have seen NASA presentations that show there are problems on the abort modes due to these trajectory restrictions.

If the EELV's are so econmical, then why aren't the commercial companies flocking to them. I think the Atlas 5 has gotten some commercial flights, but they surely don't exist due to their commerical customers. Overall, both Atlas 5 and Delta IV are heavily dependent on government support and would not survive without the government expenditures. As I recall Boeing was caught by the government in unfair business practices a few years ago for the Delta IV and was on the hook for paying penalties. Were they juggling the books?

The RSRM has had 22 years of successful flights. In Flight Readiness Reviews(FRR) the RSRM was no longer an issue for on time Shuttle flights after about the mid-1990's. No other rocket has that heritage. The liquids side has been an issue in FRR's on many occasions up to this past year. For 6 billion dollars you might get a new rocket. Will it have the same lifting capacity as the ARES-1? I have heard that the cancellation costs for Constellation are 2.5 billion dollars. Why not skip the cancellation costs and fully fund the ARES-1 and get it.

Bob
 

aerostadt

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Why doesn't the Administration tell us which vehicle is the new vehicle? Is it Atlas-5 or Delta IV or Falcon-9 or something else or all of the above? Why can't the Aministration tell the American public? Has it even been decided or is the down-select still in process? It is absolutely amazing that space enthusiasts that are against the $9 billion that has been spent on ARES-1, ARES-5, the crew capsule, and the launch abort system are ready to write a blank check for $6 billion on a vehicle that hasn't even been named. At least the Bush Administration told us the name of the new program and the vehicles. Mr. Bolden has publicly apologized for having cancelled the Constellation so abruptly, however, he still hasn't told us what the new vehicle is. I am not the only hobbyist that has a foot in the professional world that feels this is "poor management". Check Homer Hickam's website. He has a letter posted that he has sent to the House Committee on Science & Technology dated Feb. 5th, where he calls for the resignation of Lori Garver, Deputy NASA Administrator.

It is interesting to note that the Delta IV has had government funding problems from its very inception. Boeing did not want to build the Delta IV without a guarantee of buys from the military. A deal was finally arranged. However, in order to get even more money from the military in 2003 Boeing acquired propriety information illegally from Lockheed with regard to the Atlas V, so that they could out-bid the Atlas V. They were successful in this fiasco until they were later caught and required to pay a penalty. I'm not sure what happened after this. Was another deal worked out?

You can quote Norm Augustine (from Lockheed) and I'll quote Mike Griffin from NASA. Norm will tell you that EELV's are cheaper and Mike will tell your that ARES-1 is cheaper.

In general the EELV's have a lofted trajectory. The thrust-to-weight ratio is low for the first stage and the second stage is weak. So, the first stage goes very high and gains altitude. The vehicle then falls a considerable distance before the second stage becomes effective in building horizontal velocity for orbit. This is no problem for cargo and abort modes are not even considered. However, there are black zones in the fall back that are not good for human abort modes. The re-entry angle is too steep and the abort modes have high-g loads and high aero-heating. The shuttle and ARES-1 do not have this problem, because the depressed trajectory is building up altitude and horizontal velocity at the same time and the abort modes have a shallow angle for re-entry. The vehicles with lofted trajectories can be re-designed, but their performance will go down. Elon Musk says that the Falcon-9 does not have this problem, but then again we don't know which vehicle is the new vehicle. If you didn't trust NASA with the past $9 billion, why are you so anxious to write a blank check for the next $6 billion?
 

bobkrech

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You guys can argue this til the cows come home, but the simple fact is, Ares failed to deliver and we COULD NOT AFFORD IT ON THE BUDGET WE GOT.

Some will argue "it was never properly funded" because they were promised "X" more money in a speech or something. Simple fact is, they CHOSE to continue with Ares after repeated changes and limitations and problems with the designs decreased performance below what was required, even when it impacted the capabilities and safety of the capsule and defunding of the lander, and when the schedules slipped off the edge of the charts, and the costs spiked completely past any reasonable budget. Nobody doubts that Ares could have been done had enough money been thrown at it (blank check) but sorry, this isn't 1961 anymore and we're all out of blank checks (at least for NASA, the whole darn country will be soon enough I believe).

There were PLENTY of alternatives out there that COULD have been built that would have MUCH cheaper to develop and would have done the job just as well, and within the ALLOCATED BUDGET (not the "promised budget", not the "hoped for" budget, not the "dream budget", the actual allotted funds) and yet NASA spent the last 5 years poo-pooing all comers and plunging ahead despite every bit of evidence coming down the pike saying what they were doing was headed for a budgetary, technical, and schedule train wreck and couldn't even perform the mission it was required to do.

Sorry, that's just bad management no matter how you slice it.

SO, now the chickens have come home to roost and someone else (commercial companies) are being given a crack at it. They can't POSSIBLY do worse than NASA was doing. Maybe just maybe they CAN deliver-- NASA was building a 'bridge to nowhere' and couldn't even accomplish that.

$9 billion sunk, and NOTHING to show for it. That $9 billion would have MORE than payed for EELV man rating, even with NASA's grossly inflated numbers.

The proof is in the pudding.

Later! OL JR :)
JR

You hit the nail on the head. It is my understanding that Ares-1 still needs about 10 Billion dollars more before it will be man-rated and can carry a crew into orbit. With the general publics' concern about excessive government spending, completing this program becomes untenable in today's economy.

We can argue forever what's next, but currently there is no clearly defined pathway for US manned missions after Shuttle is retired because of the extremely high costs of the US Manned Space program. We've priced ourselves right of the market.

Although many may not want to listen, the cheapest way to get US astronauts into orbit is on a Soyuz spacecraft.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_(spacecraft)

Currently we pay $48 million per seat and after 2012 it will cost $51 million a seat, or ~$150 million per 3 man launch. Let's do the math. The $9 billion we spend on Ares-1 so far would have bought 180 tickets to ISS, ans spending another $10 billion to complete Ares could purchase another 200 seats. That's the bottom line.

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090513/155009780.html

The Soyuz spacecraft has been in production for 43 years. It is the de facto space bus.

The Soyuz launcher was introduced in 1966, deriving from the Vostok launcher, which in turn was based on the 8K74 or R-7aintercontinental ballistic missile. The production of Soyuz launchers reached a peak of 60 per year in the early 1980s. It has become the world's most used space launcher, flying over 1700 times, far more than any other rocket. It is a very old basic design, but is notable for low cost and very high reliability, both of which appeal to commercial clients.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_(rocket_family)

The Soyuz has been incrementally improved over the years, but basically it's simply a mass produced, an astronaut's commuting vehicle, and it works, and it's cheap. For years we had the option of crossing the Atlantic on the Concorde, however the vast majority of us who made the trip took Boeing, McDonald-Douglas, Lockheed or Air Bus aircraft because the price was affordable and got us there safely. The US could have approached manned orbital LVs the way the Russians did and stuck with a simple rocket bus, but we didn't, we built the Shuttle. The Russian launched the Salyut and Mir space stations, and the US launch Skylab without the Shuttle. Indeed the first Russian Space Station was launched in 1971 and with the exception of Skylab, the Russian had a monopoly with space stations until 1998 when Endeavor brought the second module of the ISS Unity and connected it to the Russian launched Zarya module on a Proton LV, another heavy LV derived from an ICBM.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station

The bottom line is that you don't need a Cadallic, Lincoln or Lexus to commute to work. A Chevy, Ford or Toyota will do. Both get you there, and the latter options are a lot cheaper. The Russian have traditionally used derivatives of their ICBM as manned orbit LV's, and we did this as we in the 60's. Why we stopped this is a question that remains unanswered 4 decades later.

While the Delta IV (Boeing) are the Atlas-V (Lockheed) are not ICBM based, they are mitary LV's that put heavy spacecraft into GEO. The reason why they are not frequently considered for commercial use is the uncertainty in their unit cost. The military is happy to maintain contractor manned production lines for national security. They will maintain that line and pay the people who man it whether 0 or 10 LVs are made in a given year. This high fixed cost that must be shared among all users. The material costs per missile is probably only 20% of the total production cost, however since the margin cost of making one extra LV is variable, and typically quite high when only a few are made each year, either the buyer pays a higher unit cost if another customer walks, or the contracting company eats the cost.

That's why the commercial folks don't use these LVs. They want a firm, fixed price, and that's also why Boeing and Lockheed have contractual difficulties with the governement. The government wants to have a firm fixed price too, but Boeing and Lockheed still have to pay theri employees folks even if the government delays a purchase for months or years. That's why contractors want to operate under a cost plus fixed fee basis. They get a fixed profit per missile, but if a delivery contract slips because the payload is not ready, then the government, not the contractor, will pay the employees that have to be retained in order to built the LV when it is needed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolved_Expendable_Launch_Vehicle

Traditionally the government has a contractor build facilities designed for a certain production rate, and then cuts back on the orders or spreads the procurement out because tehy don't have the money. This increases the fixed costs, and the contractor always looks like the bad guy when they have to renegotiate the contract to to stay profitable. The famed cost overruns that you frequently hear about are often due to the government delaying or stretching out a procurement, but wanting to pay the same amount for the product several years later. This can't happen without the the contractor and/or their employees getting screwed.

Again it all comes down to bad management and lack of budgetary restraint and oversite.

Bob
 
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luke strawwalker

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You said it Bob! TOTALLY agree.

Thing is, NASA has GOT to face reality at some point. Back in 71, NASA (yes at gov't insistence) tossed the Apollo hardware and started with a clean sheet doing shuttle. NASA oversold shuttle as the 'be all end all' of launch vehicles, with rediculous promises of "weekly or biweekly launches to orbit with crew and cargo at a cost of only a few hundred dollars a pound", essentially, parroting the lines by the nuclear power lobby at the time using promises of "electricity too cheap to meter" and other such nonsense, to get the 'reusable spacecraft' that NASA wanted. We all know how THAT turned out.

Now here we are, nearly 40 years later, with all the benefits of the last 50 years of spaceflight, research, development, and the advances of science, the state of the art, and materials science and processes, and what do we get?? A bloated overly expensive infrastructure that we can't afford that will take FIFTEEN YEARS to produce visible results?? We can do better than that.

Congress and the former Administration directed NASA to go with a "shuttle derived" solution, to minimize the disruption, job loss, and transition the workforce over from shuttle to the new program as seamlessly as possible, and to reduce the development of new equipment as much as possible by reusing the existing shuttle equipment to the greatext extent possible. That is NOT what happened!

NASA pulled a 'snow job' in the ESAS study to 'justify' their choice of Ares I/V so called "1.5 launch architecture" which, though sold with the subtlety and veracity of a used car salesman's pitch, wasn't too bad IN IT'S ORIGINAL FORM. Then reality set in and a chain reaction of changes and unforeseen issues, limitations, and forced changes ended up unraveling the whole thing. AS it stands right now, Ares is shuttle derived IN NAME ONLY. The ONLY equipment to be reused on Ares is the steel SRB casings. Everything else will be brand new. To add insult to injury, the SRB's themselves are NOT the existing four-segment shuttle boosters any longer, but for all intents and purposes, brand new boosters for which there is no flight history at all. It's a hollow argument; it's about like saying that the Saturn I was "Redstone derived" because it used 8 Redstone tanks strapped to a Jupiter missile core tank, and, well, "Redstone worked so this will too-- it's fundamentally the same!". Anybody with one eye and half sense could see through this argument on the face of it! To further rub salt in the wound, a number of Ares' problems would go away with the abandonment of the shuttle SRB casings. Switching to a non-recovered version of the SRB using spiral-wound filament casings would save considerable weight, not only of the casings themselves, but the weight of the no-longer needed recovery equipment for the SRB casing. BUT, it would be ANOTHER HUGE, COSTLY CHANGE which we cannot afford.

Already the schedule has slipped to the point that even staying with Ares, most of the workforce is GOING to be laid off after shuttle retirement. NOBODY, not even the gov't, can afford to pay the standing army of shuttle workers to 'polish wrenches' for 8-10 years until Ares is actually ready to fly.

Sad thing is, ALL OF THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE! Go read the history of the SEI (Space Exploration Initiative) under old man Bush back in the 90's. He too proposed a grand adventure, a bold new vision of man's future in space, first building stations in LEO, moving on to return to the moon and building a moonbase, then pushing on to Mars. NASA called a "90 Day Study" to 'determine the best way forward to carry out this bold calling'. The "90 Day Report" was a pure snow-job to fund every NASA pet project that they'd wanted for the previous 20 years. Congress and the President told then-NASA Administrator Richard "Dick" Truly (former shuttle astronaut, BTW, and considered by many to be NASA's WORST Administrator) to pare the project down to a fundable, sustainable plan. After bandying around the plan within NASA and even MORE pet projects being added, culminating in an enormous Mars ship to be constructed in Earth orbit before setting out to Mars, it ballooned to a massive $450 BILLION DOLLAR price tag that was derisively laughed out of Congress and shredded by it's opponents called "BATTLESTAR GALACTICA".

Any of this sound familiar??

Fast forward 10 years. Baby Bush is at the helm and after the loss of another shuttle crew, NASA is directionless and adrift. Bush announces a "bold new plan to return humans to the moon and venture out into the solar system, going to the moon, Mars, and beyond!" Shuttle retirement is envisioned as being a smaller spaceplane (lifting body HL-20 like vehicle called Orbital Space Plane, or OSP) flying on an EELV. Political interests start figuring how much they'll lose when shuttle contracts for SRB's end, and the shuttle workforce that will be laid off en-masse at shuttle retirement and it's political fallout, so soon the cry arises for a "shuttle derived" solution. Bush appoints Mike Griffin as NASA Administrator, replacing Sean O'Keefe and Adm. Steidle who championed an affordable 'spiral development' plan based on EELV's and designing and building new equipment for new capabilities as it was needed and could be afforded. Griffin and his cohorts have grand plans for what was to become the Ares rockets. Another 90 day study is appointed called the ESAS (Exploration Systems Architecture Study) and it's results are a snow-job that surprise, surprise, find Griffin's 1.5 launch solution best, giving him justification for his Ares rockets. They hit problem after problem, the costs balloon uncontrollably, and the schedule slips off the edge of the paper. The whole thing gets cancelled. Some of the ESAS study members recently admitted ESAS was a snow-job and that a dual launch method using two identical rockets WAS the better choice, but that didn't fit Griffin's plans.

Sound familiar??

Griffin bet the farm, and lost. Now EVERYBODY is going to have to pay for that gamble.

Later! OL JR :)
 

aerostadt

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Don't count on the Russians to save us. The following is from last Friday's Washington Post:

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post Friday, February 12, 2010

"We have an agreement until 2012 that Russia will be responsible for this," says Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian space agency, about ferrying astronauts from other countries into low-Earth orbit. "But after that? Excuse me, but the prices should be absolutely different then!"

The Russians may be new at capitalism, but they know how it works. When you have a monopoly, you charge monopoly prices. Within months, Russia will have a monopoly on rides into space.


Bob

P.S. If you like Obama's space program, you do not want to read the rest of the article.
 

luke strawwalker

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Then there's the issue of our money going to support RUSSIA'S space program instead of our own...

Each of those Soyuz seats purchased from Russia would go a long ways to keeping AMERICAN aerospace contractors healthy and thriving, building AMERICAN rockets, and employing AMERICAN engineers and technicians. It's not like we DON'T KNOW HOW to build rockets, or they have some vital national resource under their feet we have no choice but to buy from them.

The same argument was recently applied to the Russian RD-171 engines on the Atlas V rocket... We're purchasing them FROM RUSSIA, and supposedly have a license to manufacture. Problem is, PW/R (Pratt and Whitney/Rocketdyne) hasn't quite figured out the metallurgy on the engines that allow them to run oxygen-rich without melting down. The Russians have developed some special coatings that protect the engine, and we're having trouble duplicating it. (Gee, funny how those "pointless" research programs pay off when you really need it, isn't it?? That's why the Russians have a whole STABLE FULL of EXCELLENT WORLD-CLASS rocket engines available to use, while we (not SpaceX) haven't built a new kerosene engine in 40 years, and basically haven't done a new hydrogen engine in 30, for all intents and purposes. We've had fits and starts but not FINISHED anything (RS-84, RL-60, etc.) Now, with a funded program to develop the capability, PWR COULD be making those engines RIGHT HERE IN THE USA, but cheap prices and easy availability keeps the gov't going to Russia to buy them en masse.

I sorta took it that Bob meant "we should have an AMERICAN version of "Soyuz" (not an identical copy mind you, but a general US spacecraft that was continuously used and periodically updated as Soyuz has been, more like a change in SOP to the "Soyuz paradigm (use what ya got, improve it as you go) instead of the "shuttle paradigm" (toss everything you have and start from scratch every time) that the US space program has been operating under since it started.) That is the fundamental difference between the Russian and US programs, and it's why we're going to be thumbing a ride from them instead of vice-versa. It's not a hard concept to grasp...

You're right, once they have the monopoly, we're GOING to be paying THEIR PRICE if we want a ride, and THEY KNOW IT. I can tell you something else-- the Russians (people if not the gov't "official" position) believe that ISS is THEIR space station! There was a lot of national pride lost when MIR was deorbited, and some latent anger that NASA pushed so hard to have MIR deorbited to focus the Russian program into fulfilling their contributions to ISS. There was a poll that I read a couple years back that most Russians consider ISS to be THEIR space station, and this feeling will probably cause us some problems in the future, when OUR only access to ISS is through THEIR spacecraft and launchers. Throw in Russian 'adventurism' in dealing with it's former Republics (Georgia, Chechnya, etc.) and the intricacies of international politics, and we're putting ourselves in a VERY bad position. What happens if Russia invades Georgia again, or supports some adventurism by Iran or Syria in the Middle East, or something along those lines, and the US gives Russia "stern warnings" about how unacceptable their behavior is and how they need to withdraw their support for whatever it is their doing we don't like, and the Russians turn around and tell us "you Americans shut up-- you can't even get to OUR space station unless you fly on OUR rockets, and if you want to CONTINUE being ALLOWED to have access to our space station, you will remember your place." (Obviously in more diplomatic language, sorta like when Obama went to China and fussed at them about their treatment of the Dahlia Lama and no sooner was Obama on AF1 lifting off the runway the Chinese Premier held a press conference basically telling the US to "shut up" since they finance a huge chunk of our national debt and we'd be bankrupt overnight if they didn't keep lending us money.

Certainly they'll think they have the tiger by the tail, and will be emboldened to support any such adventurism, betting the US will back down. What would our choice be?? Tell them "do what we say or else" and they say "ok, ELSE!" and we find ourselves standing around watching Soyuzes go up without us, scrambling around to do a crash program to get SOME kind of capsule on some kind of US rocket to regain the capabilities we had in 1961??

This country reminds me more and more of the Roman Empire-- builder of marvels, the undisputed superpower of the ancient world, master of technological and infrastructural marvels (aqueducts, Roman roads, building projects, trading systems, etc.), resting on it's laurels and indulging in hedonism, turning inwards into it's own pleasures and distractions (bread and circuses anyone?) and ultimately decaying and collapsing under it's own weight-- the survivors standing in the shadows of it's former glories, unable to protect themselves from the outside threats, ultimately scavenging the marvels they'd created for the stones to build huts while their vaunted infrastructure rots into oblivion around them.

Those who learn nothing from history are doomed to repeat it. OL JR :)
 

Peartree

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This country reminds me more and more of the Roman Empire--

Those who learn nothing from history are doomed to repeat it. OL JR :)
Having spent considerable time studying the Roman empire in seminary, the similarities between the Roman Empire and the present day American empire are indeed frightening.
 

Fred22

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The roman empire fell because it had no more neighbours to steal from that it could take to pay for its large standing standing army. This army also bled the ordinary citizens dry by requiring large taxes not to mention the poltical instability brought on by interminable civil wars to determine who was the next emperor. I find there is actually little to compare as the US does not pay for a large standing army by occupying its neighbours and stealing from them nor do they wage large battles to settle on president. It is a largely IMO an inaccurate comparison. The US has actually been a beacon of light for untold millions wheras the Roman empire is more aptly compared to the mafia or Yakuza perhaps on a international scale.
I have no idea why the Russian would consider the ISS their station as they have largely been subsidised by others to do their bit. They also use astrology to dtermine who works on nuclear weapons so go figure. Clever folks in a lot of respects but not so much in others. The russians have been using their space program as a cash business for a while so why they would continue to do so should come as no surprise. I am also surprised why who owns ISS should matter as a lot of posters on this poster have done little but critisize ISS as useless unlessIi guess it fits into a certain viewpoint for the sake of an arguement.
The part where NASA could have done better in my opinion was to work with ESA and the CSA on a joint sharing of cost on the next gen. NATO has provided a good example with many programs such as the AWACS where nations can work together on very high tech. Costs could have been shared and knowledge pooled but this never happened. The reasons why are best left for another forum because my absolute contempt for those who made them are inapropriate for this forum.
It is always funny to me with NASA that being the hostage of the political process they are, being pilloried for doing the bidding of their bosses. I believe one of the finest achievments of America amongst many is their space program. I also belive the grand republic will go on even as old men like myself grumble about what they dont like which has been going on since Hector slew Achilles:)
Cheers
fred
 

Peartree

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Parallels always exist even in nations that seem, on the surface, to be polar opposites. Our ability to see these parallels alerts us to the pitfalls in our own future and help us to avoid them. It also allows us to call ourselves to account when our morality becomes suspect. I would never say that the US is *equivalent* to the Roman Empire, but there are some striking similarities. Unfortunately, further reflection would likely draw from John's letters contained in the book of Revelation and get me an infraction for being overly religious.:D
 

Fred22

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Parallels always exist even in nations that seem, on the surface, to be polar opposites. Our ability to see these parallels alerts us to the pitfalls in our own future and help us to avoid them. It also allows us to call ourselves to account when our morality becomes suspect. I would never say that the US is *equivalent* to the Roman Empire, but there are some striking similarities. Unfortunately, further reflection would likely draw from John's letters contained in the book of Revelation and get me an infraction for being overly religious.:D
John send me a PM because I find the topic fascinating please:) My perspective on the Romans is differant then a lot :) My latest read on them is Terry Jones " Barbarians". It is a point of view I find refreshing. Your comments of course are well taken and contain sound logic as per usual:)
Cheers
fred
 

aerostadt

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There may be another complication in relying on the Russians for a ticket to the ISS. I remember once reading that Congress has legislation in place that we can not finacially help the Russian space program if they give Iran improper nuclear technology. Thus, if the Russians did so, we may be prevented from travelling to Soyuz due to our legislation (or we might have to change our foreign policy).

Bob
 
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