Direct 3.0: NASA is in a bind.

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by ElectricFetus, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member


    Their new version lifts more then, cost half as much as and is safer then NASA replacement for the shuttle, they also are gaining traction in NASA and the white house with talk of extending shuttle flights by 2 years to make up for the gap that only direct can fill in time. They even seem to be changing the name so as to give NASA a chance to save face and not look like they are completely dropping the Ares concept for Direct.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
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  3. jpappl Valued Senior Member

    Very cool !!

    Good find.
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  5. eddie23 information sponge Registered Senior Member

    You have to be F**KING kidding me.
    All that money and all that research just to go back to what they were doing in 1969.
    I mean realy you dont see the military spending this much money and time just to go back to single engine propeller planes with gatling guns mounted on the front.
    Every other heavily funded agency in this country has ADVANCED their technology in the last 30 years. Now we are being told that the new thing for nasa is a 1960's rocket with a tiny capsule on top? Did we do that and advance past that already? Doesnt the U.S. Navy have better things to do than to treck around the oceans looking for NASA's out dated equipment?
    I think it is time for the private sector to take over. I bet intell corp would not put up with this crap if they were in charge.
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  7. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I both disagree and agree, first of all yes this rocket is nothing but an assembly of junk, a dropping of the idea of reusable expensive rockets for a return to big and dumb rockets. The problem is that nasa is not a well funded industry, in they running now on a budget that is 1/6 what they had to get to the moon (in adjusted dollars) per year. NASA simply is not given the money to develop advance reusable rockets and to explore the solar system, and yet people expect it to, well you get what you put in, if we had kept giving nasa is landing on hte moon budget we would have mars bases by now! The space shuttle it selfs was initially designed to be a two stage fly back reusable rocket, but with massive budget cuts its present epic failure form had to be made.

    [/QUOTE]I think it is time for the private sector to take over. I bet intell corp would not put up with this crap if they were in charge.[/QUOTE]
    The private sector is doing the same thing if not worse, there making a semi-reusable rocket thats runs on Kerosene/Lox and lunches a capsule type space craft and as yet have no plans for a lunar exploration class booster like Direct or Ares.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  8. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

    It is hard, really hard, to separate the BS from solid engineering and sour grapes from true concerns with respect to the Ares/EELV/DIRECT/COTS-D/Shuttle-C imbroglio. Only it's not an imbroglio. It is NASA's very future that is at stake here.

    I am hopeful that the Augustine Commission can find the right, unbiased, technically correct path through this morass. I have some reservations; Augustine as former Lockmart CEO may not have been the best choice as head of this commission. Lockmart lost a lot when NASA chose Ares and has a lot to gain from the EELV option.

    My personal take:
    • The DIRECT team is blowing a lot of hot air and may have eaten a lot of sour grapes. They have done paper studies and have not had to confront the evil realities that confront every real attempt to create a new launch vehicle. On the other hand, they may have something. They haven't been given any resources to make their case. They have (supposedly) done this work on their own time. If this group worked in private industry rather than for the government they would of course have been fired long ago.
    • EELV: The ULA lost to Ares. A lot of sour grapes here, and a lot of hot air. There is no way they are going to get human-rated in four years.
    • Shuttle-C is not a solution for human spaceflight. The whole idea of Shuttle-C is to deliver cargo sans humans.
    • COTS-D is really promising. They (especially Musk) are a bit over-optimistic, but are learning and are progressing at a rapid pace and at a fairly low cost.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    The thing is Direct is barely a new launch vehicles, they are using the same engines and the same boosters, only slight modifications to the external fuel tank. The Ares is a redesigned fuel tank, new bigger boosters and new engines. The Direct people are even pulling out using Saturn I upper-stage engines (which we have a very long history on how they perform) So their paper work is not likely to be out of whack as there is little unknowns to be expected.
  10. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

    Direct versions 1.0 and 2.0 were powerpoint fantasies. Direct version 3.0 is, as far as I can tell, more of the same. The proponents hand-wave away the fact that it is a new system and that it is a new design. "Slight modifications" are anything but "slight" when one gets beyond the powerpoint fantasy world. For example, simply changing the skin of the external tank from aluminum to aluminum-titanium after the Columbia disaster cost a bundle (some estimate 3/4 billion).

    A cynical POV: the Direct team comprises a bunch of disgruntled civil servants who had there say twice and lost both times on technical, logistical, and financial bases. If the Direct proponents were anything but civil servants they would have been fired ages ago.
  11. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

    Augustine Commission

    Moderation: I posted this in Science & Technology, where it received little attention. It was merged into this thread since this the Augustine Committee is reviewing the future of human spaceflight.

    Back in May, President Obama asked Norm Augustine to head the Human Space Flight Review Committee. Their purpose:

    The Committee shall conduct an independent review of ongoing U.S. human space flight plans and programs, as well as alternatives, to ensure the Nation is pursuing the best trajectory for the future of human space flight – one that is safe, innovative, affordable, and sustainable. ​

    The committee held its first public review last week and has made all of the presentation materials public. This included a review of the current Constellation program plus a look at several alternatives.

    The web site:
    Last week's meeting:

    If you look at the meeting presentations you will see a lot of jargon and acronyms flung about. To help find ones way through this jargon,
    • Ares - The two launch vehicles, Ares I and Ares V, currently under development for Project Constellation. The Ares rockets are based on the Shuttle's solid rocket engines. Solid rocket engines burn until they run out of fuel or explode.

    • Augustine, Norm - The chair of this new committee and a similar committee organized by the first President Bush nearly 20 years ago. Whether Augustine can divorce himself from his role as former CEO of Lockheed (see The Borg ULA) is a concern. Whether the committee's findings, to be released in August, will have any meaning, is quite another.

    • The Borg ULA - United Launch Alliance. Lockheed bought Martin Marietta in 1995. Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Lockheed-Martin and Boeing formed a joint venture, the United Launch Alliance in late 2006.

    • Constellation - NASA's current pathway to achieving the Vision for Space Exploration.

    • COTS - Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, an obvious play on commerical-off-the-shelf. The underlying idea is that the competitive free market is a heck of a lot better than a government bureaucracy at providing routine services, and that launching a vehicle to low Earth orbit should be a routine service by now.

      Lori Garver, an associate administrator at NASA, was one of the key champions of the COTS concept. Garver quit NASA in 2001. She served as the lead space policy advisor in Hillary Clinton's campaign. When Clinton dropped out, she switched to working for the Obama campaign. Upon winning the election, Obama named Garver as the head of his NASA transition team. In May, Obama nominated Garver as NASA's deputy administrator. This appointment speaks a lot of the future of commercial space.

    • COTS-D - An optional, and unfunded, COTS capability. The COTS program ends with an automated cargo delivery to the ISS (COTS-C). COTS-D delivers humans to the ISS. Both the SpaceX and Orbital designs can be expanded (with $$$) to support humans onboard the vehicle.

    • DIRECT - An alternative proposal to the Ares launchers currently being built as a part of Project Constellation. This is an under-the-table project that has zero public funding. The people working on this project are for the most part Constellation engineers who don't like the way the Ares design was selected.

      The Shuttle's solid rocket engines are a bit skinny, thanks to the width of Roman chariots. This makes a tall stack of such engines develop a bit of a shimmy. The developers of DIRECT don't think it is a particularly good idea to put people on top of a bomb that cannot be turned off and that has a tendency to shimmy and shake.

    • EELV - Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. A DoD program started in 1994 to develop a family of expendable (i.e., not reusable) launch vehicles. Boeing, Lockheed, Martin Marietta, and McDonnell Douglas offered proposals. See The Borg ULA.

      NASA resisted proposals to use EELVs in its launch vehicles for the Constellation program and for COTS.

    • ESAS - Exploration Systems Architecture Study. A large-scale study during summer 2005 to flesh out the Vision for Space Exploration. Project Constellation was one key result of this study.

    • VSE - Vision for Space Exploration. The space policy announced by George W. Bush in 2004, colloquially known as "Moon, Mars, and Beyond"
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  12. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Like Ares is somehow cheaper what with it using a whole new tank design, new boosters, new engines, two separate rocket systems, etc, etc. Direct will cost billions but Ares will cost much more.

    Just because they were snubbed before does not mean they are wrong.
  13. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

    I admit I have a bias against Direct. They had their say not once, but twice. Third time around? If they worked for practically any company rather than the government they would have been fired the instant they persisted in working on their clandestine project after Direct 2.0 was shot down. Heck, most companies would have been fired them the instant they persisted after Direct 1.0 was shot down.

    Choosing to wait for the best proposal to come forward is absolutely the worst thing a manager can do. One of the principle mantras of engineering is "The best is the enemy of good enough." The manager of any large engineering project has to make critical design decisions early on based on the available information at hand. A good manager will listen to alternatives up to a point. After that point, the project team must coalesce on the chosen design and even a good manager will start acting a bit dictatorial if the people under him or her act like a bunch of children -- which is my admittedly biased view of the Direct team.
  14. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    So? Imagine if Galileo had been in a company.

    Ares is not "good enough" its "lets make something we don't have the money for".

    A good manager would have chosen a better project to begin with, you have to be smart enough to notice when your handed a hand full of shit and asked to make a shit mountain. Ares had seriously obvious problems to begin with, their lack of noticing and jumping on to the first set of ideas without going "hey wait a minute these are all shit lets go through another round of proposals" was a mark of idiocy not good management.
  15. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Galileo is remembered for his work as a scientist, not as an enigneer.
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    doesn't matter, he was snubed repeatedly by the church asked to recant even put under house arrest for years his ideas.

    And engineering example might be the John Houbolt and LOR.
  17. orcot Valued Senior Member

  18. granpa Registered Senior Member

    hopefully not.

  19. orcot Valued Senior Member

  20. granpa Registered Senior Member

    isnt that what they said about the space shuttle?
  21. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

    Mod action: orcot's "will jupiter replace the Ares?" thread merged into this "Direct 3.0: NASA is in a bind". The two threads cover exactly the same topic.
  22. orcot Valued Senior Member

    What ultimatly will count is if they can perform their duty and the $/kg
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Lets do a simple break down
    - new engines, had to switch to regenerative cooled instead of ablative will now cost about as much as mass produced SSME.
    - new 10m wide central fuel tank
    - new 5.5 segment boosters
    - new Upperstage for Ares I.
    - new engine for upper stage for Ares I
    - new upper stage for Ares V
    - new engines for Areas V upperstage.
    - new lunch pads for Ares I and V

    - Same Engines as Shuttle
    - Same 8m fuel tank with modifications that have been done before.
    - Same 4 segment Boosters
    - new upperstage for Direct 246
    - production engines for upperstage of Direct 246
    - same launch pads as spaceshuttle.

    Its so dam obvious direct is the cheaper, less time consuming option to develop, the production price is more contentious: if Ares 5.5 segment booster and ablative cool engines had works as originally design that option would have had a reasonably cheaper lunch cost (price per lbs in orbit) but now that testing has show those are no longer possible the price on Ares has been climbing. The price of direct is more reliable as most of it parts are already developed and tested and with known production prices.

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