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zanl188
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SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:54 am

I didn’t see an SLS / Orion mega thread... good time to start one I think.

Ascent abort test 2 took place this morning. Apparently successful.

Capsule was not recoverable, therefore equipped with ejectable recorders. NASA asked the public to return recorders if found. Lots of “Florida Man” jokes about that....

I’ll post video of test later unless someone else does in the meantime.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:20 pm

Here is the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrq71ocWMcg

Pretty impressive footage. Quite funny to see the stubby Orion assembly just lifting off seemingly on its own.
They actually used a refurbished ballistic missile booster for the test. The capsule was just a boilerplate which got discarded. The pictures early in the video show the actual size of the escape system, and it's actually quite massive and gives a good sense of just how big the SLS/Orion assembly will be.

It's good to see some progress on the Orion/SLS front. It has been painfully slow so far, especially compared to the breakneck pace of the commercial space launching scene nowadays.
 
nycbjr
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:20 pm

its great to see progress (finally) on the SLS, but I'm afraid we may never see it completed. It's so much cheaper to use commercial these days. I'm also afraid this admin doesn't have the stones to fully fund it. I'm afraid one more delay and even congress will allow its cancelation, silly since it's nearly ready.
 
zanl188
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:01 pm

Francoflier wrote:
Here is the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrq71ocWMcg

Pretty impressive footage. Quite funny to see the stubby Orion assembly just lifting off seemingly on its own.
They actually used a refurbished ballistic missile booster for the test. The capsule was just a boilerplate which got discarded. The pictures early in the video show the actual size of the escape system, and it's actually quite massive and gives a good sense of just how big the SLS/Orion assembly will be.

It's good to see some progress on the Orion/SLS front. It has been painfully slow so far, especially compared to the breakneck pace of the commercial space launching scene nowadays.


Pretty impressive to see relatively large pieces of hardware falling from the sky like that.
 
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casinterest
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:06 pm

Why did they not try to parachute the capsule in at all? Seems like a waste of money to just let it be destroyed.
 
zanl188
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:04 pm

casinterest wrote:
Why did they not try to parachute the capsule in at all? Seems like a waste of money to just let it be destroyed.


Capsule was a mockup and had no further use.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:58 pm

nycbjr wrote:
its great to see progress (finally) on the SLS, but I'm afraid we may never see it completed. It's so much cheaper to use commercial these days. I'm also afraid this admin doesn't have the stones to fully fund it. I'm afraid one more delay and even congress will allow its cancelation, silly since it's nearly ready.


The problem with commercial launchers is that none of them has the capacity the SLS has and none of them could launch Orion and its service module on the missions that are planned for them.

The only one that might come close is SpaceX's Starship, but despite their enthusiasm and optimism, it will not be ready to launch for a long while and it will take much longer yet to get approval from Nasa to launch humans in it...
 
nycbjr
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:08 pm

Francoflier wrote:
nycbjr wrote:
its great to see progress (finally) on the SLS, but I'm afraid we may never see it completed. It's so much cheaper to use commercial these days. I'm also afraid this admin doesn't have the stones to fully fund it. I'm afraid one more delay and even congress will allow its cancelation, silly since it's nearly ready.


The problem with commercial launchers is that none of them has the capacity the SLS has and none of them could launch Orion and its service module on the missions that are planned for them.

The only one that might come close is SpaceX's Starship, but despite their enthusiasm and optimism, it will not be ready to launch for a long while and it will take much longer yet to get approval from Nasa to launch humans in it...


No I agree with you completely on this, I want to see SLS finished, I'm just afraid since its delayed it might not get there.. Heres hoping!
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:56 pm

Yeah, it's definitely on shaky ground. Space exploration is always an easy target for politician when they come around trying to find money somewhere.

Let's hope it literally is 'too big to fail'...
 
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Nomadd
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:11 pm

zanl188 wrote:
casinterest wrote:
Why did they not try to parachute the capsule in at all? Seems like a waste of money to just let it be destroyed.


Capsule was a mockup and had no further use.

Capsule was a mockup and the rocket wasn't the one that will launch the real capsule. Compared to SpaceX using a production capsule, avionics and rocket, I have to wonder about the value of testing with completely different equipment than you'll fly with.
 
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casinterest
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:18 pm

Nomadd wrote:
zanl188 wrote:
casinterest wrote:
Why did they not try to parachute the capsule in at all? Seems like a waste of money to just let it be destroyed.


Capsule was a mockup and had no further use.

Capsule was a mockup and the rocket wasn't the one that will launch the real capsule. Compared to SpaceX using a production capsule, avionics and rocket, I have to wonder about the value of testing with completely different equipment than you'll fly with.


It seems this test was for a minor part, and while yes it removes unwanted variables, it makes this Orion solution look like it will have an availability a lot father off into the future. I think Blue Origin and Spacex will make Orion/SLS a waste of Money.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:43 am

casinterest wrote:
It seems this test was for a minor part, and while yes it removes unwanted variables, it makes this Orion solution look like it will have an availability a lot father off into the future. I think Blue Origin and Spacex will make Orion/SLS a waste of Money.


I'm not so sure.
As cocky as commercial space ventures are, putting humans into space is still an extremely complex task.
If anything, Orion's launch escape system is now proven to work, whereas Crew Dragon's little disappearing trick on the test stand has cast a big shadow on its crewed flights schedule.

Not to mention that Orion was designed as a space exploration spacecraft, not a ground-to-orbit-and-back shuttle. It comes with a service module that allows prolonged stints in space and a launcher that can throw it well into the solar system. It has capabilities that no other spacecraft has, even if it is way more expensive.

I'd bet that Orion/SLS could get America back on the Moon before SpaceX or Blue Origin ever could... if it gets funded.
 
zanl188
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:36 pm

SLS first stage rolled out this week.

https://youtu.be/5G9h5MQ9lAU
 
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Tugger
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:30 am

Video from Starliner of the entire launch to landing timeline.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4CeipvvYb4

Tugg
 
zanl188
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:48 am

Tugger wrote:
Video from Starliner of the entire launch to landing timeline.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4CeipvvYb4

Tugg


Cool views. But we need an Atlas V thread for Starliner. It won’t launch on SLS.
 
mxaxai
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:41 pm

Two of the three abort motors aboard Orion are now fully qualified for human spaceflight, leaving only one more test of the launch abort motor (the one that pulls the capsule away from the booster). They already did a pad abort test and an ascent abort test, I wonder what more they want to see.
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/fired-up-f ... ar-success
 
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:01 am

Some updates here:

Northrop Grumman completes a full scale test fire of the SLS booster. Builds on previous tests with improvements.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/09/02/sls-fsb-1-hotfire-test/

Test footage:
https://youtu.be/EOyBNUJ5bA8?t=1206

Comes just as NASA announces a 30% increase in costs unfortunately. :headache:
 
FGITD
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:43 am

Erebus wrote:
Some updates here:

Northrop Grumman completes a full scale test fire of the SLS booster. Builds on previous tests with improvements.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/09/02/sls-fsb-1-hotfire-test/

Test footage:
https://youtu.be/EOyBNUJ5bA8?t=1206

Comes just as NASA announces a 30% increase in costs unfortunately. :headache:



good to see the congressional make-work project is charging ahead at full steam. I heard that by 2025 they hope to have streamlined the process of sending funds directly to Boeing.

I'll always root for more space access, but SLS is the epitome of old NASA. Behind schedule, overbudget, underachieving, and seemingly going nowhere fast. If it were up to Congress, we'd still be waiting for the American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.

Kicker for me has to be that for the cost of just the RS-25 engines (disposable single use, of course) you could fund a complete Falcon Heavy launch.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:13 am

It looks like the core stage of SLS went through its wet dress rehearsal, part 7 of the 'Green run'.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54583587

It seems there was a bit of an unspecified hiccup towards the end of the test which was ended a few minutes early.
NASA will now decide if they move on to the 8th and last test: a full duration test fire of all 4 RS-25s.

The first launch is still scheduled for November 2021.
 
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zeke
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:26 pm

I was watching some video of the Orion spacecraft being moved around, they showed a NASA super guppy being used.

Are they still in service or was that old footage ?
 
LTEN11
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:52 pm

zeke wrote:
I was watching some video of the Orion spacecraft being moved around, they showed a NASA super guppy being used.

Are they still in service or was that old footage ?


Still being used.
 
WIederling
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Thu Dec 31, 2020 4:53 pm

LTEN11 wrote:
zeke wrote:
I was watching some video of the Orion spacecraft being moved around, they showed a NASA super guppy being used.

Are they still in service or was that old footage ?


Still being used.

How many rolls of speedtape? :-)
 
GDB
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:06 pm

WIederling wrote:
LTEN11 wrote:
zeke wrote:
I was watching some video of the Orion spacecraft being moved around, they showed a NASA super guppy being used.

Are they still in service or was that old footage ?


Still being used.

How many rolls of speedtape? :-)


Don't knock speed or indeed Duct Tape;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Duct ... ollo17.jpg
 
nycbjr
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:32 pm

Francoflier wrote:
It looks like the core stage of SLS went through its wet dress rehearsal, part 7 of the 'Green run'.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54583587

It seems there was a bit of an unspecified hiccup towards the end of the test which was ended a few minutes early.
NASA will now decide if they move on to the 8th and last test: a full duration test fire of all 4 RS-25s.

The first launch is still scheduled for November 2021.


This is good news! Still another year before launch, so how many years late is this? 3? Its in the category of might as well finish...
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:54 pm

A full duration burn of SLS first stage's 4 RS-25s is due to take place today at Stennis (1700-1900 EST), the last test of the 'Green Run'.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54583588

I guess NASA was happy with the tank pressurization test even though it had to end a bit early.

That should be impressive to watch, I wonder if it'll be streamed?
 
zanl188
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:32 pm

It’s on the NASA YouTube channel now.
 
zanl188
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:32 pm

Core stage just fired up. Appears to me they had unplanned shutdown at about t+60 secs.
 
texl1649
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Jan 17, 2021 1:28 am

Apparently only went half as long as planned. First thing to happen early for SLS is a shut down, appropriate.
 
FGITD
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Jan 17, 2021 1:31 am

Best to play it safe. Spend a few billion more, regroup in 2035 and see if they can't get a full duration test done.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:21 am

Yeah so that went about as expected...
:sigh:

At least it looked pretty.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFTiJXj-dFs

MCF (Main Component Failure) for engine 4 was called around T+40s, though all parameters appeared normal afterwards and apparently a small flash was seen around the base of engine 4 just before shutdown.
 
dobilan
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:04 pm

Maybe they are simply using too old tech. Too complex, too many components, too failure prone. But ss said above, at least it looked nice.
 
texl1649
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:57 pm

dobilan wrote:
Maybe they are simply using too old tech. Too complex, too many components, too failure prone. But ss said above, at least it looked nice.


The RS-25’s have a perfect flight history over something like 30 years. Great engine, well engineered, that is frankly still technologically amazing. I disagree that it is too complex/failure prone as such, but it is really, really tough to say much positive about the SLS/ULA program such that it is.
 
GDB
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:09 pm

Some interesting commentary from Scott Manley;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG8Wv8-4xFM

Disappointing as it was, there is I think a double standard with excess Space X fandom often at work.
Plenty of jokes about 'Elon time' for example, (Falcon Heavy was some 3 years later than originally planned).
End of the day, if you want beyond LEO manned flight, you need Orion, while SLS itself became, as Scott points out, a victim of, as it seems everything in the US including coping with a once in a century pandemic, the partisan politics of the political system.
(How many 'free market' types wanted to scupper or divert funding from the Commercial Crew Program to the government run SLS, wouldn't be pork for their states by any chance?)
Result, both programs are/were late, Commercial Crew made it, well with the outsider in that effort being first and Boeing really dropping the ball, while the more complex SLS moves slowly on.

Like another prominent space commentator, Tim Dodd, I'm 'Team Space', sure Tim has in long videos not hidden his own irritation at SLS, however let's be real here.
Like many, I am a huge fan of SpaceX, however never forget that this private buccaneer vs government argument often heard, neglects the several billion in support Space X got from NASA.
Without that, US astronauts would still be reliant on the Russians.

While Boca Chica is becoming an actual rocket factory/test and launch center, before our very eyes, it will be years before it carries anything, especially crew beyond LEO.
 
estorilm
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:26 pm

Wow, the SpaceX fandom is in full swing! :wave:



dobilan wrote:
Maybe they are simply using too old tech. Too complex, too many components, too failure prone. But ss said above, at least it looked nice.

As someone else mentioned, they have a perfect success record (even with the sensor shutdown on STS-51-F, it still made it to orbit fine).

They still remain one of the most efficient engines ever created - and combined with their overall thrust and specific impulse, are pretty much the best in their category even compared with SpaceX's full-flow methalox Raptor. We also had like 16 of these things sitting around doing absolutely NOTHING. Seems like a no-brainer to me that we use them in a project like this.

Francoflier wrote:
Yeah so that went about as expected...
:sigh:

At least it looked pretty.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFTiJXj-dFs

MCF (Main Component Failure) for engine 4 was called around T+40s, though all parameters appeared normal afterwards and apparently a small flash was seen around the base of engine 4 just before shutdown.

As expected? Yes because we've seen SO MANY RS-25 issues over the past few decades lol. I think the MCF call-out was far later than that - total run-time was around 67 seconds, right? I believe everything happened within a few seconds including shutdown. Abort limits and procedures for this rocket and all of its associated tests are EXTREMELY struct, as it's the only one which currently exists (combined with public and political pressure on SLS, which IMHO is NOT NASA's fault.) Either way - they simply can't afford for this unit to incur any damage.

FGITD wrote:
Best to play it safe. Spend a few billion more, regroup in 2035 and see if they can't get a full duration test done.

Har har. Would you like to contribute anything meaningful to the discussion? If everyone was sure the test would go perfect, they wouldn't have tested it. As I mentioned above, their abort limits are probably some of the most strict in rocket testing history (and the polar opposite of SpaceX).

People are so used to COMMERCIAL space rockets non-stop, every day, from multiple companies, that I feel we've all forgotten how testing goes for human-rated systems and rockets. Also, this isn't some little cube-sat vehicle - as it sits at Stennis right now, it's the most powerful core / 1st stage rocket in the world. When launched (if successful) it will be the most powerful rocket in history. On its first launch!!! There is no destructive testing here, no "well.. that looks better, lets give this one a shot, we've got plenty more available" mentality.

They are also exponentially more complicated with up to triple redundancy in place; ie triple the systems, sensors, computers, and abort scenarios. SpaceX got lucky with the Falcon 9 / NASA and was able to rate it with minimal changes, but it's still a far more simple system compared to typical NASA human-rated rockets. Also FWIW NASA basically skirted around their own definition of "human rated" with the F9 as a first stage system.

I love SpaceX, but it's private money and they only have to answer to shareholders. NASA might take longer (and have to deal with boatloads of bureaucracy and red tape) but considering what they've accomplished historically, they have a remarkable launch and safety record.


texl1649 wrote:
Apparently only went half as long as planned. First thing to happen early for SLS is a shut down, appropriate.

LOL this is NOT "early" for SLS, its next step is literally to be stacked ahead of launch. No mini-rocket, no sub-scale, no simulation. This will be the most powerful rocket to LEO / lunar trajectory in history when it flies.
Lol "early" :lol: :roll:

I guess people think this stuff is simple just because we've got modern computers now? :lol:



In any event, if people watched the post-test press conference, they mentioned a few things but obviously not much.

The failure seemed to be associated with the start of one of the gimbal test profiles. He mentioned there was a "flash" noted in one of the protective skirts on RS-25 #4 - I believe this was right around the MCF and TVC callouts, and basically right at shut-off. Again the NASA rep mentioned that engine #4 controller sent a command to the core's master computer to initiate shutdown of the entire set. When asked MULTIPLE times about the MCF call-out and the command by #4 by reporters later on, he failed to elaborate - so I wonder if people in the background were gesturing for him to shut up lol - which is sad as SpaceX or Elon would probably give us all the data and joke about what potentially blew up, etc. Alas, this is a government agency with a LOT of eyes on them right now, especially heading into a new administration.

A "flash" around the skirt concurrent with the start of a gimbal profile might indicate some of the flexible piping or fittings didn't exactly.... flex. With an engine that complicated (operating at that performance level) ANY plumbing failure could be catastrophic within a few milliseconds. I think it's been said that components within the RS-25 operate at pressures exceeding those of the depth at which the Titanic sits.

They mentioned that they have a set of four RS-25s ready to go (don't confuse these with the complete stock of RS-25's available to SLS in the future). Those four mentioned are already at Stennis and have been updated to the latest SLS specs with the new controllers, and I believe may have even been static-fired as well.

Still, the turn-around time isn't exactly quick - the NASA rep also mentioned that the hydrolox fuels used here require a drying period of nearly a month before they can really get into the engine and swap things out and/or prep for another firing unfortunately.

In fact, it might almost be faster to swap the entire set of four engines onto the core and refurb the four from this test?
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:45 am

estorilm wrote:
Wow, the SpaceX fandom is in full swing! :wave:



Where? In your head?
There is hardly a SpaceX v. SLS debate going on here. Just people a bit jaded with a mostly political program that is chronically late, overbudget and lacking in the achievement department. Not exactly the stuff that makes people excited about its prospects, unfortunately.

Those are the symptoms of a Space program entirely dreamt up by politicians and which sounded good on paper (stitching old NASA hardware together and flinging it to Mars) but didn't really hold its promises once the realities of engineering started to rear their ugly heads.

What SpaceX has done is not to show that their approach is best, it's just to shine new light on the business practices of the established government contractors and to rightfully make taxpayers question whether they're getting the best bang for their buck.
 
FGITD
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:22 pm

I would agree, there’s some ribbing but I don’t see much actually fanboy vs fanboy.

I think since Musk has seemingly toned down a little or because the programs are all actually in development, the “Elon time” and X jokes have died off a bit. They are for the most part doing what they said they would.

I want SLS to succeed, in no small part because I have doubts about Starship, but also because I want to see NASA do well and get it right. But it’s challenging to cheer the program on when it was meant to be a shining example of reuseability of components, and so far it seems like it was just a way to keep paying the same contractors. What right exactly, did any of the STS contractors have to be involved in SLS? The program differences are night and day. One is a deep space program, and the other was a LEO dump truck.

I’m afraid the risk tolerance at NASA has gotten so low that any program will take billions of dollars, and years more than planned. They’re in a bind. Launch a test and it blows up...years of congressional inquiries, safety investigations, etc etc etc all likely negate whatever information they learned in the first place. It’s the downside of being a government agency
 
GDB
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:04 am

FGITD wrote:
I would agree, there’s some ribbing but I don’t see much actually fanboy vs fanboy.

I think since Musk has seemingly toned down a little or because the programs are all actually in development, the “Elon time” and X jokes have died off a bit. They are for the most part doing what they said they would.

I want SLS to succeed, in no small part because I have doubts about Starship, but also because I want to see NASA do well and get it right. But it’s challenging to cheer the program on when it was meant to be a shining example of reuseability of components, and so far it seems like it was just a way to keep paying the same contractors. What right exactly, did any of the STS contractors have to be involved in SLS? The program differences are night and day. One is a deep space program, and the other was a LEO dump truck.

I’m afraid the risk tolerance at NASA has gotten so low that any program will take billions of dollars, and years more than planned. They’re in a bind. Launch a test and it blows up...years of congressional inquiries, safety investigations, etc etc etc all likely negate whatever information they learned in the first place. It’s the downside of being a government agency


Totally agree, STS has cast a long shadow, worth remembering that it was 2-3 years late since, as with every aspect of it, it was massively oversold, due to political pressure which birthed the highly compromised, 14 Astronaut killing design in the first place.
Even the Marxist-Leninists in the Kremlin ran the numbers and saw they made no sense, in costs, missions per year etc.
Hence they suspected a military role beyond just launching Spy Sats, not helped when Vandenberg was cited as a possible launch site too. This during the era of Apollo-Soyuz and Detente.
Which is why they did Buran, ironically a better system had it got the chance.

The original ideas for Shuttle-C made sense, with the Orbiter replaced by cargo, minimum change and all that.
With far fewer STS launches, none of that Congressman In Space, Teacher In Space and they even apparently had plans for a Kid In Space.
Spacelab missions, at least before a proper station was built, which Shuttle-C could have made easier, launching and servicing Hubble, other than those hard to justify, even the idea of repairing commercial satellites in orbit was more expensive than making and launching a new one on a conventional rocket, hardly surprising when each STS mission and servicing afterwards cost as much as an Apollo flight.
 
FGITD
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:28 am

GDB wrote:
FGITD wrote:
I would agree, there’s some ribbing but I don’t see much actually fanboy vs fanboy.

I think since Musk has seemingly toned down a little or because the programs are all actually in development, the “Elon time” and X jokes have died off a bit. They are for the most part doing what they said they would.

I want SLS to succeed, in no small part because I have doubts about Starship, but also because I want to see NASA do well and get it right. But it’s challenging to cheer the program on when it was meant to be a shining example of reuseability of components, and so far it seems like it was just a way to keep paying the same contractors. What right exactly, did any of the STS contractors have to be involved in SLS? The program differences are night and day. One is a deep space program, and the other was a LEO dump truck.

I’m afraid the risk tolerance at NASA has gotten so low that any program will take billions of dollars, and years more than planned. They’re in a bind. Launch a test and it blows up...years of congressional inquiries, safety investigations, etc etc etc all likely negate whatever information they learned in the first place. It’s the downside of being a government agency


Totally agree, STS has cast a long shadow, worth remembering that it was 2-3 years late since, as with every aspect of it, it was massively oversold, due to political pressure which birthed the highly compromised, 14 Astronaut killing design in the first place.
Even the Marxist-Leninists in the Kremlin ran the numbers and saw they made no sense, in costs, missions per year etc.
Hence they suspected a military role beyond just launching Spy Sats, not helped when Vandenberg was cited as a possible launch site too. This during the era of Apollo-Soyuz and Detente.
Which is why they did Buran, ironically a better system had it got the chance.

The original ideas for Shuttle-C made sense, with the Orbiter replaced by cargo, minimum change and all that.
With far fewer STS launches, none of that Congressman In Space, Teacher In Space and they even apparently had plans for a Kid In Space.
Spacelab missions, at least before a proper station was built, which Shuttle-C could have made easier, launching and servicing Hubble, other than those hard to justify, even the idea of repairing commercial satellites in orbit was more expensive than making and launching a new one on a conventional rocket, hardly surprising when each STS mission and servicing afterwards cost as much as an Apollo flight.


Despite its flaws, NASA did a fine job making the shuttle out to be a dream machine. Kids from the 80s literally watched it blow up a teacher, and most still probably would think it was the greatest in space travel. And no doubt, a fascinating vehicle but definitely one worth leaving on the past. I have always enjoyed the story you mention...that the Russians realized the shuttle made no sense, but figured the Americans had to be up to something so they gave it try.

I agree, I think the real value from the shuttle derivatives should have been the -C or the HLV. Let a commercial program get the crew up, and use a different heavy lifting booster to get the actual spacecraft/lander up. Transfer crew in Earth orbit, give it a couple shakedown orbits, then go for TLI. A bit riskier with multiple launches, maybe. But we don't just have until 1970 to reach the moon anymore. Let's take our time and do it properly.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:24 pm

Some more details have emerged about the premature shutdown:

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55727686


As I understand it, it seemed to have been a transient low hydraulic level and low hydraulic pressure alarms in auxiliary power unit #2, which were intentionally set a bit high to protect the test hardware...

"On auxiliary power unit 2, we saw a low indication on the hydraulic reservoir level, and the hydraulic pressure. Those two 'low cuts' went through their checks over a series of milliseconds," said Honeycutt.
"And on the three checks that it took, it stayed low and it sent the command to the flight computer to advance the shutdown."
He said that this issue would not have caused any interruption on a real flight of the rocket.


Interestingly, the booster has a hard limit of 9 pressurization (fueling) cycles. They've used 3 cycles already including this test.
This may influence the decision to perform a re-test or not.

It may have been a non-event, but the engineers still haven't gotten the data they needed, for which they would need over 4 minutes of burn time.
Meanwhile, the political pressure to perform the first flight before the end of the year will likely grow...

I wouldn't want to be the guy having to make that decision. :scared:
 
mxaxai
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:45 pm

Interesting. That would indicate that, as Scott Manley in his video already speculated, the new hydraulic APU was ultimately the cause for the test failure.

Of course, since SLS is being tested with flight hardware rather expendable models like Starship, they have to be a lot more cautious during this test. If the test booster suffers any major damage, a flight in 2021 is virtually impossible. There is no backup booster ready yet.
Here's a good article on the test campaign for this booster prior to launch: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/08 ... ore-stage/
 
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Nomadd
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:06 pm

The problem doesn't sound bad. The reaction to the problem is the trouble. The other guys will diagnose an engine problem and have a replacement with corrective measure swapped in with static fires done a week later. The guys estorilm is trying to defend can't seem to install an extra Tie wrap without thinking about it for six months.
Trying to claim that the RS-25 is superior to the Raptor when it's only advantage is ISP, which is solely because it's a different fuel, is particularly absurd, even without considering the fact that the RS-25 costs over 100 times as much.
 
GDB
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:45 pm

Nomadd wrote:
The problem doesn't sound bad. The reaction to the problem is the trouble. The other guys will diagnose an engine problem and have a replacement with corrective measure swapped in with static fires done a week later. The guys estorilm is trying to defend can't seem to install an extra Tie wrap without thinking about it for six months.
Trying to claim that the RS-25 is superior to the Raptor when it's only advantage is ISP, which is solely because it's a different fuel, is particularly absurd, even without considering the fact that the RS-25 costs over 100 times as much.


Understood, however hopefully when Starship is developing towards being human rated, which I think we all want to see, the ultra quick fixes and turnarounds that SpaceX are rightly feted for, won't be so quick.
An obvious example, that failure of the Crew Dragon ground test, yes they got it fixed and pretty fast, but not remotely as quickly as we are used to with SpaceX.
Fact is though, they were taken by surprise by that failure, in a vehicle designed to carry people.
But they got, in end, the first 21st Century manned vehicle.
Boeing's Starliner on the other hand.....

While I agree that unlike the Apollo era there is no 'do it by 1970' race, not having a fixed finishing line can lead to stagnation, the vagaries of different administrations, while the race created the disaster of Apollo 1, it also lead to the triumph of Apollo 8 and what followed.
Before it was pissed away.

Then there is the other object lesson of the Shuttle era, not putting all your eggs into one basket, COTS should address that for LEO, beyond that, for all the understandable irritations and anger around SLS, it will still likely launch crews before any Starship, it might be the bridge between renewed beyond LEO operations and the hopeful eventual maturity of Starship and other newer players.
 
texl1649
Posts: 1960
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:12 pm

I do think that in a sane world NASA would have spent less on SLS somehow, and more to develop a man rated FH derivative as an alternate option. I don’t think for TLI it could hit the same capabilities as SLS but it would be a very useful vehicle in concept, and should be a relatively easy (again, compared to SLS) thing to develop from an existing rocket/systems.

https://thespacereview.com/article/2737/1
 
mxaxai
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:54 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I do think that in a sane world NASA would have spent less on SLS somehow, and more to develop a man rated FH derivative as an alternate option. I don’t think for TLI it could hit the same capabilities as SLS but it would be a very useful vehicle in concept, and should be a relatively easy (again, compared to SLS) thing to develop from an existing rocket/systems.

https://thespacereview.com/article/2737/1

The problem here is that Orion is NASA's deep space spacecraft, and with a TLI mass of ~26 tons I doubt that FH could launch it to the moon. Obviously Orion was designed for SLS, so SLS' TLI payload capacity matches well with Orion's launch mass. If they were to switch to FH, they'd have to ask SpaceX to develop a deep-space rated version of Crew Dragon, a smaller variant of Orion, or a completely new capsule.
 
texl1649
Posts: 1960
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:58 pm

mxaxai wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
I do think that in a sane world NASA would have spent less on SLS somehow, and more to develop a man rated FH derivative as an alternate option. I don’t think for TLI it could hit the same capabilities as SLS but it would be a very useful vehicle in concept, and should be a relatively easy (again, compared to SLS) thing to develop from an existing rocket/systems.

https://thespacereview.com/article/2737/1

The problem here is that Orion is NASA's deep space spacecraft, and with a TLI mass of ~26 tons I doubt that FH could launch it to the moon. Obviously Orion was designed for SLS, so SLS' TLI payload capacity matches well with Orion's launch mass. If they were to switch to FH, they'd have to ask SpaceX to develop a deep-space rated version of Crew Dragon, a smaller variant of Orion, or a completely new capsule.


Well, Bridenstine certainly thinks it is possible to launch an Orion on FH. I do think it would take more launches/assembly vs. the concept of the stage 4 SLS ultimate development, but we're talking about a project that is behind schedule, and paying a hundred million per (disposable) engine. Options should still be on the table, respectfully.

However, Bridenstine then laid out one scenario that has huge implications, not for a 2020 launch, but one later on. Until now, it was thought that only NASA's Space Launch System could directly inject the Orion spacecraft into a lunar orbit, which made it the preferred option for getting astronauts to the Moon for any potential landing by 2024. However, Bridenstine said there was another option: a Falcon Heavy rocket with an Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage built by United Launch Alliance. "Talk about strange bedfellows," he mused about the two rocket rivals.

This plan has the ability to put humans on the Moon by 2024, Bridenstine said. He then emphasized—twice—that NASA's chief of human spaceflight, William Gerstenmaier, has yet to bless this approach due to a number of technical details. His reservations include the challenge of integrating the Falcon Heavy rocket in a horizontal position and then loading Orion with fuel in a vertical configuration on the launchpad. The Falcon Heavy would also require a larger payload fairing than it normally flies with. This would place uncertain stress on the rocket's side-mounted boosters.

"It would require time [and] cost, and there is risk involved," Bridenstine said. "But guess what—if we're going to land boots on the Moon in 2024, we have time, and we have the ability to accept some risk and make some modifications. All of that is on the table. There is nothing sacred here that is off the table. And that is a potential capability that could help us land boots on the Moon in 2024."

With this comment, Bridenstine broke a political taboo. For the first time, really, a senior NASA official had opened the door to NASA flying its first crewed missions to the Moon on a Falcon Heavy rocket built by SpaceX. An official with the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/04 ... -the-moon/

The article then gets into politics which is...tricky to discuss. However/very briefly, Senator Shelby of Alabama (the ULA key senate champion) perhaps is going to have less influence than in the past. Now, I do think Bridenstine was great at his job, however, and we will see what his successor says/does moving forward. If SLS does, in fact, not launch as planned this year, things could get interesting.

https://twitter.com/13ericralph31/statu ... 37824?s=20

Again, I'm not really asserting it should be done in the next few months, but it is not an absurd consideration, either;

If ULA is unable to essentially produce a Delta IV Heavy from scratch in less than 12-18 months, Falcon Heavy would be next in line to launch Orion/ESM, a use-case that might actually be less absurd than it seems. Thanks to the fact that SpaceX’s payload fairing is actually wider than the large Orion spacecraft (5.2 m (17 ft) vs. 5 m (16.5 ft) in diameter), any major risks of radical aerodynamic problems can be largely retired, although that would still need to be verified with models and/or wind-tunnel testing. The only major change that would need to be certified is ensuring that the Falcon second stage is capable of supporting the Orion/ESM payload, weighing at least ~26 metric tons (~57,000 lb) at launch. The heaviest payloads SpaceX has launched thus far were likely its Iridium NEXT missions, weighing around 9600 kg (21,100 lb).


https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-falcon ... on-launch/
 
nycbjr
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:45 pm

I truly hope they launch this year (or a small slip into 2022), otherwise yes it could get the axe. It is what 5 years late?
 
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MadAstronaut
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:47 pm

Many experts tell the SLS project is a failure, but I don't want it to be true. I see how much money was spent on this project, and I don't want it to fail. I hope NASA will solve all problems and send at least an uncrewed mission this or next year.
 
WIederling
Posts: 10041
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:40 am

GDB wrote:
Then there is the other object lesson of the Shuttle era, not putting all your eggs into one basket, COTS should address that for LEO, beyond that, for all the understandable irritations and anger around SLS, it will still likely launch crews before any Starship, it might be the bridge between renewed beyond LEO operations and the hopeful eventual maturity of Starship and other newer players.


Anything substantial known about how the Chinese went by their Moon sample return mission?
More qualified COTS stuff?
Back when, to get high performance we went for some industrial ( even P packaging ) semiconductors for MIRO.
Nothing available in MIL. Worked nicely, ...
 
GDB
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Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Feb 28, 2021 2:23 pm

WIederling wrote:
GDB wrote:
Then there is the other object lesson of the Shuttle era, not putting all your eggs into one basket, COTS should address that for LEO, beyond that, for all the understandable irritations and anger around SLS, it will still likely launch crews before any Starship, it might be the bridge between renewed beyond LEO operations and the hopeful eventual maturity of Starship and other newer players.


Anything substantial known about how the Chinese went by their Moon sample return mission?
More qualified COTS stuff?
Back when, to get high performance we went for some industrial ( even P packaging ) semiconductors for MIRO.
Nothing available in MIL. Worked nicely, ...


While China is not as secretive as Cold War USSR was, it's not open either, there is hope that science findings from it's Lunar and Mars missions will be fully shared. the operative word here is 'hope', not certainty.
Any industrial/technical spinoffs I imagine they'll keep for themselves, whether that's in advance of the state of the art generally, who knows?

Unlike the US Space Program then, any industrial/commercial spinoffs didn't do the USSR much good.
Not that sort of a system.
Some answers as to why, (rather beyond the scope of spaceflight however);

An early doc from my favorite film maker, (who this month dropped 6 films over 8 hours on the BBC i-player and available on this site too), this one filmed just before the USSR collapsed had both good access and with as it turned out, great timing too, if you have i-player access a better version on there;
https://thoughtmaybe.com/pandoras-box/
 
WIederling
Posts: 10041
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Re: SLS / Orion - Tests, Launches, & Developments

Sun Feb 28, 2021 4:14 pm

GDB wrote:
WIederling wrote:
GDB wrote:
Then there is the other object lesson of the Shuttle era, not putting all your eggs into one basket, COTS should address that for LEO, beyond that, for all the understandable irritations and anger around SLS, it will still likely launch crews before any Starship, it might be the bridge between renewed beyond LEO operations and the hopeful eventual maturity of Starship and other newer players.


Anything substantial known about how the Chinese went by their Moon sample return mission?
More qualified COTS stuff?
Back when, to get high performance we went for some industrial ( even P packaging ) semiconductors for MIRO.
Nothing available in MIL. Worked nicely, ...


While China is not as secretive as Cold War USSR was, it's not open either, there is hope that science findings from it's Lunar and Mars missions will be fully shared. the operative word here is 'hope', not certainty.
Any industrial/technical spinoffs I imagine they'll keep for themselves, whether that's in advance of the state of the art generally, who knows?

Unlike the US Space Program then, any industrial/commercial spinoffs didn't do the USSR much good.
Not that sort of a system.
Some answers as to why, (rather beyond the scope of spaceflight however);

An early doc from my favorite film maker, (who this month dropped 6 films over 8 hours on the BBC i-player and available on this site too), this one filmed just before the USSR collapsed had both good access and with as it turned out, great timing too, if you have i-player access a better version on there;
https://thoughtmaybe.com/pandoras-box/

I'll look into that ... when I have some idle time at hand.

spinoffs are to a large part folklore. fewer things than is "known" passed that line.

Soviets had some very interesting line of sensors and other tech solutions diverging from the west.
( Just like their healt research is much less "expensive prescription drug and machinery" oriented.)

competition is a driver. But in the western system it has developed choking autonomy from lack of regulation.

Soviets had academic and political competition but not for production.
China seems to go for political leadership deciding on objectives and competition/markets for solutions.
( contrast with markets have leadership and look to politics to fix the problems they created :-)

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