Orbital Construction Yards > Huge Rockets

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DarkenedOne

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To me the idea of massive rockets is a regressive one. We already have a good understanding of rocket technology. We know rockets scale fairly well, and we know that we can always just build a bigger one. However we know now from experience that massive rockets are extremely expensive. We have built two of them already, the Saturn V and the Shuttle. Both systems are capable of lifting over 100 metric tonnes to orbit. Both of them cost well over the $10000 per kilogram to orbit that is standard for commercial applications. For this expense we must analyze where it leaves us. If we build a large rocket all we get is extra lift capacity to orbit.

Orbital construction yards on the other hand are a much more technologically advanced solution. It involves mastering a number of elements that are clearly necessary for advanced use of space. These elements include in space construction, repair, maintenance, resupply, refuel, and crew exchange. Perhaps the greatest short term advantage of such capacities would be for use in other sectors. There are many applications for such a capacity beyond space exploration. The military for example has been looking for ways to increase their responsiveness to problems in space for decades. The time it takes to prepare and launch rockets severely diminishes their ability to rapidly respond to any threatening situation in space, however if spacecraft already in space that can be refueled and resupplied they would be able to do so in a much quicker manner. There are several commercial applications as well such as satellite refueling and repair that would benefit from such capabilities.
 
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rcsplinters

Guest
Actually, we'll need both heavy lift and on orbit construction capability. The Saturn V had approx 120 ton to orbit capacity and the shuttle is 25 tons (far short of 100) give or take a ton. Augustine hints that a Mars mission might run in the 1200 ton range from various graphics in the report and the ISS is in the 400 ton range per one wiki source (I couldn't get the NASA site to load). Lifting the ISS 25 tons at a time took a very long time to complete with one module, Kibo, taking three lifts. Loss if any one lift meant complete or partial loss of the module functionality. How an on orbit construction interval can we tolerate knowing that its a harsh place for material which start aging the minute they arrive, not the minute the mission starts.

Regardless of where you assemble it, the mass has to ride uphill. Its not easy to reduce that mass because the shielding, consumables, fuel, hardware, etc are necessary regardless of what you do. It becomes a fairly simple engineering problem after that, is it cheaper to build in LEO with more rides or down here with fewer rides. Another critical aspect of the problem is success. Which method gives the greatest probability of success? Better to spend 200 billion and succeed than 20 billion and fail with probable loss of craft and possibly life.

I've never read a sound engineering report which plausibly advocated operations beyond LEO with a booster designed for typical LEO payloads. While I read a great deal, its very likely that I've missed something. I'd love to see a report as detailed and technically sound as the readout on SD-HLV (which I'm at a loss to understand why we aren't racing to implement though I'd prefer ARES V) from NASA which advocated and substantiated a plan for ops beyond LEO for years long missions based on low lift boosters. Augustine, even on their flexible plans, only acknowledge ARES V, SD HLV or a heavy EELV as being up to the task. Maybe there's there's a plausible low lift design out there for beyond LEO if anyone has a link. I've never found it.

If I could suggest a more appropriate relation:

Orbital Construction + Heavy Lift + Sustained national commitment = Successful operations beyond LEO

Nothing less than this is likely to succeed. Its not going to be easy or cheap and we can't start over every 4 years.
 
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DarkenedOne

Guest
rcsplinters":194616gv said:
Actually, we'll need both heavy lift and on orbit construction capability. The Saturn V had approx 120 ton to orbit capacity and the shuttle is 25 tons (far short of 100) give or take a ton. Augustine hints that a Mars mission might run in the 1200 ton range from various graphics in the report and the ISS is in the 400 ton range per one wiki source (I couldn't get the NASA site to load). Lifting the ISS 25 tons at a time took a very long time to complete with one module, Kibo, taking three lifts. Loss if any one lift meant complete or partial loss of the module functionality. How an on orbit construction interval can we tolerate knowing that its a harsh place for material which start aging the minute they arrive, not the minute the mission starts.

Regardless of where you assemble it, the mass has to ride uphill. Its not easy to reduce that mass because the shielding, consumables, fuel, hardware, etc are necessary regardless of what you do. It becomes a fairly simple engineering problem after that, is it cheaper to build in LEO with more rides or down here with fewer rides. Another critical aspect of the problem is success. Which method gives the greatest probability of success? Better to spend 200 billion and succeed than 20 billion and fail with probable loss of craft and possibly life.

I've never read a sound engineering report which plausibly advocated operations beyond LEO with a booster designed for typical LEO payloads. While I read a great deal, its very likely that I've missed something. I'd love to see a report as detailed and technically sound as the readout on SD-HLV (which I'm at a loss to understand why we aren't racing to implement though I'd prefer ARES V) from NASA which advocated and substantiated a plan for ops beyond LEO for years long missions based on low lift boosters. Augustine, even on their flexible plans, only acknowledge ARES V, SD HLV or a heavy EELV as being up to the task. Maybe there's there's a plausible low lift design out there for beyond LEO if anyone has a link. I've never found it.

If I could suggest a more appropriate relation:

Orbital Construction + Heavy Lift + Sustained national commitment = Successful operations beyond LEO

Nothing less than this is likely to succeed. Its not going to be easy or cheap and we can't start over every 4 years.
You definitely have some good points however I have a number of issues with them.

1. 1200 tones for one mission is simply unrealistic given todays budget or what can be expected in the near future. At a modest $10000 per kg launch cost 1200 metric tones adds up to $12 billion alone. This fact is why practically all practical ideas about a Mars mission involve advanced propulsion technologies like nuclear rockets with ion propulsion. This decreases the ship mass drastically, however it would not make much sense to build such a rocket and make them expendable.

2. Wear and tear in space is not a huge issue. Modern satellites are able to operate for over 15 years. In fact their greatest limitation is the propellant that they carry for maintaining orbit. As I understand it they can last much longer if provided with unlimited fuel. A good example of this fact is the Voyager probe, which is still functioning after 30 years.

3. As far as the heavy lift, I agree it would be useful. However I am not convinced if it is worth it.
 
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Valcan

Guest
DarkenedOne":1xhse86d said:
rcsplinters":1xhse86d said:
Actually, we'll need both heavy lift and on orbit construction capability. The Saturn V had approx 120 ton to orbit capacity and the shuttle is 25 tons (far short of 100) give or take a ton. Augustine hints that a Mars mission might run in the 1200 ton range from various graphics in the report and the ISS is in the 400 ton range per one wiki source (I couldn't get the NASA site to load). Lifting the ISS 25 tons at a time took a very long time to complete with one module, Kibo, taking three lifts. Loss if any one lift meant complete or partial loss of the module functionality. How an on orbit construction interval can we tolerate knowing that its a harsh place for material which start aging the minute they arrive, not the minute the mission starts.

Regardless of where you assemble it, the mass has to ride uphill. Its not easy to reduce that mass because the shielding, consumables, fuel, hardware, etc are necessary regardless of what you do. It becomes a fairly simple engineering problem after that, is it cheaper to build in LEO with more rides or down here with fewer rides. Another critical aspect of the problem is success. Which method gives the greatest probability of success? Better to spend 200 billion and succeed than 20 billion and fail with probable loss of craft and possibly life.

I've never read a sound engineering report which plausibly advocated operations beyond LEO with a booster designed for typical LEO payloads. While I read a great deal, its very likely that I've missed something. I'd love to see a report as detailed and technically sound as the readout on SD-HLV (which I'm at a loss to understand why we aren't racing to implement though I'd prefer ARES V) from NASA which advocated and substantiated a plan for ops beyond LEO for years long missions based on low lift boosters. Augustine, even on their flexible plans, only acknowledge ARES V, SD HLV or a heavy EELV as being up to the task. Maybe there's there's a plausible low lift design out there for beyond LEO if anyone has a link. I've never found it.

If I could suggest a more appropriate relation:

Orbital Construction + Heavy Lift + Sustained national commitment = Successful operations beyond LEO

Nothing less than this is likely to succeed. Its not going to be easy or cheap and we can't start over every 4 years.
You definitely have some good points however I have a number of issues with them.

1. 1200 tones for one mission is simply unrealistic given todays budget or what can be expected in the near future. At a modest $10000 per kg launch cost 1200 metric tones adds up to $12 billion alone. This fact is why practically all practical ideas about a Mars mission involve advanced propulsion technologies like nuclear rockets with ion propulsion. This decreases the ship mass drastically, however it would not make much sense to build such a rocket and make them expendable.

2. Wear and tear in space is not a huge issue. Modern satellites are able to operate for over 15 years. In fact their greatest limitation is the propellant that they carry for maintaining orbit. As I understand it they can last much longer if provided with unlimited fuel. A good example of this fact is the Voyager probe, which is still functioning after 30 years.

3. As far as the heavy lift, I agree it would be useful. However I am not convinced if it is worth it.
Once you have a construction modual on either the ISS or somewhere else the need for a heavy really just fades away nothing bigger than the falcon 9 heavy or its like would truely bee needed for awhile.

ALSO! we need a dang fuel depot. Its time to bit the bullet people. BTW, couldnt you keep the fuel in the form of ice in a container then when needed thaw out a portion of ice and turn it into O2 and H?
 
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rockett

Guest
Valcan":wqhmdzsv said:
ALSO! we need a dang fuel depot. Its time to bit the bullet people. BTW, couldnt you keep the fuel in the form of ice in a container then when needed thaw out a portion of ice and turn it into O2 and H?
I suggested that we go to the moon and export ice for fuel (because of the lower gravity) to an orbital processing station in a couple other threads, as well. Nobody seemed much interested, so it's good to see someone else thinking about using ice as a storage medium (so volatiles don't boil off in storage - which is a big problem with storing H[sub]2[/sub] in particular for long periods). As for the container, think more along the lines of a huge sealed pizza delivery bag covered with mylar. Things shielded proper from sunlight stay really cold up there.

With respect to the Huge Rockets part of the OP, we need 'em for one thing in particular: reactors
At this point even NASA is grudgingly admitting we need that kinda power for sustained space operations of any size beyond LEO. Those things are HEAVY! In part because of shielding, but also because uranium and plutonium are way up on the periodic table. Just to give you an idea, there is a small commercial reactor being developed called the Hyperion that puts out 25mw http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/product.html. It weighs in at 50 tons. VASIMR articles I have read are talking about 100-200mw power requirements to go interplanetary. And if you don't use them that way, you would still need them for power elsewhere.

So if for no other reason than that, we need super heavy lift capability.

We actually have our first construction shack in orbit already. It's called the ISS. That was one of it's planned duties back when it was Space Station Freedom as best I can remember (correct me if I'm wrong, please).
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
Simplest solution to the boil-off problem is not to use things that do that, like H2 does. Use RP-1 instead, or something else, like hypergolic. If you want to split water, it takes a lot of energy, which would require non-existent in-space infrastructure, or shortly, another unnecessary complication to start with.

As for the heavy lift need, which reactor did you have in mind that would require it ? AFAIK there is no such reactor as of yet, since unfortunately none of them are currently ready for space. This might change too, if Obamas proposal passes through Congress. All this HLV talk, just pushes things in the undefined future, but at least now with SDLV it has a chance to be sooner than with CxP in 2020, maybe, but probably later, if, but most likely not, since it would have to survive many administrations.

If you want to know what's wrong with the Moon, check Altair. 2019 was a bad joke for that, with money made available by politicians, not to mention they included everything in it, which could be sent before, and not require a heavy launch.
I don't know how much dry weight was Altair, but i'm sure it would be much lighter, if it would be launched empty and filled in the orbit, but that would make HLV unneeded and Americans seem to like things big, no matter what. Politicians just deliver, what they think will make them elected in the next turn, if it makes sense or not, with rare exceptions, but those mostly don't get elected next time ..

If Bigelow manages to make a lander with a bit of Boeing assistance, it is another story. There will already be at least JAXA with robots on the surface by that time, working to build a base.

rockett":ejk05j36 said:
In part because of shielding, but also because uranium and plutonium are way up on the periodic table.
:lol:
4 kg of plutonium is heavier than 4kg of water ? Shielding could be a lot lighter, since it doesn't need to shield in all directions, just in direction of the crew.

Wiki : Hyperion Power Generation :
The reactor weighs 20 tonnes (44,000 lb) fully fueled (including coolant), and it can be transported by truck or by rail to its destination.
or
http://www.nrc.gov : Hyperion Power Module (HPM)
The total mass of the reactor vessel with fuel and coolant is <20 metric tons.
Besides, HPM doesn't use plutonium, but uranium oxide, or uranium hydride.

What is really needed is a working space-tug, which is in proposal, various assembly equipment, like CanadArm, perhaps a smaller craft for construction workers with external manipulators, such as for asteroid visit, a couple of various remote controlled bots, and the rest is already in space.
I see no need for wait, just go.
 
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rcsplinters

Guest
Kelvin, thanks for that link. Actually, I'd seen that, having read pretty much all I could find on the site "nasaspaceflight". I think those are good articles and there is an good series in progress on SD HLV. However, I think the article expounds on EELV benefits primarily on extended operations on the moon, even stating it builds resources year by year. However, since the moon is not the focus of our supposed direction, I'm a bit more interested in what takes us to NEO flybys and Mars. With missions of that nature, I think resupply is not going to be practical, plus nobody is really suggesting that we establish permanent bases. Those missions are more visit and return.

This brings me back around to need for HLV and manifest. Augustine hints at 1200 tons to do round trip manned mission to Mars. Too big? What's a better number from someone that is competent to create a mission profile with needed supplies, shielding, spare parts, fuel, landers, exploratory equipment (a rover or similar) and all the stuff needed to get 4 cosmonaunts (sorry, just can't help noting we can't actually launch a human) there and return them safely to Siberia. This is potentially a years long mission and we can't expect our travelers to live that length of time in a sardine can. The equipment is going to be fairly large so the shielding is going to be massive and it won't be arrayed just at a accompanying reactor. Its cosmic radiation that's perhaps a bigger threat as the reactor itself will likely be shielded.

Ok, so let's say Augustine is off by half. You still need a big booster to get that 600 tons in the air, as its still heavier than the ISS. Plus, I would still contend that there's a shelf life to some important components, either that or NASA has been wasting a lot time on materials research and testing. Some of those trays from early Shuttle flight came back pretty beat up. Also, I agree and I'm most impressed at how Voyager and some of our other equipment has survived for very long periods. That said, I also note that we've lost many craft due to malfunction. This suggests that more rapid construction of a NEO mission system will be a benefit. Build more on earth, assemble less in space would contribute to that rapid construction. Augustine also hints at this as I again refer to Figure 3.3.2-2 on Page 36 which mentions 6 ARES V class launches 30 days apart and 3 Ares V class launchers plus a Ares I, err, Soyuz also 30 days apart. How else does one get 840 tons in space within 6 months without heavy lift? I suspect there will still be plenty of on orbit assembly. That skill set remains essential.

I still think it would be interesting to see a mission profile to a NEO where the on orbit mass was dramatically less than what Augustine hints will be needed. Such would speak strongly in favor of the viability of lower capability boosters. Similarly, a mission plan which contemplates lifting 1200 tons to LEO , 25 - 50 tons at a time would interesting.

Regarding expense, its my personal opinion that these efforts are going to be profoundly expensive with or without heavy lift. People are also going to die in the attempt. Mike Griffin often stated, paraphrased, that manned space flight is an exceedingly difficult and dangerous task. There was a time when that was the reason we did such things. My point is that expense and danger are common to both plans regardless of booster type, though operational complexity was lower (translating to improved safety) with heavy lift according to Augustine in their flexible plan 5A with regard to Ares V Lite.

Considering all this, I simply don't see the folks which contemplate these missions and plan for them offering a proposal for NEO which doesn't presume the existance of an HLV. We can speculate that they are wrong, but based on what I read, HLV seems to be a given.
 
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rockett

Guest
EarthlingX":1t3zgik2 said:
rockett":1t3zgik2 said:
In part because of shielding, but also because uranium and plutonium are way up on the periodic table.
:lol:
4 kg of plutonium is heavier than 4kg of water ? Shielding could be a lot lighter, since it doesn't need to shield in all directions, just in direction of the crew.

Wiki : Hyperion Power Generation :
The reactor weighs 20 tonnes (44,000 lb) fully fueled (including coolant), and it can be transported by truck or by rail to its destination.
or
http://www.nrc.gov : Hyperion Power Module (HPM)
The total mass of the reactor vessel with fuel and coolant is <20 metric tons.
Wiki and the NRC are only talking about the reactor core. Including power generation add ons the Hyperion website (http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/product.html) says <50 tons. I was taking the worst case scenario, knowing how NASA and the politicians operate.
EarthlingX":1t3zgik2 said:
Besides, HPM doesn't use plutonium, but uranium oxide, or uranium hydride.
Actually, it uses uranium nitride, also from the Hyperion website.
EarthlingX":1t3zgik2 said:
What is really needed is a working space-tug, which is in proposal, various assembly equipment, like CanadArm, perhaps a smaller craft for construction workers with external manipulators...I see no need for wait, just go.
At least we agree here.
How about this? :D
Von Braun\Disney bottle suit design

http://drexfiles.wordpress.com/
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
rockett":3w4ul4xy said:
EarthlingX":3w4ul4xy said:
Wiki : Hyperion Power Generation :
The reactor weighs 20 tonnes (44,000 lb) fully fueled (including coolant), and it can be transported by truck or by rail to its destination.
or
http://www.nrc.gov : Hyperion Power Module (HPM)
The total mass of the reactor vessel with fuel and coolant is <20 metric tons.
Wiki and the NRC are only talking about the reactor core. Including power generation add ons the Hyperion website (http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/product.html) says <50 tons. I was taking the worst case scenario, knowing how NASA and the politicians operate.
EarthlingX":3w4ul4xy said:
Besides, HPM doesn't use plutonium, but uranium oxide, or uranium hydride.
Actually, it uses uranium nitride, also from the Hyperion website.
Yea, i can be wrong too, but if it is made of many parts, those can be assembled in space too, as proven, i hope, enough times.
rockett":3w4ul4xy said:
EarthlingX":3w4ul4xy said:
What is really needed is a working space-tug, which is in proposal, various assembly equipment, like CanadArm, perhaps a smaller craft for construction workers with external manipulators...I see no need for wait, just go.
At least we agree here.
How about this? :D
Von Braun\Disney bottle suit design

http://drexfiles.wordpress.com/
Yea, i like that, perhaps a bit of work on it wouldn't do harm ;)

I just remembered another possible use of HLV - bus for, let say, 100 people to LEO. That would catch public attention, and i think it is quite possible to support that with cheaper cargo launches bought on the market, and house them in Bigelow modules, which can be leased, and they cost a small part of an average ISS module. Of course it is not exactly fair to compare empty BA330 to, let say, Kibo, which is filled up with science gear bordering sci-fi, or other modules which are also not far behind with hi-tech equipment.

Just imagine : five such launches a year - how would you like that ? ;)
 
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rockett

Guest
EarthlingX":1ksmmotn said:
I just remembered another possible use of HLV - bus for, let say, 100 people to LEO. That would catch public attention, and i think it is quite possible to support that with cheaper cargo launches bought on the market, and house them in Bigelow modules, which can be leased, and they cost a small part of an average ISS module. Of course it is not exactly fair to compare empty BA330 to, let say, Kibo, which is filled up with science gear bordering sci-fi, or other modules which are also not far behind with hi-tech equipment.

Just imagine : five such launches a year - how would you like that ? ;)
That would be really cool :)

Actually the idea of inflatables is not new:

Explanation: Orbiting 1,075 miles above the Earth, a 250 foot wide, inflated, reinforced nylon "wheel" was conceived in the early 1950s to function as a navigational aid, meteorological station, military platform, and way station for space exploration by rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun. The wheel-shaped station could be easily rotated creating artificial gravity so that the astronauts would not suffer the effects of prolonged weightlessness. Von Braun and his team favored building a permanently occupied Earth orbiting space station from which to stage a lunar exploration program. But in the 1960s NASA adopted the Apollo Program, which called for astronauts to transfer to a landing vehicle after achieving lunar orbit, bypassing the construction of von Braun's wheel.
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980328.html

Here's some more:
Self-Deploying Space Station
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/selation.htm

Personally, I would like to see a Bigelow design with say 6 or 8 modules docked end first to a central hub, spun up for microgravity (comfort for long term stays for tourists) add that to a large central module for docking and zero-g play.
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
rockett":1rjrsj1t said:
Personally, I would like to see a Bigelow design with say 6 or 8 modules docked end first to a central hub, spun up for microgravity (comfort for long term stays for tourists) add that to a large central module for docking and zero-g play.
Yes, me too, and so does NASA :

http://www.spaceref.com : NASA LaRC Solicitation: Study of Deployable Secondary Structures for Expendable Volumes
STATUS REPORT
Date Released: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Source: Langley Research Center
Description

NASA LaRC is seeking an industry partner to study the integration, deployment and packaging of secondary structures within inflation deployed volumes.

This is also an interesting read :

http://www.spacenews.com : Guest Blog: The End of the Apollo Era – Finally?
Wed, 30 June, 2010 Submitted by: John M. Logsdon

I recently finished the manuscript for a new book, “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon,” and sent it off to the publisher. (Look for it early next year!) In my final chapter, I reflect on the impact of Apollo on the evolution of the U.S. space program in the half century since JFK declared, “We should go to the Moon.” Sending 12 astronauts to the lunar surface was a great achievement and will forever be a proud part of American history. But in my judgment, while Apollo’s impacts on subsequent U.S. human spaceflight activities have been lasting, they have been on balance negative. The reasons why are relevant to the current heated space debate.

I interpret the new space strategy set out by the White House Feb. 1 to be at its foundation a proposal to move from the 20th century, Apollo-era approach to human spaceflight to a new approach consistent with 21st century national and international realities and future exploration and other strategic space objectives. It is not surprising that those with positive memories of Apollo and with vested interests in continuing the space status quo have been so strong in their opposition to the new approach; they are defending a space effort that to date has served them well. These critics have been met with a — literally — incoherent defense of the new strategy by its advocates inside and outside of the government. U.S. President Barack Obama confused the situation even further in his April 15 speech at the Kennedy Space Center. The result has been a polarized debate unprecedented in my more than four decades of close observation of space policymaking. I am an optimist by nature, and so I hope that we will see emerging over this summer an approach that accepts the main tenets of the new strategy and allows NASA to start implementing them. But that outcome is far from assured, and the alternative is distressing to contemplate.
 
R

rockett

Guest
EarthlingX":2n6zyr8m said:
rockett":2n6zyr8m said:
Personally, I would like to see a Bigelow design with say 6 or 8 modules docked end first to a central hub, spun up for microgravity (comfort for long term stays for tourists) add that to a large central module for docking and zero-g play.
Yes, me too, and so does NASA :

http://www.spaceref.com : NASA LaRC Solicitation: Study of Deployable Secondary Structures for Expendable Volumes
STATUS REPORT
Date Released: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Source: Langley Research Center
Description

NASA LaRC is seeking an industry partner to study the integration, deployment and packaging of secondary structures within inflation deployed volumes.

This is also an interesting read :

http://www.spacenews.com : Guest Blog: The End of the Apollo Era – Finally?
Wed, 30 June, 2010 Submitted by: John M. Logsdon

I recently finished the manuscript for a new book, “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon,” and sent it off to the publisher. (Look for it early next year!) In my final chapter, I reflect on the impact of Apollo on the evolution of the U.S. space program in the half century since JFK declared, “We should go to the Moon.” Sending 12 astronauts to the lunar surface was a great achievement and will forever be a proud part of American history. But in my judgment, while Apollo’s impacts on subsequent U.S. human spaceflight activities have been lasting, they have been on balance negative. The reasons why are relevant to the current heated space debate.

I interpret the new space strategy set out by the White House Feb. 1 to be at its foundation a proposal to move from the 20th century, Apollo-era approach to human spaceflight to a new approach consistent with 21st century national and international realities and future exploration and other strategic space objectives. It is not surprising that those with positive memories of Apollo and with vested interests in continuing the space status quo have been so strong in their opposition to the new approach; they are defending a space effort that to date has served them well. These critics have been met with a — literally — incoherent defense of the new strategy by its advocates inside and outside of the government. U.S. President Barack Obama confused the situation even further in his April 15 speech at the Kennedy Space Center. The result has been a polarized debate unprecedented in my more than four decades of close observation of space policymaking. I am an optimist by nature, and so I hope that we will see emerging over this summer an approach that accepts the main tenets of the new strategy and allows NASA to start implementing them. But that outcome is far from assured, and the alternative is distressing to contemplate.
It's actually pretty funny that NASA tossed that tech aside and will now probably be buying it back again.

On the Logsdon article, overall pretty interesting and I agree with a lot of his points. But to put it all in perspective, he really doesn't give enough credit to the space visionaries of the time like Von Braun. Apollo was really only a means to an end to them, not an end to itself. They had a vision of a much more sustainable overall architecture that was sacrificed for political reasons, which we are just now getting back to looking at.
 
V

Valcan

Guest
rockett":1fzce0mt said:
EarthlingX":1fzce0mt said:
rockett":1fzce0mt said:
Personally, I would like to see a Bigelow design with say 6 or 8 modules docked end first to a central hub, spun up for microgravity (comfort for long term stays for tourists) add that to a large central module for docking and zero-g play.
Yes, me too, and so does NASA :

http://www.spaceref.com : NASA LaRC Solicitation: Study of Deployable Secondary Structures for Expendable Volumes
STATUS REPORT
Date Released: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Source: Langley Research Center
Description

NASA LaRC is seeking an industry partner to study the integration, deployment and packaging of secondary structures within inflation deployed volumes.

This is also an interesting read :

http://www.spacenews.com : Guest Blog: The End of the Apollo Era – Finally?
Wed, 30 June, 2010 Submitted by: John M. Logsdon

I recently finished the manuscript for a new book, “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon,” and sent it off to the publisher. (Look for it early next year!) In my final chapter, I reflect on the impact of Apollo on the evolution of the U.S. space program in the half century since JFK declared, “We should go to the Moon.” Sending 12 astronauts to the lunar surface was a great achievement and will forever be a proud part of American history. But in my judgment, while Apollo’s impacts on subsequent U.S. human spaceflight activities have been lasting, they have been on balance negative. The reasons why are relevant to the current heated space debate.

I interpret the new space strategy set out by the White House Feb. 1 to be at its foundation a proposal to move from the 20th century, Apollo-era approach to human spaceflight to a new approach consistent with 21st century national and international realities and future exploration and other strategic space objectives. It is not surprising that those with positive memories of Apollo and with vested interests in continuing the space status quo have been so strong in their opposition to the new approach; they are defending a space effort that to date has served them well. These critics have been met with a — literally — incoherent defense of the new strategy by its advocates inside and outside of the government. U.S. President Barack Obama confused the situation even further in his April 15 speech at the Kennedy Space Center. The result has been a polarized debate unprecedented in my more than four decades of close observation of space policymaking. I am an optimist by nature, and so I hope that we will see emerging over this summer an approach that accepts the main tenets of the new strategy and allows NASA to start implementing them. But that outcome is far from assured, and the alternative is distressing to contemplate.
It's actually pretty funny that NASA tossed that tech aside and will now probably be buying it back again.

On the Logsdon article, overall pretty interesting and I agree with a lot of his points. But to put it all in perspective, he really doesn't give enough credit to the space visionaries of the time like Von Braun. Apollo was really only a means to an end to them, not an end to itself. They had a vision of a much more sustainable overall architecture that was sacrificed for political reasons, which we are just now getting back to looking at.
Von Braun and all the earlier folks at Nasa had AMAZING GOALS IN MIND. The list of space stations etc was mind boggling. If we had let them run the show it would be amazing to see today. Imagine 5-600 people atleast living in space a full industry.
 
K

kelvinzero

Guest
rcsplinters":2233tvn8 said:
Kelvin, thanks for that link. Actually, I'd seen that, having read pretty much all I could find on the site "nasaspaceflight". I think those are good articles and there is an good series in progress on SD HLV. However, I think the article expounds on EELV benefits primarily on extended operations on the moon, even stating it builds resources year by year. However, since the moon is not the focus of our supposed direction, I'm a bit more interested in what takes us to NEO flybys and Mars. With missions of that nature, I think resupply is not going to be practical, plus nobody is really suggesting that we establish permanent bases. Those missions are more visit and return.
Ah, fair enough. There are highly qualified people arguing both sides ( I mean EELV vs shuttle derived heavy lift ) there so I will not attempt to carry the argument here.

I would expect that a 100 day style NEO mission could be done this way as well though:
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/09 ... ssion.html

As for removing the focus on permanent bases, yes that is something that I really do not like about the current plan. However they are intending to do some real research now on closed loop life support, lunar ISRU etc. These are actually in the president's term whereas this asteroid mission is multiple presidents and budgets away. I think the asteroid mission is just an intermediate goal, and( fingers crossed) something better will appear if the goals in the current budget are met. Lunar tourism? Straight on to Phobos? I don't think any president would be able to sell a flags and footprints mission to mars.
 
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rockett

Guest
kelvinzero":2t5wz78i said:
As for removing the focus on permanent bases, yes that is something that I really do not like about the current plan. However they are intending to do some real research now on closed loop life support, lunar ISRU etc. These are actually in the president's term whereas this asteroid mission is multiple presidents and budgets away. I think the asteroid mission is just an intermediate goal, and( fingers crossed) something better will appear if the goals in the current budget are met. Lunar tourism? Straight on to Phobos? I don't think any president would be able to sell a flags and footprints mission to mars.
That is a serious flaw in the new direction. To become a sustainable presence in space, requires visible commitment. There is none in the so-called "flexible plan". It is essentially saying we will go to _____________(fill in the blank) someday, maybe.

Going to an asteroid is a nice idea, but it does nothing for ISRU research and experimentation, which is absolutely necessary for long term sustained prescence off world. If we did send a mission to one at this stage of the game, it would quickly become another expensive boots and flags effort because we could not stay long. All we would have to show for it is some bags of very expensive rocks, which may or may not have practical value (because there is so much variation in asteroid composition). With that result, I could see the whole thing going the way of Apollo, perhaps even more quickly. If so, it could wind up being an even bigger setback to a permanent human presence in space than Apollo was.

I suspect that the emphasis will be shifted back to the moon by a subsequent administration (hopefully with something better thought out than Constellation). Why? For the simple reason that it is attainable and sustainable with ISRU, and it makes a whole lot more sense to test our technology for creating habitats in off world conditions only 3 days away, in the event of failure.

Then again, perhaps I'm wrong in that assumption, because with a politicized NASA, they have done a lot of things (and wasted billions doing them), that make no sense at all...
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
kelvinzero":1xcx3849 said:
I would expect that a 100 day style NEO mission could be done this way as well though:
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/090902-orion-asteroid-mission.html
I don't like that. If they would plug Orion-something to BA330, that would be much more palatable, but it's probably too early for that.
Orion, tug and BA300, perhaps some other module too, like deep well lander when it comes available (COTS, prizes, OCT, ..), that would make sense. No thrashing after the mission is over, of course, reuse it for the next one.
Lander could, and probably should, be sent by a slow boat, to lower the mission mass. No need to wait until it is done though, go, go, go ... Satellite repair ? Great. Lunar orbit ? Very nice. Lagrangians ? Can't wait. Asteroid ? Whoo-ha ! Phobos ? Yeepee ! ...

kelvinzero":1xcx3849 said:
As for removing the focus on permanent bases, yes that is something that I really do not like about the current plan. However they are intending to do some real research now on closed loop life support, lunar ISRU etc. These are actually in the president's term whereas this asteroid mission is multiple presidents and budgets away. I think the asteroid mission is just an intermediate goal, and( fingers crossed) something better will appear if the goals in the current budget are met. Lunar tourism? Straight on to Phobos? I don't think any president would be able to sell a flags and footprints mission to mars.
Asteroid mission is just a placeholder in my opinion, because of so much screaming for a destination, as if they on their own would buy cars for one use only, every 10 years or so.

rockett":1xcx3849 said:
I suspect that the emphasis will be shifted back to the moon by a subsequent administration (hopefully with something better thought out than Constellation). Why? For the simple reason that it is attainable and sustainable with ISRU, and it makes a whole lot more sense to test our technology for creating habitats in off world conditions only 3 days away, in the event of failure.

Then again, perhaps I'm wrong in that assumption, because with a politicized NASA, they have done a lot of things (and wasted billions doing them), that make no sense at all...
Don't even want to think about that, just causes my acid levels to rise ..

What i would call a commitment would be a decision to support NASA with a inflation safe budget, hopefully with tiny increases, and please, stay away from technical decisions, for which none of those politicos is qualified, or even much interested in. There might be some exception, i just can't remember any ..

Get rid of cost-plus ASAP, or at least do a serious market research, before you come up with an idea that requires it. This is also part of the new policy.
 
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kelvinzero

Guest
(in response to the OP)

I wonder how much construction is really required? I know that the ISS seemed to require continual EVAs, but I have also heard that it was designed to require the shuttle.

I reckon it should be possible to design assembly to be pretty much just a matter of docking, similar to the way the apollo command module docked to the LEM. I know it is a bit harder than that. we dont want cables running though the port preventing us closing the hatch for example. There are multiple connections: data, power, coolant, air. There are also multiple ways of solving the problem without resorting to EVAs. Also easy docking and undocking would make reuse or replacing defective modules practical.
 
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rockett

Guest
EarthlingX":3ix6n9jo said:
I don't like that. If they would plug Orion-something to BA330, that would be much more palatable, but it's probably too early for that.

Orion, tug and BA300, perhaps some other module too, like deep well lander when it comes available (COTS, prizes, OCT, ..), that would make sense. No thrashing after the mission is over, of course, reuse it for the next one.... Satellite repair ? Great. Lunar orbit ? Very nice. Lagrangians ? Can't wait. Asteroid ? Whoo-ha ! Phobos ? Yeepee ! ...
I suggested something like that on another thread (can't recall which one). Would make a nice roooooomy camper! As for too early, yep you're right. We would have to finish Orion! :lol:
EarthlingX":3ix6n9jo said:
What i would call a commitment would be a decision to support NASA with a inflation safe budget, hopefully with tiny increases, and please, stay away from technical decisions, for which none of those politicos is qualified, or even much interested in. There might be some exception, i just can't remember any ..

Get rid of cost-plus ASAP, or at least do a serious market research, before you come up with an idea that requires it.
That's a WONDERFUL idea! They have absolutely NO BUSINESS legislating engineering decisions! As for "cost plus", if businesses were run that way they would all go broke. Contracters have always underbid, just to get the job, then tacked on more costs. That has to GO!
 
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rockett

Guest
kelvinzero":2de2ekhl said:
(in response to the OP)

I wonder how much construction is really required? I know that the ISS seemed to require continual EVAs, but I have also heard that it was designed to require the shuttle.

I reckon it should be possible to design assembly to be pretty much just a matter of docking, similar to the way the apollo command module docked to the LEM. I know it is a bit harder than that. we dont want cables running though the port preventing us closing the hatch for example. There are multiple connections: data, power, coolant, air. There are also multiple ways of solving the problem without resorting to EVAs. Also easy docking and undocking would make reuse or replacing defective modules practical.
Yes, it was, to gently attach the pieces witout breaking anything else. Since it was started however, we have come a long way with orbital manuvering (the latest Russian Progress miss notwithstanding). As for EVAs any additions would stilll need them. Then again, the Shuttles have on average only used up 1/3 of their service life. We could mothball them instead of converting them to museum pieces and use them as needed for ISS pieces.
 
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Polishguy

Guest
DarkenedOne":9d50w4eb said:
1. 1200 tones for one mission is simply unrealistic given todays budget or what can be expected in the near future. At a modest $10000 per kg launch cost 1200 metric tones adds up to $12 billion alone. This fact is why practically all practical ideas about a Mars mission involve advanced propulsion technologies like nuclear rockets with ion propulsion. This decreases the ship mass drastically, however it would not make much sense to build such a rocket and make them expendable.

3. As far as the heavy lift, I agree it would be useful. However I am not convinced if it is worth it.
Clearly you're not aware of the Mars Direct/Mars-For-Less Plan. The total mass of the Mars Direct mission in LEO is in the range of 200-220 tonnes. Modern expendable rockets can get the costs down to $3,000 per kilogram (your figure about Shuttle is actually not the standard for heavy-lift launch. The Shuttle launches 120 tonnes to orbit, but only 25 are the payload, with the rest as the Orbiter. The extra weight of the fuel needed for this drives costs up), at Falcon 9 costs. This adds up to a cost of launching of 630 million dollars. This assumes a Falcon-9 derived launch vehicle, with more strap-on boosters. If we were to go with the Mars For Less proposal, we'd assemble it in LEO (launch upper stage, then module) and save the development costs. The plan uses an upper stage powered by hydrogen-oxygen RL-10 engines.
 
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dryson

Guest
Instead of looking back as fanatsy wish lists for space stations that would take trillions to build like Brauns concept why dont we concentrate on designing a construction yard with modules that we already use aboard the I.S.S.

If you take away all of the science and hab modules that make up the I.S.S. what we have is the basic truss work that can then be designed for whatever facilities need created. The I.S.S. truss already has a robotic arm that runs on a rail along the truss. The arm's rail would be ran from end to end of the yards facility with a central operations module ported at the center that would allow for a transport craft similar in design to a Mercury capsule that would transport the yard crew to and from the I.S.S to the yard to dock. Another module would run along atop the rails along the truss that would allow for more precise manipulation of the arm. The module would be accesible through a PMA-2 adapter fitted to the station's module with a module of the same design of that used aboard the Shuttle to dock at the station.At varrying intervals along the truss where modules would be connected together would be placed the Joint Quest Connection Module. The JQCM is the same Joint Quest Airlock used for EVA access to space that is ported at the I.S.S. except that the extension has been removed. The JQCM is used to create a pressurized seal between modules as well as storing tools and other gear used by the crew once the ship is launched. On each side of the JQCM is the same CBM that is used to port it the Unity Two Node. The JQCM would also serve to create a more rigid system of connection between modules that once the ship left the yard would allow for more stresses of using higher thrust engine systems.

Your probably wondering why not allow the crew to reside at the yard. The main reason is the cost. The cost of maintaining the yard due to environmental module add-ons would create a cost overflow that would hinder the cost of using the yard to begin with. Sending a crew to the yard everyday would only cost the company the cost of the fuel and running the yard during the worshift.

I can have a basic design drawn up by this Sunday.
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
You guys keep speaking of sustained national commitments.

Let me ask you people, was North America colonized by the British government itself? Was Jamestown populated by British soldiers? What "national commitment" did Britain have to colonizing North America? Was not the actual colonization done by private parties?

Back in 1969 you had to send men to do meaningful science because their computers were not as advanced as what we have today. Now, science in space can be done with robots. So if you only want scientific bases, you might as well forget about that. It is obsolete. The Mars Rovers have proven that we can do a lot of science remotely, with modern computers and robots. In fact, if you're looking for life, you probably wouldn't want to risk contamination from humans.

Most of the missions for which we would use men are things that would be done primarily by the private sector. Asteroid mining, for example, would not be done by NASA, it would be done by Chevron (or whatever the equivalent is when we get to that point). Just like today, off shore oil platforms are not built and operated by the US Navy. No one says "we need a sustained national commitment to drill for oil", because it is private parties that do the drilling.

The vision for LEO is, and should be, coming from small companies like Bigelow. I would not expect the President to have a vision for space tourism. Neither the military nor NASA would be taking space tourists into space. That is a private endevour.

Yes, the government can and should stimulate these things with funding, but no one should expect NASA to be sending humans to do things that can be done with robots.

--Brian
 
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rockett

Guest
dryson":33zgva2i said:
Instead of looking back as fanatsy wish lists for space stations that would take trillions to build like Brauns concept why dont we concentrate on designing a construction yard with modules that we already use aboard the I.S.S.
I think your estimate or "trillions" is a bit off. That would apply only if the entire thing were constructed of metal. What is interesting about the Von Braun concept (and it would likely have cost no more than the ISS, if not less) is that it was to be inflatable, much like the Bigelow modules. The key difference is that it would have had a central access hub, and would be spun up to provide some small amount of "gravity" (I know, actually centrifugal force). This would have mitigated some of the health issues facing the ISS astronauts, which we have spent yet more millions on to find work-arounds for.

Here is a snip from http://www.astronautix.com/craft/vonation.htm:
In the 1952 version as described by Willy Ley, the station was enlarged to 75 m diameter and housed 80 crew. The station's toroid was no longer made of cylindrical sections, but was a smooth donut-shape of inflatable sections made of reinforced rubber.
Here's a bit of history and more photos:
http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4308/ch9.htm
All this was because Von Braun envisioned the space staion as a long-term habitat, to be occupied by crews for very long periods of time, not just rotations of a few months. If you think of it in terms of lower lift capacity required, and practicality, in some respects it is a better solution than the ISS's rigid construction.


NASA concept
http://www.nasaimages.org/luna/servlet/detail/nasaNAS~2~2~908~102189:

Lffe magazine picture gallery:
http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l?imgurl=1cb0e28982b98ee5&q=inflatable space station&prev=/images?q=inflatable+space+station&start=80&hl=en&sa=N&gbv=2&ndsp=20&tbs=isch:1
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
rockett":th7g7vvq said:
I think your estimate or "trillions" is a bit off. That would apply only if the entire thing were constructed of metal. What is interesting about the Von Braun concept (and it would likely have cost no more than the ISS, if not less) is that it was to be inflatable, much like the Bigelow modules.
Bigelow station is still superior, because it is going to be built with Bob Bigelow's funding, and it will be a private venture.

In the future, there will be dozens of space stations in Earth orbit, maybe 1 or 2 of which were put there by the government.

--Brian
 
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