Author Topic: NASA Advisory Council: Select a Human Exploration Destination ASAP  (Read 7057 times)


Offline Rocket Science

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8184
  • NASA Educator Astronaut Candidate Applicant 2002
  • Liked: 2334
  • Likes Given: 5512
So say we all! ;D

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/03/nac-select-human-exploration-destination-asap/
Great and timely article Chris! We were just having a similar discussion about the NEA roadmap. I agree with the NAC...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline robertross

  • Canadian Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17781
  • Westphal, Nova Scotia
  • Liked: 445
  • Likes Given: 3467
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 27157
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7114
  • Likes Given: 4937
Just don't let it be a lunar base in case Romney gets elected. Because he'd fire you all.

I'm just saying that to point out that announcing a "grand plan" right now (i.e. with more fanfare than the existing plan) may will have negative consequences on the public support front. It's easy for enthusiasts like me (and presumably NAC) to say that "if only we had a big grand plan, everyone would be excited," but the real public perception of such an announcement right now would be immense skepticism and even mocking (Newt and Mitt proved that) because of the huge focus on budget-cutting these days (something I think is very misplaced, but that's the 'reality' of public perception right now).

(All that to say that I'd like such a grand plan ala Newt's, if I thought it had any chance of not having a negative public reaction like Newt's did.)
« Last Edit: 03/27/2012 02:22 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline robertross

  • Canadian Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17781
  • Westphal, Nova Scotia
  • Liked: 445
  • Likes Given: 3467
Just don't let it be a lunar base in case Romney gets elected. Because he'd fire you all.

I'm just saying that to point out that announcing a "grand plan" right now (i.e. with more fanfare than the existing plan) may will have negative consequences on the public support front. It's easy for enthusiasts like me (and presumably NAC) to say that "if only we had a big grand plan, everyone would be excited," but the real public perception of such an announcement right now would be immense skepticism and even mocking (Newt and Mitt proved that) because of the huge focus on budget-cutting these days (something I think is very misplaced, but that's the 'reality' of public perception right now).

I actually think you bring up a plausible scenario.

Cutting to the chase: vote for Obama  ;)  :)

Seriously though, there HAS to be a plan of some kind to advance the program, to give it focus, and build some momentum. If people are serious about space, well, they'll just have to fight this hurdle (as congress has in the past) when the time comes. They did it with SLS, they can do it with the choice of destination (after all, they will be providing the funding for it).
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Chris Bergin

Didn't realize this is political. Suppose it is! (Thanks to the report to mod).

Offline Ronsmytheiii

  • Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22351
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 252
Of course they can pick an EM-1/2 gateway as the initial destination, still leaving flexibility for NEA's or lunar mission. At the very least, you start getting biological data for humans ectb in deep space.  A good, logical starting point, and utilizes SLS block 1A and Orion for deep space flights immediately.

The current plan, well see my signature below:
« Last Edit: 03/27/2012 01:53 AM by Ronsmytheiii »
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline deltaV

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1538
  • Change in velocity
  • Liked: 165
  • Likes Given: 480
Of course they can pick an EM-1/2 gateway as the initial destination, still leaving flexibility for NEA's or lunar mission.

IMHO an EML-1/2 gateway is not a meaningful exploration destination because there's nothing there to explore. Instead I'd view an EML-1/2 as a capability, just like SLS, MPCV, propellant depots, ISS, and a solar-electric tug.

My view is that our primary exploration destination should be Phobos, with NEOs as a planned warmup. A little thought should be put into making sure the Phobos architecture is extensible to a Mars landing, but that's not a priority since a level of funding sufficient for a Mars landing is speculative.

Offline KEdward5

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 803
  • Dallas, TX
  • Liked: 27
  • Likes Given: 46
Was just saying on another thread, the last time Mr Shannon's group spent this amount of time on a study we got that amazing 726 page presentation on Sidemount, published in L2.

Chris wrote some articles for it:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2010/06/sd-hlv-assessment-highlights-post-shuttle-solution/

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2010/07/lunarbeo-sd-hlv-commercial-international-architecture/

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2010/06/sd-hlv-review-iss-transport-reliability-of-design/

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2010/07/sd-hlv-early-sps-demonstration-risk-assessment/

This 180 day report could be historic!
« Last Edit: 03/27/2012 03:08 AM by KEdward5 »

Offline simpl simon

  • Regular
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 427
  • Liked: 21
  • Likes Given: 0
We should stop referring to EM-L1/L2, NEA's, the Moon, or Mars Moons as destinations. The destination is Mars. All the other places or locations in space are stepping stones on our journey to Mars. Reaching these stepping stones will give us confidence we can go further. Whether we make use of all of these stepping stones or only some, or in which order, is not yet decided.
And why should it be decided now, when we do not yet have the capabilities to go beyond Earth orbit? Since budget will continue to be a principal constraint, there are still many trades to be made to ensure we make the most cost-effective choices.

Offline spectre9

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2403
  • Australia
  • Liked: 35
  • Likes Given: 67
NASA is trying to figure out exactly what they can do with just the Block 1A SLS.

At this point it doesn't seem like much.

I'm assuming a Lunar Lander can't be done without Block 2 because of stuff I've seen on L2.

The destination is most likely going to be NEA around 2025 using 2x Block 1A vehicles.

Offline Warren Platts

Just don't let it be a lunar base in case Romney gets elected. Because he'd fire you all.

I'm just saying that to point out that announcing a "grand plan" right now (i.e. with more fanfare than the existing plan) may will have negative consequences on the public support front. It's easy for enthusiasts like me (and presumably NAC) to say that "if only we had a big grand plan, everyone would be excited," but the real public perception of such an announcement right now would be immense skepticism and even mocking (Newt and Mitt proved that) because of the huge focus on budget-cutting these days (something I think is very misplaced, but that's the 'reality' of public perception right now).

(All that to say that I'd like such a grand plan ala Newt's, if I thought it had any chance of not having a negative public reaction like Newt's did.)

There's a difference between a "grand plan" and a "grandiose" plan. Newt was saying he wanted a colony with 10,000 people and wanted to turn the Moon into the 51st US state. Of course everyone laughed at it. So did I.

Thus it's really unfair for you to lump sensible Lunar base ideas like President Bush's VSE into the same category as a 10,000 person, 51st state. The VSE was the product of a lot of sober reflection. The main idea is to take a first stab at bringing the resources of space into the economic sphere of Earth. Making money is an idea Rmoney can get behind. Of course to do that, you've got to go back to the Moon.

Seriously, there HAS to be a plan of some kind to advance the program, to give it focus, and build some momentum. If people are serious about space, well, they'll just have to fight this hurdle (as congress has in the past) when the time comes. They did it with SLS, they can do it with the choice of destination (after all, they will be providing the funding for it).

They already did it with the choice of a destination: the VSE was overwhelmingly passed by Congress more than once.

Of course they can pick an EM-1/2 gateway as the initial destination, still leaving flexibility for NEA's or lunar mission.

IMHO an EML-1/2 gateway is not a meaningful exploration destination because there's nothing there to explore. Instead I'd view an EML-1/2 as a capability, just like SLS, MPCV, propellant depots, ISS, and a solar-electric tug.

My view is that our primary exploration destination should be Phobos, with NEOs as a planned warmup. A little thought should be put into making sure the Phobos architecture is extensible to a Mars landing, but that's not a priority since a level of funding sufficient for a Mars landing is speculative.

lol! That's funny! You don't get the irony at all, do you? You set the destination as Phobos, you will have to spend decades at EML-1/2 in order to make sure everything you need works before you can safely send people to Phobos!

We should stop referring to EM-L1/L2, NEA's, the Moon, or Mars Moons as destinations. The destination is Mars. All the other places or locations in space are stepping stones on our journey to Mars. Reaching these stepping stones will give us confidence we can go further. Whether we make use of all of these stepping stones or only some, or in which order, is not yet decided.
And why should it be decided now, when we do not yet have the capabilities to go beyond Earth orbit? Since budget will continue to be a principal constraint, there are still many trades to be made to ensure we make the most cost-effective choices.

simpl, setting the destination as Mars is the same as setting no destination at all. In fact, that's the present situation we find ourselves in now. Hence the need to pick a destination....

Quote from: spectre9
NASA is trying to figure out exactly what they can do with just the Block 1A SLS.

At this point it doesn't seem like much.

I'm assuming a Lunar Lander can't be done without Block 2 because of stuff I've seen on L2.

The destination is most likely going to be NEA around 2025 using 2x Block 1A vehicles.

That's funny too! Those NEA's are very cooperative. I'm sure they are fighting each other to be first in line to be ready for our convenience in 2025!
« Last Edit: 03/27/2012 04:23 AM by Warren Platts »
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 27157
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7114
  • Likes Given: 4937
Just don't let it be a lunar base in case Romney gets elected. Because he'd fire you all.

I'm just saying that to point out that announcing a "grand plan" right now (i.e. with more fanfare than the existing plan) may will have negative consequences on the public support front. It's easy for enthusiasts like me (and presumably NAC) to say that "if only we had a big grand plan, everyone would be excited," but the real public perception of such an announcement right now would be immense skepticism and even mocking (Newt and Mitt proved that) because of the huge focus on budget-cutting these days (something I think is very misplaced, but that's the 'reality' of public perception right now).

(All that to say that I'd like such a grand plan ala Newt's, if I thought it had any chance of not having a negative public reaction like Newt's did.)

There's a difference between a "grand plan" and a "grandiose" plan. Newt was saying he wanted a colony with 10,000 people and wanted to turn the Moon into the 51st US state. Of course everyone laughed at it. So did I.
...
Nope, he only said he'd establish a lunar base by his second term.

He also mentioned that he'd get the process in place for allowing a lunar colony to become a state at some point considerably in the future, but that was a separate point, and it was something he had done well in the past.

Of course, everyone forgot about that immediately and started mocking the whole idea, suddenly saying that Newt had claimed he'd establish the Moon state by the end of his second term. Even you, as much as you support lunar exploration and utilization, apparently bought into that misrepresentation. And that's my point. Right now, being "tough" on any sort of interesting government project is popular. If 'Bama had talked about going to Mars in the sort of grand way that some want, he'd be mocked in just the same manner, and all sorts of people (even those who consider themselves well-informed) would be joining right in.
« Last Edit: 03/27/2012 04:54 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline OpsAnalyst

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • Mary Lynne Dittmar
  • Washington, DC
    • MaryLynneDittmar.com
  • Liked: 257
  • Likes Given: 120
So say we all! ;D

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/03/nac-select-human-exploration-destination-asap/

Great article, Chris.  As are the rest of in this series. 

(Love the BSG reference, BTW)

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 27157
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7114
  • Likes Given: 4937
So say we all! ;D

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/03/nac-select-human-exploration-destination-asap/

Great article, Chris.  As are the rest of in this series. 

(Love the BSG reference, BTW)
Agreed! :)

(And thanks, Chris, as usual. :) )
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Chris Bergin

Thanks guys! :)

I suppose if we get a roadmap, we can at least praise the Lords of Kobol. ;D

Offline Robert Thompson

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1117
  • Liked: 82
  • Likes Given: 658
The destination is the grey matter between the ears of the Leno constituency.

Offline Warren Platts

Just don't let it be a lunar base in case Romney gets elected. Because he'd fire you all.

I'm just saying that to point out that announcing a "grand plan" right now (i.e. with more fanfare than the existing plan) may will have negative consequences on the public support front. It's easy for enthusiasts like me (and presumably NAC) to say that "if only we had a big grand plan, everyone would be excited," but the real public perception of such an announcement right now would be immense skepticism and even mocking (Newt and Mitt proved that) because of the huge focus on budget-cutting these days (something I think is very misplaced, but that's the 'reality' of public perception right now).

(All that to say that I'd like such a grand plan ala Newt's, if I thought it had any chance of not having a negative public reaction like Newt's did.)

There's a difference between a "grand plan" and a "grandiose" plan. Newt was saying he wanted a colony with 10,000 people and wanted to turn the Moon into the 51st US state. Of course everyone laughed at it. So did I.
...
Nope, he only said he'd establish a lunar base by his second term.

He also mentioned that he'd get the process in place for allowing a lunar colony to become a state at some point considerably in the future, but that was a separate point, and it was something he had done well in the past.

Of course, everyone forgot about that immediately and started mocking the whole idea, suddenly saying that Newt had claimed he'd establish the Moon state by the end of his second term. Even you, as much as you support lunar exploration and utilization, apparently bought into that misrepresentation. And that's my point. Right now, being "tough" on any sort of interesting government project is popular. If 'Bama had talked about going to Mars in the sort of grand way that some want, he'd be mocked in just the same manner, and all sorts of people (even those who consider themselves well-informed) would be joining right in.

No nope. Newt Gingerich has his head in the clouds farther than John Fornaro. There is no way you can compare Gingerich's off the cuff remarks from the detailed policy developed at the Bush White House other than that both have something to do with the Moon. You're painting with way too broad of a brush, probably because it suits your own personal agenda.

The VSE was not an attempt at a Lunar land grab: it specifically required that we bring in international partners as much as possible. And settlement was not the goal; the goal was geocentric: use the resources of the Moon to enhance economic growth on Earth. Starting with getting rocket fuel from Lunar ice. It was a sensible, down-to-Earth plan. It was authorized by Congress several times.

In fact, the VSE is still the program of record, since it was never superceded by any further acts of Congress. The 2005 NASA Authorization Act requires NASA to place a human on the Moon by 2020. That's still the law of the land, despite the President's weak claim that "we've been there, done that".

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3893
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 806
  • Likes Given: 1517
Yes, Warren: If only more people got that!! CXP could have been saved by cutting the bloat (Ares 1 & the 10-meter Ares V). John Shannon's first group produced a viable set of options and mission architectures using the big Side-Mount. The lander would have been a bit smaller, yes, SRBs would have been used for a lot more years, yes, Side-Mount is generally inferior to Inline, yes.

But cost and schedule are King when sustaining the whole shebang across several Presidential terms. But although Bush & Obama didn't support CXP, it seems that several bi-partisan Congresses and Senates at least would have (probably) carried forward a sensible 'CXP-Lite' that could have evolved into something better: building up an Interplanetary Transportation System and modus operandi that could have eventually brought in International involvement and Private Industry. PrivateSpace; once the 'training wheels' of low Earth orbit operations had been removed could've really taken off.

"Oh, but you don't know that!" some are going to say. Others will say; "But the economy is no good, the deficits' too big - now's not the time!"

If not now - When?!
********************************

My pick for BEO operations and Destinations: EML-2, preparing for Phobos & Deimos. With the moons of Mars firmly in the our sights, much of the technology for going to Mars - all the way - will be in place. Developing a Martian Lander/Hab will probably be a $50 billion dollar project - so defer that cost. Prepare everything else, then make the Lander/Hab a true International project. The Orion is coming, SLS is (probably) coming and Deep Space Habitat and propulsion technology can be based on ISS & off-the-shelf technology. It IS Rocket Science; but its stuff that is mostly around now, or very soon will be.

Check the launch windows, but I reckon the Moons of Mars can be reached by 2025. Why? Well, its not much more than a dozen years from now. Not Apollo pace, of course - but with tight budgets and technology challenges - I believe it can still be done in that timeframe. Without doubling NASA's budget, it cannot be done quicker (sorry), so let's leave unrealistic expectations behind and hope John Shannon and his team agree with me on this firm destination.
« Last Edit: 03/27/2012 10:25 AM by MATTBLAK »
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9163
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 612
  • Likes Given: 316
Back to Luna to stay.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Mark S

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2105
  • Dallas, TX
  • Liked: 143
  • Likes Given: 34
NASA is trying to figure out exactly what they can do with just the Block 1A SLS.

At this point it doesn't seem like much.

I'm assuming a Lunar Lander can't be done without Block 2 because of stuff I've seen on L2.

The destination is most likely going to be NEA around 2025 using 2x Block 1A vehicles.

Spectre9, I've seen you make this assertion twice now on this site. Can you explain why a dual-launch scenario using two Block-1A vehicles, which could put a combined 210+ metric tons of payload into orbit, could not perform a lunar landing mission? (Besides needing a lander of course.) A single launch of the Saturn-V was able to put men on the moon, and that was with much less capacity than dual SLS Block-1As. Also the DIRECT team was able to get a dual-launch J-241 profile to close for the full CxP mission, including the ginormous Altair lander.

I believe that a dual-Block-1A launch profile could easily support CxP-style lunar missions, and with a more reasonable lander, could support extended lunar stays.

Mark S.

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 27157
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7114
  • Likes Given: 4937
Warren: When did I ever mention VSE? You are imagining that I compared Newt's plan with VSE, which I did not. (It was CxP, just an implementation, which was canceled, by the way, not VSE itself... Sweet Sagan, if only one of the O'Keefe architectures--a far better implementation of VSE--had been picked instead!!! The core of VSE, which is basically to get out of LEO and go beyond, remains essentially intact.)

You have joined the crowd in mocking Newt's plan (or rather, the effigy of his plan that folks like Mitt and every comedian on TV have constructed). You apparently didn't even know what it was!

That is the problem with such a grand plan. I can guarantee that your plan would be skewered as well. The very opposite of "inspiring" the public, right now such a plan would draw the public's ire. Before Newt announced his plan and the resulting ending of his chance to become President, I may have agreed that such a plan would inspire the public. I have been forced to face reality.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6678
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 518
  • Likes Given: 315
*snip*


(All that to say that I'd like such a grand plan ala Newt's, if I thought it had any chance of not having a negative public reaction like Newt's did.)

I liked Newtís grand plan too.  But I think you misread why it was criticized from so many angles.  It wasnít because it was grand, it was because itís an election year.

The media largely panned it because the media is larger liberally-bias, and carries the water for Obama.  Newt criticized Obama for his lack of having a plan when he touted his own.  So the media will attack Newt to defend their guy.

Newtís republican rivals criticized it because itís a nomination that was up for grabs at that time (not so much now, but at that time) and so they would criticize anything each other say.  If Newt had had a plan similar to Obamaís, they would have criticized him for being too meek with NASA.  Thatís politics in an election year. 

If Newt had actually won the nomination and then won the election, and proposed such a plan as President, itíd likely have good Republican support at that time.  The Democrats and their cheerleaders in the media would not like it of course.  But thatís politics and the modern media.  Of Obama had proposed Newtís plan, likely the media would have cheered him for being the next JFK, the Democrats would have supported (except the FAR Left), and Republicans and much smaller conservative media would have likely been critical. 

Thatís politics todayÖunfortunatelyÖ

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 27157
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7114
  • Likes Given: 4937
*snip*


(All that to say that I'd like such a grand plan ala Newt's, if I thought it had any chance of not having a negative public reaction like Newt's did.)

I liked Newt’s grand plan too.  But I think you misread why it was criticized from so many angles.  It wasn’t because it was grand, it was because it’s an election year.
....
EXACTLY MY POINT!

Because it's an election year, everyone is using everything possible as a wedge issue against someone else. A big, grand announcement by Obama would be absolutely CREAMED by everyone on the right (and probably a lot in the middle as well) as "evidence of government profligacy at a time when we should be tightening our belts." You and I both know this.

And really, it doesn't matter WHO was in office, because it's an election year and the idea of austerity has been sold so effectively to the public, there'd be the same reaction. The public would be very critical of the whole idea, especially as social programs are being cut.
« Last Edit: 03/27/2012 05:52 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline spectre9

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2403
  • Australia
  • Liked: 35
  • Likes Given: 67
Remember this is a 4 man sortie.

This is a big lander.

I'm not saying it can't be done with less than 130mt, it's in the document.

Offline Mark S

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2105
  • Dallas, TX
  • Liked: 143
  • Likes Given: 34
Remember this is a 4 man sortie.

This is a big lander.

I'm not saying it can't be done with less than 130mt, it's in the document.

You are saying that lunar missions can't be done with Block-1A, but clearly they can. It would just take multiple launches, just as you were saying that the NEA mission would probably use two Block-1A launches. We wouldn't have to wait for Block-2 for lunar missions any more than we would have to wait for Block-2 for NEA missions.

Block-1A will give us amazing capabilities, in fact Block-1 with the pre-existing 5-segment boosters will also. I believe that NASA management has been downplaying Block-1 capabilities in order to justify their immediate move to the advanced booster implementation. NASA wanted an RP1 BFE out of the original FY11 proposal, and they're determined to get it, by whatever means necessary.

Mark S.

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 27157
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7114
  • Likes Given: 4937
This is why the exploration gateway is such a good idea. You decouple the lander from the crew launch (to some degree, at least), reuse the most expensive part of the in-space hardware. If using a fuel depot for the lander (with fuel launched separately from crew on whatever launch vehicle(s) made the most sense), a Block 1A (or even Block 1!) with the iCPS should work just dandy to get the crew to the EML1/2 gateway. May need a methane or even hypergolic lander for this to work with minimal tech development (i.e. low-boiloff).

But if you go the Altair route, you'd still need a Block 2 SLS (at least) to do a single or '1.5' launch mission (i.e. Orion on Delta IV Heavy). Unless you develop very-low-boil-off technology or increase the launch frequency (which adds costs, as well).
« Last Edit: 03/27/2012 07:08 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6678
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 518
  • Likes Given: 315
Remember this is a 4 man sortie.

This is a big lander.

I'm not saying it can't be done with less than 130mt, it's in the document.

You are saying that lunar missions can't be done with Block-1A, but clearly they can. It would just take multiple launches, just as you were saying that the NEA mission would probably use two Block-1A launches. We wouldn't have to wait for Block-2 for lunar missions any more than we would have to wait for Block-2 for NEA missions.

Block-1A will give us amazing capabilities, in fact Block-1 with the pre-existing 5-segment boosters will also. I believe that NASA management has been downplaying Block-1 capabilities in order to justify their immediate move to the advanced booster implementation. NASA wanted an RP1 BFE out of the original FY11 proposal, and they're determined to get it, by whatever means necessary.

Mark S.


I agree.

Even though Block 1A doesnít throw quite as much to LEO as Saturn V, I wouldnít be surprised if it could throw as much or a little more through TLI when itís all said and done.  CPS should be much more efficient and light than S-IVB (assuming they donít use J2X on itÖhopefully they donít).  It should have high ISP engines designed for use in space, rather than designed for use as a 2nd stage, like S-IVBís J2 was. Itíll be made of lighter materials as well. 
My guess is at Ėminimum- Block 1A will be able to do a single launch lunar mission as capable as Saturn V J-class mission.  Likely even more capable than that as a new lander of similar capability to LEM could make made lighter and with more efficient propellants and engines.  If thereís no Gateway station, then they could do a 4-man crew, with one astronaut staying with Orion during the mission similar to Apollo.  Just to make sure thereís not a minor malfunction in Orion and it gets out of position or something during the surface stay.  The lander could do 3 astronauts then.  And like be able to stay for around 2-weeks at a time (lunar day), with a small unpressurized rover.  I would imagine using todayís materials and tech, that would be doable.

If thereís a gateway station with reusable lander and depot refueling by EELVís, similar ot Boeingís plan (although I would rather the lander be hyrolox, and everything incorporate something similar to IVF planned for ACES.)  Boeing plan has the lander fuel being brought up by SLS Block 1A, which could be done with hydrolox instead of methane obviously.  If fuel is brought up by EELVís, then Orion and Block 1A could bring up something like cargo modules which could be attached to the reusable lander at the Gateway station.  In this way thereís really no limit to the size and capability of the lander and mission.  Just depends on how much you want to supplement each mission with EELV tanker missions to the Gateway.   A horizontal lander would be better for something like this as itíd be easier to drop cargo modules on the surface from the lander by the crew.  But a vertical lander could do it if designed right.  Picture the Boeing lander with cargo module interfaces on the lower sides of it, around the bottom of the tanks.  Then they could be lowered to the surface sort of like how the Lunar Rover was. 
And this architecture could be supported by just one SLS Block 1A per mission, with as much EELV support prior to the mission as NASA wants. 

The CPS could be used as a crasher stage as Boeing proposed.

Or, the CPS could push an expendable lander descent module along with Orion to the Gateway station, similar to ACES, where it could be fueled up and mated with the reusable Ascent Module.  The descent module could be left on the surface, while the ascent module is reused. 

Or the lander could just be a larger, fully reusable lander, that can take a crew and cargo from the Gateway to the surface and back again.

Or some combination of the above.  Heck, could have a horizontal lander that looked sort of like the Eagle from Space 1999, with a CEV derived cockpit (kinda looks like the Eagleís cockpit anyway), a hab and airlock just behind the cockpit, and a cargo berth for cargo modules that Orion would bring for each mission behind that, with tanks and engines behind that.   And like Boeingís proposal, only carries enough fuel for landing, and ascent.  And then it rides the CPS as a crasher stage most of the descent.

With a Gateway, and EELV (or EELV-class LVís like Falcon or internation) tankers, and a reusable lander, you can quite a lot with each single SLS Block 1A launch. 

But even with no Gateway, Block 1A should be able to do something similar to Apollo, if not even a little more capable.  A crew of 3 on the surface for 1-2 weeks in an expendable lander should be doable with SLS Block 1A I would imagine.

As always, I could be wrong.

Offline simonbp

A methane lander would be better than LH2 anyway, as even the best LH2 designs still need to deal with the massive tanks. Plus, over long-term use hydrogen is going to infiltrate all the metals it can, causing weakness and failures. CH4 is high-density, metal-friendly, high-Isp, and non-toxic. And, unlike higher hydrocarbons, it doesn't leave nasty residue after lots of use. It's just the way to go.

But yeah, a basic L2 station is way to go. And, give it enough of a capitalist spin (from commercial cargo services) and I can see either of the Republicans getting behind it (_after_ the election).

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6678
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 518
  • Likes Given: 315
This is why the exploration gateway is such a good idea. You decouple the lander from the crew launch (to some degree, at least), reuse the most expensive part of the in-space hardware. If using a fuel depot for the lander (with fuel launched separately from crew on whatever launch vehicle(s) made the most sense), a Block 1A (or even Block 1!) with the iCPS should work just dandy to get the crew to the EML1/2 gateway. May need a methane or even hypergolic lander for this to work with minimal tech development (i.e. low-boiloff).

But if you go the Altair route, you'd still need a Block 2 SLS (at least) to do a single or '1.5' launch mission (i.e. Orion on Delta IV Heavy). Unless you develop very-low-boil-off technology or increase the launch frequency (which adds costs, as well).

This kind of depends on how they go.

I believe that a certain amount of low boiloff tech will be developed for the CPS contract.  That could be rolled into a storage tank on the Gateway for hydolox storage ahead of a mission.  Heck, you could just send a CPS up there and permanently dock it on the Gateway, and use that as the tank.  That Gateway will need station keeping anyway, so if you are using the GH2 as proposed by ULA for ACES, then you only need to suppress boil off to the point of your station keeping requirements.  Which shouldnít be that difficult.  Whatever is developed for CPS will probably be sufficient. 

EELV (or EELV class) propellant launches can be launched shortly ahead of a crewed SLS Block 1A launch, from EELV launch pads (LC-40, LC-41, LC-37), so SLS still only needs just the one pad at LC-39 per mission.  Contracts can be spread around the EELV/EELV-class providers for refueling, as long as they have some sort of upper stage tanker they can use.  (SpaceX would have to figure out some type of hydrolox tanker if they wanted to try to get in on that). 

Anyway, yea, with a Gateway and EELV supplements, lots of options for a robust lunar architecture for single SLS Block 1A mission launches.

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 27157
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7114
  • Likes Given: 4937
This is why the exploration gateway is such a good idea. You decouple the lander from the crew launch (to some degree, at least), reuse the most expensive part of the in-space hardware. If using a fuel depot for the lander (with fuel launched separately from crew on whatever launch vehicle(s) made the most sense), a Block 1A (or even Block 1!) with the iCPS should work just dandy to get the crew to the EML1/2 gateway. May need a methane or even hypergolic lander for this to work with minimal tech development (i.e. low-boiloff).

But if you go the Altair route, you'd still need a Block 2 SLS (at least) to do a single or '1.5' launch mission (i.e. Orion on Delta IV Heavy). Unless you develop very-low-boil-off technology or increase the launch frequency (which adds costs, as well).

This kind of depends on how they go.

I believe that a certain amount of low boiloff tech will be developed for the CPS contract.  That could be rolled into a storage tank on the Gateway for hydolox storage ahead of a mission.  Heck, you could just send a CPS up there and permanently dock it on the Gateway, and use that as the tank.  That Gateway will need station keeping anyway, so if you are using the GH2 as proposed by ULA for ACES, then you only need to suppress boil off to the point of your station keeping requirements.  Which shouldnít be that difficult.  Whatever is developed for CPS will probably be sufficient. 

EELV (or EELV class) propellant launches can be launched shortly ahead of a crewed SLS Block 1A launch, from EELV launch pads (LC-40, LC-41, LC-37), so SLS still only needs just the one pad at LC-39 per mission.  Contracts can be spread around the EELV/EELV-class providers for refueling, as long as they have some sort of upper stage tanker they can use.  (SpaceX would have to figure out some type of hydrolox tanker if they wanted to try to get in on that). 

Anyway, yea, with a Gateway and EELV supplements, lots of options for a robust lunar architecture for single SLS Block 1A mission launches.

Agreed.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline robertross

  • Canadian Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17781
  • Westphal, Nova Scotia
  • Liked: 445
  • Likes Given: 3467
This is why the exploration gateway is such a good idea. You decouple the lander from the crew launch (to some degree, at least), reuse the most expensive part of the in-space hardware. If using a fuel depot for the lander (with fuel launched separately from crew on whatever launch vehicle(s) made the most sense), a Block 1A (or even Block 1!) with the iCPS should work just dandy to get the crew to the EML1/2 gateway. May need a methane or even hypergolic lander for this to work with minimal tech development (i.e. low-boiloff).

But if you go the Altair route, you'd still need a Block 2 SLS (at least) to do a single or '1.5' launch mission (i.e. Orion on Delta IV Heavy). Unless you develop very-low-boil-off technology or increase the launch frequency (which adds costs, as well).

EML1/2 gateway is definitely the best way out for the predicted liftoff mass shortfall in that scenario. It may not be the easier way (like sending a crew of 2 or 3 instead the first time around), but it certainly helps with what will certainly be mass creep in the lander. Nailing down the mass of the lander is paramount (as is the rest of the Block 1A configuration).

I want to see a Block 1 flight with a crewed Orion & a 1st succesful launch of a Block 1A vehicle so we can refine the missions better.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6678
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 518
  • Likes Given: 315
A methane lander would be better than LH2 anyway, as even the best LH2 designs still need to deal with the massive tanks. Plus, over long-term use hydrogen is going to infiltrate all the metals it can, causing weakness and failures. CH4 is high-density, metal-friendly, high-Isp, and non-toxic. And, unlike higher hydrocarbons, it doesn't leave nasty residue after lots of use. It's just the way to go.

But yeah, a basic L2 station is way to go. And, give it enough of a capitalist spin (from commercial cargo services) and I can see either of the Republicans getting behind it (_after_ the election).

I admittedly donít know a heck of a lot about methane.  I understand it doesnít have the ISP of LH2.  And that itís not as handy for using residuals on the surface for potable water, fuel cells, etc.  And I donít know if you can use GCH4 as an RCS monopropellant they way IVF could.  So would a CH4/LOX lander need a separate hypergolic system for RCS?  Does it still need hydrazine, helium, and batteries the way traditional systems do?  IVF eliminates all of that, which is what makes it so attractive.  The lander needs to be refueled by two propellants only, LOX and LH2, all systems run off of that. 
If you have a reusable lander that not only needs itís CH4 and LOX refilled, but helium, hydrazine, MMH, N2O4, etc, is a much more complex system than simply transferring LOX and LH2.
Also, if there are tankers sent to a Gateway station for storage ahead of an SLS mission, and those are launched on EELVís, the EELV upper stage (Centaur, DCSS, ACES) could itself be the tank, and transfer itís own residuals to the Gateway.   If CH4, then the stage would have to carry a payload of a tank of CH4 in addition.  Not a deal breaker, but more involved than just using the upper stage itself as the EDS and tanker.

Those would be the reasons Iíd like to see a hydrolox IVF system for a reusable lander.  The smaller CH4 tanks on a lander would be a pro for CH4.  And itís easier to store, that would be another.  If you can do IVF with CH4/LOX, then I could see the advantages of it, but if the IVF concept only works with hydrolox, then I still lean that direction.

Long term LH2 storage on the surface would be something to consider.  But I donít know if that would be a big deal.  Depends on how long you are looking for the AM/Lander to sit on the surface?  Two weeks?  That shouldnít be too bad, even during the lunar day, just allow a two week boiloff allowance.  Solar shades can be set up by the astronauts as well.  There could be solar powered active cooling too.  If itís a reusable lander, it would make it worth while to put such a system in the lander, as itíll be reused. 
IF the mission is several months, it might be more of a consideration, and let itself to something less prone to boiloff.

Also, although the tanks need to be bigger for LH2, if you had a horizontal lander with a large, single tank, similar to the ACES/DTAL concept, then the large tanks arenít much of a pentalty.  In fact, they can be utilized on the service as habitats.  Itís when you have a mult-tank vertical lander concept like Altair that it gets problematic, because of the height.  However, if CPS was used as a crasher stage, even that is less of an issue, because the lander propellant is significantly less.  Those big Altair tanks were designed for Altair to do the LOI burn, as well as the full descent.  So yea, they are big.  With a reusable lander at a Gateway, and a crasher stage, your tanks become MUCH smaller, even with LH2.  With a horizontal lander like ACES/DTAL, you donít even need the crasher stage, and can take the descent stage all the way to the surface and land it safely for reuse of it as well as itís residuals.
I think with a vertical lander, you go a CPS crasher stage like Boeing proposed.  With a horizontal lander, the tank size is less of a concern, so you donít need a crasher stage.
However, if CPS is only pushing Orion, plus some cargo to L2, and itíd have extra propellent so it could be a crasher stage, and it will have itís own RCS system anyway (I believe CPS is supposed to have that)  Perhaps the CPS could be modified to essentially be an ACES/DTAL style expendable descent module.  Itís pre-packed with cargo on Earth prior to launch.  At the Gateway is a reusable ACES/DTAL style ascent module/hab/airlock.  CPS pushes Orion to Gateway, and then is docked at the rear of the ascent module.  The ascent module is fueled, and then it does the full descent burn and lands on the suface intact, so itís cargo can be accessed and itís residuals can be used.  A ďnon-crasherĒ stage.  Itíd be wider than ACES (around 7.5m?) but that shouldnít be much of a problem.  You can make your ascender the same diameter, and it could have two or three decks, with itís airlock on the bottom for easy surface access.  Like a fat ACES/DTAL.  Donít see why you couldnít do that.
The tanks at the Gateway could be used to give the ďCPS/DTALĒ enough additional propellant to be sure it has enough to get wherever it needs to on the surface with itís cargo loadout, and back again.  That could be put there ahead of time by EELV tankers.

This system would be very much like Boeingís, but you get to land the non-crasher stage, and utilize it.  Cargo can be loaded into cargo areas on the CPS, and and dropped on the surface when landed.  Residual hydrolox could be used by the crew. 
And, you could even do this with a CH4 ascender.  If your CPS has a CH4 storage tank on it like the Boeing proposal, and then once the CPS is mated to the reusable ascender, and CH4 and LOX transferred to the ascenderís tanks, and it would be stored there until either abort during landing, or ascent.  The hydrolox doesnít need to be stored on the surface per se.  (although, this could still run into the complications if the ascender needs to be refilled of helium and hypergolics if there is no IVF system.  That I donít know).

Tags: