Why does NASA hate the Atlas V and Delta IV?

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frodo1008

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I really don't want to get into one of those tit-for-tat kinds of things here, but you really need to start to think about the costs you are quoting.<br /><br />you state:<br /><br /><font color="yellow"> 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). </font><br /><br />The propulsion contract for ATK and the new five segment motors is $3 billion, and the contract for Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne for the new second stage J2 propulsion system is $1.2 billion dollars. Now, that is already $4.2 billion dollars for just the main propulsion systems!<br /><br />Also, when you have a system that is designed to place human beings into space the spacecraft had really better be a part of the launch system, otherwise just what is the purpose of the launch system?<br /><br />Is the Orion spacecraft then NOT a part of the Ares I? The Ares I is going to cost far, far too much to be a commercial launcher!<br /><br />As for the Delta IV, if you do not separate the development costs from the actual per launch cost of a system, then I must agree ANY system that launches less than about 100 launches is going ot be FAR more expensive than the actual charges for each production launch!<br /><br />For instance, while the STS system has a per launch overall cost of some $500 - $600 million, if you were to divide the $100+ billion overall costs (including the some 12 years of development) the cost per launch of the shuttle rises to about $1 billion per launch. <br /><br />I would not even saddle the much more expensive Ares I with such costs! There is absolutely no doubt that the Ares I (entire system) is going to cost at least $20 billion dollars to develop. In the first three years there are less than 10 launches scheduled at this time (although I am perfectly willing to
 
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thereiwas

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ATK has some powerful friends in Congress to be able to hold up NASA like this. ('hold up' in the sense of 'give me your money')
 
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edkyle98

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Frodo wrote:<br /> />>The propulsion contract for ATK and the new five segment motors is $3 billion, and the contract for Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne for the new second stage J2 propulsion system is $1.2 billion dollars. Now, that is already $4.2 billion dollars for just the main propulsion systems!<<<br /><br />The ATK Ares I first stage development contract is only $1.8 billion.<br /><br />http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2007/aug/HQ_C07036_Ares_first_stage.html<br /><br />Ares I refers to the two stage launch vehicle topped by an instrument unit. Orion is the payload. The entire launch vehicle plus payload is Ares I/Orion.<br /><br />I believe that the correct way to compare launch costs is on a total program basis, including development costs and sustaining engineering costs, etc. On this basis, shuttle does cost more than $1 billion per launch - far more than $1 billion actually when the costs are adjusted for inflation.<br /><br />On paper, Ares I/Orion should cost less per launch than shuttle, but I'm not sure that it will. An EELV/Orion might cost slightly less per flight than an Ares I/Orion since the EELV infrastructure cost could be shared, but Orion would still cost billions to develop and as a result, the thing would still cost more per launch than everyone seems willing to believe. Orion won't be reusable like shuttle, for example. A new spacecraft will have to be manufactured and certified for use for every single mission. Big payloads cost big bucks. <br /><br /> - Ed Kyle
 
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frodo1008

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If you then include the price of the Ares V in the equation to go to the moon, we are going to do just slightly more than we did in 1969, for more than twice the cost. I read somewhere that the venerable Saturn V would itself cost some $1.5 billion per launch in today's dollars. But the entire Constellation to go back to the moon is evidently going to cost some $3 billion per launch!<br /><br />Of course, back then we had a far more energetic aerospace industry, and far better NASA leadership!<br /><br />Heck, we even had government sponsored programs that trained good lathe and milling machine operators. I know this as at the age of 20 I was one of them!<br /><br />If we now had the kind of energy, leadership, and just plain vision and guts that we had then we would not be just going back to the moon, we would also be going on to Mars at the same time (and for as little money as was spent then)!<br /><br />Well, perhaps the pure private alt.space people can do the job now. I hope so, as I can no longer see governments doing it! And if we don't at least take some of our human activities off of this dirt ball, we are going to eventually be as extinct as the dinosaurs.<br /><br />Oh well, perhaps the cockroaches will evolve! <br /><br />
 
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richalex

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>So, launching people into space IS dangerous! So what! None of us are going to get out of this existence alive anyway, at least the astronauts are getting to do what most of us only get to dream about!<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />That's kind of a reckless attitude, don't you think? <br /><br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>I am NOT Saying that NASA or anybody else should take unnecessary chances, but trying to avoid ALL risk is even worse. Humanity will NEVER get off this ball of dirt unless somebody takes some degree of risk!<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />NASA *is* taking some degree of risk! In fact, NASA has been rebuked several times for taking *too much* risk, risks it should never have taken. <br /><br />NASA's problems are not risk-avoidance, and the big needs of manned spaceflight do not require us to fly men in "barely-there" space craft. <br /><br />Back about 1993, I attended a book promotion and talk by a former NASA astronaut (I think it was Story Musgrave). He went to great lengths explaining why the space shuttle is the most dangerous vehicle ever made and that it cannot be made safe. I guess he spent at least an hour just on that topic. So, at least for that astronaut, the attitude towards these ships is different than you are describing! <br /><br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>In the early days of space placing a human being in to orbit took G forces of up to 7 G's. The shuttle never experiences more than about 3 G's. And some of our earlier astronauts (they were NOT supermen, just men that were military people used to more hardship than people are usually used to) experienced up to 10 G's without blacking out!<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote> <br /><br />"Although various studies provide slightly different figures for G-LOC most show that it tends to occur at around +4.5Gz in the unprotected individual, but may occur at anywhere between +2Gz and +6.5Gz. ...
 
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thereiwas

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Military pilots have to withstand "eyeballs down" G forces, which pulls blood from the brain. Astronauts launch on their backs, which is much easier. "G suits" are helpful only if you are sitting up.<br /><br />I saw a video of an Air Force pilot in for remedial training in a centrifuge. He had all the training, but he blacked out at 3G. A female grad student with <i>no</i> training was put in the centrifuge for comparison. She handled considerable more G with no strain. Our instructor said this was due to differences between male and female physiology. Quite interesting course.
 
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frodo1008

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Boy, I really hate getting into these kinds of back-and-forth debates, but for the sake of a relatively new poster such as yourself this time I will (please don't expect me to make a habit of this though).<br /><br />First:<br /><br /><font color="yellow"> In reply to:<br /><br /> So, launching people into space IS dangerous! So what! None of us are going to get out of this existence alive anyway, at least the astronauts are getting to do what most of us only get to dream about!<br /><br /><br /><br />That's kind of a reckless attitude, don't you think?</font><br /><br />No it isn't reckless in the face of the kind of discussion we are having here, it is simply true. Placing people into the most hazardous environment that we know is NEVER going to be safe, or even totally cheap. But we can indeed make it so very much harder in our efforts to make it safe that the increasing costs will eventually make it utterly impossible to even do at all! <br /><br />I was trying to be brief (at least for me), is that more satisfactory?<br /><br />Onwards and upwards:<br /><br /><font color="yellow"> In reply to:<br /><br /> I am NOT Saying that NASA or anybody else should take unnecessary chances, but trying to avoid ALL risk is even worse. Humanity will NEVER get off this ball of dirt unless somebody takes some degree of risk!<br /><br /><br /><br />NASA *is* taking some degree of risk! In fact, NASA has been rebuked several times for taking *too much* risk, risks it should never have taken.<br /><br />NASA's problems are not risk-avoidance, and the big needs of manned spaceflight do not require us to fly men in "barely-there" space craft. </font><br /><br />What would be so "Barely-there" about using rockets that are already proven over a rocket that has never flown?<br /><br />Besides, I have given information before on these boards that shows that Large Solid Rockets are inherently far more dangerous that large liquid engined rockets. My posts on this are usually l
 
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richalex

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Boy, I really hate getting into these kinds of back-and-forth debates<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Begging your pardon, but I live for them. I find it most instructive to present whatever objections I might have and see where that takes us. <br /><br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Besides, I have given information before on these boards that shows that Large Solid Rockets are inherently far more dangerous that large liquid engined rockets.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Oh, is that your position? You are correct, I am new, so I haven't associated all the old posts to screen names, yet. <br /><br />As it happens, your statement is another one made by that astronaut (Story Musgrave?). He said that when he initially heard that the space shuttle would use solid rocket boosters, he bought into the statement that it would eliminate the dangerous rotating parts (of the centrifugal pump). No one mentioned that the solid rocket booster was even more risky. NASA authorities assured all the astronauts that everything was safe and reliable. So, the astronaut wonders, why is the space shuttle lined with explosive destruct blocks, to be used in the event of a bad launch?
 
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frodo1008

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A very good post! You last paragraph is especially true.<br /><br />When we were working on the original SSME's back in the 1980's, we were told that NASA considered the SSME to be the most dangerous part of the STS system. So the SSME's were not just given 1.0 minute "Green Runs" such as the RS27 Delta II commercial and the MA3A Atlas engines clusters were. They were tested many times, and the final tests were the full 560 second runs they would have to make to place the shuttle into space!<br /><br />As these were to be reusable engines some were actually run all the way to destruction!<br /><br />By the way the SSME is quite probably the greatest single piece of machinery in the history of mankind! What this engine does is simply alsmost beyond belife! <br /><br />Even when it was thought that there might be a failure. Which turned out to be some sensors that were not an actual part of the SSME itself. And the engines had to do something that was even more incredibly than usual, where they had already started, and then had to shut totally down in just a few seconds, They, their controllers, and the controllers software had to operate totally without flaw, or we would have lost another shuttle on the pad!<br /><br />Obviously, they did a perfect job!<br /><br />And the newer RS27A engines that power the Delta II have a totally perfect !00% flight record! We at Rocketdyne may not have always been the cheapest, but we were (and even though I have been retired since 2000, I still have friends there in Quality Assurance) and still are the BEST!!<br /><br />Why would you think that NASA has always chosen to use the incredible Delta II for almost all of its deep space robotic probes? Because, just having those probes operate millions (and in some cases billions) of miles away from the Earth is bad enough, But having such a system fail just because of the launch vehicle would be a real disaster!
 
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