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NASA Transportation Upgrades

NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever 146

Posted by timothy
from the because-rockets dept.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, NASA has given a green light to the production of a new motor, dubbed the Space Launch System, intended to enable deep space exploration. Boeing, prime contractor on the rocket, announced on Wednesday that it had completed a critical design review and finalized a $US2.8-billion contract with NASA. The last time the space agency made such an assessment of a deep-space rocket was the mighty Saturn V, which took astronauts to the moon. ... Space Launch System's design called for the integration of existing hardware, spurring criticism that it's a "Frankenstein rocket," with much of it assembled from already developed technology. For instance, its two rocket boosters are advanced versions of the Space Shuttle boosters, and a cryogenic propulsion stage is based on the motor of a rocket often used by the Air Force. The Space Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group and frequent NASA critic, said Space Launch System was "built from rotting remnants of left over congressional pork. And its budgetary footprints will stamp out all the missions it is supposed to carry, kill our astronaut program and destroy science and technology projects throughout NASA."
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NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

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  • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @08:35AM (#47387761) Homepage

    . Space Launch System's design called for the integration of existing hardware, spurring criticism that it's a "Frankenstein rocket," with much of it assembled from already developed technology.

    I would much rather them use existing tried tech and incrementally advance them rather than try a radical new design. A new design would take extra years of testing before it is ready for use but if we can tweak existing tech, and make it useful for deep space why not??

    Based on the next sentence it tells me that they are more concerned with bringing home the bacon than making progress in space.

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Saturday July 05, 2014 @08:39AM (#47387775)

      Yeah I don't see how "propulsion stage is based on the motor of a rocket often used by the Air Force" is a negative thing about it. If anything that suggests they might actually be able to deliver something that works.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2014 @08:48AM (#47387807)

        The problem is that this rocket was designed by the senate so the money would be spent in as many states as possibles. US senators are usually lawyers, not engineers, there's no way they have the technical knowledge to design a good rocket.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          In his 2010 budget proposal, President Obama essentially proposed the elimination of US Manned Spaceflight. He cancelled the Constellation program and replaced it with NOTHING. The ISS would have continued for a few years with Americans riding Russian rockets to and fro, and there was a nod to "commercial space" guys like SpaceX (who would have had ISS as their only actual destination for just a few years, but that was it - no PROGRAM, no PROJECT, no DESTINATION. This was no surprise, since early in his 200

          • You're forgetting that the Constellation program was based around a very flawed man-rated booster, the Ares I. For instance, an mission abort 30-60 seconds after launch would kill the entire crew because the exploding solid-fueled rocket fragments was ignite the parachutes that would allow the crew to land safely. The rocket also had oscillation issues, and also caused severe damage to the launchpad. It was also on a spiraling cost pattern when it was canceled; the predicted budget went from $28 billion in

      • Yeah I don't see how "propulsion stage is based on the motor of a rocket often used by the Air Force" is a negative thing about it.

        It's a leftover from the early days of NASA. See, NASA was a CIVILIAN agency, and couldn't associate with those warmongers in the Air Force and Navy.

        As a result, NASA rockets used only technology that wasn't developed with a military purpose in mind. So no ICBMs as launch vehicles, that sort of thing.

        Yes, I know they ended up using Atlas and Titan II, because their civilian-

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cavreader (1903280)

          Without the war mongering Air Force and Navy or the military in general most of the technology you enjoy using today would be non-existent or significantly less advanced. Technology advances in general have been accelerated ever since the Chinese, Persians, Greeks, and Romans began trying to conquer the world. Civilian companies working on space technologies today are all taking advantage of work pioneered by the warmongers to advance science and make profits. They have all benefited from the trillions of d

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          pure as the driven snow....

          ...driven by the exhaust of military jets built [and/or made up of parts made] by the same contractors who build stuff for NASA.

          • Not arguing. Merely pointing out that "once upon a time..." when NASA was being created, the people in charge really had a "we want no military hardware, nor the results of military research here, because we are all about PEACEFUL space exploration"....

            And apparently, a few of them have managed to retain that mindset.

            Note that they're as anti-business as they are anti-military - if it's not driven purely by SCIENCE! it's got no business here. Hence the "Elon Musk is the Debhil, and SpaceX is his Great T

        • But from Saturn forward it's been pure as the driven snow....

          Perhaps as pure as snow falling from the skies in Bejing. Both the Atlas and Delta systems are based on old military hardware. The Shuttle was partly Air Force. And since the United Space Alliance (USA! USA!) is Boeing and Lockheed which, together, form a substantial part of the Military Industrial Complex, the difference between 'civilian' and military is basically the paint job.

          • And since the United Space Alliance...

            They weren't quite that cute with the acronym. It's United Launch Alliance. ULA. And until SpaceX, it was an illegal monopoly. But of course no one is going to enforce that...

          • by jandrese (485)
            Any non-military ideology didn't last terribly long inside NASA. The Space Shuttle only makes sense in the context of crazy cold war missions that the Air Force thought up where it would lauch on a polar oribt, make one pass over the USSR, and then land again on the assumption that any satellite that came around for a second pass would get shot down. Of course this mission profile requires a vehicle that's horrendously complex and expensive to operate which is why the Shuttle was never terribly good at it
        • by thrich81 (1357561)

          Nice theory except the Saturn I was a DOD program before it was a NASA program. It was DOD money which initiated the Saturn program and von Braun's team in Huntsville who developed the Saturn I were not transferred from the Army to NASA until March of 1960, a year and a half after the Saturn program was started by the DOD Advanced Research Projects Agency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's just rather old fashioned compared to the Russian single cycle engines from the 1970's.

    • by wbr1 (2538558) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @08:53AM (#47387829)
      In my opinion the problem is not reuse of existing tech. It allows reuse of manufacturing capability, it comes with well known maintenance and troubleshooting procedures, etc. The problem is handing the gov a huge bill for doing very little, and using existing tech to milk out a big payday, and not choosing the tech based on suitability, or using it to advance the science any. The latter is something Boeing has been very good at.
      • er...am i alone in thinking
        look: if it means fast, then i'm good with it. we haven't replaced the shuttle yet and philosophically, we need our own menas of getting our people into space rather than relying on a nation with whom relations are potentially quite variable.

        ed
        • by Smallpond (221300)

          NASA is doing what it should do, spend research dollars on stuff companies won't do. Space-X and other commercial ventures will be able to do day-to-day launches.

          • by bbn (172659) <baldur.norddahl@gmail.com> on Saturday July 05, 2014 @09:39AM (#47387953)

            SpaceX already has Falcon 9 Heavy which will do most of what NASA wants to do with SLS. In addition SpaceX is developing the Mars Colonial Transporter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org] which will put 100 tons of cargo on Mars. In comparison the SLS will only put 100 tons in low earth orbit.

            Oh and the Mars Colonial Transporter will be reusable.

            • SpaceX do not "already have" a Falcon 9 heavy, its still in development and won't have its first launch until next year at the earliest.

              • by bbn (172659)

                Next year is much sooner than SLS.

                The main reason that Falcon 9 Heavy is delayed is said to be that they are sold out on stages. They can't produce them fast enough to spare some to test the heavy.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                And the first test launch of SLS isn't planned for another three years. SLS will be completely obsolete before its first launch! They should cancel the entire thing and split its budget between the commercial crew & cargo programs, planetary science, and perhaps more ISS upgrades like a full size artificial gravity module.

        • Why?

          Look, I agree with you in a long term sense. But the United States didn't have the capability of putting people into space between about 1975 and 1981. Somehow we survived as a nation for those six years.

          Some of the issue I have with these things are launch costs eating up NASA's budget. I'd far rather see NASA farm out Low-Earth Orbit flights to Space-X and the like than have them waste taxpayer money on their own system which is only "just as good" yet costs twice as much.

          Now, that said, this sort

      • by gman003 (1693318)

        My problem with SLS is that it's a rocket built almost entirely on existing tech, and it's still taking them this long to develop it. You're taking existing engines, existing boosters, and (in some configurations) existing upper stages, and yet you still have nothing to show after three years and millions of dollars? Not to mention all the design work you could reuse from almost identical programs that got scrapped - I'm sure there's work from Ares V that could be reused.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @09:54AM (#47388011)

      . Space Launch System's design called for the integration of existing hardware, spurring criticism that it's a "Frankenstein rocket," with much of it assembled from already developed technology.

      I would much rather them use existing tried tech and incrementally advance them rather than try a radical new design. A new design would take extra years of testing before it is ready for use but if we can tweak existing tech, and make it useful for deep space why not??

        Based on the next sentence it tells me that they are more concerned with bringing home the bacon than making progress in space.

      It's the standard problem when you're a tech. The client likes to give you a solution and ask you to build it, rather than give you a problem and ask you to solve it.

      If their goal is to save money, then state that in the requirements. If you want it to work with existing tech, then state that. By instead putting what you think the solution is directly into the requirements you're not only limiting your techs ability to solve the problem, you're also hiding your true goals from them. That tech probably has far better solutions for that problem than you could possibly think of so let them work on it.

      Better requirements would be:
      We want to go to mars for less than $20 billion.

      Short, simple, Let the technical experts run with that.

    • by cheesybagel (670288) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @10:13AM (#47388079)

      This summary is a load of bull. As is the article. Production of a new motor my ass. The SLS is supposed to use 4 RS-25 Space Shuttle Main Engines in the center core, of which there are 15 and parts of another in stock, and two 5 segment Solid Rocket Boosters similar to those of the Space Shuttle. The second stage is based on a Delta IV EELV second stage using the RL-10. What is 'new' here in terms of propulsion? They are adding another segment to the SRBs. Whoopie do.

      Get this: SLS is predicted to cost as much as the Space Shuttle did per year, but it will launch once every 2-3 years instead of 4 times a year like the Space Shuttle. If you do the math they have RS-25 engines for 3-4 flights. SLS is expendable remember? The production assembly line for RS-25 has been closed years ago. So if they want to fly more than 3-4 flights with it they will probably have to design a new engine which will take like 5 years to do. At best. The whole thing is sheer nonsense.

    • Space Launch System's design called for the integration of existing hardware

      I would much rather them use existing tried tech and incrementally advance them rather than try a radical new design.

      The reason for incremental development is that your engineers and technicians learn their "craft", gradually learn where they can shave off millimetres and where they have to add more. Work out what works better than expected and what is clumsy and stupid and needs to be redesigned. A kind of guided evolution of technology.

      However, the first couple of flights of SLS will be using actual Shuttle orbiter engines (SSMEs) salvaged from the three retired orbiters. Experimental, first generation, beyond-the-state

      • In other words, the opportunity cost of SLS/Orion, ie, what they prevent, is enormous.

        Obviously that has nothing whatsoever to do with the priorities here.

        Senate Launch System Hyperforce Go! has been approved! Welfare for mediocre engineers must continue! After all, Boeing can't be expected to keep paying all those STEM graduates with purely military pork. Haven't you heard? The military pork is taking a cut. But the pork must flow, so this project that has been carefully nursed along in the Powerpoint Engineering stage for over a decade for just this eventuality can now be turned on so

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        The reason for incremental development is that your engineers and technicians learn their "craft", gradually learn where they can shave off millimetres and where they have to add more.

        You do realize that pretty much everyone at NASA who actually designed a rocket or rocket engine has now retired, right?

        • You do realize that pretty much everyone at NASA who actually designed a rocket or rocket engine has now retired, right?

          "and whose designers are all in nursing homes."

    • by AJWM (19027)

      I would much rather them use existing tried tech and incrementally advance them rather than try a radical new design.

      Except that they're not. Those solid boosters? They're "based on" Shuttle SRBs, not identical to them. Several segments longer, meaning higher internal pressures, different burn characteristics, etc. If you don't think that's going to take extra years of testing, there are several bridges I'd be happy to sell you.

      Ditto for any other technologies that they're basing stuff on rather than r

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        i guess i worded that poorly.

        Id like them to save time by using the lessons taught. Meaning even if this is an evolutionary rocket, it will take less time than a revolutionary design
      • by Megol (3135005)

        You are completely right - NASA should start research of a genuinely new system from the ground up.

        ...
        What drugs are you on?

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          Yep, because that way, some privatised company can grab the research for free and then claim how much cheaper their stuff is, of course without reminding people it is cheaper because they didn't have to pay for all that research, they don't have to properly monitor space to ensure they can achieve a safe launch and orbit and they don't have to pay for all that rescue stuff. If we want to be doing more in our solar system, then we have to be researching and designing new stuff. We have to push the limits of

    • The claim they're trying to make (right, wrong, or otherwise) is that the sub-systems used in the development of this system have already been proven to be so uneconomical that developing a new system, using more modern technology, would produce a more cost-effective system in the end. Furthermore, (and ironically, considering the claim you're making in your last sentence) they are inferring that the only reason these existing sub-systems are being championed is that they represent products already being p

    • The problem isn't reuse of old technology. The problem is the selection of old technology you reuse, and how you go about re-using it.

      Start with the solid rocket boosters as an example. There's very good reasons why most space launch platforms don't use solid rockets. Cost, efficiency, and inherent lack of safety (you can't turn off an SRB once it's been lit) are just a few. So why did the shuttle use them? Because it was kind of forced upon them by the crazy and contradictory design decisions they had to c

  • Like two Boeing 737 Fuselages that ened up in the river after a derailment.

    http://www.kwch.com/news/local... [kwch.com]

    Oppss..... Someone is going to have to foot an awfully big bill for that one.

    • by Megol (3135005)

      I don't know how you can get such a high moderation by posting something 100% non-topic AND 100% irrelevant to any other post AND 100% void of /. memes...

  • by PoconoPCDoctor (912001) <jpclyons@gmail.com> on Saturday July 05, 2014 @08:50AM (#47387821) Homepage Journal
    From 10 miles away in Titusville, Fl. I will always remember the pounding of my chest form the rockets. Let's go to Mars.
    • by FirstOne (193462)

      I viewed the last nighttime launch of the space shuttle from a bit closer, 402 causeway. It was spectacular.. The subsonic rumbling makes your clothes vibrate like a bell, and is an awesome experience. I will make a special effort to see this rocket liftoff.

      • Cool. Had tickets for one of the last STS missions. We had a there day window but the launch was scrubbed past the time we had. Still had a great tour of the facility. Yes, Mars is a dead planet. But as Neil DeGrasse Tyson says, we need to have some planB. The dinosaurs can't be blamed for not knowing about asteroids - what's our excuse?
      • by clovis (4684)

        I saw one of the early night launches(around 1990) from Savannah Georgia, but obviously only the latter part of the climb.
        We walked to the south end of the island I lived on then so there was no trees obstructing the horizon.
        In some ways it was cooler than the ones I saw from the space center.

    • We have already been to Mars, and indeed, are still there - at least our representatives are, which is as close as you or I will get to actuly being there. There might be a pedantic definition which defines "go to Mars" differently, but otherwise let's consider that part "job done".

      As for the other part, the loud noise and pounding on the chest, I'll make you a machine which makes a loud noise and pounds you on the chest. I'll charge you, let's say, 1/10 th of what this rocket costs. Deal?

  • to the Saturn V

    And whats this about shuttle rocket booster? Do we really want to use solid rockets? They may be good for ICBM's which have to be ready to launch in seconds, but have not been to great for manned missions like Challenger

    • by Isca (550291)
      The boosters are not bad on their own. They have been fairly reliable and reasonably cheap (not as cheap as SpaceX's approach could be however). The bad part of the boosters/shuttle setup was simply the fact that the vehicle occupants were located next to parts that could go boom instead of on top of and away from most potential blast paths.
      • No, the problem with the boosters is not where they were located. Arguably, even the fatal design was accepted into production with the expectation that large yellow and black warning signs would be taped to them exclaiming - "USING THIS PART WHILE FROZEN VOIDS THE WARRANTY".
        You see, the world is full of "thinkers" who believe it is safe to walk under a 50 ton crane because the use of hardhats have been mandated. This is nothing new, the last generation of Apollo 1 also ignored warnings of 100% O2 atmospher
    • SRMs are very powerful for their size. They are quite effective as boosters, a stage that will provide a lot of power for a shorter time at the start of a launch. This is one reason they are used on ICBMs, which were designed for 'fast boost' (IE burn for a very short time) to avoid any chance of intercept during launch, which would in theory be the most vulnerable phase of flight.

      So SRMs are good, and likely to be used in pretty much every first stage from now to the day we invent a beanstalk or something

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        So SRMs are good, and likely to be used in pretty much every first stage from now to the day we invent a beanstalk or something and get rid of rockets.

        Hardly. The big problems with SRMs are that you can't reuse them and you can't test them; yes, you can test that SRM #1 worked fine on the ground, but you'll actually be launching with SRM #2, which can only be tested by firing it, which means you can't then use it to launch anything.

        You can't build a cheap launcher with SRMs, because a cheap launcher has to be reusable. You can't build a really safe launcher with SRMs, because every flight is the first flight for the SRMs.

        • Considering that there isn't ANY reusable rocket in existence today (IE no single liquid-fueled rocket stage has ever been launched, recovered, and reused to my knowledge) I fail to see how this is relevant. SRMs are very simple, there are NO moving parts, etc, so they really just don't fail these days. Its exceedingly rare, and the very few failures are attributable to things other than the construction of the SRM which couldn't be discovered by test firing it (IE the Challenger SRM failure, which wasn't a

          • ...nor are liquid fueled stages normally test-fired either before launch.

            SpaceX liquid fueled first stages are 100% test-fired before launch. It's called a hold-down system. The engines are throttled up to full thrust and all systems must check out, while firing, before the clamps are released. If something is off, the engines shut down.

            That actually took NASA's commentator by surprise during one of the early Falcon 9 launches. Engines reached full thrust, commentator says "Lift off!" and the rocket didn't move. Shut down instead. There was a problem with one of the engin

            • by thrich81 (1357561)

              The Saturn V launch pads also had hold down arms which did not release the vehicle until full thrust was developed by all five engines in the first stage. I believe they gave the system the ability to start engines then shutdown on the pad if an anomaly occurred before release.

            • This is true of all liquid-fueled rocket stages, the SSMEs fired up about 4 seconds before liftoff too. It takes them a couple seconds just to 'spin up' to 100% thrust. This a nice enough feature of liquid-fueled rockets, but its only necessitated by the fact that they are so complex they might NOT spin up. An SRM will never fail to start like that. Overall they are quite reliable, easy to design, and simple to operate, though per-launch they have costs similar to other types of motor.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, the space shuttle SRBs are very reliable hardware. Even though the problem that brought down Challenger originated in one of the SRBs, the reason it cascaded out of control was because the escaping gases damaged the external fuel tank (not part of the SRB itself). Even after the explosion of the external fuel tank (and most of the orbiter along with it), the SRBs themselves kept flying intact until ground control hit the self-destruct button.

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @08:57AM (#47387843)

    If I compare that amount to all the money wasted so far on useless "wars" by the U.S.A., it's not much.

    • We could be living in space colonies for the cost of Iraq.

      • Re:Amen man (Score:5, Insightful)

        by germansausage (682057) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @11:33AM (#47388395)

        Nasa 2014 - about $18 billion
        Iraq + Afghanistan - $4 to $6 trillion
         
        So about 200 to 300 times more for the war than what NASA gets this year.

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @09:05AM (#47387869)

    The high cost and slow development of SLS will increasingly make it a loser in its political battle with the new commercial companies. Eventually legislators will recognize its impractically and unaffordability -- especially if the commercial companies continue to meet their milestones and achieve success, as they have been doing. When that happens, the influence of individual senators like Shelby to shovel pork to their particular states or districts will be outweighed by the overall political benefits for everyone in Congress to get American astronauts into space quickly and cheaply on an American-built spaceship.

  • So what is "deep" space supposed to mean? I came in thinking that it must be outside the solar system, but apparently "deep-space" rockets take you to the moon. Which really by my definition is hardly even space. On the moon you are still basically still at Earth, it is part of the system of the planet as much as the gasses that are trapped by its gravity (which we call its atmosphere).
    • by itzly (3699663)
      Outside the solar system is nothing but cold hard vacuum in all directions. Why would you want to go there ?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's not NOTHING but vacuum. Sooner or later, if you go in the right direction, you find more stars and planets. The vast majority of everything is out there; why would we NOT want to go?

        • It is it more that 99.99% Vacuum, "Nothing but vacuum" is a correct statement.
        • by itzly (3699663)
          Even if you wanted to go to another star, it is probably a smarter plan to wait for better propulsion technology. Any chemical rocket that we could launch in the next few decades will be overtaken by a nuclear rocket we'll launch in the next century (assuming humanity still exists in a prosperous society then).
    • So what is "deep" space supposed to mean?
      I came in thinking that it must be outside the solar system, but apparently "deep-space" rockets take you to the moon.

      Which really by my definition is hardly even space. On the moon you are still basically still at Earth, it is part of the system of the planet as much as the gasses that are trapped by its gravity (which we call its atmosphere).

      Deep Space is considered "outside the gravitational affect of the earth/moon system" So if this really is a deep space rocket, it's designed to go beyond the moon, and likely would be good to take us to mars or anywhere else in the local solar system. The hard part is getting out of our gravity well, once you've done that the only difference between the moon and mars is how long the car ride is.

  • I don't understand the criticism regarding the use of modified space shuttle engines and a coolant system from the Air Force. As far as I am aware, we never lost a shuttle due to main engine failure, and the Air Force is pretty good at not blowing things up. I have been following the SLS for awhile, and if they can manage to pull off the overall designs they have in mind without budget cuts or severe cost overruns ruining things, I believe it will be a fine rocket. Otherwise SpaceX is well on their way towa
    • The SSME is too expensive to use in an expendable rocket like this. It was barely economic even when the engine was reused and only after they upgraded it enough so they did not need to disassemble it totally after every flight for inspection. Also the production line for the SSME was shut down when W was still President with Griffin as NASA Administrator and to get production back up again would take years and probably cost almost as much as developing a whole new engine.

    • I don't understand the criticism regarding the use of modified space shuttle engines and a coolant system from the Air Force. As far as I am aware, we never lost a shuttle due to main engine failure, and the Air Force is pretty good at not blowing things up. I have been following the SLS for awhile, and if they can manage to pull off the overall designs they have in mind without budget cuts or severe cost overruns ruining things, I believe it will be a fine rocket. Otherwise SpaceX is well on their way toward manned flight and their heavy lifter among other things, so I think were pretty well covered.

      reliability isn't the problem. Cost is.

    • by voidptr (609)

      I think it's more the fact that the whole program feels like it is being stitched together based on which existing technologies and contractors contribute to which congressional seats, rather than which technologies are really a good fit in the long term. As well as the fact that beyond a fairly nebulous manned astroid-capture mission, there doesn't seem to be any great plan or will to have a concrete goal for the booster in general. If Congress earmarked $50B over the next decade to put a research station

    • by wjcofkc (964165)
      Everyone in this thread has made excellent points regarding the problems with re-using the main engines, as well as using solid rocket boosters. I see the folly.
    • Re:I wish them well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @11:16AM (#47388309)

      I don't understand the criticism regarding ...

      Basically, they are repeated all the old mistakes of Shuttle and ISS. Single unaffordable top-down designs, expensive sole-source cost-plus contracts, convoluted designs more intended to feed the contractor networks in Congressional districts than to deliver improved hardware, flubbery half-hearted missions that mutate to fit the rapidly contracting hardware abilities rather than hardware designed for missions. And because everything is so expensive and poorly planned, development has to be smeared out over decades, giving time for endless Congressional budget games with the attendant schedule and cost blow-outs, and design compromises piled on top of design compromises just to get something launched.

      Paraphrasing Gen. Augustine, in the analysis over Constellation (SLS's precursor), "If someone handed it to NASA, already build and paid for, NASA still couldn't afford to operate it."

  • by ysuman (2915059)
    Is it bigger than the Rockomax!
  • by spiritplumber (1944222) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @11:20AM (#47388329)
    Looks like getting the KSP dev team to talk to NASA was productive!
  • The entire Manhattan Project, start to finish, including not just the basic science and hugely diverse intricate engineering, but all the civil engineering of building vast infrastructures, and employing 130,000 people, cost only $26 billion in 2014 dollars, and took less than four years.

    This is just bolting together a bunch of decades-old parts, but will dwarf that expenditure. It is the swan song of what was once a daring and imposing nation, and clearly will never be completed. All the Congressmen who vo

    • While I cannot disagree that this is not the way I'd choose to solve the heavy lift problem, to worry that $2.8 Billion (or even 26 Billion) is going to be the lie item that bankrupts the country seems to be missing the 3000 Billion we've spent over the last 13 years to avenge the loss of a pair of buildings costing less than $2.3B in today's dollars and fewer lives than the number lost in motorcycle accidents ever year.

      The stupid is much deeper than this minor boondoggle.

  • Good grief...we had one of the best heavy lift rockets in the world, the Saturn V launch system. (The apollo was on top, not the lift part). Even after getting hit by lightning, Apollo 12 continued to go, Apollo 13, had a center engine cutout, continued to work. Only lift rocket that had a 100% success rate. It was a proven design, and, you can bet since it was made in the era of slide rules, it could be improved on to be even better, but no, can't do that...let's just spend a TON of money we don't have,
    • by Megane (129182)

      we had one of the best heavy lift rockets in the world, the Saturn V launch system. ... Only lift rocket that had a 100% success rate.

      To be entirely fair, Saturn V only launched thirteen times. Falcon 9 is currently working on its tenth launch and has so far had a 100% success rate. (no cargo lost except one "hitchhiker" payload after an engine cutout, denied alternate means of insertion by NASA because of a ~5% risk to ISS, a known restriction before launch) The heavy lift version will come soon enough when they catch up with manufacturing enough F9 rockets.

  • I view this as one of those scenario's where a chunk of the money will actually towards other NASA projects, that get loosely tied in to this one.
  • Everyone building a computer builds from off the shelf components so it only makes sense that Boeing does the same.

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.

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