1:02 AM
Cosmos reboot is on NOW @ FOX!

3 hours later…
4:04 AM

6 hours later…
10:13 AM
TildalWave has added an event to this room's schedule.
TildalWave has added an event to this room's schedule.

bleeping timezones :)
NASA TV schedule says "NOTE: All Times in Local Time Zone" but it doesn't say which local time zone they mean LOL (and no, it's not my time zone, it's +1 hour off for CET, +2 hours off for GMT/UTC, so it's not Kazakhstan either)
oh I think I get it, they calculate without -1h for DST
so it is my local timezone, but after March 30

4 hours later…
2:19 PM
@TildalWave Even Shuttle-C was a good idea on comparison to SLS.

@geoffc True, but I have big problems understanding all these odd decisions. Might be that I'm not an American and don't really follow U.S. politics all that much. Maybe I'm missing something?
In that video that I linked to, there's support for DIRECT from pretty much everyone that I can think of. Even commercial space sector, and it's been recommended by the administration's own committee. I mean, what else does it take? Or, asking it differently, who has power to go against such force?

SLS boggles my mind. It carries nothing related to sanity and sense, as far as I can tell.
It was. keep as many jobs as possible, and create more. So do nothing to streamline the shuttle ops, keep the lines and jobs open, and somehow add way more complexity so there is more work to do.

I don't understand Orion. How come it persisted? I mean, it's tiny, yet requires huge power to lift it. It's hardly a place one'd like to be in for longer than a few days, what are they thinking? SLS, for the cargo block, does make some sense to me, tho not as much as actually using what's available and was still developed right till they scrubbed it.
not to mention that then the big crunch came, and nobody thought to step back a bit, rethink their position and that maybe there's other, better options?

It is all pork politics. 40,000 jobs at stake. 10,000 are gone, but 30,000 seem to have been maintained. The cost of SLS is not the hardware, it is the salaries.
Orion I can get, oddly enough. Yes it is quite heavy, but it is NOT meant to go to the ISS. It is meant for long duration missions outside LEO. Which Dragon cannot do. Yet.
Orion is doing serious work on radiation protection, ECLSS work, etc. Powerful Service module. (Well till they outsourced it to ESA using the ATV control module).
Nonetheless, launch of D4 Heavy then. Launch your EDS separate. All up launch on an SLS is silly.

2:39 PM
@geoffc But why have all that hardware onboard and launch it each and every time? Why not maintain most of the crew vehicle in orbit, and have one that all it is is a reentry capsule with LES attached to it? I mean, NASA's been doing that in the early 60s already, why complicate so much?
If they're going with the cargo block SLS anyway...
why Orion?

Agreed. You need to get your folk into orbit. They need to return. Everything else should be on a separate launch.
They needed something for manned missions. Orion is their answer. It is just a big capsule, with lots of capability.
Dragon is an example of how to do it cheap and simple. But less capabilities. Just enough for ISS missions. Not much else.
YOu get to see two ends of the spectrum. I would argue something in between would have made more sense for NASA.

Oh I know why they need Orion, and why it is what it is (it's been as such since early Constellation Program when Ares was still alive). I'm not saying they need a new house, all I'm saying is that it might not make sense keeping all the kitchen elements in it.
like the sink ... :)))

What would you cut from Orion, specifically?

@geoffc Simplify everything, except the ablative shield, the structure and LES. No need for 2 weeks worth of everything, they could go with 1 day worth of everything for those "just in case" cases. I'm not sure what all that would involve throwing out, but they still don't seem to be quite ready with it, and if they kept it simple, surely they'd have it all working and tested by now?

I remain unconvinced that beyond the ECLSS what you have listed makes enough of a weight difference to matter.
The food, water, and air is not very 'heavy' compared to everything else.
What would you use it for, in the model you suggest?

2:52 PM
Oh dunno, maybe I'm wrong, it just seems so ... convoluted. It's easy to lose one's head trying to wrap it around all this mess. :)

Hehe. The Orion itself is quite heavy. But it is the service module that pushes it over the limits of D4 Heavy for most anything meaningful.

posted on March 10, 2014

A nearly full Rhea shines in the sunlight in this recent Cassini image. Rhea (949 miles, or 1,527 kilometers across) is Saturn's second largest moon. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Rhea. North on Rhea is up and rotated 43 degrees to the left. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 10, 2013. The view was obtained

3:47 PM
sorry, afk ...

4:05 PM
posted on March 10, 2014 by Chris Bergin

International Launch Services (ILS) and ISS Reshetnev have announced they are evaluating the technical feasibility into launching two large satellites at the same time on a Proton-M launch vehicle.... Related posts:ILS open 2014 with Proton-M launch of TURKSAT-4AInternational Launch Services (ILS) have opened their 2014 campaign with... ILS Proton M in debut shared payload launch with SES-3 a

4:45 PM
Is SLS really seriously considered for missions beyond Earth-Moon? With Orion?
@geoffc I've converted your answer into a comment, I doubt you meant to post it as an answer ;)

In theory, that is SLS's goal. I dunno.
That explains why it did not offer the posters name when I used the AT sign. Should have twigged to it then.

hehehe but it's a bigger box with larger font, so it IS more comfortable :)
there should really be an option for posters to convert it to a comment themselves
I could use that preview for MathJax when I need it in comments

5:24 PM
Now JAXA is looking at an H-3 to replace the H2-A/B launcher.
And again, not going to happen, SpaceX will crush them, except for national prestige launches. It is like they are blind to the outside world.
SpaceX Raptor engine now a 1Mlb thrust Methane/LOX up from 600Klbs thrust.
And 9 of them on a single stage! Holy crap, if they actually build it, where will they launch a 9 million lb thrust first stage? And potentially in a Heavy config? 27 Million lbs of thrust?
I know 7 Million lbs is only a 5 kiloton equiv from a previous Q. So 27Mlbs is like a 20 Kiloton nuke? Good grief!

@geoffc Well the biggest competitor to SpaceX is SpaceX's capacity. Competent, yes. Capable? To a limited extent. Spaceflight business is a lot bigger than what SpaceX alone can provide. And there's the support of national industry, innovation, workforce, and of course also keeping state secrets for themselves. So there will always be a need for other launch service providers.

Agreed.
Nonetheless, the short sightedness of national prestige programs to continue design as usual is amazing.
Ariane 6, H-3, etc not going for reusability or extreme low costs is missing out the changing world right around it.

I actually like it so better, it keeps it more interesting. :)

I guess.
But how long is it sustainable? Assume SpaceX mostly succeeds. Just slower than they think, which seems to be realistic, based on past performance.
By 2021, it will be F-9R and F-H reusable launching regularly. Reusable prices? Who knows, just assume they can knock the cost in half. So $25M and$63M per launch.
Here comes the brand new Ariane 6 that can do a F-9 class mission for 70Euros. Say $100M US? Oh they're moving at lightspeed in comparison, just think they've their main facility only for how many years? Not too long either case, and they're launching in the meantime ... 5:38 PM How sustainable is that$75 million differential.
As I say it, I realize how small an amount that is,w hen we talk about billion dollar subsidies...
I think SpaceX is doing great work, but they underestimate time it takes. I wish they could deliver on their timelines, but they do seem to deliver, so I am ok with that. It is after all, Rocket Science.

@geoffc 70 euros would be pretty cheap

Hehe. Million is implied.
Billions could be assumed.

@geoffc That doesn't seem right, you mean Newtons? 27 Mlbs is nearly 3 times the thrust of STS

Lbs, not newtons. I fully concur at the insanity of that scale!
Almost 4 times Saturn V!

deer lord! :)

5:43 PM
I was thinking, ship it to Iran, and just launch it regularly from there. Do more damage than a small series of nukes! :)
How do you build a launch pad to withstand 27 Million lbs of thrust?

diamond coating?

Converesly, will probably be useful for a space elevator! :)

I'm sure it can be done by building efficient deflectors

I am sure. But consider the SIZE of those!
And the amount of water in the deluge system they will need.
Amazing.
I am hoping JimNTexas on the NSF forums goes back and overflies the McGregor test facility soon. I want to see how the big F-Heavy test stand is going, construction wise. That will be a loud test stand! 4.2 Million lbs thrust!
Speak of the devil. Mailman just dropped off the latest AvWeek. On the cover? F-9 1.1 with legs attached. And P49 has a full page compare of F 9 1.1 vs A5, A5ME, and A6 designs
Hehe.
Off to read old school paper. (AvWeek is my indulgence! Been subscribing for about 15 years, love it!)

if they're going with the exhaust trench / tunnel again then there's not gonna be much to be seen from the eagle's perspective

5:56 PM
F-9 stage test stand is vertical. F-Heavy test stand is the big thing they are building just south and west of the F-9 stand. Horizontal for this one. I mean ATK tests SRB's horizontal, so 2.8 Mlbs is possible, I guess 4.2 Mlbs is possible.
Near the bottom

6:29 PM
there you go... bigger version ;)
here's something I haven't considered before, SpaceX is developing a fully reusable Mars colonization architecture
:drool:
BTW, with D9H they plan on landing each of the 3 cores separately? Doesn't that require nearly autonomous avionics?

7:21 PM
@geoffc that article is really hard to follow, it's constantly going back and forth from methane to hydrogen, it's just getting me confused :O

7:55 PM
They already have autonoums guidance. Once they launch, F9 drives itself to orbit.
That is why they have Grasshopper to test out the software for landing,
If they build F-X or whatever they call it, it will be a monster, and if it is fully reusable, throw out all your limitations on what can be done in orbit! It is gonna be fun!
So F-9, F-H are Merlin-1D's using LOX/RP1. That stays the same. Goal is to recover 100% of hardware. (Minus Dragon trunk, that never comes back, but they are talking about using batteries instead of solar, to make the trunk cheaper to throw away).
Second stage recovery will be hard, but they intend to try.
And of course with Grasshopper, they have a launch vehicle to test with for 'cheap'.
I.e. Launch a second stage on a Grasshopper 2, basically to orbit, to test reentry. It is a reusable launcher, by design, so cheaper to test with.
No one else is doing ANYTHING like this. This is why I disparage the Ariane 6 and H-3 plans.
The game has totally changed, and they are still playing by the old rules.

8:16 PM
3

Before the Space Shuttle retirement, there was a huge pressure on NASA, U.S. Administration, and everyone else directly involved in U.S. human space exploration using Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle (HLLV) to come with suggestions to keep the U.S. access to space and International Space Station (ISS) g...

TildalWave, you are essentially asking for an objective explanation for what the US Congress does. If you can figure out how to do that, please let those of us who live in the US know. We've been trying to solve that problem for 225 years.

@DavidHammen No, that's not what I'm asking. My question is who, what, and when. And assuming billions of dollars are not spent without any accountability whatsoever, if possible, also what was the reasoning behind it that warranted scrubbing a gapless U.S. human-launch capability for years long frivolous SLS. What you answer below is more or less what I linked to in my question, and to me reads more as giving up and everyone just being happy NASA and its industry partners are artificially sustaining roughly 3/4 of its previous workforce and not losing more of it.

Tildal, you may not realize it, but that is exactly what you are asking. Per your member page, you are from Slovenia. You just don't know the messy, ugly, and sometimes hidden ways in which the US government works. Politics is sausage making. You probably don't really want to know all the icky stuff that goes into that tasty sausage you ate, or how it was made. The same goes for government. Anywhere. You are asking for public documents on the backroom deals that went into SLS. Good luck with that.

Oh, don't worry, politics are what they are on a global scale. Nevermind where I'm from, if I was from US I'd probably follow US politics even less, at least that's what statistic seem to suggest. But surely these decisions are documented? I don't think that's unreasonable to ask for. The answer might be negative for all I know, but that doesn't make it subjective. So. Who decided otherwise, when and where, and did they offer an explanation? If yes, what was it? That's what I'm asking.

But surely these decisions are documented? Surely not. From diplomats negotiating in the UN all they way down to council members negotiating at some local city level, those backroom / hallway deals are not documented. That's why they make them in backrooms and hallways. And that's not always bad.

8:16 PM
No, that's hardly the same. NASA has nothing to do with diplomacy, unless US Senate redefined the meaning of that word by now. I think you're referring to PR and lobbying there. Sure, lots of it is lost in the fog of war, but NASA's HLLV and human spaceflight are predominantly a public affair. I'm not asking about USAF, DOD, or NSA.

It doesn't matter whether it's a trade treaty negotiated between countries, the specification for a new sewage system in your town, or funding for NASA. There are always backroom deals. They're a core part of politics, they always have been, and they aren't documented. Sometimes those backroom deals are ugly, nasty things that don't make a lick of sense, but other times they're exactly what is needed and are the only way forward.

Look, if the answer is "nobody knows" than that's what the answer is. I thought it's reasonable to expect there's some decision process behind spending billions on a new launch system and that some of it is documented, perhaps pointing to why Option 4B was dismissed. That it was meant to only go to the Moon, that's clearly not it. It was supposed to be pretty close in performance to human rated SLS, with Orion on top, extended LOX tank,... With the major difference being in no year long flight gap. I'm not sure why you're trying to convince me that I'm asking something that I say I'm not?

Perhaps the third post in this thread, citizensky.org/forum/direct-30s-jupiter-launcher, is part of the answer. What went on behind the scenes in the Augustine committee, we don't know that either. Feynman was a rather influential member. Perhaps his discussions with working engineers led him to believe that Shuttle-derived was the way not to go, and that might well have been that. Also note that the second post links to this: sfgate.com/news/article/…. That's Option 4B. It was not DIRECT.

8:34 PM
I'm just gonna dump this here ...
> Additionally, Mr. Musk also introduced the mysterious MCT project, which he later revealed to be an acronym for Mars Colonial Transport. This system would be capable of transporting 100 colonists at a time to Mars, and would be fully reusable.

8:51 PM
I'm not sure I know how to move the comments from the answer here as well, I don't see any link for it yet (maybe we weren't chatty enough? :))

Since the comments are all here now, why not just delete them from the Q&A?

Anyway, re the question, my idea was to not make it argumentative but as a simple inquiry if anything is known and what. Point being, that the answer might as well be a negative one, preferably explaining it with a bit of background, not just dismissing it with a one-liner or anything like that.
@DavidHammen I did, but not on the answer, just the question so far
Anyway, large part of the question is there just to provide context for the reader. Maybe I wrote it awkwardly (does happen), but the main point is "how come the idea of keeping US human launch capability gap-free didn't make it"
So any Option 4B derivatives like DIRECT, and why defending this initiative's propositions wasn't successful. Then I tried wrapping all of this into a non-argumentative question. Perhaps not too successfully?

@TildalWave - Your question was perhaps asking too much. Why the Augustine committee didn't go with Option 4B, and why Congress opted for SLS. You might find hints to an answer to the first by sifting through the large amount of information released to the public (and some of that info is only videos, no transcript).
The second question: Finding a rationale for that is even more dubious. Some secrecy in government is essential. Politics oftentimes requires compromise, something the voters just do not understand. The deals Jim and Joe Congresscritter have to make in the halls to make any progress sometimes should only be heard by the walls of the hall.

9:08 PM
@DavidHammen Well I thought I'm asking about well known facts, turns out I kicked into a beehive LOL Suggestions to improve the question are of course welcome, but I still think it's answerable. I'm not asking for a detailed report, an overview with a few links should do just fine. I'm not sure what that would be though, so I figure I'd let it as is for now and wait for a few others that are close to all the actors involved read it. We have a few such members.
@DavidHammen Oh definitely, but I'm asking about what's known to the public, not what isn't. My rationale being, that you don't get to spend dozens of billions of taxpayer's dollars on a project that has no proper defense for it. Surely decision makers were asked similar questions before, at least by independent press, or the whole affair was researched by someone.

My rationale being, that you don't get to spend dozens of billions of taxpayer's dollars on a project that has no proper defense for it. Congress does that all the time. Why do you think we have such a huge deficit?

So no budget transparency in US?

9:43 PM
Some, but not complete. How can you have complete transparency over every single detail of \\$3.8 trillion (3.8e9) dollars? There are open sessions on the budget that are viewable by the public (and sometimes recorded), but there are also closed door sessions where the wrangling is done, pet projects are added (e.g., en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravina_Island_Bridge), etc.

And then the published budget is probably thousands of pages long, no one can really read and digest it.

Not even the Congresscritters can really read and digest it. They vote on the titles, look at the graphics. Their staff play games with slipping stuff in.

10:07 PM
OK so the answer to "What eventually killed the Augustine Commission Report Option 4B, Directly Shuttle-Derived Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle, a.k.a. DIRECT?" is "Congress killed it with SLS, and if you'll ask too many questions, your internet connection will mysteriously degrade, and let's leave it at that"?
And SLS is ... well perhaps not a "bridge to nowhere" but since they're first building it, then (if and when) they'll try to figure out what to do with it. So more like "a bridge to Terabithia" :)

What killed it could well be that Feynman didn't like it. Those Shuttle main engines use liquid hydrogen. That's dangerous for a number of reason. It's dangerous on the ground and it's dangerous in flight. The extremely low temperatures make metal brittle.

10:26 PM
Neah it's not LOX/LH2 that's the problem, tho I can see how Feynman could be. He seems to forget what was the cause of the Challenger and Columbia disasters. DIRECT wouldn't use the STS orbiter and Orion heatshield would've been above any debris field, and the other one went kaboom because they didn't respect operational constraints (the infamous o-rings and launching well below minimum temperature range).
Plus SLS is still meant to use LH2/LOX anyway, and SSME, and adds LES/LAS to the equation, something that STS didn't have

10:45 PM
Sorry, I got my committees mixed up. Feynman died in 1988. He was on the Rogers committee.
@TildalWave - You seem overly enamored of DIRECT. It was never going anywhere. It was doomed from the start, being mostly outsiders with none to minimal aerospace expertise and a few anonymous insiders. Option 4B in the Augustine report apparently came from John Shannon, not the DIRECT team.

Ever read Feynmans book, "Are you serious Mr Feynman?" It is hilarious.
Sorry, Surely your joking, Mr Feynman,.
@DavidHammen How do you see Direct as problematic? Their starting point was minimal changes to get to launch at lowest cost, and shortest time period. SLS ended up being longest time and possibly highest budget approach.

@DavidHammen Ah yes and you dragged me into it, it's Augustine not Feynman, and it's not my fault :P
@DavidHammen well yes, DIRECT came after 4B and it's kinda closer to what 4B was all about than STS, major point being to keep the fleet flying all the time and retire STS more gracefully
BTW we're covering ISS Expedition 38/Soyuz TMA-10M undocking, deorbit burn and landing in about an hour, and it's again gonna be one of NASA's own (Mike Hopkins) flying Russian hardware.

11:22 PM
@TildalWave - DIRECT 3.0 came before the Augustine report. I wasn't a fan of DIRECT from the start. If anything, the main lesson learned from Constellation's ARES and the new SLS is that perhaps NASA should no longer be designing rockets. They don't know how to do it anymore, and Congress is inevitably going to make an absolute mess of things.

@DavidHammen Ah it did? Didn't know that. Those similar ideas were apparently floating around long before STS retirement, but I guess I mixed up the years. No biggie, it's not essential to the question ;)

11:56 PM
Live streams for ISS Expedition 38/Soyuz TMA-10M undocking, deorbit burn and landing are now available on NASA TV and NASA HD Public on USTREAM