View Full Version : Why Build Big Rockets at All? Itís Time for Orbital Refueling

2019-Aug-16, 07:50 PM
On Tuesday, July 30th, NASA announced 19 different partnerships with 13 different companies to use their expertise to help them develop space technologies, from advanced communications systems to new methods of entry, descent and landing. Instead of contracting out specific projects, NASA will make its employees, facilities, hardware and software available to these companies, for …
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2019-Aug-16, 10:03 PM
Both--not either or.
Starship is a pretty big rocket too.

Also, there is this:


Let's take a look at the November 7, 2011 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology--especially page 24, where we see the column on Space Depots called..."Fact Checking" in how the grousing began to sound 'a lot like a reprise of the old attacks on the Bush administration's Ares I rocket."

the 'widely leaked NASA study report...concludes it would take 36 Delta IV Heavy flights to deliver fuel to a space based depot...The study also estimates the same scenario would take at least 24 launches of the Falcon 9 Heavy..."

Now it isn't just Griffin, but Scott Pace, "director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University" who question the cost savings based "on the 'highly suspect' prices" asked by the launch providers--another reason to support in house work.

Farther down we learn of a paper by Patrick R. Chai and Alan W. Wilhite at the International Astronautical Congress which holds that depots will lose $12 million of propellant every month, and that "today's state of the art in cryocoolers...falls short by an 'order of magnitude.'"

To quote "Michael Gazarick, NASA space technology program director: 'To explore deep space, we need a heavy-lift vehicle--SLS'"

2019-Aug-16, 10:36 PM
36? Hah! Two Falcon Heavy launches would handle the Artemis I mission at a fraction of the cost of a SLS launch...and could repeat it, again and again, before the next SLS was ready to launch.

The arguments against depots and orbital refueling are as ridiculous and unsupportable now as they were when they were defending Constellation. SLS is no more sustainable or even usable, and we need to get rid of it if we're going to get anywhere.

2019-Aug-17, 04:39 PM
36? Hah! Two Falcon Heavy launches

don't use hydrogen--and you want hydrolox for the Moon due to crater ice. Remember--the 36 launches were for D-IV--due to hydrogen. Boeing was counting boil-off as a feature--not a bug--so they had an excuse to sell more D-IVs.

This was before Musk. Now Starship is both a big rocket and a tanker--and the fuel is used right away--as opposed to hydrogen boil-off with a depot just sitting up there.

Folks are trying to argue that SLS supporters were bullies and Boeing EELV folks were victims.

It was the other way around. If you remember the Boeing wish list, at the end of development--they had an HLV of sorts.

This was an excuse to foist a whole line of things on NASA.

HLLV advocates just had NASA jump to the end--without all the Rube Goldberg nonsense.

Besides--Boeing also had HLV advocates: