Constelaltion project Not going to Mars

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Dryden88

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Hello everyone,

First Question: How many of you actually believe the new crew capsule is going to go to Mars? Who believes anyone would want to be in that capsule (plus an attached service module) for 3-6 months?

Secondly: I have had an idea recently. I may not have a PHD or a graduate degree in Astrophysics or Astronomy, but I have educated myself as much as possible. I also have watched a lot of science channel and Discovery. There are currently technologies out there that we could use to put together a ship in orbit for 3/4 of the cost NASA would spend on R&D to create one. Just hear out my idea and I would like some comments.

First of Bigelow Aerospace (http://www.bigelowaerospace.com/) has what I believe to be the best module to use in Space Stations, MoonBases, or Spaceships that is currently out there. They are about 30-50 yards long and are 2-stories high. They are inflattable so they can fit on the head of most rockets and then are inflatted to full size in orbit with racks and internal compononets already to go. There outer skin is made out of a material harder then kevler and are better adapted for taking metoerite hits then hard metal containers. Each module is self contained but can be joined to other modules and are robotically controlled. So if you have several connected and have a failure in one you can fall back to a safe module and jettison the bad one.

We would need 4 of these Bigelow modules costing 100 million each. There would also be a main engine with an engine room that would be connected to the back of this system. The engine would be either an Ion or Plasma propulsion system. This system is made so that each module could be disconnected and reconnected for redundancy purposes.

We would then need 1-2 modules built by NASA, ESA, Russia, etc. that would be in the middle of all this. This middle module could become self contained in case of a massive failure of the other components. It would also have a backup engine with enough fuel to get the crew back home from Mars. It would also contain landing crafts, rovers, and satellites. This could also be the safe module if a massive solar flare occured on the way to Mars. Each module will also have its own Elctro-Magnetic Field Generator that is currently being tested to stop general radiation from tearing the crew members DNA apart.

My estimates show that this type of ship would be at least 250 yeards in length and 2-stories high once connected in orbit. May cost 1 billion dollars but I think it is less then if NASA R&D something like this from scratch. FYI the inside of this ship would be retrofitted when it docks with the International Space Station. Thats also where it will be supplied.

Please give thoughts on this. Even though the idea is crude I believe the idea is sound and don't understand why NASA hasn't come up with a simplistic design like this. Also, if this survives the trip relativly unscathed it could be reusable. We could go to other planets and use it to do research.
 
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dragon04

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CERTAINLY, Apollo 18 is not going to Mars. I dunno if this is the right forum to discuss it, though. In fact, depending on the success of SpaceX in the next 18-24 months, Constellation may not be going anywhere.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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How'r you gonna get the individual pieces together in orbit? What'r you gonna use to provide internal power? The engines'll need power too. Whats gonna provide that? How'r you gonna stop it at Mars then again at Earth? Where's the fuel tank? What'll your engines use for fuel? Is there a pilot? Where would he fly the ship from?
 
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R1

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It sounds like a lot of mass would need to be sent to Mars.
The ion engine(s) I thought were better suited for small probes that have a lot of patience.

So it may need some pwerful fuel and engines, if that's the case..
..like my barge idea in the miscellaneous thread.
 
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dragon04

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Boris_Badenov":2rrv7dre said:
How'r you gonna get the individual pieces together in orbit? What'r you gonna use to provide internal power? The engines'll need power too. Whats gonna provide that? How'r you gonna stop it at Mars then again at Earth? Where's the fuel tank? What'll your engines use for fuel? Is there a pilot? Where would he fly the ship from?
Actually, I'd be in favor of a "modular" transit craft. Given current technology, it's probably the most efficient way we could do Mars and set up a permanent presence. And honestly, I don't think there's any option BUT permanent presence when we decide to go for Mars as much as it's gonna cost.

Connecting components? We built the ISS, didn't we? Docking technology is trivial. Honestly though, I still favor the (real and original) Orion concept. Building and launching one from Earth would be far more economically feasible to lugging 3,000 tons of this and that to LEO and building it in orbit, but I don't think too many people are gonna be cool with an Earth-launched Orion using a dozen A-bombs to get out of the atmosphere.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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dragon04":2jpw9ss5 said:
Actually, I'd be in favor of a "modular" transit craft. Given current technology, it's probably the most efficient way we could do Mars and set up a permanent presence.

Connecting components? We built the ISS, didn't we? Docking technology is trivial. Honestly though, I still favor the (real and original) Orion concept. Building and launching one from Earth would be far more economically feasible to lugging 3,000 tons of this and that to LEO and building it in orbit, but I don't think too many people are gonna be cool with an Earth-launched Orion using a dozen A-bombs to get out of the atmosphere.
A Modular design would be the best way to go IMO too, but. We used the STS to get the components up there for the ISS. With the STS we had 7 pair of hands right there with the components to bolt stuff together & the STS took it right where it had to be. Without the STS we have no way to do it that way anymore.
As for Orion, I like it as an in space propulsion system, but not as a launch system. So now we're back where we started & we need to figure out a way to get all the pieces in the same place & bolted together.
 
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Dryden88

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The coonecting of the pieces in orbit is simple. There are automated docking system already in place both with NASA and Russian programs. Not to mention that Bigelow Aerospace says they already have it all worked out and will test the technology when they send up Sundancer and couple years later the first BA330 module which my design is based off of. So all pieces would be shot into space unmanned and then joined together robotically seperately in space. Once they are all connected they would rendezvous with the International Space station for internal setup and supplies.

As far as the Orion is concerned..... My craft and many others like it have redundancy for massive failures. Each craft uses the life support by products to run thrusters in each individual module. Each module has robotic remote control. So if one module has a failure or malfunction. The crew falls back to the Nasa module or the engine module and then can seperate the bad module and rejoin the others. Or for a major malfunction or failure fall back to the NASA module and it has a spare engine with enough Ion or plasma fuel to get them back to earth from Mars. Sort of like an escape pod if you will.

In the Orion design if anything happens to the capsule the crew is dead. at least my design allows room for failure.

Since my design takes current technology into effect it would save us money. The only R&D we need to do is for the NASA module and the landing craft. Bigelow says that his BA330's will cost 100 million a piece. If we use 4 and 1-2 Nasa modules that would have an inside of 250 yeards long and 2-stories high!?! Come on thats better then that sardine can NASA is coming up with. Orion is good for Earth Orbit and the moon, but not for Interplanetary flight.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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We be talkin about different ORION's. This & this is what Dragon & I are calling ORION.
As far as autonomous docking go's, it is not as simple as you think. It requires engines separate from the spacecraft as well as guidance, either from a complex (read that as a REAL expensive) computer or from the ground. The automated systems the Russians & NASA uses are for specific applications, i.e. you can't take a Progress autonomous system & retrofit it to a BA330. It won't work. Also, what happens with the engines, autonomous docking hardware & associated stuff after you've docked all the pieces together?
I'm also curious where you got that $100 million number. SpaceX is saying an F9H launch will be in the $100 million range. So how is Bigelow going to get a BA330 built & in orbit for the same amount as the cheapest heavy lifter "available"? A Delta IVH is going to be at least 50% more that that, most likely double.
You still haven't suggested a method of stopping once you get to Mars or back to Earth either. Will it be all propulsive (you'll need mucho fuel for that. how big is your fuel tank?) or will you have some kind of reusable heat shield? If it's a heat shield it will need to be of greater diameter than your largest ship section. The BA330 is inflatable precisely to get around the problem of launching items that are greater in diameter than what the largest rockets can put into orbit. If you intend to bring up the shield in pieces like pie wedges we're right back to the first question. How will you get them put together & how will you attach them to the ship?
You've got some good ideas, but your ship will not be as simple or as cheap as you think.
 
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Dryden88

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Maybe it won't be as cheap as I think, but the fusion of NASA (Government), International Governments, and Private Industry I think is the way to go. Mars is to big of goal to leave certain people out. Plus the more people involved the better the ideas.

Secondly, Bigelow already has thrusters for the BA330 that use the waste products of the life support system as fuel. As far as the engines go. Ion propulsion uses little fuel and is a constant push on the ship. Plasma engines are being tested and from what I heard are faster. Fuel consumption I have no idea about though.

All Ion engines are designed so that at a certain point the craft is flipped over and the engines fire in the opposite direction to slow it down. Pretty simple concept. Heat shield... For what? The central NASA module will have a compartment for landers, orbiters, and rovers. Once in orbit over the planet crew members will board the lander. The ship itself will never land on a planetary body. So in theory if the ship survives the roundtrip fine then it could be reused. Therefore you save the money on creating another one.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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All Ion engines are designed so that at a certain point the craft is flipped over and the engines fire in the opposite direction to slow it down. Pretty simple concept. Heat shield... For what?

Ion Engines are too weak to stop your ship. No matter what speed you travel at in space you need that much energy to stop. It's fizix. :mrgreen:
At either end of your mission you'll need to enter orbit of the planet. You have to do that with atmospheric braking (a heat shield is needed for that) or with propulsive braking (for that you need as much fuel to stop as you used to get started, remember Newtons Second Law, "The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector.")
 
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Dryden88

Guest
As far as I know Ion engines run off of a Nuclear Generator and use some sort of mass. As far as I am aware I believe it is far less mass then solid rocket engines? I may be wrong. Probably am. But I believe Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket might be the way to go. I know Wikipedia is not the most reliable place for scientific and factual information but I cant seem to find the actual website for this engine. Below is the Wikipedia page for this engine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_S ... sma_Rocket

If this wont work well dont worry there are many more ideas out there. This design concept is just to show that NASA's idea to send the new capsule to Mars is an incredibly bad idea. I believe for less money there a far better ways of getting to Mars then a 1960's capsule design.
 
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