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Old July 2 2012, 02:44 AM   #156
Crazy Eddie
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

publiusr wrote: View Post
SLS is hardly Spruce Goose--which actually would have been a good Ekranoplan had they made if differently for wing-in-ground-effect.
SLS would have been good too if they had made it differently. For starters -- ironically -- they probably could have saved a lot of time and money by sticking with the side-mount and going with the Shuttle-C concept from the 90s; at least then the only thing they'd have to develop is a disposable orbiter that would sit where the shuttle normally would and development would be a pretty straightforward process. With all the changes that will have to be made to make this thing fly, SLS is almost a totally new launch system that is "shuttle derived" only on paper.

SLS will deliver a Delta IV upper stage as a payload
It COULD, sure. at 70mt, there's a long list of things that COULD ride on the top of an SLS to do all kinds of things beyond Earth orbit. The problem isn't the skepticism that the SLS will be able to do any of these things IF it gets built. The problem is, if NASA has no long term plans to build anything that NEEDS an SLS to get into space. Even the Orion capsule is probably going to perform its first lunar flyby off the top of a Delta-IV Heavy. With the Falcon-9H coming online around that same time, it'll be a whole new design process just to find things for the SLS to do.

There is a move to downselect to two providers to LEO, allowing NASA to focus on BEO missions with SLS and Musk taking up the slack--although he may face competition from Antares (Taurus II)
That's over and done with. They're downselecting to two firms with partial funding for a third. That basically means SpaceX and Sierra Nevada with some support going to ULA for man-rating the Atlas and/or Delta, which is what NASA planned all along.

Now early on, the EELV fans took shots at Ares/Constellation, and floated all this depot nonsense specifically to launch scores of EELV since the 1990's DOT.COM bubble burst and the teledesic internet in the sky deal fell through
And if they were the ONLY people interested in the concept of propellant depots, you might have a point. You're forgetting, however, where the original idea originally came from the Marshall Space Flight Center back in the 1980s as one of the possible uses for a new manned space station in Earth orbit. Actually, MSC wanted SEVERAL space stations to be built, some of which would be propellant/supply/repair depots and others would be construction yards for orbital spacecraft.

Most of the current propellant depot proposals are coming out of industry studies focussed directly on manned space flight architecture, including NASA's own study groups.

There was talk about preserving infrastructure. In a recent column from Aviation Week and Space Technology, Musk responded with the question "Whose infrastructure are we preserving? what with Russian RD-180s, AN-124s etc.
The talk about "preserving infrastructure" started with the retirement of the shuttle and the impending firing of the STS standing army. SpaceX is at best a sideshow in that entire discussion.

When Musk launched his first rockets, the EELVs were also just getting started.
"Just getting started" is an interesting way of glossing over the fact that the Falcon-1 was just getting out of the concept stages when the Delta-IV and Atlas-V were starting to launch operational payloads into orbit. It's not really as if anyone thought Elon Musk represented serious competition at the time, and strictly speaking, he didn't.

Again, this has a lot more to do with the political investment in the space shuttle and the pork monkey attached to it. This, by the way, is the second time you have tried to claim the propellant depots are just a pitch by EELV fanboys as if this undermines the validity of the concept itself OR supports the case for Heavy Lift, even if it were true, and it isn't.

The heavy lift advocates are not selling things, they are engineers too long ignored by folks who want the status quo.
Funny, since the engineers and politicians who support the SLS program were the architects of the OLD status quo vis a vis the space shuttle. They may have been many things over the years, but "ignored" is not one of them.

Heavy-lift supporters sound engineering arguements have for too long been ignored by 'fastter better cheaper' folks who really want smaller and expensive--or RLV fanatics who want cool spaceplanes. HLLVs are not sexy or cool--and that is why I support them.
Since "Faster better cheaper" is the cornerstone if affordable manned space flight, their resistance to the idea should tell you something. And the RLV crowd remains a fringe group that is not and has never been particularly influential beyond their ability to produce a dizzying number of powerpoint presentations.

For everyone else, it's not about being sexy or cool. It's about the fact that HLVs are unneccesary for 90% of what we want to do in space, and the 10% of those tasks you can use them for can be just as easily accomplished with smaller rockets, for less money, and in a shorter amount of time.

To dust off an earlier analogy, it's again like the argument that you need to buy a thirty ton truck for your family. "It's not sexy or cool like a sports car" isn't all that compelling an argument when it comes to discussing the utility of what you're paying for, and at the end of the day, it's just not the kind of thing you need for the kind of work you're planning to do.

SpaceX agrees with the need to develop a vehicle of that class as the best way to conduct a large number of human missions to Mars.
Says the man whose most immediate political enemy is the person who single handedly designed the SLS by congressional mandate.

What else did you expect him to say?
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