Crew Exploration Vehicle

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reedyreed

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Does anyone have any idea of how this new CEV will be assembled and if a prototype is now in construction. President Bush kept referring to this CEV in his speech to return to the moon and beyond by 2020. Will it be built on Earth and carried to LEO by the shuttle, by rocket or on it's own power or will NASA build it in O G from the ISS?. If we are indeed headed into the cosmos to continue our journey into space, it would seem NASA needs a public relations department to get this information out to the general public to peak interest once again in the New Frontier,<br /><br />Reedyreed
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Does anyone have any idea of how this new CEV will be assembled and if a prototype is now in construction.</font>/i><br /><br />NASA is currently asking industry to provide strategies and designs; although, so far Congress has refused to appropriate any funds for even the earliest and of efforts. This, combined with new cost overrun announcements from the shuttle effort may push the CEV back a year or more. Some basic information (e.g., slides from industry day, Broad Area Announcements, etc.) can be be found at:<br /><br />http://www.exploration.nasa.gov/announce.html<br />http://exploration.nasa.gov/acquisition.html<br />http://exploration.nasa.gov/cer_faqs.html<br /><br /> /> <i><font color="yellow">Will it be built on Earth and carried to LEO by the shuttle</font>/i><br /><br />Definitely not a shuttle, as they will be retired around 2010. Will a shuttle inspired vehicle (e.g., "Shuttle C" design) be involved? Perhaps, but I don't think so for a variety of technical reasons?<br /><br />Will shuttle technology be involved? Possibly. The Planetary Society recently released a report in which they proposed using the solid rocket boosters from the shuttle to boost an early version of the CEV into orbit. Also, the Shuttle's main engines are considered to be great technology.<br /><br /> /> <i><font color="yellow">will NASA build it in O G from the ISS?</font>/i><br /><br />I doubt the ISS will be involved. The current strategy is for the US to exit from the ISS around 2015-2016, well before the CEV breaks LEO.<br /><br /><br />My best guesses are:<br /><br />(1) The CEV will have a capsule design and not a plane design. A capsule design appears to be cheaper, simpler, safer (easier to build escape sys</i></i></i>
 
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halman

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reedyreed,<br /><br />I my opinion, what NASA really needs is the complete and unwavering support of Congress. Every time that NASA has been ready to accept a new design for a manned vehicle, Congress has refused to allocate the funds to build it. Congress will provide money for design studies, but any time that the possibility of a long term funding commitment comes up, they back down.<br /><br />Our senators and representatives have got to be made to understand that this is no longer about 'science.' Science is something that you buy when you think that you can afford it. We are now at the stage of 'development', where funding has got to be assured over the life of the program.<br /><br />Failing to commit right now would be like failing to make the Louisiana Purchase, or buying Alaska. Delay will mean lost oppurtunities, oppurtunities which we desperately need to remain solvent.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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mikejz

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Call me crazy, but most of the stuff I have been reading on the CEV is nothing more then dusted off Apollo designs with some upgrades. It seems like a light, simple, and practicle capsule system would be a better idea--along the ideas of Gemini, but bigger (Big G). If Nasa lets the CEV turn into a 'all things to all people' vehicle, then they will simply have shuttle Verison 2. IMHO it does not seem like building a space capsule is NOT REALLY that much a challenge with modern technology, so long as lessions of the past are applied.
 
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spacester

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Oh, man I'm going to defend Congress . . . something is very wrong here . . . <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> . . . I certainly agree that they need to shift from science to development, but . . . <br /><br />Historically, Congress has screwed up with NASA funding big time. But they are trying to do better, IMO. I think they get the stable funding thing, I think they get the clear purpose thing.<br /><br />But when they talk to the NASA administrator, all they get is gobbledegook. Psycho Dan was just way over the top in terms of evasiveness, false promises, outright lies, etc.<br /><br />So Congress had hoped for better from O'Keefe. But the man is in over his head, so they still are unable to go to a responsible official and get a straight answer.<br /><br />Above all else, what the boys on the hill want from NASA is results. Especially when it comes to human spaceflight, all they see in NASA is a big hole in space they keep throwing money into.<br /><br />Of course, if Congress tries to get input from their constituents or outside experts to establish a clear purpose for NASA, they get as many opinions as the number of people that they ask.<br /><br />What NASA needs is a leader who knows all about space flight, who can pull together the balkanized space keener community and come up with a sensible plan and then sell it.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">I my opinion, what NASA really needs is the complete and unwavering support of Congress.</font>/i><br /><br />Everyone repeat: "shuttle" "ISS" "shuttle" "ISS"<br /><br />NASA so completely over promised and underdelivered on these that it has sucked the money, confidence, and life out of everything else.<br /><br />Soon after Bush took office NASA suddenly announced the ISS was billions over budget.<br /><br />Even of the added money for the new vision for 2005, 85% went to the shuttle and ISS. Only 15% was for the new vision!<br /><br />Even now, the recent cost overruns (announced about a week ago) of returning the shuttle to flight far exceed any new money that was supposed to go the the new vision.<br /><br />Add in NASA's success with the National Aerospace Plane, the X-33, and the X-34.<br /><br />NASA's financial, technical, and schedule success with manned exploration over the last 30 years shouldn't exactly earn it "unwavering support".</i>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Call me crazy, but most of the stuff I have been reading on the CEV is nothing more then dusted off Apollo designs with some upgrades.</font>/i><br /><br />Strangely, that seems about right -- although they may use more than one booster to get the parts up. The last I read, NASA hopes to have a small crew (about 3-4) on the Moon for a few days to a week by about 2020. The budget over those 16 years (adjusted for inflation) is about the same as Apollo's was over 8 years.<br /><br />So, similar budget, will take twice as long, same results.<br /><br />You would think advances in technology, experience, and knowledge would count for something.<br /><br />http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040728-124356-2684r</i>
 
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mikejz

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Personally, I feel that a capsule based craft are not a challenge, nor should they cost the billions that Nasa says it will to design. After all, what is the challenge? What is to be done that has not been done before? <br /><br />Not that I don't think it could/should be done--I not think that the business as usual model works. The more I think about it the more i realize that Nasa's biggest problem is its desire to OWN its hardware. If the end is a base on the moon or to supply ISS why should Nasa buy the craft that will achieve these? Why should the same old contractor model be used when they are in essence bidding on nothing more then the reinventions of the wheel? <br /><br />If I where Nasa I would instead of seeking proposals on designs and bids for an overall CEV; request bids on objectives. For example: We are seeking bids on 6 flights per year to ISS with a crew of 6 and 4 tons of cargo for 5 years. We don’t care how you do it, so long as your design meets safety requirements—lowest bid gets it. You will oversee all aspects of the mission, we provide the crew, and you get paid to get them there. <br />
 
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halman

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spacester,<br /><br />If you want to talk about a big hole that money is thrown into, look at the Drug Enforcement Administration. That agencies budget has been very close to the amount NASA has received since 1982. Net results: Zero! But they will get 18 billion again next year, because no Congressperson dare appear 'soft on crime'. What they are is soft in the head!<br /><br />If NASA had been receiving the DEA's budget since 1982, maybe the space station that they proposed when the shuttle first flew might have been built in a timely manner. Maybe there would have been some real progress in space. Maybe young people might believe that there is a future worth striving for, and spend their spare time enriching their minds instead of their dealers.<br /><br />Finally, we have a space station, but guess what? We don't have any way to get there! By the time that we will have the means to travel to the space station, it won't be ours any more. <br /><br />The way that we are funding the space program, there is never enough money to do all the things that we need to do at the same time. In order to accomplish anything at all, NASA is forced to compromise on designs, postpone program start-ups, build for the the short term.<br /><br />NASA wanted to build a reusable launch vehicle back in the late 1960's, and came up with a design that probably would have been very efficient. Congress wouldn't provide the money, so we ended up with a vehicle which was never able to do what the original design was supposed to do. Is that NASA's fault? Would it have been better if the administrator had said "If we can't do this right, it isn't worth doing at all."?<br /><br />We will never have an effective space program if Congress insists on micro-managing the program. If that appoach had been used in the days of Apollo, we would still be waiting to get to the Moon. This is one of the most technical, complex, esoteric fields known to the human race, but every senator and representativ <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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halman

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mikejz,<br /><br />The way that I see things, as long as NASA believes that they will have to fight for every penny, without any assurance that the funding will still be there in a year, everything they do is going to be massively expensive. People talk about getting the private sector involved in the space program, yet the vast majority of the hardware is built by contractors. If those contractors go out of business, there is no one else qualified to step up and immediately take over the job. So, NASA has to operate a corporate welfare system to insure that the contractors stay healthy.<br /><br />If there were a commitment to spend enough money to do all the things that are needed, NASA would have some sense of security. Knowing that these essential contractors will be busy on contracts for 5 or 10 years means not having to come up with some way to keep them in business for another year.<br /><br />The way that we are going about this whole thing makes it far more expensive than it has to be, and severely limits any chance for success. No one knows if Congress is going to suddenly gut the funding for a program, so everone tries to make sure that they won't get left holding the bag if the kaka hits the fan. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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mikejz

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Boy, it sure would be nice if Congress would move away from the wasteful practice of annual budgeting that creates the atmosphere of fear among government agencies. Budgeting on a project level or bi-annually seems far more appropriate. Ah, but that is congress and not Nasa.
 
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starfhury

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I've been against the CEV concept as projected by NASA from the start. I have two main reasons. One I don't see how it benefits NASA or the space program over the longer term, and two it does not sufficiently advance the art of space flight to justify it's enormous cost and time it will take.<br /><br />Just some notes:<br />A) CEV is more than likely going to be a capsule. We don't need a capsule for in space flight.<br /><br />B) CEV really might require a new heavy lift booster, instead, the Delta V and Atlas or even Ariane are proposed as lift vehicles. These vehicle were not develop with CEV even remotely in mind and will be expensive to make them man rated.<br /><br />C)CEV plans to dispense with a LEO space station of any sort and try to do everything by itself. It's shaping up to be all things to everyone a major criticism of the shuttle program.<br /><br />D) I think it's setting us all up for another failure and many dreadful years.<br /><br />What I think what we need is a grander more expansive and expensive program. This of course will not fly with many people. If we are going to have a CEV at all, it's function should be limited to only passenger ferry to a LEO space station. As such having a capsule for return through the atmosphere is proven technology. But in terms of the rest of CEV and project Constellation, we need to focus on two in space designs. Since these designs will be strickly limited to orbit or lower gravity airless surfaces, they don't require the same robust expensive construction as a vehicle designed to do it all. This is again the space tug idea, but it's more about division of labor and attacking things with multiple resources from multiple angles. The full plan calls for a specialized Earth to LEO booster launching only the crew or only the payload needed to LEO. At LEO an orbital outpost will serve as the hub of orbital operations near earth. Once the crew arrives at the station, the in space only transporter takes them to the <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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starfhury

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Thanks for the link. It's better than I thought it was. Yet there are still some issues I have with it. I suppose time and funding will tell the real tale. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">I've been against the CEV concept as projected by NASA from the start.</font>/i><br /><br />I was looking at the NASA slides for the BAA pre-solicitation conference, and the goal for the CEV is human orbital flight in 2014. Certainly part of the goal is to have an extensible design, but still...<br /><br />Massive government spending to achieve human orbital flight in 10 years. Its not like humans have never done this before. Sigh... I say we should throw $5-10 billion in the pot and make the manned orbital flight an X Prize.<br /><br /> /> <i><font color="yellow">B) CEV really might require a new heavy lift booster, instead, the Delta V and Atlas or even Ariane are proposed as lift vehicles. These vehicle were not develop with CEV even remotely in mind and will be expensive to make them man rated.</font>/i><br /><br />Actually, I have read in AW&ST that they were designed with an eye towards human rating. Given they cannot support a shuttle, and even a small winged craft would cause aerodynamic problems (see recent Planetary Society report), a capsule may have been in somebody's mind all along.</i></i>
 
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reedyreed

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It would seem our major hurdle to the developement of a CEV is not a lack of ideas but a lack of funding from Congress. We must look to the private sector to generate funds like Hollywood does with their industry. The amount of wealth that is thrown away in Hollywood is astounding. NASA can tap into that money with the proper public relation campaign to generate money from the private as well as the public sector. The automoble industry, the oil companies, and the food industries all waste potential NASA money through advertising greed and lack of vision. Commercials are seldom seen for NASA because they rely on the fatcats in Washington to approve their messages. How about advertising a lunar vehicle instead of a boxed off car or truck.....Can you see where I'm coming from.....Inspiration leads to an inspired public who will be willing to donate time and money. <br /><br />We must not rely on just tax money to fund NASA....Congress has it's own agendas and as far as I can see NASA is not one of them.....<br /><br />Show the people something new and they will give...they will come running to the aid of the people's agency---N.A.S.A.<br /><br />God Bless and God Speed to all who believe in the American Spirit.<br /><br />Daniel Wingsand Reed
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">It would seem our major hurdle to the developement of a CEV is not a lack of ideas but a lack of funding from Congress.</font>/i><br /><br />With the exception of the military, everyone is suffering from lack of funds from Congress. If you think space is getting screwed, trying being an environmentalist with the current administration, Congress, and budget.<br /><br /> /> <i><font color="yellow">NASA can tap into that money with the proper public relation campaign to generate money from the private as well as the public sector.</font>/i><br /><br />I think the first step is not to picture NASA as <b>the</b> space program but simply as part of it. For a variety of reasons NASA is prohibited from seeking outside funds or even promoting itself; this was part of the reason the Aldridge Commission recommended spinning off the NASA facilities as independently owned and operated FFRDCs.<br /><br />Also, NASA is both a government organization and a monopoly, so culturally it isn't exactly set up to attract, promote, nurture, or encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.<br /><br />As an example, I have been tracking NASA's material on the space exploration initiative, and despite the Aldridge Commission's strong recommendation to promote an industry instead of a space program, I cannot see anything in their promotional materials, proposals, or briefings that touch on this point.</i></i>
 
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halman

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starfhury,<br /><br />It almost breaks my heart to say this, but in many respects, the American space program is essentially back where it was in 1970. We are looking at doing practically evrything over again due to Congress being unwilling to commit enough money to build shuttles and a spacestation at the same time. So the shuttle is approaching the end of its life, we are planning on leaving the International Space Station to our partners, and we have not got a man-rated vehicle ready to replace the shuttle.<br /><br />What is worse is that every indication is that we are going to continue spending just enough to say that we are doing something in space, but not enough to create lasting infrastructure. it is like launching a rocket which climbs a few feet off of the pad, and then just hovers there, burning up all the propellent without going anywhere. We have spent 20 years and about 100 billion dollars, and what have we got to show for it? What will be usable in the future? What have we created up there that we can build upon?<br /><br />This is not like building an Interstate, where what has been built already will wait until the money is there to do more. If can not afford to do this right, why don't we admit that and stop throwing money away? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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orzek

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Is there any information around which shows what a CEV might look like. How big of a spacecraft will it be?
 
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najab

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Nobody can say with any certainty since the final CEV design proposals haven't been submitted yet. However, both of the major players (Boeing and Lock-Mart) have submitted capsule based designs. Boeing's looks like a scaled up Apollo CM, while Lock-Mart's is a lifting-capsule design. If you haven't seen this design proposal before, it is very similar to the proposed <i>Klipper</i> Soyuz replacement.<p>As to size and weight, we can infer that from the requirements. It's suggested that the CEV take over the ISS role previously designated for the OSP. This would suggest a vehicle large enough to carry 4-6 astronauts and/or a small amount of cargo. Since they would probably use EELV's to launch it, I'd expect it to be no more than 5metres in diameter and probably about 10metres long. The Delta-IV heavy has a capability of 25,800kg. to a 185 km orbit due East from the Cape. That would translate to something like 17,000kg to the ISS (a WAG). Assuming about 300kg per crew member and about 2000kg of cargo, the vehicle would have to weigh something like 13,000kg including propellants.</p>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Is there any information around which shows what a CEV might look like. How big of a spacecraft will it be?</font>/i><br /><br />Nothing has been decided yet, and I don't think Congress has appropriated any money for the first phase of design. However, NASA has released (and accepted) submissions for the Concept Exploration and Refinement Broad Area Announcement (CE&R BAA), which includes as part of its goals the "mold line" for the initial CEV concept. This initial contract will only be for 6 months (with another six months option).<br /><br />I think NASA is being purposely vague on specific design issues right now, which I think is a good thing for a number of reasons. One thing this does is avoids prejudicing potential contractors from designing their proposed solutions in a specific direction. For example, just the name “orbital space plane” (OSP) predisposed everyone to think in terms of a winged craft. I think it was only about a year and a half ago that someone suggested that the OSP should be a capsule, and that seemed to catch everyone off guard. Now, the capsule design seems to be the dominant choice for the CEV -- two years ago I bet few people would have thought this would be the case.<br /><br />Having said all that, there are some images flying around the Internet...<br /><br />The link below is a PDF slide presentation describing several different modular mission approaches to reaching the Moon. It includes several images for different parts of the CEV.<br />http://rasc.larc.nasa.gov/rasc_new/forum/Modular_Exploration.pdf<br /><br />The Project Constellation blog includes several pages of "concept art" from NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin. From URL below, click on the "concept" folder links on the left side of the page.<br />http://w</i>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">We must not rely on just tax money to fund NASA....Congress has it's own agendas and as far as I can see NASA is not one of them.....</font>/i><br /><br />I agree.<br /><br />On the far end of the optimistic spectrum I see a very successful NASA putting itself out of business. That is, a successful NASA will create a space industry that eventually becomes financially self-sustaining and no longer needs tax dollars to carry out the business of exploration (or maybe that should be "exploration and exploitation").</i>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">As to size and weight, we can infer that from the requirements. It's suggested that the CEV take over the ISS role previously designated for the OSP.</font>/i><br /><br />The irony here is that the CEV schedule has the initial manned orbital flights around 2014, or roughly 4 years after the ISS is completed and fully manned (probably with the use of additional Soyuz craft). And then 2-3 years after the CEV becomes operational, the US exits from the ISS program.<br /><br />Given that ISS will need an independent solution well before the CEV and then soon after the CEV, IHMO the link between the CEV and ISS should be a "desired feature" but not a "requirement".</i>
 
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propforce

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This is slightly off topic but I am going to pick on NASA on the selection of project names.<br /><br />Orbital Space Plane, OSP, was probably originated in the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) program, where a <font color="yellow"> <i>resusable orbital shuttle</i></font> sort of like mini-shuttle orbiter was the idea. This vehicle had wings just like the orbiter. Now as program fundings get cut -- mainly because requirements and cost grow out of control - it takes on a different "life" as the concept shifted to a capsule configuration to be launched out of the EELV rockets. <br /><br />Now the OSP program was DOA (dead on arrival) at Congress as NASA wanted $13 billions for its initial development. So now the same old concept is 'hiding' within the Project Constellation as Crew <i><font color="yellow">Exploration</font>/i> Vehicle (CEV). Now what is there about <i><font color="yellow">Exploration</font>/i> on this space taxi? Why not call it for what it really is, e.g., Crew <i><font color="yellow">Taxiing</font>/i> Vehicle (CTV) ?<br /><br />What I had thought the CEV was intended for <font color="yellow">Exploration</font>to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, not shuffling crew between ISS and earth. <br /><br />But since NASA could not get the OSP funded on its own merit, and we still need a "CTV" instead of relying on Russians, so now CEV is really a CTV.</i></i></i> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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orzek

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Thankyou a lot for the links and info. I have been aware before that the capsule form was getting back in favour. In my opinion going to capsule form is a bit backwards looking! I would prefer a winged craft for surface to orbit and back again. Though if it is also going to be used to go to the moon and beyond then I presume it might be the way to go. Is the capsule form a one use design or can you design them to be reusable by making the ablative heatshield replaceable for instance? I think they should make them reusable and not one use.<br /><br />I have looked at the modular mission file and I think that it is a good approach for going back to the moon. Though I wonder whether it would be possible to design a craft that would be able to go the moon from earth orbit and land on the moon and takeoff and go back again? Or would that be expensive and too difficult to acheive? <br /><br />One last thing the designs I have seen are rather small especially the new soyuz one. I wonder if a CEV 6m wide and 10 to 15m long would be feasible as it would be more flexible in my opinion.
 
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