Page 3 - Seeking answers about space? Join the Space community: the premier source of space exploration, innovation, and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier.
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>But ISS is by far the most capible space station ever built. I don't see any way that a space station such as Mir could ever be able to support the same operations.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />It is, however, worth pointing out that Mir, like the ISS, was designed to be put together with the aid of people crawling around the outside. The components were able to dock themselves to the station (with a little remote assistance) but actually connecting them together and making them work did require EVAs in some cases. Those not requiring EVAs required cables to be run through the hatches, which introduces its own set of problems.<br /><br />It's safe to say that you can get a large space station without the Shuttle. But it will not be the same space station. Whether or not it would be better or worse is not a simple question, which is why this particular argument is especially fruitless. It's really a matter of opinion. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em> -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
Yes, but part of net 'capability' has to be how much return on investment there is. So far I don't see much with ISS and one of its key advertised capabilities, the growth of perfect crystals in microgravity, has been negated by a new Earthbound technique that does it faster & cheaper. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
"most capable to me means a lot more than which has the most internal volume."<br /><br />Doesn't do any good to have more power and cooling if there isn't room to house the experiments.<br /><br />MIR had more of a variety of experiments, astrophysics, earth resources, material science, life science, etc. and was more adaptable.
Let's look at the alternative: BA-330 & Sundancer based habs.<br /><br /><b>Size:</b> Certainly they can be used to make huge stations, huge to the point cu/meters isn't much of an issue. They also have safe harbors, water shielding and very rigid box frame cores mounted to both bulkheads, which also provides a place for rigid walls, mounting hard points & launch stowage. <br /><br />Borg cube anyone? <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br /><b>Power:</b> The standard models presumably have fewer sq/meters of solar panels than each ISS modules share, but then we don't know their baseline power needs to judge the net power surplus. There was one article that stated they use LED lighting, and if true it shows a tendency towards good power management. Even so with 6 docking ports/hub I can see a truss mounted array as an extra power source.<br /><br /><b>Replacement modules:</b> As has been discussed here ISS modules cannot be replaced, but everything we know so far indicates that Bigelow modules can. A BIG plus if so.<br /><br /><b>Assembly:</b> We all know what a logistic nightmare ISS assembly has been. Dozens of shuttle missions, difficult space walks etc. The question is how will Bigelow modules be assembled? I don't know for certain, but my gut says that the external video camera links on Genesis II aren't being tested for fun and that they're a prelude to remote or automatic assembly. <br /><br />Below is a high res blowup of one docking port of Sundancer, which should be the same as the similar port on BA-330, as rendered by Bigelow. I'd like my SDC companions to examine it for signs of a remote/auto assembly infrastructure. I think there are signs of docking radar, lights and a camera, but you guys decide for yourselves. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
I think that is an artist's conception, not engineering drawings. I see a little radar dish but those other things look like thrusters in a completely useless configuration.<br /><br />Also not shown: power in and coolant out connections.