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<font color="yellow">"I believe the time period is 70 hours "</font><br /><br /><font color="red">"Ok that sounds good. Out of curiousity, do you know how fast it goes?"</font><br /><br />The time depends on the orbit you're going to. Edwards replys in a Q&A article here:<br /><br /><i> "In the future, our travel time will decrease. At the moment, we have limited speeds to 120 mile per hour, which is within current technology and would imply a travel time of hour to low orbit . . . and one week to geosynchronous orbit." </i><br />
orrery21,<br /><br />When you say that a space elevator could be built in the same 15-20 year time frame I claim it would take to build a new Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle, you are implying that the materials and technology required exist RIGHT NOW and have already been proven. From what I understand, carbon fiber nanotube strands a few MILLIMETERS long have been produced a few times in laboratories which have tried HUNDREDS of times to produce such strands.<br /><br />If we had waited until multi-engined, pressurized aircraft had been perfected to attempt the first crossing of the Atlantic, WE WOULD STILL BE WAITING! The success of the primitive technology drives the aquisition of more advanced technology. If early propeller driven aircraft had not succeded, there would be little incentive to perfect jet turbines.<br /><br />Investing billions of dollars in a space elevator will not happen until there is a demand for huge amounts of launch capacity. To create that demand, we have to struggle ahead with our primitive rockets, building bases which need support and personnel changes. Then the demand for more launch capacity will exist. To build a space elevator at this time would be the equivalant of building a four-lane super highway across northern Canada to an Inuit village where nobody owns a car. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
Arobie,<br /><br />If I remember correctly, someone on this board in a thread a few months back said that the Saturn 5 sent 30 tons to the Moon. I believe that a proper Lunar shuttle will weigh something like 100 tons, and be able to transport about 20 tons to the Moon. However, the shuttle would have the ability to return to Low Earth Orbit to be used again and again. At least 5 Lunar shuttle flights would be needed to establish a minimal base on the Moon, and the number of flights goes up fast if the complexity of the base increases. <br /><br />Think of a mobile home: The structure itself weighs 60,000 pounds. Then you have to install the appliances, the furniture, the bedding, the clothes in the closets and the dressers, the dishes in the cupboards, the food in the cupboards, and water will have to be transported to the base, as well as a recycling plant, or, at least, a holding tank until the recycling plant arrives.<br /><br />So, I consider 100 tons soft landed on the Moon to be the minimal weight for a base of any kind. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
<font color="yellow">"If I remember correctly, someone on this board in a thread a few months back said that the Saturn 5 sent 30 tons to the Moon."</font><br /><br />Yes I remember that thread, and I also remember the discussion about how many tons of material we would need to send to the moon, but I can't remember what conclusion we came to. I remember you in it, so thats why I asked you. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
Arobie,<br /><br />I really am not sure how much weight will have to be lifted to Low Earth Orbit. I strongly believe that a Lunar Shuttle Craft should be built, for transporting personnel and supplies, and that would weigh around 100 tons. But so much depends on what we determine to be the best configuration for the first Lunar mission.<br /><br />I would like to see an expedition which consisted of a shuttle able to return to LEO, and a heavy non-reusable freight rocket carrying the bulk of the supplies. Once the freight rocket is safely landed, the shuttle leaves LEO for the Moon, landing a short distance away. The expedition crew unloads the shuttle, and it returns to LEO for more equipment, while the crew unloads the freighter and begins to set up the base. The shuttle then returns with more people, and another freight rocket lands.<br /><br />In this way, a permanent base could be dug in and fully operational in six months, with crew being rotated out on a regular basis. But that is my optimum scenario. I certainly don't see any need to land a small number of people and then bring them back just to prove that we can do it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
shuttle_guy,<br /><br />I are confuseded! What comprised the 53 tons? Lunar Excursion Module, Command Module, Service Module, and the third stage?<br /><br />And was that 107,000 pounds what was injected into the Lunar trajectory, or was that what actuually landed on the Moon? (Giggle, giggle!)<br /><br />(Just trying to avoid confusion over the term "sent to the Moon...") <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
najaB,<br /><br />I kind of figured as much. But it can be little confusing when someone says that X was "sent to the Moon", when what they mean is that X was injected into a transfer orbit intersecting an orbit around the body.<br /><br />When we are discussing sending material to the Moon which must be soft landed using rocket power, the weight of the actual payload shrinks considerably from what can be injected into a transfer orbit.<br /><br />That is one of the reasons that I am such an advocate of a very large Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle. Soft landing 50 tons on the Moon direct from Earth means putting several times that amount into Low Earth Orbit. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>