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  [Discuss] NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] NASA's Space Launch System (SLS)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-12-2011 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
Sorry, I don't buy the "it's money" or "budget" arguments.
The pace at which the rockets are built and the rate at which they are flown are not entirely dependent on each other, but whether you buy it or not, money dictates both.

Given the constrained funding available, NASA was asked to develop a flight plan that could realistically fit within that budget. Not building the Space Launch System and going a different direction was not an option (it was mandated by law) so the schedule as released prevailed.

If, after the program is underway, Congress and the President wants to accelerate or increase the flight rate, they will need to allocate more money.

Blackarrow
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posted 12-13-2011 06:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I don't disagree with you about the cost issue, I'm simply pointing out that it is absurd to develop something that you use once, then forget about for four years. I stand by my previous comments.

Fra Mauro
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posted 07-30-2012 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder what the flight schedule is like after 2021 assuming the funding is still there and there are no technical issues.

Fra Mauro
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posted 09-12-2012 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would it makes sense to scrap the SLS and use the Atlas/Falcon vehicles from the VAB, but using the money to accelerate the flight schedule or build a lander?

Blackarrow
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posted 09-12-2012 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To go beyond low Earth orbit in any meaningful way, you need a heavy-lift rocket.

DavidH
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posted 03-06-2013 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those that may have missed it:

F-1 Engine Gas Generators Test-Fired In Support of SLS

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-06-2013 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also see the dedicated thread: Blast from the past: NASA fires F-1 engine parts

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-05-2013 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Composites World has an in depth article about the Janicki Industries' work to develop the payload fairing for the Space Launch System.
The Space Launch System (SLS) will be the next heavy-lift launch vehicle for the National Aeronautics and Space Admin. (NASA, Washington D.C.). Composites have been chosen for both the launch vehicle structures and tooling because they offer performance and cost advantages over metals.

As part of a three-year program to develop and demonstrate composite tooling and fabrication technology, Janicki Industries (Sedro-Woolley, Wash.) began working with NASA in 2010 to design tooling for a 1/6th-arc SLS fairing segment. Each segment measures 8.5m by 5.5m (28 ft by 18 ft), and six of them will be assembled to form the barrel section of the payload fairing for the SLS launch vehicle. NASA's objective was to demonstrate that cost-effective production of a lightweight composite structure is possible. "Our capabilities lined up well with NASA's goals in this program," explains Matt Robson, project manager at Janicki, "including out-of-autoclave processing, fabrication of large-scale tooling and pioneering of new processes to meet unique project demands."

(Thanks to Gary Milgrom for sharing the article.)

Fra Mauro
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posted 01-24-2014 08:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've read where NASA has been witholding back some funds from Orion and the SLS to cover termination costs in case the programs are terminated. Doesn't sound like they're too confident of the programs making it.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-24-2014 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Termination liability has little to do with confidence in a program's success but is rather a standard clause in federal contracts based on the estimated value of contractor work that would be required to close out a contract in in the unlikely case that it is terminated.

Recently, the House of Representatives took up a bill that would free up termination liability funds from the SLS and Orion (and the International Space Station) programs by requiring NASA to seek additional appropriations to cover such costs in the case of a contract cancellation (essentially making it impossible for NASA to cancel a contract without first seeking Congressional approval).

JBoe
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posted 02-09-2014 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBoe   Click Here to Email JBoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spacefan JC:
...the Liberty Launch Vehicle, a five segment SRB first stage, and the Ariane cryogenic as the second stage.
I know the SLS will use the five segment SRB, will it have the same recovery systems that it will allow it to be reused? Is there a specific number of times the SRB will be reused before a new one will be mated to the SLS?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-09-2014 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
During the shuttle program, solid rocket boosters were not reused as single units. After being recovered post-flight, they were divided into their component casings. Different segments then flew again on different flights.

At last update, NASA does not plan to recover the boosters used with the Space Launch System as a cost saving measure.

(The agency relinquished ownership of the SRB recovery ships to the Department of Transportation in 2012.)

JBoe
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posted 02-09-2014 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBoe   Click Here to Email JBoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I never knew that they mixed and matched different segments with different flights.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2014 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA today (Aug. 27) announced that its engineers and managers have completed Key Decision Point-C, a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS).
[Key Decision Point-C] provides a development cost baseline for the 70-metric ton version of the SLS of $7.021 billion from February 2014 through the first launch and a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018.
That "no later than" date is about a year beyond the previous target date.
"We will keep the teams working toward a more ambitious readiness date, but will be ready no later than November 2018," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Headshot
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posted 09-11-2014 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know if NASA plans to construct a non-flight version of the SLS to test fit and alignment of the various refurbished/new facilities in both the VAB and at the launch pad? This would be the SLS equivalent of the Apollo/Saturn 500F test article.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-11-2014 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I asked about this, and there are no plans for a 500-F type demonstrator.

The closest the SLS program will come are qualification tanks for the core, but no complete vehicle will be stacked until Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).

E2M Lem Man
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posted 09-11-2014 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man   Click Here to Email E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This vehicle is the best vehicle that NASA was mandated to build. As long as the current administration proceeds along this road to the asteroids and Mars it needs a booster.

There were similar calls about the Moon and the Saturn V. As to vehicle numbers: The original number of Saturn V ordered/manifested was ten and we did the landing in five. This left us with extras for exploration.

Finally its about time we applaud and encourage the NASA SLS team for producing this vehicle with such narrow funding. They deserve a well done!

cspg
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posted 09-12-2014 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any plans to give that rocket a name other than SLS?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-12-2014 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, there are plans, but they are not yet well-defined.

Blackarrow
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posted 09-13-2014 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I again offer "Prometheus." Only four syllables, unlike the clunky six-syllable "Apollo Eleven."

cspg
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posted 09-13-2014 03:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds too much more like a spaceship than a rocket and refers to a not so brilliant and recent movie...

Blackarrow
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posted 09-14-2014 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I first proposed "Prometheus" before I had ever heard of the film of the same name (which I actually enjoyed very much!)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-03-2015 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017, if passed into law, would order NASA to rename the Space Launch System through a competition among schoolchildren, Spaceflight Now reports.
Language in the authorization bill would direct NASA to “conduct a well-publicized competition among students in elementary and secondary schools to name the elements of the administration’s exploration program.”

NASA should give a name to the agency’s entire exploration program, including the SLS, Orion spacecraft and future missions. The bill also directs NASA to rename the SLS itself.

An identical section was included in a previous version of an authorization bill that passed the House in February, and NASA officials have had internal discussions of renaming the Space Launch System.

Blackarrow
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posted 05-04-2015 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...conduct a well-publicized competition among students in elementary and secondary schools to name the elements of the administration’s exploration program... including the SLS, Orion spacecraft and future missions.
Oh joy! Stand by for some vomit-inducing travesty like "Project Enthusiasm" or "Project Joyful Path."

SkyMan1958
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posted 05-04-2015 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I rather like the name "Curiosity", and it went through essentially the same process in being named. Given how long this theoretical launch system will take to develop and be deployed I think it's appropriate that elementary grade students name it, as they will be middle aged by the time the thing actually flies more than 250,000 miles from the Earth.

Personally, I think this launch system will be toast by the mid to latter 2020's as heavy lift vehicles provided by SpaceX etc. will be much cheaper.

Blackarrow
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posted 05-05-2015 06:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
I think it's appropriate that elementary grade students name it, as they will be middle aged by the time the thing actually flies more than 250,000 miles from the Earth.
And when middle-aged they can cringe at the names which they selected as children, and which middle-aged people approved in a forlorn attempt to seem "cool."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-05-2015 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a number of ways an open-to-students naming contest can work. It can be open ended, like the contest that named Curiosity, or it can be multiple choice, with NASA suggesting the names from which the students will choose (to provide just two examples).

I'd suggest it is too early to assume anything about how the SLS naming contest will work, or what results it will produce (after all, it has not even passed into law yet).

Fra Mauro
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posted 05-06-2015 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it better to use the money elsewhere or does the public relations warrant the expense?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-06-2015 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whether public relations warrants such an investment is debatable, but NASA has a mandate to conduct educational outreach. Naming contests give teachers a reason to introduce spaceflight into their classrooms and engage their students in an activity where they can actually make a lasting impact on history.

onesmallstep
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posted 05-06-2015 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find some of the comments here a little jaded, as if children 'of a certain age' are not capable of thoughtful, inspiring names for spacecraft or any man-made endeavor. It slights them, and their imaginations.

Take the NASA Mars rover that landed in 1997. Originally designated Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX), an essay contest was begun to find a new name. The winner: a 12 year-old chose the name 'Sojourner,' after African-American abolitionist and woman's rights activist Sojourner Truth. Her name, appropriately, means 'traveler.'

And the second- and third-place entries had merit too: Marie Curie; and Judith Resnik. So I think kids can be well-informed and inspired at any age - and perhaps teach adults a thing or too at the same time.

p51
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posted 09-09-2015 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm surprised that NASA didn't have a name for the program picked out a long time ago, but then again, neither STS nor "Space Shuttle" were 'cool' names for a 30-year effort, were they?

"Saturn Five," I guess, wasn't overly cool either.

But the program itself, something about "Mercury" and "Apollo"... well, those DID sound cool, at least to me. SLS deserves a name like that.

Headshot
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posted 10-24-2015 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the first time in almost 40 years, a NASA human-rated rocket has completed all steps needed to clear a critical design review (CDR). The agency's Space Launch System (SLS) is the first vehicle designed to meet the challenges of the journey to Mars and the first exploration class rocket since the Saturn V.

...also as part of the CDR, the program concluded the core stage of the rocket and Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter will remain orange, the natural color of the insulation that will cover those elements, instead of painted white.

Is it just me or are others bothered by most news outlets focusing on the "It's orange" aspect of this important SLS review?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-24-2015 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The CDR is an important milestone for the program — internally. Externally though, it means little to the public, as it is more process than progress.

The color scheme though, offers a visual hook by which to report the completion of the CDR.

It is similar in that regard to the Key Decision Point-C. The process is important but what led the headlines was the flight readiness date decided as part of the KDP-C.

SpaceAngel
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posted 12-05-2015 11:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why choose orange for the SLS instead of the Apollo/Saturn V-type white?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-05-2015 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like the space shuttle's external tank, the orange is the natural color of the foam to be applied to the outside of the Space Launch System's core. Painting it white adds unnecessary weight.

Blackarrow
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posted 12-05-2015 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does the SLS core-stage actually need the orange-coloured insulation?

Obviously the external tank of the space shuttle needed the foam to prevent the build-up of ice (which would have fallen on the orbiter, causing tile-losses). But the Saturn V didn't need insulation foam and, like the Saturn V, there is no orbiter strapped to the side of the SLS core.

Is it because falling ice would damage the booster rockets or the engines (again, the Saturn V engines didn't need protection)? Or is there some other crucial reason for having foam insulation on the SLS core stage?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-05-2015 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The shuttle's external tank and the SLS's core is most like the Saturn V's S-II stage, as all three held/hold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks. All three were/are covered in spray-on insulation (the S-II's insulation was then painted white).

The primary purpose of the foam was/is to maintain the cryogenic temperatures inside the tanks needed to keep the hydrogen and oxygen liquid.

Ice formation was a concern during shuttle, but wasn't the only or driving need for the foam insulation. Here is how NASA described the foam for the shuttle external tank:

The closed-cell foam used on the tank was developed to keep the propellants that fuel the shuttle's three Main Engines at optimum temperature. It keeps the shuttle's liquid hydrogen fuel at minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit and the liquid oxygen tank at near minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit — even as the tank sits under the hot Florida sun — while preventing a buildup of ice on the outside of the tank.


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