NASA changing opinion on the Direct HLV launcher.

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exoscientist

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Just saw this:

NASA: Change of heart on new rocket that would reuse shuttle parts?
Design puts engines underneath familiar orange external fuel tank, with solid rocket boosters on sides and capsule on top.
September 12, 2010|By Robert Block, Orlando Sentinel Space Editor

DIRECT LAUNCHER
"CAPE CANAVERAL — Dozens of Kennedy Space Center engineers and more at other NASA centers have been working quietly behind the scenes since August to design a new rocket made from parts of the space shuttle — a project similar to one that an agency official only two years ago said defied the laws of physics.
"The design uses most of the existing shuttle hardware, including its current four-segment solid rocket boosters, the big orange external fuel tank and versions of the shuttle's main engines. The plan puts the engines underneath the tank, with the boosters on the sides and a capsule on top, to create a launcher capable of lifting 70 tons into orbit, more than enough to blast four or more astronauts and their gear into space."
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/201 ... t-boosters

Funny how people's, even expert's, opinions on whats "against the laws of physics" can change so quickly. ;)

And what was responsible for the change of heart?

NASA: Change of heart on new rocket that would reuse shuttle parts?
(Page 2 of 3)
"What's changed, according to engineers and NASA officials interviewed for this story, is that with money running out for Constellation at the end of this month and no clear direction from Congress and the White House, the agency is desperately looking at ways it can launch astronauts into space quickly and affordably after the space shuttle is retired next year."
"Direct's supporters always claimed that the Jupiter rocket was the most "direct" and cost-effective way to get humans into space because it made maximum use of existing space shuttle technology and the shuttle workforce."
"It turns out Direct was right," said one NASA engineer working on the project but not authorized to speak publicly."
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/201 ... boosters/2

Nice to know that experts opinions on whether an idea is against the laws of science is coming from objective scientific basis.


Bob Clark
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
Pretty interesting. Do you think they could start using this before commercial alternatives come out?
 
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rockett

Guest
Expected as much, when I read the two Bills in Congress. If you read between the lines both say "Direct" is the way to go, though the House's Bill leans in the direction of Constellation.
 
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SteveCNC

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a project similar to one that an agency official only two years ago said defied the laws of physics.
when I see quotes like this I have to laugh , that official was definately no expert on physics more likely he was some PR person with no real knowledge at all . The design looks interesting the only question I would have is since the large tank will now be used as part of the superstructure will it need to maintain internal pressure like the atlas series of rockets so it dosen't crush itself with thrust ?
 
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rockett

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SteveCNC":3kou5hch said:
The design looks interesting the only question I would have is since the large tank will now be used as part of the superstructure will it need to maintain internal pressure like the atlas series of rockets so it dosen't crush itself with thrust ?
That is a concern of mine also. Every ounce of reinforcement, is an ounce less payload...
 
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Astro_Robert

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I don't know, but would think that the ET would be relatively robust enough as is, other than not having its own engines. After all the Shuttle attaches to ET, the SRBs attach to ET, so it already carries and transmiys most of the loads anyways.

That said, the solids are still not necesarily the best way to go, and retaining a core that requires the orange foam isn't necesarily for the best either, but I would think it would be a doable concept.
 
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vattas

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If we are talking about ability to launch crews, Ares-I looks like better and cheaper alternative, since redesign of 4 segment SRB looks like easier task than redesign of shuttle external tank to support thrust along it's axis and weight of 100t on the top. Not to mention the engines... I'm not expert, but I think that orange color of the tank in the picture above is about the only thing common with shuttle external tank.
However if we are talking about HLV, this may be the way to go.
 
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Gravity_Ray

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Honestly I don’t get it!

If you want HLV then upgrading an Atlas or Delta Heavy is the way to go. Why jump through many hoops to redesign the shuttle main tank? Why use SRB's? By the time you do all the redesigning to put engines under the main tank, you will have done more work than upgrading an Atlas. I doubt you will save any money at all. Smells like a jobs program to me.

Or even better yet, make something new from scratch that fulfills your mission’s goals, instead of doing 80%-90% of you goals by going with something that you have to tweak.
 
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rockett

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Gravity_Ray":2e3xmkgq said:
Honestly I don’t get it!

If you want HLV then upgrading an Atlas or Delta Heavy is the way to go. Why jump through many hoops to redesign the shuttle main tank? Why use SRB's? By the time you do all the redesigning to put engines under the main tank, you will have done more work than upgrading an Atlas. I doubt you will save any money at all. Smells like a jobs program to me.

Or even better yet, make something new from scratch that fulfills your mission’s goals, instead of doing 80%-90% of you goals by going with something that you have to tweak.
Don't think Atlas could do it, but Boeing has outlined a strategy for the Delta up to 130-150 mt to LEO. But yes, you are right, it IS a jobs program. To retain the talent from the Shuttle era. Ares V WAS that something new, and we all know what happened there.

In either event tweaking WILL be necessary, either to man-rate the Delta, or whatever you build.
 
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edkyle99

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exoscientist":2ezftedk said:
Just saw this:

NASA: Change of heart on new rocket that would reuse shuttle parts?
This story is off base. According to the recent HEFT report release, NASA is not looking at a Direct-like solution. Instead, the report recommended bypassing the obvious "Direct-like" 70 tonne to LEO rocket (4 segment boosters and three SSMEs) in favor of a 100 tonne-plus something that looks very much like the original ESAS Ares V (5 segment boosters and five SSMEs). According the the HEFT report, this new rocket would cost more than $8 billion per launch to fly under the contemplated "DRM-4" scenario.

I'm pretty sure that the Direct supporters never contemplated such a big, underutilized rocket flown at such great cost. NASA hasn't changed its opinion to accept Direct. Instead, the Agency has merely resurrected a design of its own that it had to abandon for various reasons five years ago.

- Ed Kyle
 
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exoscientist

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edkyle99":qqtapxc1 said:
exoscientist":qqtapxc1 said:
Just saw this:

NASA: Change of heart on new rocket that would reuse shuttle parts?
This story is off base. According to the recent HEFT report release, NASA is not looking at a Direct-like solution. Instead, the report recommended bypassing the obvious "Direct-like" 70 tonne to LEO rocket (4 segment boosters and three SSMEs) in favor of a 100 tonne-plus something that looks very much like the original ESAS Ares V (5 segment boosters and five SSMEs). According the the HEFT report, this new rocket would cost more than $8 billion per launch to fly under the contemplated "DRM-4" scenario.
That number can't be right, $8 billion per launch? At a 100,000 kg payload that's $80,000 per kg, or about 10 times worse than what they are now.

Bob Clark
 
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pathfinder_01

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exoscientist":3pua8f0e said:
edkyle99":3pua8f0e said:
exoscientist":3pua8f0e said:
Just saw this:

NASA: Change of heart on new rocket that would reuse shuttle parts?
This story is off base. According to the recent HEFT report release, NASA is not looking at a Direct-like solution. Instead, the report recommended bypassing the obvious "Direct-like" 70 tonne to LEO rocket (4 segment boosters and three SSMEs) in favor of a 100 tonne-plus something that looks very much like the original ESAS Ares V (5 segment boosters and five SSMEs). According the the HEFT report, this new rocket would cost more than $8 billion per launch to fly under the contemplated "DRM-4" scenario.
That number can't be right, $8 billion per launch? At a 100,000 kg payload that's $80,000 per kg, or about 10 times worse than what they are now.

Bob Clark

If you read the HEFT report on NASA wacth it is an eye opener. The problem is not enough flight rate. In the prefered method the 100 ton beast only flies nine times in ten years. In ten years the shuttle would have flown 30-60 times. This is why SDHLV is unaffordable, the flight rate of BEO exploration is too low and the cost of SDHLV is too high to be able to aford payloads so the rocket gets ready in 2018(or so) but the mission will not start till 2031. It basically is a poor fit for NASA's budget.
 
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EarthlingX

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SDC : Official: NASA Must Evolve Alongside Commercial Spaceflight
By Clara Moskowitz
SPACE.com Senior Writer
posted: 17 September 2010
03:15 pm ET



NEW YORK – NASA needs to evolve for the future, not get stuck in the past, the agency's deputy chief said this week.

Speaking at a TEDxMidTownNY event at Manhattan's Explorers Club, NASA's second in command, Lori Garver, said it was time to kick start commercial spaceflight to low-Earth orbit and shift NASA's focus to more ambitious exploration missions.

"Our space program needs to not be reliving the space program of the past," she said. "We have been trying to relive Apollo for 40 years now."

Instead of sending astronauts back to the moon, Garver espoused the new plan put forward by President Barack Obama to pursue trips to an asteroid and Mars. Meanwhile, NASA would try to shift the responsibility for transporting people to the International Space Station to the private sector, which has already made some strides toward commercial spacecraft capable of reaching orbit.

"At NASA we have a number of plans right now to commercialize space in a way that we will be really allowing the private sector to do those things that have become routine, like, if you can believe it, transporting humans to and from low-Earth orbit, while we at NASA do the hard thing, do the next thing," Garver said.

http://www.tedxmidtownny.org/
 
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exoscientist

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pathfinder_01":8y617fc7 said:
If you read the HEFT report on NASA wacth it is an eye opener. The problem is not enough flight rate. In the prefered method the 100 ton beast only flies nine times in ten years. In ten years the shuttle would have flown 30-60 times. This is why SDHLV is unaffordable, the flight rate of BEO exploration is too low and the cost of SDHLV is too high to be able to afford payloads so the rocket gets ready in 2018(or so) but the mission will not start till 2031. It basically is a poor fit for NASA's budget.
A link to the Human Exploration Framework Team (HEFT) report is here:

Human Exploration Framework Team Presentation Online
By Keith Cowing on September 8, 2010 7:56 PM
http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/09/h ... orati.html

A 70 metric ton payload option is being considered. As with Jupiter Direct it consists of the current 4-segment SRB's used with the shuttle, not the more expensive 5-segment ones developed for Ares, the current shuttle external tank, and cheaper, expendable versions of the SSME's.
The Direct HLV team claims their launcher would cost $240 million per launch:

JULY 23, 2009
Interview with Ross Tierney of Direct Launch by Sander Olson.
http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/07/interv ... irect.html

Bob Clark
 
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Valcan

Guest
exoscientist":3nywam91 said:
pathfinder_01":3nywam91 said:
If you read the HEFT report on NASA wacth it is an eye opener. The problem is not enough flight rate. In the prefered method the 100 ton beast only flies nine times in ten years. In ten years the shuttle would have flown 30-60 times. This is why SDHLV is unaffordable, the flight rate of BEO exploration is too low and the cost of SDHLV is too high to be able to afford payloads so the rocket gets ready in 2018(or so) but the mission will not start till 2031. It basically is a poor fit for NASA's budget.
A link to the Human Exploration Framework Team (HEFT) report is here:

Human Exploration Framework Team Presentation Online
By Keith Cowing on September 8, 2010 7:56 PM
http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/09/h ... orati.html

A 70 metric ton payload option is being considered. As with Jupiter Direct it consists of the current 4-segment SRB's used with the shuttle, not the more expensive 5-segment ones developed for Ares, the current shuttle external tank, and cheaper, expendable versions of the SSME's.
The Direct HLV team claims their launcher would cost $240 million per launch:

JULY 23, 2009
Interview with Ross Tierney of Direct Launch by Sander Olson.
http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/07/interv ... irect.html

Bob Clark
That doesnt sound to bad however the question is whether they can deliever on that promise and if the startup of the old assembly plants for shuttle parts wont be too expensive.
Also i hope they arent planning on making it man rated. THAT would drive up cost alot.

all in all it sounds like a good heavy lift vehicle to hold us over till a cheaper better one becomes available. Between it and Commercial we should be fine for anything.
Now where i have a problem is i dont weant to see THIS take money from commercial which needs to be funded fully. So if we can get the extra funding great if not no.
 
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edkyle99

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exoscientist":9enhgaoy said:
pathfinder_01":9enhgaoy said:
The Direct HLV team claims their launcher would cost $240 million per launch:
This is a number I simply do not believe. NASA has projected the "unit" cost of a similar rocket to be $1.6 billion. That does not include the $14.3 billion development cost, the $7 billion ground infrastructure development cost, the $3.2 billion upper stage development cost, or the annual costs of running the program.

If NASA could fly the rocket twice per year, the per-flight cost *might* come in at less than $2 billion. It would have to fly more than a dozen per year to get the per-flight costs down into the range suggested by Direct. NASA, of course, could not afford to build payloads for that many launches!

If the missions are so slim, the only affordable solution would be to use existing rockets. Even at $500 million each for Delta 4 Heavy, NASA would save tens of billions of dollars compared to the HEFT/DRM-4 plan.

If, on the other hand, NASA were directed to land on the Moon, a Direct-like rocket would save money.

- Ed Kyle
 
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SteveCNC

Guest
Yeah I'm sure your right Ed and that's a big reason NASA should really look into the possibility of entering into a joint effort with other countries to build a heavy lift and opperate it . There's no reason we should be on our own in this and I don't even see the absolute need to have it flown from the US although I am sure many will argue it should be but still if we have direct access why does it really matter . The reason I would suggest doing it in another country is the opperational cost could be minimized and perhaps an even better lattitude could be used .

As for the design issue I have with the old shuttle tank is when it was attached to the shuttle a large portion of the load was transferred to the shuttle through the lower mount reducing the compression load on the tank itself considerably . In the new design all of the load is on top of the tank severely increasing the compression load . An Atlas rocket uses internal pressure to maintain it's shape underload and I used to make the valve bodies that maintain that pressure during flight . I would think that tank if it now has 70 tons sitting on top it would need a little help beyond just the strength of the cylinder itself .
 
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rockett

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SteveCNC":damfp47l said:
Yeah I'm sure your right Ed and that's a big reason NASA should really look into the possibility of entering into a joint effort with other countries to build a heavy lift and opperate it . There's no reason we should be on our own in this and I don't even see the absolute need to have it flown from the US although I am sure many will argue it should be but still if we have direct access why does it really matter . The reason I would suggest doing it in another country is the opperational cost could be minimized and perhaps an even better lattitude could be used .
Problem with that idea (as much as I would love it myself) is national security. Any rocket technology for launching could easily be transferred to missile development by countries like Iran and North Korea, or Al-Queda. Even exports to them through other countries we are on friendly terms with could happen (or knock offs).
I think you will find the problems with that here:
Bureau of Industry and Security
U.S. Department of Commerce

http://www.bis.doc.gov/
Missile Technology Controls

SteveCNC":damfp47l said:
As for the design issue I have with the old shuttle tank is when it was attached to the shuttle a large portion of the load was transferred to the shuttle through the lower mount reducing the compression load on the tank itself considerably . In the new design all of the load is on top of the tank severely increasing the compression load . An Atlas rocket uses internal pressure to maintain it's shape underload and I used to make the valve bodies that maintain that pressure during flight . I would think that tank if it now has 70 tons sitting on top it would need a little help beyond just the strength of the cylinder itself .
I have not worked on the Shuttle as you have, but I have remarked on that myself, from a simple logical standpoint. It's interesting to hear it from someone who has.
 
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SteveCNC

Guest
Well as far as the shuttle goes I rarely worked on parts for it , for some reason the only parts I did for the shuttles were parts that no one else wanted to do LOL . Rare is the time I would turn away work reguardless of complexity , But I have made over 5000 different parts for the Atlas series of rockets for General Dynamics and then Lockheed Martin so I do understand how they work pretty well from a component and assembly point of view . I have also been involved with research and development projects for both of those companies along with SpaceDev , Rohr , and Spawar so I have a somewhat unique perspective .
 
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exoscientist

Guest
edkyle99":23c3fwi8 said:
exoscientist":23c3fwi8 said:
pathfinder_01":23c3fwi8 said:
The Direct HLV team claims their launcher would cost $240 million per launch:
This is a number I simply do not believe. NASA has projected the "unit" cost of a similar rocket to be $1.6 billion. That does not include the $14.3 billion development cost, the $7 billion ground infrastructure development cost, the $3.2 billion upper stage development cost, or the annual costs of running the program.
If NASA could fly the rocket twice per year, the per-flight cost *might* come in at less than $2 billion. It would have to fly more than a dozen per year to get the per-flight costs down into the range suggested by Direct. NASA, of course, could not afford to build payloads for that many launches!
If the missions are so slim, the only affordable solution would be to use existing rockets. Even at $500 million each for Delta 4 Heavy, NASA would save tens of billions of dollars compared to the HEFT/DRM-4 plan.
If, on the other hand, NASA were directed to land on the Moon, a Direct-like rocket would save money.
- Ed Kyle
I didn't look at all the cost numbers in the HEFT report, but there should be no upper stage cost for the 70 mT payload version because there is no upper stage. If it is decided at a later time that they want to upgrade to the 100+ mT payload version then the development cost for the upper stage should be included only for that larger vehicle, not for the 70 mT version. Also, the 70 mT payload version should not include any significant additional ground infrastructure costs, as argued by the Direct team, because it is even lighter than the shuttle stack and can use the same ground and launch facilities already used by the shuttle.
For the development cost, all the components are already developed. So the development costs would only be for integration of these components into a whole. This should be significantly less than developing an entire new vehicle.


Bob Clark
 
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edkyle99

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exoscientist":7cvjhjqf said:
I didn't look at all the cost numbers in the HEFT report, but there should be no upper stage cost for the 70 mT payload version because there is no upper stage. If it is decided at a later time that they want to upgrade to the 100+ mT payload version then the development cost for the upper stage should be included only for that larger vehicle, not for the 70 mT version. Also, the 70 mT payload version should not include any significant additional ground infrastructure costs, as argued by the Direct team, because it is even lighter than the shuttle stack and can use the same ground and launch facilities already used by the shuttle.
For the development cost, all the components are already developed. So the development costs would only be for integration of these components into a whole. This should be significantly less than developing an entire new vehicle.
Bob Clark
There will be either a 70t "4/3" (4-seg SRBs/3 SSMEs) rocket, or a 100t "5/5" rocket, but not both. NASA can only afford to do one, and maybe not even the one. Whichever rocket is selected (HEFT recommended "5/5") will serve as the launcher for the upper stage whenever that stage is funded. A "4/3" with an upper stage would probably lift 85 tonnes to LEO or 36 tonnes to escape. A "5/5" plus upper stage would lift 118 tonnes LEO or more than 50 tonnes to escape.

Ground infrastructure will include things like the massive new A-3 test stand at Stennis, which NASA has been directed to complete by the Senate. It will probably include refab of the giant dynamic test stand at Marshall. It will include whatever changes are needed for cluster SSME testing at Stennis. It will include tooling changeover at Michoud, setup of a higher-rate production line for RS-25, new launch equipment (NASA calls for a new MLP with a new tower), and so on.

It will be cheaper than developing an all-new vehicle, but it will still cost billions to develop. The cost is actually reasonable if NASA uses the rocket two or more times per year. The problem is that NASA does not have a real mission for the rocket because the White House canceled its lunar landing mission on Groundhog Day.

- Ed Kyle
 
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Gravity_Ray

Guest
Ed I dont get it.

Why would NASA build a heavy lifter? What are they going to lift?

If the ultimate goal is MARS via the Moon (well thats the program that I would like to see), then even a medium vehicle like the current Delta (or Heavy) can lift several pieces into orbit and NASA can do some attaching in orbit and then joining it to a human capsule if its a manned program.

NASA can start work on a Moon base with out launching people at all. Most of the work that needs to be done right now will be robotic anyway. Humans can be the last piece up there.

I dont get all this grand scheme luanching 85-100mT rockets stuff at all. A 75 mT rocket can do everything we need to have a space program. That is if people are even interested in a space program (which I am not sure they are).
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
Gravity_Ray":33gjcgly said:
Ed I dont get it.

Why would NASA build a heavy lifter? What are they going to lift?

If the ultimate goal is MARS via the Moon (well thats the program that I would like to see), then even a medium vehicle like the current Delta (or Heavy) can lift several pieces into orbit and NASA can do some attaching in orbit and then joining it to a human capsule if its a manned program.

NASA can start work on a Moon base with out launching people at all. Most of the work that needs to be done right now will be robotic anyway. Humans can be the last piece up there.

I dont get all this grand scheme luanching 85-100mT rockets stuff at all. A 75 mT rocket can do everything we need to have a space program. That is if people are even interested in a space program (which I am not sure they are).
There is no need for such HLV, what's more, it will take money from R&D of technologies which are missing for too long to go anywhere.

Bigger is not better and wishing doesn't make things real, no matter how much you believe it.

Besides, there's already rocket engine, evolved from Shuttle engines to be used on expendable launchers :
Wiki : RS-68

I'm not even going to start about SRBs, just one thing : too heavy, causing extra trouble (cost) in processing.

I see a heavy launcher as a block to do anything BEO.
 
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vulture4

Guest
Both SpaceX and Boeing have proposed evolutionary variants of the Delta and Falcon up to 100mt to LEO. I don't think it's coincidence that even though the designs are completely different both use all-liquid propulsion. So if NASA was really interested in actually launching a heavy payload they could just issue an RFP for an HLLV and leave the design up to the contractor. But that's not the goal here at all. NASA is being forced by Congress to create jobs at MSFC and in Utah. Whether the rocket ever carries a payload is unimportant.

If the Bush administration had not cancelled the Shuttle in 2006, and it were still flying, then the cost of the SRB production, VAB, MLPs, crawlers, etc would be paid by Shuttle and the HLLV could potentially use them in parallel. But Shuttle was cancelled, so an SRB-powered HLLV program would have to pay the full cost of keeping SRBs in production and maintaining most of the facilities that currently support the Shuttle.

Lori Garver quite reasonably tried to propose that NASA should be given some flexibility by Congress to decide how its rockets should be designed, or maybe even leave that up to the contractor, rather than having Congress micromanage it, but she was apparently crushed by the ATK lobby. It makes you wonder who is in charge. Taxpayer dollars are precious and this kind of waste is unforgivable.

A final irony - the first big fully reusable rocket engine ever built, the liquid-fueled XLR-99 which powered the X-15, was built by Reaction Motors, a company which was bought by Thiokol (now ATK) and shut down.
 
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