Author Topic: ESA leading us back to the Moon  (Read 68824 times)

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #160 on: 09/23/2017 09:03 PM »
This is HSF exploration, ISRU robotic missions are separate projects.  ESA are talking about using commercial landers for ISRU robotic mission, see post above.

Its better that ISRU is not in critical path for manned lunar exploration but run in parallel. For manned base ISRU is critical but not for exploration missions.

But if ISRU can indeed extract large quantities of water on the Moon then you can refuel hydrolox landers. At that point designs using storable propellants might just as well be throw away.

Unmanned investigation of ISRU potential using should be done as soon as possible, not in parallel with manned sorties.


Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #161 on: 09/24/2017 12:20 AM »
It's disappointing to me to have a bunch of government agencies come out with yet another reference mission that ignores SpaceX's ITS/BFR plans.  Of course the SpaceX plans might not pan out, but the same is true of the government reference missions.  I would have hopped that they would start taking SpaceX seriously and at least try to work with them instead of making long-term plans that ignore the SpaceX plans.

I guess the government space agencies still feel too threatened by SpaceX.  It's a shame.


You go with what you have. Currently the ITS/BFR is a paper rocket. It has not flown yet and may not have fired a full set of engines.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #162 on: 09/24/2017 01:52 AM »
Seeing the remarks regarding the 42 stay period... I doubt they'd do that with the first mission. The first manned mission - only the seventh human landing - would probably try to stretch the Apollo 17 achievement of nearly 80 hours by another day or so. Then, a week, then doubling that to 14 days. Staying for a lunar night where it can get so darned cold will be an engineering challenge. I know they don't have plans at this stage to do any lunar night EVAs, but that would be an interesting spacesuit design challenge! Also; imagine doing on EVA during lunar night if there's a full Earth above - much brighter on the surface than a full Moon night on Earth would be :)
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 01:52 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline su27k

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #163 on: 09/24/2017 03:56 AM »
It's disappointing to me to have a bunch of government agencies come out with yet another reference mission that ignores SpaceX's ITS/BFR plans...
Got two words on this: Red Dragon

As if that means anything. To refresh your memory, NASA pulled out of ExoMars, yet here ESA still wants to hitch a ride on a NASA vehicle. So what about Red Dragon?

Offline Negan

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #164 on: 09/24/2017 04:04 AM »
It's disappointing to me to have a bunch of government agencies come out with yet another reference mission that ignores SpaceX's ITS/BFR plans...
Got two words on this: Red Dragon

As if that means anything. To refresh your memory, NASA pulled out of ExoMars, yet here ESA still wants to hitch a ride on a NASA vehicle. So what about Red Dragon?

Also means even less if SpaceX pulls off the circumlunar mission.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #165 on: 09/24/2017 09:37 AM »
This thread is about ESA moon plans,  there 100s of SpaceX threads if you want discuss them and their vehicles.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #166 on: 09/24/2017 11:00 AM »
This thread is about ESA moon plans,  there 100s of SpaceX threads if you want discuss them and their vehicles.
Yes - me and Spaceghost1962 wrote lots about Dragon-derived lunar landers in another thread, a few months back. Some good ideas were in there. (The prospective launcher was Falcon Heavy). If I could find that thread; I'd paste the link so those who wanted to could jump to that thread and catch up.
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Offline su27k

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #167 on: 09/24/2017 02:57 PM »
ESA, NASA, JAXA and Canda have been quietly working on lunar surface exploration architecture and here it is. Not funded, but without a detailed plan and cost estimate they can't ask governments for funding.

http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Whitley-Landgraf_9-20-17/

Here is brief summary.
2 x 2 man rovers on single lander (crew descent stage?). Nuclear and solar powered, designed for 42day missions. Left on surface with life of 5+ missions over few years.
1 x 4man lander. 2 stage, expendable methane descent stage, reusable ascent stage which uses storeable fuel. Typical flight 0.5days but can support crew for 3-4.

In emergency a rover can support 4 till they get back to lander.

Initial mission is 3 x SLS, 1x rovers, 1x crew lander 1 x Orion and crew.
Follow on missions are 1.5 SLS not very well explained but new descent stage, fuel for ascent stage plus surplus.

Allow for commercial partners especially cargo and fuel to DSG plus cargo landers.

Canada + ESA for rover development. ESA ascent stage, JAXA descent stage. NASA would most likely provide some help but lion share of development costs will be on 3 international partners.

I think it is good plan, with large chunk be reusable. Bang for bucks it is very good considering each mission results in 168 man days on surface. Still comes down to funding ($20B) which ESA may struggle with given their large input.

I think this is the paper they mentioned near the end: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170004964.pdf, doesn't have cost estimate though.

The cost estimate from the audio is 20 billion euros, not clear what is included, and the moderator seems to think it's way too low.

Offline su27k

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #168 on: 09/24/2017 03:02 PM »
This thread is about ESA moon plans,  there 100s of SpaceX threads if you want discuss them and their vehicles.

I disagree, commercial space participation is definitely on topic, in fact it's specifically asked during the Q&A, and an interesting discussion followed. SpaceX was not mentioned, but Bezos was mentioned by name. It looks like the presenters would welcome commercial space participation in the form of small cargo landers, but they don't think commercial space can do large cargo or human landers. There're some mentioning of DSG being the forefront of testing how commercial space can participate.

PS: here's the news that triggered the question about commercial space after the presentation: http://parabolicarc.com/2017/09/22/esa-buy-ride-moon-commercial-spacecraft/, it seems that ESA is already looking at this direction.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 03:14 PM by su27k »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #169 on: 09/24/2017 05:59 PM »
This thread is about ESA moon plans,  there 100s of SpaceX threads if you want discuss them and their vehicles.

I disagree, commercial space participation is definitely on topic, in fact it's specifically asked during the Q&A, and an interesting discussion followed. SpaceX was not mentioned, but Bezos was mentioned by name. It looks like the presenters would welcome commercial space participation in the form of small cargo landers, but they don't think commercial space can do large cargo or human landers. There're some mentioning of DSG being the forefront of testing how commercial space can participate.

PS: here's the news that triggered the question about commercial space after the presentation: http://parabolicarc.com/2017/09/22/esa-buy-ride-moon-commercial-spacecraft/, it seems that ESA is already looking at this direction.
This is a politically delicate situation.

The reason Bezos gets a nod rather than Musk is "arsenal space" (in any national space ministry/agency) fears him less, because he's less ambitious (gradatim) and not motivated by immediate ROI, as opposed to Musk whose different ambitions require aggressive undercutting of the existing industries (PO's them by making things uncertain). (There's a existential threat that they all vanish - ESA/Ariane Group are the least challenged by this.)

Once they get over watching astros/adventurers board commercial space vehicles, launch and return w/o the need for it to be a national launcher, then things will shift. (Because the big money for the big rocket that launches the mission/everything has been the big political "investment". Also why Musk does not get any "buy-in" for ITS because it directly "owns" them. As it could/can only do.) They only see the big rocket right now.

The irony is that both Musk/Bezos are heading towards big reusable rockets, while national HSF wants many big expendable rockets. Which is why they are even begrudgingly slow to consider unmanned delivery of cargo/logistics/landers to lunar/other destinations.

The chief expense in maintaining BEO HSF exploration is the cost of maintaining HSF infrastructure - look at ISS and see what 5-6x that will do to budgets (the current means will be stretching out missions and hibernating cislunar resources like gateway). Best way to do this is automated logistics/maintenance/replacement and a narrow focus on surface lunar/other systems. Improves also with smallest logistical footprint for waystations like DSG.

(The second difference from Musk/Bezos is in landers - Bezo's only focused on exoatmospheric, while Musk's work inspace/planetary/"Earth" - which intrudes on DST's "territory".)

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #170 on: 09/25/2017 12:19 AM »
Had read paper has lot more information on crew operations, specifications on landers and rover bit vague.

There are few reasons they choose CH4 descent stage. Lower boil off compared to LH for LEO to DSG trip. Propulsion systems can be used for Mars landers. Option for lunar ISRU LOX refuelling. They didn't expand on this but here options regarding this.

Assuming ISRU is in place with LOX and LH being delivered to DSG by reusable LOX/LH tanker lander.
For exploration missions a replacement expendable descent stage delivers it's self from LEO to DSG. At DSG refuel using lunar LOX and earth supplied CH4.
When used to visit lunar base refuel it on surface and use it for ascent (crew ascent stage stays attached. CH4 may need to be imported from earth but can be delivered to surface by LH/LOX tankers supplying DSG fuel depot.

If flight rate justifies then descent stage could replaced with LH version especially for lunar base servicing.

While carrying the ascent stage around fully fuelled is waste of fuel it does increase safety. If anything goes wrong with descent stage crew can abort at anytime to DSG. Don't need to rely on descent being refuelled on surface.

Proven rover power and life support systems could be used for lunar base habitat.

For commercial activities eg lunar tourism a non RTG powered version of rover could be used near a lunar base for day excursions.
« Last Edit: 09/25/2017 12:20 AM by TrevorMonty »

Offline jpo234

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #171 on: 09/27/2017 03:04 PM »
Directly from NASA:
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-roscosmos-sign-joint-statement-on-researching-exploring-deep-space

Quote
NASA, Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on Researching, Exploring Deep Space

Building a strategic capability for advancing and sustaining human space exploration in the vicinity of the Moon will require the best from NASA, interested international partners, and U.S. industry. As NASA continues formulating the deep space gateway concept, the agency signed a joint statement with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.

This joint statement reflects the common vision for human exploration that NASA and Roscosmos share. Both agencies, as well as other International Space Station partners, see the gateway as a strategic component of human space exploration architecture that warrants additional study. NASA has already engaged industry partners in gateway concept studies. Roscosmos and other space station partner agencies are preparing to do the same.

"While the deep space gateway is still in concept formulation, NASA is pleased to see growing international interest in moving into cislunar space as the next step for advancing human space exploration," said Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Statements such as this one signed with Roscosmos show the gateway concept as an enabler to the kind of exploration architecture that is affordable and sustainable."

NASA plans to expand human presence into the solar system starting in the vicinity of the Moon using its new deep space exploration transportation systems, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. This plan challenges our current capabilities in human spaceflight and will benefit from engagement by multiple countries and U.S. industry.

Studies of the gateway concept will provide technical information to inform future decisions about potential collaborations. These domestic and international studies are being used to shape the capabilities and partnering options for implementing the deep space gateway.

The space station partners are working to identify common exploration objectives and possible missions for the 2020s, including the gateway concept. A key element of their study is to ensure that future deep space exploration missions take full advantage of technology development and demonstration enabled by the International Space Station, as well as lessons learned from its assembly and operations.

During the same time period and in parallel, NASA has been engaging U.S. industry to evaluate habitation concepts for the gateway and for the deep space transport that would be needed for Mars exploration. NASA has competitively awarded a series of study and risk reduction contracts under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Broad Agency Announcement to advance habitation concepts, technologies, and prototypes of the required capabilities needed for deep space missions. The most recent awards included six U.S. companies; Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Nanoracks. Five of the six firms were selected to develop full-sized ground-based engineering prototypes of habitation systems, expected to be complete in 2018. NASA has also solicited industry proposals for studies on concept development of a power and propulsion element, which would be the first piece of a gateway architecture.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2017 06:19 PM by Chris Bergin »
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Online eeergo

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #172 on: 09/27/2017 03:55 PM »
Why is that posted in this thread?  Nothing to do with ESA.
If ESA is leading us back to the Moon, you don't think it will be going through the DSG?

Created new split topic here http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43834.msg1727447 to discuss in a more proper setting.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #173 on: 09/29/2017 03:21 PM »
Quote
"It’s 2017, we should have a lunar base by now," he said, speaking just a couple of years shy of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landings. "What the hell is going on?"

"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Star One

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #174 on: 10/08/2017 09:41 PM »
David Parker from ESA is interviewed about their Lunar plans on this month’s Sky At Night. The episode can be found on the link below for UK forum members.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mk7h

Online yg1968

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #175 on: 10/11/2017 03:57 AM »
Jaxa also has plans for the Moon:

Quote
JAXA plans to construct a fuel plant at the lunar south pole & include a human lunar stay of 500days! for a crew of 4 #leag2017 #MoonVillage

https://twitter.com/Capoglou/status/917789236023255040

Quote
JAXA human exploration plans include a stay of 500 days (!) for a crew of 4 on the Moon. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/Ryan_N_Watkins/status/917786138684911616

See also the following chart:
https://twitter.com/USRAedu/status/917788420268810240
« Last Edit: 10/11/2017 04:06 AM by yg1968 »

Offline redliox

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #176 on: 10/23/2017 08:04 PM »
Jaxa also has plans for the Moon:

Quote
JAXA plans to construct a fuel plant at the lunar south pole & include a human lunar stay of 500days! for a crew of 4 #leag2017 #MoonVillage

https://twitter.com/Capoglou/status/917789236023255040

Quote
JAXA human exploration plans include a stay of 500 days (!) for a crew of 4 on the Moon. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/Ryan_N_Watkins/status/917786138684911616

See also the following chart:
https://twitter.com/USRAedu/status/917788420268810240

...ok now I'm wondering if it should be JAXA leading us back to the Moon...
 ;) ::)
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Offline Pipcard

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #177 on: 10/25/2017 03:15 AM »
Jaxa also has plans for the Moon:

Quote
JAXA plans to construct a fuel plant at the lunar south pole & include a human lunar stay of 500days! for a crew of 4 #leag2017 #MoonVillage

https://twitter.com/Capoglou/status/917789236023255040

Quote
JAXA human exploration plans include a stay of 500 days (!) for a crew of 4 on the Moon. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/Ryan_N_Watkins/status/917786138684911616

See also the following chart:
https://twitter.com/USRAedu/status/917788420268810240

...ok now I'm wondering if it should be JAXA leading us back to the Moon...
 ;) ::)
I wish it was, but "lost decades" and "aging population" seem to have prevented that.

Offline Dao Angkan

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #178 on: 02/23/2018 08:40 PM »
Lunar Pathfinder animation;



I guess that this is tangentially related to this topic. Goonhilly now has funding (partially via ESA) to upgrade it's 32m dish to provide deep-space tracking and communication services to ESA, other agencies, and the private sector. It will take about two years.

https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Estrack/Goonhilly_goes_deep_space

Quote
Until now, if you’re an entrepreneur planning future missions beyond Earth, you’d have to ask a big space agency to borrow their deep-space antennas. Now, thanks to the UK’s county of Cornwall and ESA, you’ll have a commercial option, too.

If you’re planning on flying a robotic or even human mission in the near future to the Moon, an asteroid or even Mars, one indispensable requirement you’ll face is the need for at least one deep-space tracking dish to communicate with your craft.

Today, however, there’s no commercial deep-space service available to rent – and building a new station from scratch all on your own is rather pricey, although would be justified for a spacecraft travelling to exotic locations like Jupiter.

ESA has three deep-space dishes, in Australia, Spain and Argentina, that provide leading-edge performance and full-sky coverage for tracking and communicating with missions like Mars Express, Gaia and ExoMars.

Later this year, they will add the new BepiColombo mission to Mercury and, in the near future, ESA’s Solar Orbiter, Euclid and Cheops.

“The amount of science data flowing in from ESA’s current missions, not to mention from future missions with improved instruments, is growing strongly,” says ESA’s Pier Bargellini, responsible for network operations.

“By the middle of the next decade, ESA’s deep-space communication needs for supporting today’s missions, like ExoMars, and upcoming spacecraft, like Juice, is expected to exceed our present capacity by around half.

“We are considering urgently how to bridge this gap.”

This is why ESA engineering teams are excited by a new initiative aimed at redeveloping part of Goonhilly Earth Station, an existing commercial station in Cornwall, UK, to enable it to provide Europe’s first deep-space tracking services on a commercial basis.

Under the project, a 32 m-diameter dish built in 1985 will be upgraded to provide fast data links for missions far beyond Earth – typically exceeding 2 million km.

In future, once commercial capacity is available, ESA’s deep-space antenna network will focus on supporting sophisticated missions demanding high-performance systems.

Test links will be made with ESA missions such as Mars Express, one of the first times an Agency mission communicates with a non-ESA, non-NASA station from another planet.

The project will be initially funded through a €9.5 million investment from the UK’s Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, a public­–private regional economic development body, and will later include a smaller investment from ESA.

“Once the station upgrade work is complete, in about 24 months, Goonhilly will be able to complement ESA’s own stations, and provide deep-space tracking for the Agency’s missions as well as those of other space agencies or from private space start-ups aiming to exploit the Moon or mine asteroids,” notes Klaus-Jürgen Schulz, responsible of ESA ground station engineering.

Goonhilly, established in 1962 and at one time the largest satellite station in the world, with over 60 dishes of varying size, is well known in the UK. Its antennas have brought iconic images to UK TV viewers, including Muhammad Ali fights, the Olympic Games, the Apollo 11 Moon landing and 1985’s Live Aid concert.

With the growing demand for deep-space tracking for both space agencies and new commercial space companies, the Goonhilly upgrade is an excellent example of how ESA can foster new business for European industry through engineering contracts to transform existing antennas into state-of-the art deep-space ground stations.

“Upgrading Goonhilly and building up a commercial capability to support future exploration missions is good for ESA and good for European science and industry,” says Rolf Densing, ESA’s Director of Operations.

“It’s also excellent value for European taxpayers.”
« Last Edit: 02/23/2018 08:42 PM by Dao Angkan »

Offline philw1776

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Re: ESA leading us back to the Moon
« Reply #179 on: 03/06/2018 07:07 PM »
Apparently the incoming leadership of ESA is speaking about literally reaching for the Moon after the ISS is deorbited.  There's been hints that ESA, in addition to the international community in general, has been taking an interest in the Moon of late while NASA speaks of Mars.  However, Johann-Dietrich Wörner (the new ESA chief) spoke more specifically about looking into a lunar base as ESA's next step after their duty with the ISS is completed.

If anyone has more details on Wörner's moon plans do post them here, as they seem indicative of a promising direction of human space flight.

As for this direction in general, I approve.  We all know the basic logic behind the Moon: it's a helluvalot closer to us than Mars.  NASA brags about Orion taking us to Mars...but by itself Orion can't safely do anything beyond circling Luna or visiting its Lagrange points; the fact ESA's building its service module seems foreboding coupled with ESA's lunar preference.  ESA seems to approach this logically, whereas NASA is attempting a great leap when it can't honestly repeat the effort made 40+ years ago (a less-than-secret embarrassment shared by engineers and enthusiasts).

Unless NASA establishes the technologies needed for Mars (ISRU, aerocapture, maybe SEP), the Moon is the only thing in our reach.  On the other hand, we already have the means for lunar travel: HLVs, a crewed orbiter...just add lander and the set is complete.  Hypothetically, ESA might develop the lander and even spearhead the moon base it's chief suggested.

It's been 3 years since this thread started.  Three years closer to shutting down aging ISS. Is there any even Powerpoint ESA plan for a lunar lander, etc.?
“When it looks more like an alien dreadnought, that’s when you know you’ve won.”

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