Why does NASA hate the Atlas V and Delta IV?

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j05h

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<i>> That's my story and I am sticking to it. </i><br /><br />I sometimes wish we had a rating system here - once in a while it'd be nice to give you a +1 Insightful.<br /><br />Answers 1-5 in your post show that asking questions is a dangerous endeavor, since it might signal that the questioner/planner does not know something. Any space cadet online could have told them SSME air-start was a Bad Idea(tm). No one stopped to ask "Can we afford an out-of-production $65M engine for our 2nd stage?" From experience (at conferences) members of that crowd never say "I don't know, let me get back to you on that." <br /><br /><i>> He is an "administrator", not a businessman, nor a visionary.</i><br /><br />If so, ESAS will doom the VSE (assuming politics doesn't get it first). The new moon plan needs to be able to grow organically, taking on new capabilities and challenges as presented. Dr. Marburger's position papers on the VSE spelled it out, it isn't just NASA or "science" and it is not just the Moon. If Dr. Griffin is not a visionary and to some extent a businessman, NASA is going to be hard pressed to follow through with their plans. This is predictable even before the '08 election and the coming Boomer Retirement Boom. VSE and ESAS need to be relevant to the ordinary person, too, not just space geek eyecandy and Pork. <br /><br />On the engineering side, how many of those folks ever built rockets? I dont' mean manage rocket operations or be astronauts, but actually develop and build hardware? The Mercury through Apollo crews were intimately involved in developing the machines they flew, how much so for the current engineers, especially the ones that developed ESAS/The Stick/ARES V? I ask because the only new US orbital rocket engines developed since SSME are the RS-68 and SpaceX Merlin. <br /><br />Every time a new direction is given for spaceflight, the first answer is always "Well, we need to develop this new rocket first." <br /><br />Instead of looking at what currently fli <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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frodo1008

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Perhaps the next president could nominate Elon Musk or Burt Rutan as the next NASA administrator. However they would probably decline. So then either Buzz Aldrin, or even pulling John Young out of retirement then come to mind!<br /><br />ANY of those four would give us some true visionaries again! <br /><br /> Good Heavens, if there were only some way of brining back Wherner Von Braun!! <br /><br />I say this, and those that know my posts know that I am an extreme NASA supporter, not a NASA hater at all. But, I am first and foremost a human space flight supporter!<br /><br />It is becoming more and more obvious that NASA is on a wrong track here, it not only makes me angry, it also makes me sad!<br /><br />As the front runner for the lousy job of President of the US, does anybody here know what Hillery Clinton's opinions are on any of these subjects? And do you have other (perhaps even better) candidates for the new NASA administrator?<br /><br />Also. perhaps we here could even start to push for these types of changes, before NASA itself is broken up totally!<br /><br />I would still have hope however, as for all its stumbling along, it seems that the alt.space groups are at least on the right track!<br /><br />
 
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JonClarke

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I suspect that most of those who complain would complain regardless.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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jimfromnsf

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"1. If ARES I flies, it will still be cheaper to fly the crew on a Dragon and rendezvous with a Falcon or Atlas launched Orion. <br /><br />2..I'd give it better than 50/50 that Dragon is lunar capable before Orion at the current pace."<br /><br />1. That makes no sense. two launches vs one. Just launch the crew on the Atlas.<br /><br />2. current pace is 0-2, their schedules slip just as back as NASA's
 
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j05h

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<i>> 1. That makes no sense. two launches vs one. Just launch the crew on the Atlas.<br />2. current pace is 0-2, their schedules slip just as back as NASA's</i><br /><br />1 - I was assuming Atlas as it stands now wouldn't be able to lift a full Orion. If it can and it eliminates the Stick, rock and roll. What I was implying is that several Falcon/EELV flights will be cheaper than one Stick flight.<br /><br />2 - SpaceX's burn rate (capital) is significantly lower, they can take the time to do it right and still beat the various government space agencies back to the moon. I still think they should investigate Dragon on EELV for backup. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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j05h

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<i>> Perhaps the next president could nominate Elon Musk or Burt Rutan as the next NASA administrator. </i><br /><br />Both gentleman have better things to be doing. Pulling Apollo astronauts out of retirement is unlikely, but if anyone deserves that position it would be Buzz Aldrin. I'd rather dig my eyes out with a spoon than bring Von Braun back. Like Peter Diamandis' unfortunate comments about Peenemunde, bringing Nazi collaborators back from the dead is a Really Bad Idea. Like horror movie bad. <br /><br /><i>> obvious that NASA is on a wrong track here</i><br /><br />Depends on what their goal is. Dr. Griffin has said that "10 Healthy Centers" and other priorities must be fulfilled. In that context, they are on a very good track. Will it get them back to the Moon or utterly hinder that goal?<br /><br /><i>> As the front runner for the lousy job of President of the US, does anybody here know what Hillery Clinton's opinions are on any of these subjects? And do you have other (perhaps even better) candidates for the new NASA administrator? </i><br /><br />Hillary's space adviser is reported to be former astronaut Lori Garver. That might mean STS/ISS Forever, it might mean continue/descope ESAS. Not sure. No one on the campaign trail cares about space - except for the rare visit to a NASA center, and even then sometimes the candidates only talk about Education and Inspiring Young People to Study Hard. <br /><br />It is safe to assume either cancellation or limited continuation of the current plan under whatever new President we get. <br /><br />Frodo, I think what you are looking for politically might be Newt Gingrich. He might be up for VP (which usually "does" space) but is unlikely to step into the race otherwise. He has said that if it was up to him, the goal would be Humans to Mars Soonest. <br /><br />I can't make any recommendations for a new Administrator. Dr. Griffin is generally doing a good job. The Stick will at some point have to compete against other launch <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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jimfromnsf

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"investigate Dragon on EELV for backup."<br /><br />Orion on an modified EELV would be better and cheaper
 
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windnwar

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I don't understand how Orion will ever be cheaper then Dragon. Let alone be cheaper on the EELV. Better possibly being it's being designed for a pretty wide mission profile, but cheaper I just can't see it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font size="2" color="#0000ff">""Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein"</font></p> </div>
 
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jimfromnsf

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There is no trading Dragon for Orion. I was talking about launching Orion. <br /><br />launching Dragon to send a crew to Orion is just plain silly. It would incur more risks
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">5) So these "geniuses" story quickly fell apart, almost as sooon as it was published, when "the public" (many of whom actually have experience of building engines and launch vehicles --- unlike these ESAS team).<br />...<br /> follow this marching order ---- design everything to rule out the use of EELV, thereby justifying the expenditure for the Ares 1.</font></i><br /><br />Zing! Aauugh, my eyes are burning!!!
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Orion on an modified EELV would be better and cheaper</font>/i><br /><br />I used to call for an "Orion Lite" to be launched on an EELV. At the current downsizing rate, Orion Lite and Orion might be the same thing.<br /><br />With a well funded team to build the tools and knowledge for Orion, an existing launch vehicle and lots of launch experience, I think Lockheed has the pole position for a COTS II contract to service ISS and/or a Bigelow station. That is, unless NASA contracts prevent Lockheed from building capsules for commercial purposes.</i>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Also Griffin can be quoted stating that the ESAS keeps 10 healthy center</font>/i><br /><br />To be fair, the Moon2Mars commission, which conducted their business before Griffin, had pretty much the same marching orders.<br /><br />NASA is a political organization, and all decisions must be viewed through that perspective. <i>Anyone</i> you put in NASA Administrator position will have to negotiate the same political winds.</i>
 
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jimfromnsf

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Lockheed isn't going to enter COTS II, it can't put together a vehicle in time<br /><br />ULA will on its own.
 
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docm

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Would they get a leg up by going with Dream Chaser? Lots of work already done including the TPS. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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PistolPete

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>As the front runner for the lousy job of President of the US, does anybody here know what Hillery Clinton's opinions are on any of these subjects?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />I honestly don't think that any of the candidates truly care about the space program. With a war going on it's the least of their concerns. Besides, the pro-space community is too small and (more importantly) there aren't enough cash dispensing lobbyists to bring this to the political forefront. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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frodo1008

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<font color="yellow"> With a war going on it's the least of their concerns. </font><br /><br />And THAT is exactly what happened to our first and so far greatest space program!!<br /><br />Now, all we sometimes seem to have on these boards are those that do nothing but complain about NASA and the space shuttle!<br /><br />Well, if THIS war is allowed to do the same thing, then we will have many sitting around such a site as this one some thirty years from now complaining about how NASA was responsible for the stupid VSE program, and the disasters of the Ares I and Orion!! <br /><br />Will we NEVER learn!!
 
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publiusr

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EELVs like Delta IV cannot launch depressed trajectory. It has black zones and disposal issues, and needs 18 RS-68 engines to do what Ares V can do with five.
 
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frodo1008

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The Delta IV just put a delicate (at least as delicate as human beings) Defense Spy Satellite into orbit. An orbit at which the Satellite is then capable of using its own propulsion to get all the way out to GEO (some 24,000 miles out). It accomplished this with only three Common Booster Cores (CBC) with each having some 665 K thrust single RS68 engines.<br /><br />It would be relatively simple engineering to add some two more CBC's around a central CBC (or even a larger core if necessary). The possibilities can also increase by upgrading the RS68 to a larger thrust. <br /><br />The Ares V does NOT exist, is NOT designed (and as the Ares I is proving, is going to have lots of problems on its own). The much smaller Ares I is going to cost NASA some $25 billion before it is even launched (perhaps in 2015, IF NASA is lucky). So we can indeed count on the Ares V costing even more.<br /><br />A Delta IV launch now costs about $250 million, and is available NOW. That would then be 100 launches with just the cost of the Ares I.<br /><br />Now, if spacex can indeed cut this cost in half (and they claim a far less cost than that, but I am being very conservative here), then that would make about 200 launches of a 50,000+ lb to LEO launcher, or a total of some 10 million pounds (better than 10 ISS) to LEO.<br /><br />And that IS just for the cost of the Ares I!!!<br /><br />So, as a taxpayer, which would you go for? <br />
 
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frodo1008

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Also, by the way neither could all the early rockets that placed men into space follow this depressed trajectory. Heck, they were designed as ICBM's and were NOT built to originally launch human beings to LEO at all!<br /><br />But they worked, and worked very very well, with absolutely NO expensive large solid rocket motors either!<br /><br />Besides this, both Russia and China (the only two other programs to place human beings into LEO), don't use such large SRB's either. And they certainly are at least as successful as we have been at this.<br /><br />Also. none of the plans of alt.space call for large SRB's either. And they are eventually planning on placing thousands of people on hundreds of launches into space!<br />They can't afford the kind of politics that NASA now seems to be riddled (not the good workers of NASA or its contractors, but its management) with.<br /><br />Could it possibly be that all the others know something that NASA does not know? Hmmmmm....
 
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j05h

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Delta and Atlas do not have "black zones". This is something that was dealt with during the ill-fated OSP program - both have enough throttlability to handle crew. This is FUD spread by the Simple, Safe, Soon crowd. <br /><br />What disposal issues do EELVs have? especially in comparison to solid rockets with their nasty byproducts and unpredictable failure modes?<br /><br />Number of engines for tonnage lifted is irrelevant. Cost (or politics) is the driving concern. Do you stay up late worrying how many injectors your car engine has? This is like worrying about the mass of the ship that brought your plastic widget from China. Who cares as long as it gets to it's destination safely at a reasonable cost. <br /><br />josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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vulture2

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>>EELVs like Delta IV cannot launch depressed trajectory. It has black zones and disposal issues, and needs 18 RS-68 engines to do what Ares V can do with five.<br /><br />The LSAS claims that the D-IV would exceed the G limits in NASA STD 3000 during a launch abort at certain points in its lofted trajectory. In reality, the G-limit given in NASA STD 3000, 4G(x) was intended to represent a nominal entry from orbit with a critically injured astronaut. Originally this was a design mission for the Crew Emergency Return Vehicle. It was an arbitrary choice even there, but it was certainly _never_ intended to apply to launch aborts. The Soyuz, also lofted, can briefly hit 20G on a launch abort; bruising but certainly survivable in the +Gx direction.<br /><br />I could be wrong, and I invite anyone to present data to the contrary, but it appears to me that the LSAS claim that an abort from the lofted trajectory "does not meet NASA standards" is, from the standpoint of the actual intent of NASA STD 3000, simply untrue. The fact that the LSAS doesn't give the actual G levels for either the abort entry or STD 3000 suggests that the authors knew they were playing fast and loose with the facts, and didn't want to look silly by actually saying that astronauts couldn't tolerate a lot more than +4Gx in a rare launch abort. <br />
 
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edkyle98

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>>A Delta IV launch now costs about $250 million, and is available NOW. That would then be 100 launches with just the cost of the Ares I. <<<br /><br />Your Delta IV Heavy cost estimate is $236 million on the low side (and I don't have the foggiest idea where your Ares I development number comes from). According to the following NASA/JPL documents, a Delta IV Heavy launch costs $486 million!<br /><br />http://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/announcements.html<br /><br />specifically here, in the cost section of the Jupiter System Observer Mission Study report.<br />http://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/JSO_Public_Report.pdf<br />- Ed Kyle
 
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frodo1008

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The following paragraph comes from the forth article down on the current lest of articles from space.com as you first get on the site:<br /><br /><font color="yellow"> NASA is preparing to retire its three remaining space shuttle orbiters in late 2010 after completing on-orbit assembly of the International Space Station and sending up two dedicated shuttle-loads of critical spare parts. After that, the United States could lack a home-grown means of reaching the space station until Orion and Ares are brought on line in March 2015, the earliest date NASA says it reasonably can guarantee despite budgeting nearly $23 billion for the Constellation effort over the next five years on top of the roughly $5 billion it has spent so far. </font><br /><br />Now, of that total of some $28 billion by far the most will be going towards the Ares I, as this is the money to be spent just getting to the point where the Constellation system replaces the space shuttle. This is from NASA itself, and from space.com. Is that authority enough for the costs of the Ares I? As currently envisioned by NASA?<br /><br />Next the following sentence is on the cost of the Delta IV Heavy:<br /><br /><font color="yellow"> The originally estimated launch price in 1999 was $170 million. Due to the collapse of the commercial launch market, this was revised by the USAF in November 2004 to $ 254 million. </font><br /><br />Is from the following site:<br /><br />http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/delheavy.htm<br /><br />Admittedly, this is the Air Force estimate in 2004, So add some 10% or about $280 million for the cost now.<br /><br />The EELV program was originally set up by the Air Force (not NASA, as some seem to think) to reduce the almost $500 million per launch cost of the Titan IV by at the very least half. Or the cost of a pound to LEO from $10,000 to about $3500 per pound. Additional costs built this up to about $5,0
 
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frodo1008

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Quite some time ago there was another thread in which it was brought out how angry Mike Griffin was when he was told that ATK wanted some $3 billion just to go to a five segment SRB from the original four segment one used on the shuttle system. As I said before I originally supported the Ares I when it was to use the SSME (of which some twenty are still available, and already paid for!), and the already available SRB's.<br /><br />But then came all these changes because NASA could not figure out how to make the Ares I work with just the original shuttle propulsion elements! While I have been in the past a rather extreme supporter of NASA, I was disappointed that they now don't any longer seem to know what they are doing.<br /><br />The truly great and knowledgeable original leaders of NASA, such as Wherner Von Braun would NEVER have used Large Solid Rocket Motors for placing human beings into space. The only concession allowed was for the ullage and excape systems as these had to operate very quickly. <br /><br />But the basic propulsion systems for the Redstone, Atlas, Titan, and Saturn systems were ALL liquid engined. The Russians and Chinese also seem to feel this way. NASA is the ONLY space agency that seems to need these expensive and highly polluting large solid rocket motors!<br /><br />It would also seem as if the alt.space crowd also feels this way. Heck, while Elon Musk of spacex sometimes seems to be getting ahead of himself, I have come to think that he may actually be able to do at least some of the things that he says he can (and even possibly at the very low prices that he quotes). And that would be VERY bad news for such an expensive system as the Ares I (and even possibly the Ares V) is proving out to be.<br /><br />HE at least does not seem to need some $5 billion just to get started!
 
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edkyle98

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frodo 1008 said:<br /> />>Now, of that total of some $28 billion by far the most will be going towards the Ares I, as this is the money to be spent just getting to the point where the Constellation system replaces the space shuttle. This is from NASA itself, and from space.com. Is that authority enough for the costs of the Ares I? As currently envisioned by NASA? <<<br /><br />That total would include development of the Orion spacecraft and launch abort system along with the Ares I launch vehicle. The Orion contract ($4.3 billion) is worth more than all of the Ares I contracts combined (something in the neighborhood of $3.5 - $4 billion).<br /><br />Regarding the EELV cost question, it seems quite clear that Delta IV Heavy costs much, much more than $170 million, or $254 million, or $280 million, etc. Boeing/ULA were/are getting paid roughly $500 million per year just to keep the factory and launch sites active - *not including the costs of the launches themselves!*. http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-5977428/USA-BOEING-CO-AWARDED-CONTRACT.html <br /> This year, there was one Delta IV launch, which clearly had, as a result, to essentially cost tens, if not hundreds, of millions more than $500 million! During the first six years of the Delta IV program there have only been eight launches, which came at a cost of $3 billion not including launch costs. That is an average of $375 million per launch - *not including the cost of the launches themselves!*<br /><br /> - Ed Kyle
 
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