SLS and Orion: February 2008 Archives

NASA JSC Solicitation: ISS Commercial Resupply Services

"NASA/JSC plans to issue an RFP for the following Commercial item/services: cargo upmass, disposal and return to and from the International Space Station, nonstandard services and special studies as defined in the Statement of Work."

NASA Solicitation: Constellation Program Ground Processing Services

"The purpose of this notice is to apprise interested parties of the current planning schedule for competition of the Constellation (Cx) ground processing, provide high level information on the potential requirements, acquisition approach, and solicit industry input."

Editor's note: This is one instance where using professional announcers would have been preferable to sticking NASA engineers in front of a camera simply because of their management position. Or at least find some people at NASA who can speak without mumbling. Someone should also rewrite the script so as to scrub out the acronyms and the awkward NASAspeak such as "we expend the ascent stage". No one in the real world "expends" anything. However, they do "discard" or "throw things away".

Reader note: Also included in the lists of NASASpeak:"Foam 'liberates' from the ET." Come on now NASA, it "breaks off" !!

Ares 1-X Update

Ares I-X Test To Study Vibrations, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

"NASA engineers are adding instrumentation to the first full-scale flight version of the Ares I crew launch vehicle to gather real data about vibrations from its solid-fuel first stage that initially were predicted to be seriously out-of-spec. Those predictions, which could mean expensive modifications to the Ares I and the Orion crew exploration vehicle that will ride atop it, are based largely on ground-test data. Managers hope flight-test results from the Ares I-X flight will give them a much better idea of just how bad the problem is, and what it will take to solve it."

Orion Update

NASA Internal Memo: Orion DAC2 Architecture Closure Plan Rev E, 2/19/08

"This memorandum describes the process for closing the Orion architecture in DAC-2. It lists the open architecture issues, threats and opportunities and requirements issues that need to be addressed as well as the overall schedule for this activity. The original plan for DAC-2 had the architecture-level decisions closed by the Architecture ERB that was held February 22d-28th and rolled up to the integrated system by the Mid-Term ERB on February 29th Since a number of significant system-level trades and studies are still open, the project requires an intensive effort over the coming weeks to close these issues in order to proceed with the preliminary design tasks required for PDR."

Ares 1 Design Problem Update

NASA Insists It Can Fix Flaw in Rocket Design, NY Times

"There is a potential to reach resonance in the vehicle," said Garry Lyles, associate director for engineering at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., who is head of the team. The calculations were based on data from ground tests on the shuttle boosters and some gathered during shuttle flights, as well as best guesses based on the preliminary design of Orion. The vibrations would not be violent enough to shake the rocket to pieces, he said. Rather, the concerns were that the vibrations could injure equipment or passengers, exceeding the limits specified in design documents."

Prepared Statement by Michael Griffin (Part 2), 8 May 2003, (Part 1), House Science and Technology Committee

"In the 1950s and 1960s, the term "man rating" was coined to describe the process of converting the military Redstone, Atlas, and Titan II vehicles to the requirements of manned spaceflight. This involved a number of factors such as pogo suppression, structural stiffening, and other details not particularly germane to today's expendable vehicles. The concept of "man rating" in this sense is, I believe, no longer very relevant."

"... Logically, therefore, launch system reliability is treated by all parties as a priority of the highest order, irrespective of the nature of the payload, manned or unmanned. While there is no EELV flight experience as yet, these modern versions of the Atlas and Delta should be as inherently reliable as their predecessors. Their specified design reliability is 98%, a value typical of that demonstrated by the best expendable vehicles. If this is achieved, and I believe that it will be, and given a separate escape system with an assumed reliability of even 90%, the fatal accident rate would be 1 in 500 launches, substantially better than for the Shuttle. Thus, I believe that launching OSP on an expendable vehicle would pose no greater risk - and quite likely somewhat less risk - for human spaceflight than is already accepted for the Shuttle."

Testimony of Dr. Michael Griffin before the House Committee on Science, 27 October 1999

"The Space Taxi could initially be launched on a heavy-lift Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), currently under development by U.S. industry and the U.S. Air Force. Together with a small cargo carrier located behind the Space Taxi, this system would be used to meet future ISS servicing requirements. Later, a two-stage, commercially developed RLV, under study by Orbital, would replace the EELV in launching the Space Taxi system at a significantly lower cost."

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin's Remarks to the Space Transportation Association (with audio), 22 January 2008

"Once the rationale for this particular dual-launch EOR scenario is understood, the next question is, logically, "why don't we use the existing EELV fleet for the smaller launch?" I'm sure you will understand when I tell you that I get this question all the time. And frankly, it's a logical question. I started with that premise myself, some years back. To cut to the chase, it will work - as long as you are willing to define "Orion" as that vehicle which can fit on top of an EELV. Unfortunately, we can't do that."

CBS NEWS STS-122 STATUS REPORT: 48 (Scroll Down)

"Q: [HARWOOD] On a different topic, the Ares rocket and the Constellation program continue to generate questions among outside observers as to viability of the rocket system, due to vibration and other issues, and the overall architecture of the moon program. Why is that?

A: [GRIFFIN] Let me get down to the bottom of it. There were winners and losers in the contractor community as to who was going to get to do what on the next system post shuttle. And we didn't pick (Lockheed Martin's) Atlas 5, in consultation with the Air Force for that matter, because it wasn't the right vehicle for the lunar job. Obviously, we did pick others. So people who didn't get picked see an opportunity to throw the issue into controversy and maybe have it come out their way.

Griffin: Sore Losers Conspire to Undo NASA's Ares 1, Orlando Sentinel Write Stuff Blog

"This is not so much an argument that people are having with NASA, and it's not about the Constellation architecture. It's about winning contractors versus losing contractors, and losing contractors spotting an opportunity coincident with an election year to reopen what was a settled issue three years ago," Griffin said. A prolonged fight, he added, could be a disaster for America's civil space program."

Critics say NASA's new rocket Ares, which is to take astronauts to the moon, is flawed, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA argues that the Atlas V as it stands is not robust enough to lift its 25-ton Orion crew capsule into space. Nonetheless, the news that entrepreneurs intend to employ an off-the-shelf rocket -- one that NASA rejected as being too expensive and unsafe to modify for its purposes -- was immediately seized on by Ares I critics. James Muncy, a Virginia-based space-policy consultant, said Bigelow's move means that commercial operators are going to be putting people into orbit years before NASA finishes developing Ares I. "That's great news for Americans worried about a gap in human spaceflight, but it could undercut some of the rationale for NASA's rocket plans." ... "The developments are worrying John Logsdon, the director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, who is concerned that the criticism of Ares I -- some legitimate, some driven by ego and profit -- could end up destroying Constellation and with it the first new vision of space exploration in 35 years. "It's not a bad plan," he said, "We just need to adjust it some."

Editor's note: Oh, so now Lockheed Martin is to blame for Ares/Constellation woes, eh Mike? Isn't it curious that Lockheed Martin seems to have had much more success (on its own) countering the technical issues that NASA felt that it could not surmount (with regard to the Atlas V and human rating) when Lockheed Martin used their own money to do so - with market potential as a key motivator? What is it that Lockheed Martin sees that Mike Griffin has missed?



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