NASA Space Rocket Logistics Challenges
SpaceOps 2014 Conference
The Space Launch System (SLS) is the new NASA heavy lift launch vehicle and is scheduled for its first mission in 2017. The goal of the first mission, which will be uncrewed, is to demonstrate the integrated system performance of the SLS rocket and spacecraft before a crewed flight in 2021. SLS has many of the same logistics challenges as any other large scale program. Common logistics concerns for SLS include integration of discreet programs geographically separated, multiple prime contractors
... e prime contractors with distinct and different goals, schedule pressures and funding constraints. However, SLS also faces unique challenges. The new program is a confluence of new hardware and heritage, with heritage hardware constituting seventy-five percent of the program. This unique approach to design makes logistics concerns such as commonality especially problematic. Additionally, a very low manifest rate of one flight every four years makes logistics comparatively expensive. That, along with the SLS architecture being developed using a block upgrade evolutionary approach, exacerbates long-range planning for supportability considerations. These common and unique logistics challenges must be clearly identified and tackled to allow SLS to have a successful program. This paper will address the common and unique challenges facing the SLS programs, along with the analysis and decisions the NASA Logistics engineers are making to mitigate the threats posed by each.