12 thoughts on “Putting the SLS On Hold

  1. M Puckett

    I love how the Space News editor refers to the JWST as having ‘undeniable scientific merit’.

    …..because if we don’t peer back in time to the edge of the Universe now, it won’t be there in 10 or 20 years and there are absoluet fortunes to be made with that information. JWST NOW is essential to improving the human condition.

    Any argument that can be made against Human Spaceflight can be made against the JWST on stilts.

    It started at a $500M project and has gone over 8BN estimated now. That is a 16plus fold increase. No manned project has ever even remotely approached that level of overrun.

    We need to fix the procurement system and end business as usual before we throw more money into the JWST rat-hole. Tell them either we are cancelling it or we can re-negotiate the contract and end the cost-plus insanity.

  2. Mark R. Whittington

    If we can so JW better with a Falcon Heavy, how much more could we do with the SLS? I suggest delaying JW until the SLS is ready.

  3. Rand Simberg Post author

    The SLS will likely never be ready, and it will be horrifically expensive per flight, even on the margin.

    Martijn, I’m not intrinsically opposed to bigger vehicles as long as the taxpayer doesn’t have to pay tens of billions for their development. We’ll know in a year or two if Falcon Heavy is real, in which case it would make sense to replan for it and figure out how to simplify the design with the mass margin (including making it serviceable. Or else figure out how to utilize orbital assembly for the same purpose. But the current plan needs to be scrapped.

    1. MPM

      I agree with that, but then we’d have to wait for FH to appear or to time out before making the decision. Maybe that’s a good idea, but what do we do in the mean time? Is there a way to put the program on hold, or would that mean starting from scratch if you restart it later? And even if you did use a bigger launcher, is the size of the launcher really what causes the problems or is it just another instance of a failed NASA project that’s being run into the ground by incompetent managers and corrupt politicians?

  4. reader

    I’m not intrinsically opposed to bigger vehicles

    I think there is a good case to be made that bigger vehicles inherently harm the prospects of vibrant launch industry, because they lower the flight rate for a fixed tonnage of available payloads.

    1. MPM

      As long as they do it on their own dime, and as long as NASA procures its propellant launches competitively and without minimum size constraints I don’t see the problem.

  5. reader

    And for the record, i’m very sorry to see that SpaceX decided to can F1, are not flying F9 and keep on chasing further and more complex goals without actually racking up dozens flights.

    It’s their business and they can damn well do whatever they please with it, but i still think that everyone would be better off if they slowed their further technology developments for a while, and actually start delivering significant numbers of payloads. Maybe spin launch operations off into a separate company.

    “Better is the enemy of good enough”, if you will.

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