Author Topic: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?  (Read 41387 times)

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #160 on: 07/10/2017 12:54 AM »
Lunar CATALYST is about to come to an end. Within a couple of years it may have produce small lunar landers. By put a few of the engines together a large lunar lander can be made. What is needed is a cabin with life support for astronauts.

Offline DougSpace

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #161 on: 07/16/2017 04:52 PM »
What we need is a "Lunar COTS" program of about 7% of NASA's budget.  If the decision makers are unwilling to find that modest amount within the existing budget then we should increase NASA's budget that much to add a full-scale lunar program.  Masten estimates that it should cost no more than $200 M to modify a Centaur to be a Xeus lander.  Using public-private programs, this should be doable as this is less of a challenge than the $400 M that it cost SpaceX to develop the F9 including brand new engines and a vehicle which stages, undergoes max-Q, and wasn't reusable from the get-go -- Xeus will.

Lunar COTS would have the Cargo and Crew equivalent programs to ship first telerobots, more telerobots & spare parts,  then a large inflatable habitat, then supplies, and finally crew.

Also within that 7% budget, Honeybee Robotics-type companies should iteratively develop an Ice Harvester telerobot designed to operate in terrestrial labs simulating the lunar shadowed craters (i.e. vacuum, cryo temps, abrasive regolith, 3-second time delay, and suspending 5/6th of the weight using tethers and/or Vomit Comet flights).

Finally, a "UniHab" should be developed which would be a singular, large, flat-roofed, low-mass, inflatable habitat up to 20 tonnes.  Telerobots would cover with regolith prior to crew arrival.  Housing a company crew of eight Americans, they would maintain and expand the telerobotic workforce to increase propellant production thereby reducing the cost of lunar access.  The US should urge all other nations to fund their own companies to develop dissimilar, redundant, competing components to the transportation system.  International crew from just about every coukdtry could then afford to go to the Moon and participate in 5-6 suborbital hops with the refueled lander to conduct Apollo-scale lunar exploration on behalf of their country.  The large volume of flights would provide an anchor business for the companies, free them from NASA's budget, and lower the cost to where wealthy, private individuals could afford to travel to the growing base / settlement.