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SLS (Senate Launch System) = Ares V

From Spacenews.com-

Senate legislation authorizing $58 billion for NASA over the next three years directs the agency to build a heavy-lift rocket that bears a strong resemblance to the Ares 5 launcher that U.S. President Barack Obama seeks to abandon.

The bill, S. 3729, was drafted and approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in July and passed by the full Senate Aug. 5.

In a report accompanying the S. 3729 issued a few days later, Senate lawmakers state that regarding the heavy-lift rocket, “the most cost-effective and ‘evolvable’ design concept is likely to follow what is known as an ‘in-line’ vehicle design, with a large center tank structure with attached multiple liquid propulsion engines and, at a minimum, two solid rocket motors composed of at least four segments being attached to the tank structure to form the core, initial stage of the propulsion vehicle.”..

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10 Responses to “SLS (Senate Launch System) = Ares V”

  • Ferris Valyn:

    And if it has to be an Ares V look alike, then we’re back to the issue of NASA WILL fail again. It doesn’t have enough money.

    Muncy hit it right on the money in the article

  • With a 70 to 100 tonne lifting capacity, the HLV authorized by the Senate obviously doesn’t have the lifting capacity of the Ares V which was supposed to lift between 160 to 190 tonnes to LEO.

    My only question is will NASA have the wisdom to develop the core booster as a stand alone (without the SRBs) crew lifter. Such a vehicle would allow NASA to have manned crews back in orbit a year or two earlier than a core vehicle plus the new 5-segment SRBs. Separating the crew launch vehicle from the heavy lift vehicle would also allow NASA to launch heavy lift vehicles with 2 or maybe even 4 SRBs without the worry and extra expense of trying to man-rate the HLV.

  • Space:

    How can anyone say there isn’t enough money at this point? The Program is not even defined yet.

    Think about what the Senate’s version directs NASA to do- Use existing contractors and components, and fly by 2016.

    Orion is developed. Five-segment SRBs are developed. It is pretty likely that the core won’t be done the way Ares 1 Upper Stage was, where NASA does the manufacturing drawings and models and Boeing builds it.

    Suppose it works out this way- NASA does layouts for the core with an ET tank or something similar, and puts RS-68s or SSMEs under it. Boeing does the detailed design and builds it. You don’t need SRBs if you just want to lift an Orion. Those are added for heavier payloads.

    It’s not like everything is starting from nothing this time. The only new part is the core. Are people saying that absolutely can not be done in 5 years? Really?

  • Ferris Valyn:

    For one thing, keeping intact the SRB line for 5 years, while you aren’t using it, isn’t cheap – thats $500-700 M per year, that you spend before you do anything.

    Thats $2-3 Billion gone, before you start the development process.

    Second, I don’t believe Congress wants Boeing to do the detailed design. I suspect they want Marshall to develop it, to maintain jobs in Marshall (remember, Congress doesn’t actually care about space), just like what happened with Ares I.

  • Ferris Valyn:

    Fundemental question here Space – if they want NASA to develop the new SLS just like they developed the Ares I, do you think they can do it at the money being allocated?

  • Space:

    Keeping ATK hooked up with that much money for 5 years is not a “NASA can’t do anything” issue.

    I would not make too many conclusions about what Congress wants as far as jobs at MSFC. Remember, in June it was the MSFC contractors that got hit with ADA, and the primes like LM and ATK still got most of their money. I don’t see that as a matter of priorities. It’s just a matter of who has the mojo when push comes to shove. (follow the money)

    As far as your fundamental question… I really don’t think the SLS core would be organized just like Ares 1 Upper Stage was. If the direction is to do exactly that, I don’t know if it could be done with the money allocated, or done in time. It’s hard to say that budgets can’t be met if the bulk of the money goes to a prime contractor, and you haven’t seen the contract!

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone involved in Ares 1 would go back and do everything the same way. Give people more credit. These are smart people and they know how to take notes and learn from experience. (I’m talking about rank and file cubicle dwellers and tech management, not politicians!)

  • Ferris Valyn:

    I don’t claim NASA can’t do anything – I never have. I do claim that NASA is being set up to fail, by Congress.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone involved in Ares 1 would go back and do everything the same way. Give people more credit. These are smart people and they know how to take notes and learn from experience. (I’m talking about rank and file cubicle dwellers and tech management, not politicians!)

    I don’t claim that the guys on the ground floor are morons, by any stretch. I will say that part of the issue is that the mid-level decision making people are rather conservative (in the risk-taking sense, not necessarily political sense), more so than I think is necessary (although I understand the reason for that conservatism). For example, the default decision to trying to recreate the Apollo architecture (except with some extra efficiency built in) is a mistake. The default position of its first job, and most important job, is to serve NASA, is also a mistake, rather than consider the larger marketplace.

    But thats not the main point. The main point is this – I don’t believe Congress will LET NASA do it a better way. I suspect that Congress is primarily interested in recreating the situation they had with Constellation, in terms of how the job is managed. You said it yourself,

    If the direction [of SLS] is to do exactly [like Ares I], I don’t know if it could be done with the money allocated, or done in time

    Thats the issue. That is what those in Congress are wanting to do, because they are interested in jobs being in their current location, and being like what they had under Constellation

  • The highest funding the Constellation program ever received from 2006 to 2009 was $3.4 billion. About $11 billion was spent during that time (about $2.7 billion a year on average). Most of these funds were dedicated for the Orion and the Ares I. That’s money for a launch abort system, crew capsule, service module, Ares I upper stage, and the 5-segment solid rocket booster. That’s probably a $5 billion a year program at minimum– if you really want to get it done– not a $2.7 billion a year program. And, of course, there was no serious money for Altair development nor for the Ares V core booster.

    To be fair, NASA did plan to eventually fully fund the Constellation program by terminating the shuttle program which would eventually add another $3 billion a year to the Constellation budget and then terminate the ISS after 2015 which would add an additional $2 billion a year to the budget. So the 2009 $3.4 billion a year Constellation budget would have gradually grown to $6.4 billion after the termination of the shuttle program and $8.4 billion a year after the termination of the ISS.

    The new crew and HLV program that the Senate is proposing gives NASA about $2.7 billion in 2011, $4.1 billion in 2012, and about $4 billion in 2013. The new Orion program under the Senate version will receive about $1.4 billion a year by 2012. That’s barely enough money to get the job done, IMO. The new HLV program will receive about $2.7 billion a year by 2012 which should be plenty.

    What happens to the rest of the money saved from the termination of the shuttle program? Some goes to private commercial crew development but most goes to increase ISS funding, over $3 billion a year by 2013 (up by a billion dollars over the 2009 ISS budget). There’s nothing that eats up money faster than the ISS. Its probably going to take the deployment of the potentially very cheap Bigelow space stations for the Congress to finally realize what a financial boondoggle the ISS really is.

  • Alan:

    For one thing, keeping intact the SRB line for 5 years, while you aren’t using it, isn’t cheap – that’s $500-700 M per year, that you spend before you do anything.

    Plus let’s add the $200 M/mo that the Shuttle Program Office quoted as a monthly cost to keep SLC-39 + VAB up an running w/o launching anything. So that’s $2.4 B per year

    Then we need to add the cost of having LM keep Michoud up and running which I would conservatively estimate at $250-500 M per year.

    So now our back-of-the-napkin estimate is the range of $3.2 – 3.6.
    We’re not including infrastructure for the SSMEs/Derivative (Build, Test, etc.) or Marshall/Johnson Center costs.

  • schuba:

    Situation: You get a project, a budget, a timeline…and a peace of empty, white paper…
    Situation: you get a project, a budget, a timeline, and thousands of filled pages filled with conditions (jobs, power, powerful industries with their interests, espeQucially avoiding competition…, re.election of politicians etc…)
    Which situation is more likely to produce technical progress?
    And besides: this political situation is bad news for the new players like space X in the game…unless they can stand on their own two feet and have a market independent of the government…
    And what about Falcon 9 heavy? Who`s gonna pay for this? Can they do it without public fonding?

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