Feb 262017
 

Recently it was announced that the Trump administration has asked NASA to study the possibility of putting  crew on the first SLS launch in 2019. If this comes to pass, it will entail sending an Orion capsule around the moon (and back, one would hope), the first time humans have left low Earth orbit in… well, a long-ass time.

What would be the scientific benefit compared the baseline plan of sending the capsule unmanned? Well… not a whole lot, especially given that the mission would be rather rushed. But the political benefits *could* be substantial. Assuming it’s a successful flight, it could be seen and sold as the return of America to having an actual space program (as opposed to the “hey, let’s go in circles a few times in an flying United Nations”). Two American astronauts will go back to the moon; not to land, of course, just to get within spitting distance of it. But almost certainly they will get there before any other nation could pull that off. One can of course argue that the US won the race to the moon in 1969, and anybody going there after all these years is a poor second… but in reality, the US has *long* since lost the direct experience and tribal knowledge that got Apollo tot he moon. Most of the people responsible for making Apollo work are dead or very, very retired. The US going back to the moon would be more like the US going for the first time, just again.

There are two obvious potential downsides to this:

  1. Disaster. This could come in the obvious form of the crew being killed at any point during the mission. This could also come in the form of the changes in the mission causing so much trouble and delay and cost overruns that the entire launch gets scrapped. Remember, this flight, if it happens, will happen after the 2018 mid-terms. This flight will be Trumps’ baby, and, who knows, he could well be impeached by then.
  2. How do you follow it up? It’s all well and good to fling some guys past the moon, but this could be done with a substantially smaller and cheaper system than SLS. A pair of Falcon 9 Heavies could certainly do it. The one thing that SLS brings to the party is massive lift capability, which in this case means the ability to send an actual lunar launder. But unless I missed a staff meeting… we have no lunar landers. We don’t even seem to have a real program to develop one.

SLS is meant to launch not only lunar missions but manned missions to Mars. Great! But there are no funded programs to develop actual Mars ships. Lots of people have lots of ideas for what SLS could launch. Some of the ideas are actually pretty good, such as very fast deep space probes, giant space telescopes, components for real space stations, etc. But none of them seem to have the most important feature any such idea needs to have: funding.

The first SLS flight, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) is already being assembled. So turning it into a manned flight would entail substantial modificationg to stuff already constructed… never an optimal solution. The second SLS flight, EM-2 scheduled for 2021, is intended to be manned and will have more advanced systems than will be available for EM-1. So it can be readily argued that making EM-1 manned is simply unwise. But the 2021 EM-2 flight would be after the inauguration of whoever wins the Presidential election of 2020. And does Trump – or anybody – really want President Warren to be in charge when NASA next tries to send men to the moon?

So here’s the calculation. NASA does this at Trumps behest, and it crashes and burns: this way leads to DOOOOOOM. NASA does this and succeeds: NASA is golden and Trumps scores points. Launch in 2019 and cement manned deep-space flight into NASAs schedule, or wait until 2021 when there’s a good chance that NASA will be controlled by an Administration that thinks that giant government spending programs are just awesome, so long as they don’t actually *build* anything.

Hmmm.

 Posted by at 3:24 am
  • thingytest 3

    Not a good idea. Most new launch systems have bugs in ’em. Even when they’re derived from already-working ones.
    Sending the crew up on EM-2, on the other hand, would be a magnificent accomplishment – an Apollo 8 redux!

  • thingytest 3

    Too bad they can’t fly EM-2 by Christmas 2018… it would have been a “nice” (or sad, depending on your views) 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s circumlunar flight.

  • Herp McDerp

    I do not trust the SLS. Sending a crew on an untested system is not a good idea.

    Wild card: I suspect that China will send a crew around the Moon in the next few years, possibly before we do. Would that be a boost or a hindrance to American space exploration? And for our response to a Chinese lunar mission, would NASA and SpaceX have the same relationship as Project Vanguard and Redstone Arsenal had in 1957?

    • thingytest 3

      Given the conservative (and painstakingly slow) approach of my country’s space program (we’ve been stuck doing very similar things for the last decade and a half, during which we’ve flown barely ten manned missions), I don’t see CNSA flying a dual-mission (Earth orbit rendezvous with upper stage?) with two CZ-5s anytime soon. Plus, with Tiangong 3 on the line (which will require flights of Tiangong-2 derivative cargo tugs often) (and the shoestring budget of CNSA), I don’t think it’ll get paid for.

    • publiusr

      Well, von Braun didn’t like the all up Saturn test either.

      I actually think SLS is actually a more trustworthy beast than the 3-stager Saturn.

      SLS to me–is really a stage-and-a-half beasty–a giant rigid Atlas with everything a sustainer and two really big RATO units. It is really the most simple true HLLV you can have. I want it not just for its lift capacity–but volume. Falcon 9 cannot touch that hammerhead shroud–and Congress seems as adamant in funding/supporting Europa missions.

      The 70 tonner–that’s the first iteration–most are going to be 100 tonners.

      In the end–perhaps it is fitting that SLS launches in the Trump administration.

      That’ll be two big, loud orange things for everybody to hate on 😉

      • Herp McDerp

        In this case, my problem with the SLS EM-1 mission is confined to sending crew up in a system that hasn’t had sufficient testing, all for some supposed political benefit. Fatalities at the beginning of the program could doom NASA’s manned spaceflight efforts.

        The Apollo 1 fire was a major setback for NASA, but in a perverse way NASA was lucky. Imagine what would have happened if the fire had occurred during the Apollo 7 mission, with a live audience of millions of people, instead of during testing … Also, the media will be trying very hard to tie an SLS failure to Trump, and they aren’t too fond of Trump.

        How many crewed missions has SpaceX flown so far? I think NASA should be as cautious about crew certification for SLS as they’ve been with Falcon.

        • publiusr

          I wouldn’t mind flying Orion. Or Dragon either.

    • Scottlowther

      > Would that be a boost or a hindrance to American space exploration?

      A lot depends on politics. If the administration/Congress are dominated by America Fark Yeah types, then the Chinese going to the moon would be *fantastic.* The response would be something akin to “oh no you di-in’t,” and the race would be back on.

      If however the government was dominated by ‘diplomatic” types, then the response would likely be to congratulate them, wish them well and manage the slow fade into oblivion.

      The real question is how the US would respond to an *ally* going to the moon. I could see the Indians taking a shot at it. The EU is more than capable technically, but I don’t know if there’s enough *will* left in the thin runny water that passes for EU bureaucratic blood these days. Britain on it’s own *should* have the technological ability, and may re-generate enough national pride to give it a shot.

      • se jones

        Speaking of EU NASA et al. and “10 healthy centers” make-work pet projects:
        I cannot recommend highly enough, Jonathan Goff’s post over at Boondocks:
        “Random Thoughts: Throwing the Moon a Bone” (link below).

        I think Goff is hitting the nail on head (even Bob Z is somewhat on board with this). Lunar propellent is probably economic nonsense in light of SpaceXBlueOriginULA reusable stages, but hey, throw the Moon mafia a bone.

        ISS is proof that treaty obligations plus work & ride swaps, can keep a big project alive through many US administrations. If we don’t go hog wild, a COTS for the Moon could give SLS something to do, without eating manned Mars alive.

        http://selenianboondocks.com/2016/11/random-thoughts-throwing-the-moon-a-bone/

    • se jones

      >untested system

      I would go with a crew on EM-1.
      All the liquid engines and SRMs are about as tested as than can get. The full-up stack hasn’t been flight tested, but the crew module will have a thoroughly flight tested, simple, robust LES on ascent…in case sh*#.

      For TLI, the IUS is just a derivative of the existing Delta IV upper stage. If the IUS fails to light or there’s some other worry…just deorbit Orion and come back down. The service module main engine is just a Shuttle OMS engine, again – about as tested as you can get.

      After TLI you’re on a free return trajectory, so just enjoy the ride. If Orion’s life support system can’t keep a couple of guys alive for this short flight, I’ll eat my hat.

      The SLS / Orion project is so expensive and moving so slow, I think there’s a high probability of it being axed anyway, so I’d take the risk of flying EM-1 crewed, what do we have to lose? If EM-1 somehow killed the crew, it’s not like SpaceX would evaporate.
      NASA would still have Orion on the shelf, an earth orbit rendezvous Falcon Heavy / Vulcan Lunar mission could be cobbled together to “catch up” with the Chinese if they rub our noses in it.

  • Paper Kosmonaut

    Well put, Scott. I think you hit the nail on the head. The manned EM-1 mission looks half-baked. It all looks spectacular but is it feasible? is it even necessary? Like Herp here, I too am not a big fan of the SLS. It is unnecessary and uses up a lot of money better spent on other things than launcher development. I’d leave that to the industry. (After all, the ministry of Transportation doesn’t manufacture cars either, they just take care of the infrastructure.) NASA should just stop trying developing rockets. But okay, I guess it’s too late for that now…

    • Scottlowther

      > NASA should just stop trying developing rockets

      NASA should be in the business of advocating for and developing advanced technologies. NASA should be working on *missions,* not mundane transportation infrastructure. Back in the 60’s it made all kinds of sense for NASA to be deeply involved in the development of rockets, because rockets were new, bleeding edge and somewhat poorly understood. SLS, on the other hand, is a collection of technologies in some cases pushing *sixty* years old (if the SRBs use the Shuttle-era igniters, those use components originally developed for the original Minuteman ICBM… circa 1957).

      If NASA wants to go to, say, the Moon, great. They should put out a requirement of “we need X kilograms put onto Y trajectory, with a Z level of reliability, vibration levels, max acceleration, etc.” And let industry figure it out.

      • Paper Kosmonaut

        Exactly! My original text was three times longer but in it I kind of wrote what you did. But you formulated it a lot better.
        Also, I think the U.S. can do almost all missions they want the SLS to fly with the already existing launchers. You might need two launches but that won’t be as much as the SLS production and development costs – and the “just one SLS mission per year” idea NASA will be stuck with now.

        • Herp McDerp

          Yes … and one other problem with SLS is the long time between missions. One reason the Shuttle was expensive, and the SLS will be hugely expensive, is the fact that that you have to keep people on the payroll even when nothing is flying. You can’t afford to lose the people who know how to build and maintain the system. But if SLS flies once every year or two, those people aren’t doing anything useful most of the time. You have to keep production facilities operational, too.

      • se jones

        “…advocating for and developing advanced technologies
        “…should be working on *missions,* not mundane transportation”

        Sorry, but in practice this non sequitur is the root of the agencies dysfunction.

        1: “Developing advanced technologies” leads to engineers scattered across competing NASA centers playing in the sandbox forever on pet projects.

        2: “Working on *missions*” means taking the tools you have and going with them, with centers focused on the mission goal, not their own beloved technology bucket.

        • Scottlowther

          ERRRRRR. The two concepts are no more mutually exclusive for NASA than “aeronautics” and “space” are.

          • se jones

            Well *that’s* a good analogy right there.
            The sad Aeronautics budget ain’t sh*# because Space has eaten up all the agencies funding for decades. There’s no balance or adherence to the agency’s charter.

            In practice, the insular NASA centers have made the two concepts mutually exclusive.

          • Scottlowther

            While that may be true, it’s not a fundamental feature of the system but rather a function of bureaucracies in general. The solution is simple: a vast round of job reviews, transfers and firings. Heck, simply transfer everyone in NASA clockwise to the next center.

          • se jones

            Once Apollo ended, it did become a fundamental feature of the NASA bureaucracy. Johnson’s grand vision of a dozen semi-autonomous field centers became dysfunctional once the unifying Apollo mission and James Webb’s brilliant management went away.

            You’re right, the solution is simple and it involves moving all civil service functions to NASA headquarters in DC and like you say, do some job transfers and rotations between centers.

            Look, more than any other engineering field, spaceflight is *pure* physics free of that messy and constraining earth air, water & dirt. There are SO many ways to move things in space, it’s a smorgasbord of neat technologies. There’s an innate tendency for spaceflight engineers to fall in love with this or that technology, then develop tunnel vision.

            You’re in love with artificial gravity. Me? Nuclear thermal rockets.
            That’s fine for us amateurs, but when there’s a slew of NASA guys spending millions in their sandbox and each independent center’s sandbox has a “not invented here” mentality, it’s a recipe for gridlock.

          • Scottlowther

            > You’re in love with artificial gravity.

            I wouldn’t necessarily say that. My beef with it is that it is a clear necessity for the long-term viability of permanent space habitation, and after half a century of spaceflight we have so far done *nothing* to study it.

            > when there’s a slew of NASA guys spending millions in their sandbox and
            each independent center’s sandbox has a “not invented here” mentality

            I see that as an opportunity. Let’s say I become Dictator of the US, and more than anything I want the US to land a man on Mars. How to do it? I go to industry and say, “I want a man on Mars.” I don’t give a damn how they do it, but I will only pay up when they reach specific goals. If they decide that they need some neato new tech to make it work… a gas core NTR, chemical processors, replicators, whatever – they can develop in-house or they can get NASA to do it. That’s NASA’s *job.*

          • se jones

            >long-term viability of permanent space habitation
            If by that you mean habitation in O’Neill cylinders? Too far away to care.

            >done *nothing* to study it
            I do not agree because we’ve studied the sh*# out of *not needing* artificial gravity for Mars transits and everyday life on LEO hotels.

            But yeah, Elon please pay for *this* before planning for cities on Mars:
            http://www.artificial-gravity.com/JANNAF-2005-Sorensen.pdf
            -Thank you

          • se jones

            This thing:
            One Falcon Heavy flight + one Falcon 9 crew flight and you’re set, find out how much people puke at different rates/radii and how much bones dissolve (or not) in .38g.

            Make deals with other nations for resupply in exchange for crew time.
            Heck, it would probably turn into a de facto contest of who’s astronauts do the least puking in the thing.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c2e9a0774cde7cac12e178a08755442e88b6401d1b343630c9f0f9d3bb98f55b.jpg

          • Herp McDerp

            I think Scott’s point is that we’ve had forty years in which we could have performed this test, and we haven’t.

            We need to know what 1/6 g and 3/8 g do to human bodies over the course of months and years. It’s a big hole in our knowledge set. People would occupy a lunar base for months at a time. And even if we don’t settle Mars and we only stay for a month at a time, the round trip will require many months. Some form of artificial gravity almost certainly will be necessary for the voyage — we probably won’t want people on Mars expeditions taking several days to get used to working under gravity again after they land.

            (Hmm. One attraction of a lunar hotel might be the ability to boink in 1/6 g. The impression I get is that doing the deed in zero-g would be awkward at best. Has anyone admitted yet to trying it?)

            (Imagine what that test setup would look like viewed from the ground … a wiggling satellite track!)

          • se jones

            >forty years in which we could have performed this test,

            You make it sound like getting a checkup at the doctor. No, to perform this “test” requires several $ billion dollars worth of dedicated orbiting infrastructure.

            >need to know what 1/6 g and 3/8 g do to human bodies over the course of months and years…People would occupy a lunar base for months

            For decades crews have been doing months long zero-g crew rotations in LEO without terrible consequences, Lunar or Mars gravity can’t be *worse*.

            >artificial gravity almost certainly will be necessary for the voyage …Mars expeditions taking several days to get used to working under gravity again after they land.

            Almost certainly will be necessary? No, it is not almost certainly.
            Crews would have to get used to 3/8 g after a an entry-descent-landing that’s much less stressful than the *brutal* Soyuz ordeals everyone keeps referencing.
            A more useful reference is Shannon Lucid’s return to Earth on STS-79 after 6 months STS-79. Shannon ignored the flight surgeons and stood up and walked off Atlantis. An old woman, after six months in zero-g, can walk off the vehicle in ONE-g?

            Look:
            The extra billions spent on artificial gravity for a Mars expedition comes at the expense of *other* more serious concerns [opportunity costs]

            ●Artificial gravity on a Mars bound s/c carries hazards of its own:
            the hazard of dealing with disorientation and nausea in an emergency situation requiring EVA and/or de-rotation

            ●The hazard of subjecting the crew to extra, unneeded flight regimes.
            Humans evolved for billions of years in one-g and zero-g (in the womb or oceans for our ancestors), it’s kind of a miracle the way we do fine in both zero-g and one-g. But, living in a *rotating* reference frame is *not* natural *at all* and it’s not like in movies filmed in stationary one-g sets in Hollywood.

            Opportunity cost: definition
            A benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else.

            Money: definition
            Something that does not grow on trees.

          • Herp McDerp

            >> forty years in which we could have performed this test,

            > You make it sound like getting a checkup at the doctor. No, to perform this “test” requires several $ billion dollars worth of dedicated orbiting infrastructure.

            Since Columbia‘s first flight, how many paper studies and funded-but-aborted NASA programs have there been for successors to the Shuttle? In all that time, has NASA conducted even one paper study of a fractional-gravity mission? (Note: Even a single mission, with a spacecraft and a counterweight, not a semi-permanent facility with a spacecraft docking port as in the image you posted.)

            > A more useful reference is Shannon Lucid’s return to Earth on STS-79 after 6 months STS-79. Shannon ignored the flight surgeons and stood up and walked off Atlantis. An old woman, after six months in zero-g, can walk off the vehicle in ONE-g?

            Wow. She could totter … in a benign one-g environment. And what useful work did she accomplish over the next several days? On the other hand, after a year or so of living in zero-g, would an astronaut be strong and steady enough to avoid stumbling and cracking a helmet in the 3/8-g and damn-near-vacuum environment of Mars?

            Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars. All of the plans that I’ve seen assume that there are no negative consequences to sustained living in 3/8-g. I think it’s plausible that negative effects would be mild and treatable … but you don’t want to discover what they are when you’re cut off from home. “Um, guys? Could you please send ten kilos of lithium carbonate by the next FedEx courier? We think that’ll solve the problem …”

          • se jones

            >has NASA conducted even one paper study of a fractional-gravity mission
            Sure, lots of em. Google.

            >She could totter … in a benign one-g
            ONE-g isn’t benign compared to 3/8-g, she was walking around fine and going to press conferences after a couple of days. Useful work? I kinda figure Mars crews could take a day off after landing. If there’s a big emergency, I think they’ll function fine. *Again*, the billions of dollars and kilograms of mass saved by *not* spinning the damn s/c, will buy more redundancy, better space suits, less radiation exposure and so on – hence less chance of needing “useful work” (read- emergency work) on day one.

            >after a year or so of living in zero-g, would an astronaut be strong and
            What? *Year* or so? The Hohmann Transfer to to Mars is only about six months, give or take. In fact, the mass you save by not spinning the damn thing, can go to more propellent for TMI allowing a shorter transfer (4 months is about the max, over that and you loose free return abort)

            >Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars
            Yes. So therefor, he can pay the lion’s share of launching and operating a tethered, variable-g habitat in LEO. Hell, he might turn a profit on it by leasing time on it to other nations, and “adventure tourists” who will pay for the privilege of living in a spinning can, where they can wile away the time watching the earth out the window, when they aren’t drawing blood samples or working out. I’ll go.

          • Herp McDerp

            The extra billions spent on artificial gravity for a Mars expedition
            comes at the expense of *other* more serious concerns [opportunity
            costs]

            The extra tens of billions spent on the Space Launch System
            comes at the expense of *other* more serious concerns [opportunity
            costs].

            We were talking about the SLS, weren’t we?

          • se jones

            >billions spent on the Space Launch System

            So therefore what? With or without SLS, NASA isn’t planning any missions the *require* artificial gravity.

          • Scottlowther

            Not planning on any missions that require nuclear rockets. Or humans to Mars. Or humans to the lunar surface. Or humans to *anywhere.*

          • se jones

            >that require nuclear rockets
            True enough

            >Or humans to Mars
            The hell you say. That Mars Human Landing Site Workshop in Houston must’ve been an acid flashback from High School.

            >Or humans to the lunar surface. Ok.
            >Or humans to *anywhere.* The hell you say. Again.

            Yeah, view graphs are a dime a dozen, but that $8,510 million for the Human Exploration Operations budget is at least *some* thing official.

          • Scottlowther

            Let me know when they actually start *real* planning. As in getting the contracts going to do the detailed design and construction of the landers and such. Hell, does the Mars landing mission even have a *name?*

            The last fifty years are *replete* with studies of Mars missions. You know what’s we haven’t seen? Actual effort to *go.*

            Remember, NASA’s working hypothesis since Apollo has been “failure is not an option.” Best way to make sure you don’t fail is to not actually go.

          • se jones

            >*real* planning.
            I know what you’re saying, but from my perspective the scouting missions underway by the fleet of orbital and landed assets at Mars, *is* a major part of that planning.

            >don’t fail is to not actually go
            You see this “failure avoidance” meme all the time, but I question it. Travel to and living on the ISS is *extremely* dangerous, it just seems mundane compared to high adventure on Mars. NASA has gone slow and careful with testing that BEAM module, but hell, every EVA is a death defying, high risk adventure in an inflatable mini-spacecraft. After all these decades, it’s a minor miracle that nobody has been killed doing an EVA in LEO.

          • Paul451

            we probably won’t want people on Mars expeditions taking several days to get used to working under gravity again after they land.

            AIUI, the rule of thumb is that it takes nearly as long to adapt back to gravity as you spent in micro-g. A day for a day. Mars won’t be quite as bad, but then there isn’t a rehab facility waiting either.

            The impression I get is that doing the deed in zero-g would be awkward at best.

            It’s a common giggle-myth amongst space-cadets, but it’s stupid. Sex in micro-g would be vastly easier than sex under 1g. (Ignoring clean-up afterwards.)

          • Scottlowther

            > If by that you mean habitation in O’Neill cylinders?

            Or orbital hotels, rotating lunar surface cities, whatever.

            > Too far away to care.

            Sad.

            > we’ve studied the sh*# out of *not needing* artificial gravity for Mars transits and everyday life on LEO hotels

            Really? How many zero-g babies have humans had? How well have children taken to growing up in zero-g? There’s more to spaceflight than short trips. It is the future of the species.

          • se jones

            Too far away to care ≠ not interested.
            It’s just that when engineers discuss future developments, there’s an implicit boundary on the discussion. That boundary in this case is “Political Rocket Theater” for the SLS Orion within NASA’s limited budget and planning horizon. No?

            I kinda think rotating lunar surface cities (really?) and O’Neil Elysium cities are too far off to impact current planning. ALSO if you go far enough into the future, all bets are off as our super AI overlords will run the show.

            Zero-g babies and children? Nobody is proposing that. Ever.
            Realistically, the surface of Mars is the future of humanity’s first “egg out of this basket”, so .38g is a good idea to study (by Elon -thank you).

            I think we’ve had this discussion before: typical orbital hotel stay ≈1 week, keep nausea to a minimum, typically on day 1 (or rich folk may want their money back).
            Typical orbital hotel crew rotation ≈14 days (same as oil platforms). 14 days is not a deadly, blinding, bone breaking horror show (ref 30 years of Shuttle missions).
            Orbital hotel crew is a good job for some handicapped folks if emergency landing opps are approved.

      • publiusr

        I agree with se jones on this one. Now, SLS is probably the last rocket NASA helps develop–but with the ITS tank rupture–I think they need to point Musk in the direction of Sea Dragon–not BFR.

        I want SLS for heavy probes for now. Launch a Mars ship later with SLS–but propellant mass/tankage and other big dumb payloads with Sea Dragon.

  • Herp McDerp

    But unless I missed a staff meeting… we have no lunar landers. We don’t even seem to have a real program to develop one.

    Hmmm. Could a Dragon land on the Moon? Could a Dragon with drop tanks land, take off, and rendezvous with an Earth-return vehicle (possibly just a propulsion stage) parked in lunar orbit?

    • Paul451

      Could a Dragon land on the Moon?

      No.

      Could a Dragon with drop tanks land, take off, and rendezvous with an Earth-return vehicle (possibly just a propulsion stage) parked in lunar orbit?

      No.

      Dragon’s Superdracos have low Isp. Their existing fuel tanks would provide less than 1/10th the delta-v needed merely land on the moon. In order to land, and only land, they’d need to have drop-tanks nearly twice the size of the entire capsule. Just to land.

      Take off again would also need drop tanks twice the size of the capsule, but then in order to land the capsule and the fuel necessary to launch back to orbit, the landing drop-tanks would have to be four times larger than the entire capsule. So six times the size of the capsule in fuel.

      Oh, that’s just for an empty capsule. If you wanted to actually carry a crew, equipment, life-support, etc, you’ll need to bump that up yet further.

      If you swap out the Superdracos with a more efficient engine, plus add fuel tanks/drop-tanks/etc (which you’ll still need), plus mod the trunk to allow it to serve as the service module while on the surface, then you have essentially developed an entirely new lunar lander just to carry the Dragon capsule down and up again. In which case, why not just add a custom crew compartment to that vehicle, skip the Dragon entirely, and call it a day?

      • Herp McDerp

        No. [Followed by Reasons.]

        Just curious. Thanks for the info.

  • Joseph A Couvillion

    This is the first I’ve heard of this ideal comping from the Trump administration. My first assumption on hearing it was that it was someone’s bright ideal on how to hide a slipping schedule. Any information on what the SLS schedule status is?