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  #1  
Old 03-11-2020, 02:57 PM
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Been listening to the NASA channel with them talking about what all we will soon do on the moon and Mars, via the SLS. I flip to Spaceflight.com and see the leading article that shows SLS two years behind schedule and two billion dollars over budget.

They expect it to cost $18 billion by the time it flies in (allegedly) 2021 and $23 billion by the time it actually totes folks into orbit, not even to the moon.

Just think what SpaceX could have done with that money by now!!!!
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Old 03-11-2020, 03:22 PM
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Yeah. Too true. I wouldn't be surprised if it never totes anything into orbit.
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Old 03-11-2020, 03:53 PM
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The SLS is just corporate welfare for the aerospace contractors and NASA employees at Michaud, Marshall, and Cape Canaveral. It was never meant to fly, just pork for Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:05 PM
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On top of that, it's fugly. I won't build a model of it unless it actually takes us back to the moon. I might not do it even then. I'll just build more Saturns.
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:06 PM
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Yeah, Iím not sure which is worse: no real active space program or one that is behind schedule and over budget.

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  #6  
Old 03-11-2020, 04:14 PM
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Dang! I got excited, thinking this might be an announcement about the return of Semrocís SLS line of kits.
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:37 PM
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I agree with Lee above.
Would much rather have the Semroc SLS line back with Enerjet kits added than this NASA pork project.
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Old 03-11-2020, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
On top of that, it's fugly. I won't build a model of it unless it actually takes us back to the moon. I might not do it even then. I'll just build more Saturns.


Me too! Now ... if they painted it in white, with black roll patterns, and put some fins on it, and like you say, if it got us back to the Moon ...

Still not likely, I think. Iíve got more Saturn V and 1B kits than I can probably ever build, and Iím definitely getting the new Skylab version. If those all get built, I still want the Apogee Saturn V (or Sirius, if it ever reappears). I also have a Zooch SA-5.

<sigh>
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:44 PM
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Yeah I said that for a LONG, LONG time already, years ago. I noticed NASA has bombed YouTube with a bunch of new pro-SLS videos as well talking it up, while everything non-NASA is talking about it being years behind and over budget. I've said it before I'll say it again, "I'm not holding my breath".

SLS is fundamentally flawed in several ways... First, it takes THE most expensive bits of the shuttle, like SRB's and SSME's, and flies them in EXPENDABLE mode... Stuff specifically designed with the added complexity and reliability to be reused will end up on the ocean floor in a million pieces after each launch. This places a DEFINITE limit on the lifetime of the vehicle, since there are only SO MANY SRB casings left, and when they're gone, they're gone. Supposedly to be replaced by an expendable SRB version using spiral filament wound single use casings, but that's another billion dollar, decade long development program.

Then there's the pathetically low flight rate. One of the biggest problems with shuttle was it required a large "standing army" of people to keep it flying, which is expensive. SLS was supposed to reduce that required standing army of support people, BUT that's only half the equation... Where shuttle flew anywhere from 9 times per year at its zenith in 1985,(IIRC), and averaged about twice a year the last few years before retirement, this allowed those facilities and personnel and overhead costs to be amortized over multiple flights, IOW, better use of those resources and greater efficiency, more bang for the buck. SLS, OTOH, will have only one launch every other or every third year. Sometimes it may be several years between launches. This means that each SLS launch will have to bear MULTIPLE years of overhead and program costs per launch, versus those costs being spread over multiple launches. This alone will make SLS breathtakingly expensive, even compared to the super-expensive shuttle.

Additionally, after ALL this time and development, we're only getting the BLOCK 1 version of the vehicle... To actually do full capability missions, it will require a new in-space propulsion stage (roughly equivalent to S-IVB) rather than the interim Delta upper stage at present, 2) an all new clustered J-2X ascent upper stage (roughly equivalent to S-II second stage of Saturn V), and 3) all-new uprated disposable SRB's... Plus a lunar lander and a REAL service module for Orion instead of an interim SM like it has currently. As SLS exists now, it cannot even redo Apollo 8's lunar orbit mission... The upper stage and SM don't have the Delta-v capability... The best it can do is loop around the Moon on a free return trajectory like the Soviet Zonds did in 1968... And this after SO MANY billions spent on it, and over a decade of development.

The whole reason for SLS was "it's cheaper and easier to reuse shuttle tech to build a new rocket than start from scratch", yet virtually EVERYTHING for SLS has had to be completely redesigned from its shuttle predecessors, from the supposedly ET-derived cute stage to the RS-25 engines, etc. This is why it's cost so many billions and taken over a decade.

Which is what makes Saturn SO much more amazing... Since we're stuck at home with the coronavirus thing, I've been watching all the Saturn I/IB and Saturn V quarterly reports on YouTube... This guy's started with basically NOTHING, except what experience they had with Redstone, Jupiter, Thor, Atlas, and Titan I and II, and built EVERYTHING from scratch... They were literally making everything as they went along... And it wasn't merely upscaling Atlas or Titan tech, either... It truly was doing something NOBODY had ever done before. It's literally amazing seeing them build the facilities, the tooling, inventing not only the rocket components but the processes to build them, and in many cases the principles behind how they worked or how they were made, FROM SCRATCH... For instance Stennis space center was literally a swamp in 1961 and by 1965 it was a fully functional test center... Michoud in 61 was an abandoned army ordnance plant, by 65 it was manufacturing multiple Saturn I,IB, and S-IC stages simultaneously... Then there was the numerous facilities built at MSFC, in California at the Sacramento Test Center, the North American factories at Seal Beach, the Douglas factory, the test stands at Santa Susana, test stands at Edwards, you name it... Which is what makes it all the more heartbreaking that it was all scrapped for the stinking shuttle... It's like inventing a TOTALLY new and revolutionary to of car and truck, doing all the research and building test models and designing and building every new component from scratch, using nothing "off the shelf", building facilities and training personnel to build and test each piece to perfection, building all the factories and foundries and parts suppliers and tooling and machinery necessary to mass produce them, then building TEN of each, and then form everybody, destroying all the tooling and machinery, and destroying most of the facilities... THAT was why Saturn was SO expensive... We destroyed the factories and tooling and teams trained to build it right when we were capable of cranking out copies in bulk! It's absolutely heartbreaking...

And then we didn't even make use of what we had! There were several Saturn IB's that were never finished our worse yet, finished ones that were scrapped!

And to think, we did all that between basically 1960 and 1968...(which was the real decision making, engineering, and building phase for Saturn IB/V).

Then we get to do it all over again with shuttle, which was inferior in every meaningful way essentially, and then we get SLS, which with the benefit of 50 years of experience and hindsight and using shuttle engines, boosters, and tanks as a starting point to "modify" into a new configuration, has basically been worked on in various forms for 15 years and STILL hasn't even test flown, probly won't for another year or two (or more... Remember it was SUPPOSED to be flying by 2017, ten 2019, then 2020, now 2021 or 2023...

And basically SLS is useless for Mars... By NASA's own mission planning, SIX SLS launches would be required to assemble, fuel, and stock a Mars spacecraft... Which at even their stated one launch every other year will take 12 years just to assemble the Mars bound spacecraft using SLS... And remember they only have one pad now (39-B; 39-A is modified and leased to SpaceX for the foreseeable future). SLS is basically a rocket to nowhere... Is gonna cost way over a billion per launch to sustain and fly it, and in it's current form can't lift any more than Falcon Heavy which is already proven and costs a FRACTION of that amount to fly...

IF SpaceX and Blue Origin succeed with their current plans, SLS will be obsolete before it ever flies. Even if they don't, or take a lot longer, existing tech like Falcon Heavy make it redundant and overpriced... Two Falcon Heavies could launch an EOR lunar mission just as capable as SLS for a fraction of the cost, UNLESS NASA DELIBERATELY designed their lunar module to be incapable of being launched on Falcon Heavy, the way they did Orion to prevent it from being launched on "man rated EELV's", thereby "requiring" development of the ill conceived Ares I, which failed utterly...

Why "I'll believe it when I see it" when it comes to this NASA lunar stuff... NASA is more interested in corporate welfare and self preservation than achieving missions... At best I think SLS will fly maybe a test mission and a demo/stunt mission, then get deferred, and then cancelled... Everything else is leaving it in the dust already...

Later! OL J R
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