Constellation Update From Constellation Director Lauri Hansen

AmericaSpace Note: This update from Constellation Systems Engineering And Integration Director Lauri Hansen floated across our desk today. Nothing too juicy, but does give you the inside view.

From: Hansen, Lauri N. (JSC-ZF111)
Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 10:38 AM
To: ————————
Subject: RE: CxP Restructuring

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the feedback. We’re all struggling with communication in the dynamic environment we’re in. So here’s the scoop:

As you know, we have Congressional direction to implement the fy10 operating plan. Unfortunately, totally independent of the 2/1 announcement, we are in a different budget posture in fy10 than we expected to be. Without going into all of the gory details, we lost the Orion cost share, at $200M in fy 10, had an fy 10 recission at around $100M, and had an existing challenge of around $150M in 10. So, all told, amounts to about a $400M – $500M shortfall, half way through the year, towards implementing the original fy10 plan. So the program has to look at restructuring the fy10 plan independent of the 2/1 direction.

Therefore… we are currently in the process of evaluating and understanding a new approach for fy10. As always when you look at a significant re-plan, there’s a little of the chicken and egg problem – can’t “reset” until you understand what you’re resetting to. And yet you need people working on it to get enough definition to reset. And you don’t want to waste a lot of effort working an old plan that you know is OBE. That’s where we are today – we’re trying to reset, but need a little more definition. John is actively trying to work the better definition with the CxSIP and Bob Ess, with every intention of doing the reset. But not quite ready to pull the trigger on changing official schedules, etc., yet.

Content: First thing is that Orion is looking at an incremental capability, which incorporates the Block 0 approach. They are currently evaluating and will make a formal recommendation to the Program at the end of April. Don’t think there’s much doubt we will implement this, question is more what specifically is or is not in Block 0. Note that this does not change the end goal – Block 1 Orion is the IOC configuration. We are just taking a different approach to get there.

Second aspect is that we are looking at a test flight strategy implementation. If we are talking about incremental capability, makes sense to be able to test it incrementally. That’s the other aspect of what you were hearing at the CxSIP – how would you do that, and how do you focus on it. Again, a different approach. An incremental/test flight approach (or build a little/test a little, if you prefer) allows us to focus on building hardware and focusing on the mission vs. certification (in the short term). Obviously, you ultimately have to merge the two, but that gives us a little time to make real progress and figure out who’s really supposed to do what in fy 11 and on.

Grand plan: Get folks looking at the implications and how we would implement this NOW. We’ve asked each of the projects to assess implications of the Block 0 approach by 4/29. Also looking to have the more detailed content of the first test flights defined by the end of April. Goal is to do a test configuration “reset” – or really “set” since it’s new – in early May. At that point we would make the approach more formal, with a mission specific mod to the ADD, formally changing the integrated products expected, and starting the domino affects to the IMS. Suspect it will be somewhat messy, as there are a lot of things affected and they are changing quickly. So we will all need some patience with it.

Does the above make sense? Does it help? If so, please feel free to forward. If not, let me know & I’ll (attempt) to clarify.

Thanks,

Lauri

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