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Commercialization

NASA's Ongoing (But Closely Held) Interest In SLS Alternatives

By Keith Cowing
October 19, 2011
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Keith’s note: As you can see from these charts taken (out of context) from the 13 July 2010 NASA HEFT presentation “EELV Capacity Analysis”, NASA clearly did quite a bit of comparison and contrast between various existing expendable launch vehicles – foreign and domestic – analyses that did not always include use of a SLS-class heavy launch vehicle. Indeed, one chart is titled “International Partners Have Lots of Capacity”. The rest of this presentation contains procurement-sensitive information and will not be published here.
That said, it is obvious that even a year ago pragmatic thought was given to how a variety of launchers could be used for human, cargo, and other launch purposes including ways that mission profiles (DRM 4) usually associated with a HLV could be accomplished in whole or in part by the use of expendable launch vehicles. A more detailed look at what was being reviewed last year can be found at “Human Exploration Framework Team Presentation Online“.
NASA Studies Show Cheaper Alternatives to SLS, earlier post
Using Commercial Launchers and Fuel Depots Instead of HLVs“, earlier post
The HLV Cost Information NASA Decided Not To Give To Congress, earlier post

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