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Old June 21 2012, 11:41 PM   #151
publiusr
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

"The Senate Launch System is being designed with NO specific mission in mind."

Lunar flybys are going to be one of many missions.
It looks like there is a push for a lunar return among many nations: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2094/1

Speaking at a plenary session at GLEX on May 22 that featured the leaders or other top officials of six space agencies, Popovkin suggested the Moon, and not the asteroids, was the preferred destination of the Russian space program...“I think General Popovkin’s comments this morning were on target,” Griffin said, emphasizing that he was expressing his own opinion and not speaking for anyone else, including the AIAA, where Griffin serves as president.


"In this case, it isn't a question of whether the rocket will overrun its budget by a small or huge amount. Given the political realities faced by NASA, it's a question of whether or not it will ever fly at all."

Well, if this really is the Senate LV as people joke--and they hold the purse-strings (not slide rules--that's MSFC), they will push on:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...re-production/

"The Russians built SEVERAL space stations this way, and the Chinese are reusing that technique for Tiangong-2."

The Chinese modules are not really Mir Examples. Remember there were two Chinese station examples. One module will be launched by their upcoming Long March 5--these are more Shenzou based craft, so its even smaller than Mir--but they are working on HLLVs.

"This is ironic, because NASA's reliance on HLVs (the Saturn-V) and derivative technology left their space program with a gaping performance gap through which Skylab eventually crashed."

I was abandoning Saturn in favor of STS that really held us back.That and this push for RLVs. You might remember the 1970s Mars missions using Saturn architecture that STS gobbled up. RLVs are the technological pipe dream that has already proven not to work very well.

"Second of all, your math is a little funny on this, considering 24 F9 Heavies would be worth TEN HLVs, not just one or two."

Assuming the hydrogen didn't boil off from the first launches into space--making a case to keep launching? Even if it made economic sense to say, cut up the Curiosity rover and launch it on 20 or so Vanguard rockets--is that really the best thing to do? That's why Musk himself wants to build Falcon XX.


"--an HLV that will not be operational for more than a decade." On that we will have to wait and see.

"It's the same people who crunched the numbers and figured out that the same money that is being spent on the DEVELOPMENT of the Senate Launch System could just as easily find a hundred LAUNCHES of useful payloads on the rockets we already have."

That was also the arguments of fans of clipper-ships who thought larger steel ships like Great Eastern were a waste. Why, you could fund lots of schooners with that money. And you could buy lots of cessnas for the price of a C-5 Galaxy. But that is short sighted.

"It's a silly argument, because at the end of the day the only reason to buy the truck is "because it's cool!"

That's Skylon your talking about

"EELV can launch every 6 months from any SINGLE launch pad (and can use multiple locations without a lot of overhead) and an HLV can barely manage it once a year and can only launch from Kennedy."

Stratolaunch could do even better if Paul Allen spends some dough. But Delta has become a real pad sitter. Shuttle flew about as frequently as Delta IV, and SLS won't have that orbiter to deal with.

As it stands, it looks like Shuttle-derived heavy lift seems secure. Obama allowed Bolden and Lori Garver (who wasn't fond of HLLVs, or so scuttlebut has it) to roll out SLS. Worse for enemies of SLS, is this quote from the article I linked to above:

" both Griffin and Pace...are advising presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on space issues."


The good thing is that Falcon's success may erode support for the Ares-I redux that is called Liberty. Dynetics, which has Griffin as an advisor, wants to build F-1 powered LFBs to replace SRBs, and also is to do work on Stratolaunch. Moreover P&W Rocetdyne is up for sale, and Bezos wanted to recover the recently discovered Saturn stages from the sea Floor. It looks like interest in larger engines is here to stay.
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Old June 22 2012, 01:28 AM   #152
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

publiusr wrote: View Post

"Second of all, your math is a little funny on this, considering 24 F9 Heavies would be worth TEN HLVs, not just one or two."

Assuming the hydrogen didn't boil off from the first launches into space--making a case to keep launching?
your assumption applies to the HLV as well. And the answer to your bogey man of "the hydrogen will boil off!!!!" is to launch the fuel late in the scheme of events. Regardless, your whole line of reasoning here does not address the financial benefits of launching MLVs over HLVs.
Even if it made economic sense to say, cut up the Curiosity rover and launch it on 20 or so Vanguard rockets--is that really the best thing to do?
This has nothing to do with reality. Curiousity did not launch on an HLV. If your trying to twist our "MLV is better than HLV" argument with "A smaller rocket is always cheaper" then you're not dealing with reality.
That's why Musk himself wants to build Falcon XX.
Elon has already dismissed the powerpoint slides that were going around of "Falcon XX". They have no "FXX" in development at this time.
"--an HLV that will not be operational for more than a decade." On that we will have to wait and see.
By NASA's own timeline, it won't. Only 2 launches over the next decade putting an orion capsule around the moon. Those 2 missions could easily be done with 2 MLVs per mission at a small fraction of the cost.

You want to know what the real problem with SLS is? Not that it's an HLV, but that it's the same old pork barrel jobs program NASA has been saddled with since the 70's. It will be over priced and under utilized. If NASA had been able (or wanted) to run a competition like COTS to get it built we could have had an SLS within 5 years launching at least twice per year with tons of money left over for payloads.
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Old June 23 2012, 10:57 PM   #153
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

publiusr wrote: View Post
"The Senate Launch System is being designed with NO specific mission in mind."

Lunar flybys are going to be one of many missions.
NASA has no lunar flyby mission even in the planning stages that requires SLS. They're in no position to ATTEMPT to plan such a mission since 90% of the components for it aren't even on the drawing board yet (significantly, this includes the Orion's service module).

Well, if this really is the Senate LV as people joke--and they hold the purse-strings (not slide rules--that's MSFC), they will push on
Yes, they'll spend a lot of money building it. That doesn't mean it'll actually DO anything.

The Chinese modules are not really Mir Examples.
Tiangong-1 isn't (more of a slightly scaled-down Salyut). Their plans for Tiangong-2 largely echo the Mir, though even at a slightly reduced size, this is more than can be said for NASA until at least the middle of next decade.

It was abandoning Saturn in favor of STS that really held us back. That and this push for RLVs. You might remember the 1970s Mars missions using Saturn architecture that STS gobbled up. RLVs are the technological pipe dream that has already proven not to work very well.
In the end, so are HLVs, in this case for the same basic reason: overly-optimistic projections of utility and overly conservative projections of risk.

Of particular note is the fact that Skylab entered orbit in a barely-functional state, one solar array lost and the other damaged and inoperable with its sun shield torn off. A team of astronauts had to be sent up to make repairs before the station was even useable; they rode into orbit on a Saturn-IB, NASA's smaller and less expensive medium-lift booster. A Saturn-V would have been massive overkill for a rescue mission to Skylab; more importantly, it probably wouldn't have been ready in time to keep the station's orbit from decaying.

Assuming the hydrogen didn't boil off from the first launches into space--making a case to keep launching?
ISS uses hydrazine for reboost, not LH2. Beyond that, I don't really understand what you're talking about.

Even if it made economic sense to say, cut up the Curiosity rover and launch it on 20 or so Vanguard rockets--is that really the best thing to do?
Probably not. Which is why it's a good thing Curiosity is small enough not to require an HLV to get anywhere.

On the other hand, if you were really strapped for cash you could split a space probe up into 20 parts and ship it to an orbiting space station, have the astronauts assemble it, strap some ion thrusters to it and send it on its merry way. Since you can also certify and test the probe in space BEFORE it leaves orbit, that would further avoid alot of the headaches that have plagued previous since missions (Phobos-Grunt's epic computer fail, or the Cassini's high-grain antenna failing to deploy properly).

The question really is which rocket design gives you more bang for your buck. How much time and money do really save by avoiding in-space assembly? The fact that in-space assembly and in space REPAIR are related tasks -- and the fact that every space station ever flown has required a certain amount of repair/assembly after launch -- are you really saving anything at all?

Or put that another way: if in the 1970s NASA had possessed ONLY the Saturn-V rockets as its sole means of transporting humans into space, would they have been able to salvage Skylab?

"It's the same people who crunched the numbers and figured out that the same money that is being spent on the DEVELOPMENT of the Senate Launch System could just as easily find a hundred LAUNCHES of useful payloads on the rockets we already have."

That was also the arguments of fans of clipper-ships who thought larger steel ships like Great Eastern were a waste.
LOL no it wasn't

Why, you could fund lots of schooners with that money. And you could buy lots of cessnas for the price of a C-5 Galaxy. But that is short sighted.
You're getting your analogies muddled up; in this case, it's more of a C-47 vs. the Spruce Goose. One is a large aircraft that is expected to carry a large amount of cargo at a low cost. The other is a RIDICULOUSLY large aircraft that can carry more cargo than you probably need for more money than you can probably afford.

It'll take a MAJOR technological breakthrough before HLVs become in any way economical for widespread use. SLS, far from being a breakthrough, is actually a rehash of 1970s technology slightly rearranged in a new configuration just to give some aerospace contractors and their pet space capsule something to do with their spare time. It's not even a proper launch vehicle so much as it is a multi-billion dollar nostalgia project.

As it stands, it looks like Shuttle-derived heavy lift seems secure. Obama allowed Bolden and Lori Garver (who wasn't fond of HLLVs, or so scuttlebut has it) to roll out SLS.
"Allowed" isn't the word for it; NASA is required by law to build it. The only constant when it comes to discussing NASA's budget is that Congressional mandates and priories are subject to change without reason or logic.

The good thing is that Falcon's success may erode support for the Ares-I redux that is called Liberty.
There's support for Liberty?
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Last edited by Crazy Eddie; June 23 2012 at 11:08 PM.
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Old July 1 2012, 10:01 PM   #154
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

As for Liberty we will have to wait and see. Musk has drawn first blood and has impressed Griffin--who supports Stratolaunch--which has to be huge to have a more Falcon 5 type rocket to carry a payload just shy of R-7 Soyuz launcher--so size does matter. Remember, the DoD needs a vibrant solid fuel industry to make air-to-air missiles, surface-to-air, etc. So Solid fuel solutions are likely to be propped up.

SLS is hardly Spruce Goose--which actually would have been a good Ekranoplan had they made if differently for wing-in-ground-effect.

SLS will deliver a Delta IV upper stage as a payload to place articles beyond Earth orbit--and seeing that EELVs have Musk for competition, they are gradualy coming to accept heavy-lift--especially now that my home state of Alabama (home of Delta IV) has stabbed Boeing in the heart with a new Airbus plant that is coming to Mobile to make the A320neo http://blog.al.com/live/2012/06/airb...ht_featur.html

So right now, SLS is going to look pretty good to Boeing--so they have adopted it as their own it seems www.beyondearth.com

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)
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...-aj-26-engine/

Remember, it was The Aerospace Corporation that "participated in the planning and development of system requirements for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aerospace_Corporation

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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teledesic

This all left the DoD saddled with two rockets--an albatross they tried to force on Griffin's neck, and a lot of people believed their hype about how NASA shouldn't be in the rocket building business, and should rely on private space manufacturers--meaning EELV.

And then Musk came along--a true private space company. Then--all of a sudden, the Aerospace Corp--retired Blue Suiters mind you, changed their minds and said that maybe the time isn't right for true private space:
http://spacetalknow.org/wordpress/?p=2728
http://tweetmeme.com/story/458747744...cts-nasa-watch
www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/114170-Falcon-9-Heavy-and-propellant-depots?p=1873638#post1873638

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.

Now isn't that interesting? Anytime someone talks to you about costs of this or that--think about where they are coming from. When Musk launched his first rockets, the EELVs were also just getting started. Musk was forced off the coast under the aegis of "range safety"--as if an EELV couldn't have went off course and hit his rocket instead. My guess is that this was done to eat his paypal fortune alive in immense logistics costs--and to price him out of the market--so he would quit like Beal did.

But Musk didn't. Now, seeing that the same folks who put heavy-lift down are the same folks who went after Musk--can you really believe the figures they spouted, especially now after the Druyen tanker scandal, the EELV data theft all forgotten now that Boeing and Lockmart are one big happy fleet under ULA, etc?

The heavy lift advocates are not selling things, they are engineers too long ignored by folks who want the status quo. Musk wasn't the first. Take Bob Truax who wanted low cost big dumb boosters like Sea Dragon, that NASA called technically uninteresting
http://www.articles.latimes.com/1985...kyard-rocket/2
http://neverworld.net/truax/

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.

Musk apparently does as well
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/...hase-approach/

“Falcon Heavy should not be confused with the super heavy lift rocket program being debated by the U.S. Congress,” SpaceX officially cited when revealing their Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. “That vehicle is authorized to carry between 70-130 metric tons to orbit. 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.”

So SLS hits ULA high, and Space X hits them low. No wonder the EELV folks squawk so much.

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Old July 2 2012, 01:05 AM   #155
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

Good luck with SLS getting more than 4 launches in the next 20 years. That's not a space program, it's a jobs program. Meanwhile, I believe, most of the real work will end up getting done by MLVs and FH.

And Musk may say one thing to keep NASA happy, seeing as they are a customer, but it's what he does that's important.
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Old July 2 2012, 02:44 AM   #156
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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)
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...-aj-26-engine/
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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Old July 3 2012, 12:27 AM   #157
publiusr
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post


]Since "Faster better cheaper" is the cornerstone if affordable manned space flight, their resistance to the idea should tell you something.
It tells me that folks are fed up with the Dan Golden era stagnation of endless also-ran Delta II missions of the Goldin era. And six or seven Delta IV heavies will easily cost as much as a single production SLS launch--thus no savings--just overcomplicated ISS style assembly methods and other costs that go with mission complexity that HLVs eliminate. That's why engineers favor them. Take the skycrane for Curiosity. That work-around is the direct result of EELV contraints.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post

Even the Orion capsule is probably going to perform its first lunar flyby off the top of a Delta-IV Heavy.
It's about the fact that HLVs are unneccesary for 90% of what we want to do in space
On the second bit, SLS is directly necessary for what we want to do in space
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...-nea-missions/
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...mars-approach/
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...sample-return/

The first Delta IV flight won't be a flyby but a simple test to a high Earth orbit to test the heatshield.
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...rion-progress/

Boil-off problems are not solved, and any depots are likely to be SLS launched anyway:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/...nder-proposed/


Also remember that the larger an LV is, the greater the internal volume growth--External surface area grows with the square with volume increasing by the cube--so having large diameters, especially for hydrogen--should be encouraged:
http://www.ncamlp.org/technology/fsw-history.html

As it stands, we are well on our way to SLS
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/ind...8909#msg918909

On D-IV vs Falcon heavy
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/ind...9672#msg919672

In terms of a down select--it would actually be better if Dream Chaser and Musk got the contracts, perhaps allowing them to work together and pool money, instead of Dream Chaser being a junior partner to ULA
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Old July 3 2012, 08:20 PM   #158
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

publiusr wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post


]Since "Faster better cheaper" is the cornerstone if affordable manned space flight, their resistance to the idea should tell you something.
It tells me that folks are fed up with the Dan Golden era stagnation of endless also-ran Delta II missions of the Goldin era.
Hard to be fed up with something that is no longer occurring, don't you think? That's like going to a political rally next Tuesday and saying "I'm sure we're all really fed up with Osama bin Laden."

And six or seven Delta IV heavies will easily cost as much as a single production SLS
Then it's a good thing it only takes four of them to outperform the SLS' initial payload mass.

overcomplicated ISS style assembly methods...
Have been employed and proven to work on two different space stations now. The one and only time we used an HLV to throw an entire station into orbit in one sitting... guess what? It arrived in orbit barely functional and had to be rescued by an astronaut crew anyway. Interestingly, the Soviets tried the same thing with the Energia rocket, attempting to toss an entire unmanned space station in a single sitting, resulting in epic fail and the epitaph of Energia.

Ultimately, avoiding in-space assembly doesn't save you any money, it only saves you TIME, which in the context of space flight is about the ONLY thing we have in abundance. Unless we're building a space station with the intention of fighting off a Klingon invasion next month, we can afford to take the time and split the construction up into multiple launches, which ultimately saves money AND leads to a more robust launch system that can be used to do other things.

Take the skycrane for Curiosity. That work-around is the direct result of EELV contraints.
LOL not by a longshot. It's a result of the fact that what they're essentially trying to do is a propulsive landing on mars with a robotic vehicle the size of a jeep, without having the time or the money to develop a totally new space capsule for it to ride in (which would be neccesary if you want a propulsive landing all the way to the surface without screwing up the rover's sensors). If they waited a few years they could get Elon Musk to loan them a man-rated Dragon and launch it on a Falcon Heavy. If they waited a few years longer, they could launch it on a regular Falcon 9, and then use a second Falcon 9 to lift an ion-powered transfer stage: the entire curiosity mission at one tenth the budget.

On the second bit, SLS is directly necessary for what we want to do in space
Only if we want to do it really quickly on a ridiculously huge budget. Either of which necessarily implies TEMPORARILY, which is exactly what we have always gotten with HLVs: very short-lived, very temporary space missions with absurdly high price tags.

That's the problem with HLVs: with a non-infinite budget, you can't use them very often and you can't use alot of them. Your weight restrictions are actually made WORSE, because you have to fit everything you need into a single launch and if something goes wrong you won't get another chance for AT LEAST six months. Smaller launch systems can tolerate a higher flight rate, which means more on-orbit support, which means you can launch longer missions more often for less money.

The first Delta IV flight won't be a flyby but a simple test to a high Earth orbit to test the heatshield.
The first FLYBY probably will be as well, which is what I actually said.

Boil-off problems are not solved
Hydrazine doesn't boil off.

and any depots are likely to be SLS launched anyway
And my grandmother is likely to grow wheels and become a wagon.

Also remember that the larger an LV is, the greater the internal volume growth--External surface area grows with the square with volume increasing by the cube--so having large diameters, especially for hydrogen--should be encouraged
Using hydrogen for orbital propellant, however, should not. On long term missions you need a storable propellant that doesn't need babysitting; the extra isp you get from LOX/LH2 isn't all that useful in the context of orbit changes and stationkeeping (for most spacecraft, it's a difference of like 200m/s BEFORE it gets eaten up by the extra weight of the tankage). Hydrazine takes a smaller tank and less complicated engines, and you can store it for years; twenty tons of that stuff in an orbital depot could meet the needs of a hundred space probes or a thousand Hubble telescopes.

From this you get mission flexibility: Curiosity rides up in a Falcon-9 and an astronaut crew checks it out in orbit BEFORE it leaves to make sure nothing got damaged during liftoff. And therein lies the rub: what if something DID get damaged during liftoff? Are you gonna pack up replacements and wait six months for NASA to prepare the next SLS, or are you gonna toss a repair package into orbit with the other Falcon 9 you already contracted to launch an unfueled Earth Departure Stage?

In terms of a down select--it would actually be better if Dream Chaser and Musk got the contracts, perhaps allowing them to work together and pool money, instead of Dream Chaser being a junior partner to ULA
Actually, I'm pretty sure ULA is going to wind up being the Junior Partner to Sierra Nevada; the way things are working out, NASA's mainly focussing on getting a manned spacecraft developed, not so much a man-rated ROCKET, which they see as a secondary need for commercial crew development.
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Old July 13 2012, 09:07 PM   #159
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

I would have no problems with hydrazine depots myself. That's what von Braun wanted, but folks are really risk averse today. That Briz failure spooked a lot of people. Robustness seems key:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...t-sls-mission/
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...ays-pad-stays/

There is some interesting news: The stratolauncher doesn't seem to be the only air-launched concept being looked at--and I'm not just talking White Knight 2

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...launch-system/

Dream Chaser news
www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/07/dream-chaser-nlg-skid-system-landing-tests/

Orion (wingless designs) capsule still best for returning from the Moon/Mars
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...unar-missions/

Liberty has made the news again. Liberty isn't just the Ariane 5/SRB--ATK makes a near all composite capsule. Strange mid-service module cargo design here:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...dence-liberty/



newtype_alpha wrote: View Post

Actually, I'm pretty sure ULA is going to wind up being the Junior Partner to Sierra Nevada;
I wish I could believe that--but Boeing already has their own capsule that they would like to sell:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...g-system-test/

This is also to be launched by Atlas, so Dream Chaser will wind up having to deal with a conflict of interest. This is why the downselect must be Dream Chaser and Space X, in that each compliments the other. So write your Congressmen.

Dream Chaser is profiled on page 37 of the July 2 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology, where Mark Sirangelo was interviewed. He went so far as to say that since there are no outside investors or venture capitalists, they "carry twice the industry average in R&D budget." There is talk about their great down mass capability, their BOR-4/HL-20 legacy. They bought up a lot of equipment from elsewhere--the old American Rocket Co for the hybrid motor, and Starsys Research, MicroSat, etc.

The braking mechanism for Curiosity is also theirs in part, so that may be a black mark if something goes wrong."Unlike Space X, which has moved as much component fabrication as possible in-house, Sierra Nevada usually goes outside for equipment it does not already manufacture." That worries me a little, in that it is always good to do things in-house so as to not open yourself up to some other companies problems--but this combination of in-house capability plus market savvy is one more reason a Space X/Dream Chaser combo is needed so as to compare notes.

On Page 32 of the July 9 issue of AV Week, there is a nice write-up on Space X and Sea Launch, and how Boeing's all electric bus 702SP satellite bus will allow new markets for Musk, and how ULA is "essentially out of the market for Commercial launches."

What that means is that they will be even more fierce to go after the manned capsule movement.In the UK, they wanted their own planes, like TSR-2. They got force fed the F-111 because it was to be cheaper--and wasn't. But the damage was done. I fear that ULA might try to give the old Avro Arrow treatment to Dream Chaser.

Spaceship 2 gets a nice article on page 119 of the July 9 issue. called Final Countdown.


More news:
http://aviationweek.com/onspace
http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.as...5-eda538af3f00



newtype_alpha wrote: View Post

Interestingly, the Soviets tried the same thing with the Energia rocket
That was at the end of the USSR, after the farce that was a war in Afghanistan depleted their budgets--along with the Baikal Amur Mainline. Rails ate up a lot of their budget. In late 2002, the full electrification of the Trans-Siberian Railway was at last announced--after 74 years of work. Energia was falsely blamed for the collapse of the USSR. Their attempts to match the USA in blue-water navy-to-blue water navy, Bomber-to-bomber is what broke them. Nikita wanted an all missile system--in that it would actually be cheaper. Had Energiya been built instead of N-1--or had at least been done earlier, things would have been different.


newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
LOL not by a longshot. It's a result of the fact that what they're essentially trying to do is a propulsive landing on mars with a robotic vehicle the size of a jeep
They are going to need huge aeroshells for anything larger:
http://www.universetoday.com/96119/i...sions-to-mars/

This earlier article I found to be funny:
http://www.universetoday.com/7024/th...he-red-planet/

Rob Manning the Chief Engineer for the Mars Exploration Directorate says that: “the problem is that right now the heat shield diameter for a human-capable spacecraft overwhelms any possibility of launching that vehicle from Earth....The structure would need to be about thirty to forty meters in diameter. The problem here is that large, flexible structures are notoriously difficult to control. At this point in time there are also several other unknowns of developing and using a Hypercone."

But then he goes on to say: “Mars is really begging for a space elevator,” said Manning. “I think it has great potential. That would solve a lot of problems, and Mars would be an excellent platform to try it.

So let me get this straight. He has already dismissed future HLLVs out of hand, but then in the same breath talks about a space elevator tens of thousands of miles tall, dwarfing any HLLV. That anti-heavy-lift mindset is what is hobbling us. An HLLV is just a water tower. The best thing is to just build an SLS replacement launcher in about 30-50 years time that is itself 30 meters across and just launch the aeroshell in one piece. Now if you think that sounds large, it is--but not compared to other things we build, like the Troll platform or Very Large Crude Carriers (supertankers)

Heck a reusable HLLV like NEXUS has a bulkhead very broad and shallow--very like a Mars aeroshell would need to be:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEXUS_%28rocket%29

Certain Shuttle-C designs had rigid aeroshells the width of an orbiter.
www.astronautix.com/craft/otv.htm
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1992lbsa.conf...17L
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/rideport.htm
http://pdf.aiaa.org/preview/CDReadyM...V2004_3734.pdf


And there are other LV designs that allow for very wide structures as payloads--at least potentially:
www.astronautix.com/craft/bonaucer.htm

More do-able: OTRAG
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/otrag.htm

Parallel staging allowed very large payload diameters up to 30 m and thrust acceleration to be limited to a maximum of 3 g to allow lighter payload and space vehicle structures. The low cost was mainly achieved by simple design, lack of moving components, cheap commercial materials and components, and large volume production of tens of thousands CRPU's per year.

But that would be a later step. On Page 22 of the July 2, 2012 we see an article called Going Long: One way Orion could take astronauts to Mars. "John Karas VP and general manager of Human Spaceflight at Lockheed Martin Space Systems...argues the mission would be affordable based on NASA funding history...SLS should be cheaper than a shuttle because it uses shuttle-heritage hardware in a simpler configuration." Now this would be using a halo orbit and astronauts would control rovers via telepresence.

Maybe this will help:

http://uah.edu/news/items/10-researc...-to-deep-space
http://www.universetoday.com/95991/n...ks-not-months/
http://www.bautforum.com/showthread....eks-Not-Months
https://plus.google.com/u/0/105704136900260060076/posts
http://www.csnr.usra.edu/

More on the Z-pinch
http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/07/was...-euv.html#more


My point in all this is for folks to understand that rocket size has been stagnant. In the past, engineering accelerated beyond science. The amount of brain power that went into the development of the Beagle was more than the product of any one man--and I would dare to say that Darwins discovery took less brain power than what went into that ship.

With spaceflight, the science and engineering coupled together--but sometimes got into each others way. When Brunel came up with the Great Eastern, he thankfully didn't have an oceanographer trying to raid his budget for a smaller FLIP ship. But if the former had not come along, the latter would never have been made possible. In short, planetary scientists should stop trying to interfere with rocket growth and should embrace it. In the current political climate, getting SLS killed doesn't automatically mean you free its budget up for other things. More likely is that the equipment sets around, and the money is cut, leaving everybody sour. Congress supports SLS and will support payloads for it. People need to be thankful.

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Old July 14 2012, 10:03 PM   #160
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

publiusr wrote: View Post
I would have no problems with hydrazine depots myself. That's what von Braun wanted, but folks are really risk averse today.
Considering your constant objections to in-space assembly, you would appear to be one of them.


newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Actually, I'm pretty sure ULA is going to wind up being the Junior Partner to Sierra Nevada;
I wish I could believe that--but Boeing already has their own capsule that they would like to sell:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...g-system-test/
They're welcome to try, but the CST-100 -- much like the Liberty -- is really just Boeing making a play for a CCDev grant. Their spokespeople can't say two words about the CST-100 without adding "Of course, we can't do it on our own, not without some funding from NASA *ahem ahem*." Which makes it all the more mysterious when they go ahead and develop the thing anyway even though NASA hasn't actually given them any money. I'm almost beginning to believe that the spacecraft itself is just a scam and that they'll find a way to cancel/stall development as soon as NASA starts paying for it.

This is also to be launched by Atlas, so Dream Chaser will wind up having to deal with a conflict of interest.
It wouldn't be a conflict since ULA isn't the one controlling the contract. NASA's still holding the purse strings, so it's really just a question of which design NASA wants to put money behind. In the end, Boeing and ULA will have to go along with it or risk being sidelined in the entire project (especially since the Falcon-9 could easily be adapted as a second choice for the Dreamchaser).

Unlike Space X, which has moved as much component fabrication as possible in-house, Sierra Nevada usually goes outside for equipment it does not already manufacture."
Actually, SpaceX is about the only company that manufactures all their parts in-house. That's one of the reasons people think of it as the poster child for the NewSpace movement: unlike, say, Boeing or Orbital Sciences, they're not just building on existing architecture to expand the industry, they're a wholly independent party with almost no ties to the existing political-industrial complex.

What that means is that they will be even more fierce to go after the manned capsule movement. In the UK, they wanted their own planes, like TSR-2. They got force fed the F-111 because it was to be cheaper--and wasn't. But the damage was done. I fear that ULA might try to give the old Avro Arrow treatment to Dream Chaser.
Like I said, that's what they're trying to do with the CST-100. It hasn't been working very well because NASA doesn't have that much money to give and their objective isn't so much to steer cash towards defense contactors so much as fund the development of a working spacecraft in the shortest time possible. Boeing is on the short bus because -- evidently -- nobody at NASA believes that Boeing needs the CCDev money to build a working spacecraft.


newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Interestingly, the Soviets tried the same thing with the Energia rocket
That was at the end of the USSR, after the farce that was a war in Afghanistan depleted their budgets--along with the Baikal Amur Mainline.
The budget crunch doesn't do much for the fact that their orbiting space platform tumbled out of orbit and broke up in the Earth's atmosphere hours after launch. It is the second of two datapoints demonstrating that throwing an entire space station into orbit in a single giant heave is usually a bad idea; building one piecemeal is a lot safer, a lot easier, and in the long run, a lot cheaper. This is likely to be true of manned spacecraft as well, such as the Nautilus-X concept NASA's been throwing around.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
LOL not by a longshot. It's a result of the fact that what they're essentially trying to do is a propulsive landing on mars with a robotic vehicle the size of a jeep
They are going to need huge aeroshells for anything larger
They're going to need a hell of a lot more than an aeroshell if they're planning to top Curiosity. Again, the only reason for the sky crane concept was because putting the landing platform UNDER the rover would put the thing at risk for damage due to dust and debris being blown around by the thrusters. Anything larger will have to sit inside of a fully protected space capsule with full propulsive and maneuvering capabilities, very probably with the ability to transfer to an alternate landing site if something is wrong with the primary. At that point you're basically doing a manned mission without the men; curiosity is almost that already.

So let me get this straight. He has already dismissed future HLLVs out of hand, but then in the same breath talks about a space elevator tens of thousands of miles tall, dwarfing any HLLV. That anti-heavy-lift mindset is what is hobbling us.
That's not anti-heavy lift, that's pro-space elevator. Those are two completely different things; space elevator proponents dismiss rocketry IN GENERAL, even to the point of pretending it won't be needed for spacecraft already in orbit.

Interestingly, the solution is implied in the problem: a spacecraft large enough to get to mars would need an enormous heatshield and would therefore be too large to put on an HLV. The obvious solution is to build a modular spacecraft so you can leave most of your mission mass in orbit and drop to the surface in a much smaller craft. HLVs would not be necessary for any part of this mission, and actually neither would space elevators.

An HLLV is just a water tower. The best thing is to just build an SLS replacement launcher in about 30-50 years time that is itself 30 meters across and just launch the aeroshell in one piece.
Meanwhile, someone with more vision and less HLV fanboyism can use six or seven Falcon-9s to boost a drive section, two habitat modules, two landers, and a big tank of xenon and fly the entire mission with a VASIMR. Since that craft doesn't have to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere every time it returns (assuming you planned your flight profile correctly) then it can make five trips to Mars and back before your SLS replacement even leaves the drawing board.

And what, prey tell, are you planning to land on Mars with a 30 meter heat shield? That's like moving to a new town by loading your house onto an airplane and flying it there.

My point in all this is for folks to understand that rocket size has been stagnant.
That's because rocketry, like everything else, is an industry. And industry is driven by market forces of supply and demand.

Rocket size has been stagnant because there is no demand for HLVs in the 70 ton class. There is a world of difference between market demand and something someone somewhere thinks would be cool to have; to wit, the reason there's no demand for HLVs is because 99% of what we're sending into orbit doesn't need to be that heavy. Even space stations can be assembled in orbit, so that's one less thing we need HLVs for. More damningly, it turns out that most of the things we THINK we need HLVs for could be accomplished just as easily with MLVs that already exist.

The only reason the SLS even exists is because Congress ordered NASA to build it. NASA has no specific reason to build the SLS other than that Congressional fiat; what they need RIGHT NOW is an MLV and a working space transportation system, and in a world that hadn't completely lost its mind, they would have parlayed those needs into new capabilities that slowly but surely build into NEW capabilities, resulting in a robust and reliable spaceflight architecture.

This is like Christopher Columbus refusing to sail to India unless Isabella could give him a 700 ton Carrack. "I can't sail around the world with three small boats, I need one really BIG boat to make the journey!"

In short, planetary scientists should stop trying to interfere with rocket growth and should embrace it.
Rocket GROWTH isn't an advantage here. The gamechanger is REUSABILITY: if you can recover at least the first stage of a booster, you can cut your launch costs in half, which allows you to send more payloads more often and for a lower price. That opens the market to broader participation, which means more payloads, which means more money AND more development, which in turn means better rockets and still lower prices.

An HLV is ENTIRELY counterproductive in that goal; it flies a tenth as often for twice the price and any reusability would actually make it MORE expensive, not less. We simply don't need bigger rockets to do useful things in space, we need a lot more of them, and for a lower price.

In the current political climate, getting SLS killed doesn't automatically mean you free its budget up for other things.
That's pretty much exactly what it means, since at the moment CCDev is the ONLY alternative to the SLS program. If SLS doesn't deliver a viable transportation architecture -- and it probably won't -- then NASA's left with a very small number of high-concept missions it can't do and a very large number of near-term missions it was planning to outsource to industry anyway.

It's also not really true to say that Congress supports the SLS. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Ben Nelson, along with a very small number of others, support the SLS because it provides pork funds to their political sponsors. All it takes is one bad election or one lobbyist pulling out of a real-estate deal for the question to show up on the Senate floor "Why are we spending twenty billion dollars on a new rocket when we don't have a spaceship to launch on it?"
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Old July 15 2012, 09:21 PM   #161
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

CCDev is complimentary to SLS in that NASA doesn't have to build Ares I, nor accept ULAs EELVs that are going up in price. And to say we don't have a spaceship to launch to launch on it isn't true because Orion is already largely built and a flyby looks to happen.

"Rocket size has been stagnant because there is no demand for HLVs in the 70 ton class." There was also no demand for R-7. That LV was bigger than 'needed. Korolyov could easily have waited for warheads to be shrunk down. But his answer wasn't to shrink the payload--but make the rocket bigger. The Gov't was behind him even before larger launchers came into their own as satellite launchers. Reusability? That I fear is what may make Musk broke.

Now a more squat Phil Bono design--more similar to what Bezos is looking at--might be better than landing a tall telephone pole on its tail as is to be done with Falcon.

The big reason I want Space X and Dream Chaser to work together is to keep them out of that ULA culture. Frankly Dream Chaser would have a better ride on Falcon Heavy and might evolve into an even more capable version. Muskfocus stays on the rocket, Dream Chaser on their lifting body.

I want Bezos to have some money too. I wonder if he might try to go to Brunei, Dubai or Qatar where folks have more money than they know what to do with--but ITAR restrictions and all would spook many.
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Old July 15 2012, 09:38 PM   #162
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

ITAR would make it down right impossible for Bezos to go to those locations looking for investors.

SLS and Ares I aren't needed to launch Orion. You could do the same mission cheaper and sooner using 2 launches of a Delta IV.
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Old July 15 2012, 11:45 PM   #163
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

publiusr wrote: View Post
CCDev is complimentary to SLS in that NASA doesn't have to build Ares I, nor accept ULAs EELVs that are going up in price.
The thing most people don't understand is that the EELVs aren't actually getting more expensive, only the COST PER LAUNCH is rising. Those costs are rising because the system is being used less often and it has to pay for itself over a smaller number of flights. NASA adopting the EELVs as a regular launch vehicle would reduce their prices substantially while at the same time drastically reduce NASA's operating costs. Contrast with the SLS, whose fixed price promises to be immense even if the rocket never actually flies.

Really, it's a choice between spending a lot of money for very little benefit and SAVING a lot of money for a huge benefit. In the end, the only thing you'd loose is the ability to throw a hundred tons of payload into orbit in one sitting, which -- based on the history of spaceflight -- usually turns out to be a bad idea.

And to say we don't have a spaceship to launch to launch on it isn't true because Orion is already largely built
"Largely built?" they completed the last welds on the pressure vessel of a single prototype; still missing from the design is its avionics and control software, maneuvering systems, heatshield, sensors, radars/radios, and life support systems; they haven't even finalized a design for the service module.

Hell, the Venture Star was closer to being flight ready when Congress finally cancelled it.

There was also no demand for R-7. That LV was bigger than 'needed.
That is the worst possible example you could use, considering the Soviet space program was a military program first and foremost.

NASA isn't, and unlike the old Soviet program most of our technology is being developed by private entities that work closely with but are not directly accountable to the U.S. government. That the commercial launch industry spun off from the early ICBM development efforts is where the similarity ends.

Korolyov could easily have waited for warheads to be shrunk down...
Korolyov didn't care about warheads. He was sharecropping in a military program because they were the only show in town. That's why HE considered the R-7 to be a successful rocket even though the military was less than impressed; it was too small to launch a warhead, but it was more than enough for Sputnik.

Now a more squat Phil Bono design--more similar to what Bezos is looking at--might be better than landing a tall telephone pole on its tail as is to be done with Falcon.
Don't be so sure. The taller design might benefit from greater inertia at its top end and would be that much easier to control; the taller rocket tilts more slowly and the control system would need to be less sensitive to sudden changes in direction.

The big reason I want Space X and Dream Chaser to work together is to keep them out of that ULA culture.
Sierre Nevada partially grew out of that ULA culture, so they're way beyond that point.
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Old July 20 2012, 11:08 PM   #164
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

sojourner wrote: View Post
You could do the same mission cheaper and sooner using 2 launches of a Delta IV.
That's not cheap. Now I'm trying to find out just what Falcon heavy can launch. 40 tons or 53? I get different figures...

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post

"Largely built?" they completed the last welds on the pressure vessel of a single prototype; still missing from the design is its avionics and control software, maneuvering systems, heatshield, sensors, radars/radios, and life support systems; they haven't even finalized a design for the service module.Hell, the Venture Star was closer to being flight ready when Congress finally cancelled it.
Ack--Venture Star. That is a bit of a stretch. Looks like things are on track with Orion though..warts and all:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...testing-eft-1/


newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Sierre Nevada partially grew out of that ULA culture, so they're way beyond that point.
Looks like they are staying loyal to Atlas V--the better of the two EELVs

www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/07/nasa-ula-confirm-atlas-v-baseline-human-rated-launches/

I wonder if Branson should just go to Space Ship 3--a high passenger sub-orbital ride to be launched under the Stratolauncher to fill more seats. Then for the higher tier, the falcon rocket with the dragon capsule with fewer, richer clients to orbit.

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Old July 21 2012, 01:14 AM   #165
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

publiusr wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
You could do the same mission cheaper and sooner using 2 launches of a Delta IV.
That's not cheap. Now I'm trying to find out just what Falcon heavy can launch. 40 tons or 53? I get different figures...
It is very cheap compared to SLS. As for FH, 53 tons is for the crossfed version. 40 tons for the non-crossfed.
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