Author Topic: VASIMR on the ISS  (Read 31365 times)

Offline Integrator

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #40 on: 10/12/2009 02:37 PM »
"International Partners" means the Russians who launch manned missions from 51 north at present.  If encouraged [ie funded] they could launch manned missions from Kourou.  They have been building this capability for some time now. As for the Japanese, Tanegashima is at 30 degrees north.  Chinese Xichang is at 27 deg 57' N. and Jiuquan is at 40 deg 57' N.

The point is, if VASIMR works for ISS orbit raising, it could also work for orbit inclination change.

As with all ideas, it is only possible when people decide it can be done.  If there is only support for status quo and the advantages of other possible scenarios can not be visualized, then the idea is "impossible" a priori.  The stated reasons that make this idea 'impossible' are all political, and not based on physics.

New ideas start with "what if...?"  Sadly, I think most Americans have forgotten how to ask this question.
"Daddy, does that rocket carry people?"
"No buddy, just satellites."
"Why not?"
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Offline William Barton

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #41 on: 10/12/2009 02:56 PM »
"International Partners" means the Russians who launch manned missions from 51 north at present.  If encouraged [ie funded] they could launch manned missions from Kourou.  They have been building this capability for some time now. As for the Japanese, Tanegashima is at 30 degrees north.  Chinese Xichang is at 27 deg 57' N. and Jiuquan is at 40 deg 57' N.

The point is, if VASIMR works for ISS orbit raising, it could also work for orbit inclination change.

As with all ideas, it is only possible when people decide it can be done.  If there is only support for status quo and the advantages of other possible scenarios can not be visualized, then the idea is "impossible" a priori.  The stated reasons that make this idea 'impossible' are all political, and not based on physics.

New ideas start with "what if...?"  Sadly, I think most Americans have forgotten how to ask this question.

We want the same "encouragement" as the Russians.

Offline Integrator

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #42 on: 10/12/2009 03:12 PM »

We want the same "encouragement" as the Russians.

Yes, the question is, how would this change the overall architecture, what would be the net cost pluses and minuses of an ISS in 30 degree inclination orbit wrt outward bound exploration, assuming full international cooperation?  It could be a depot for fuels and other consumables, in-space construction 'dry-dock' for assembly of large vehicles, return decontamination and rest before return to Earth...of what value is a large, semi-permanent, multifunctional outpost in this location to incoming and outgoing traffic? 

...versus having nothing there.
"Daddy, does that rocket carry people?"
"No buddy, just satellites."
"Why not?"
   --- 5 year old son of jjnodice,  21.01.2011

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #43 on: 10/12/2009 04:03 PM »
Yes, the question is, how would this change the overall architecture, what would be the net cost pluses and minuses of an ISS in 30 degree inclination orbit wrt outward bound exploration, assuming full international cooperation?  It could be a depot for fuels and other consumables, in-space construction 'dry-dock' for assembly of large vehicles, return decontamination and rest before return to Earth...of what value is a large, semi-permanent, multifunctional outpost in this location to incoming and outgoing traffic? 

...versus having nothing there.

VASIMR could be a good way to change the orbit of the ISS. But all the things you say can be done - and should but likely won't - from its current orbit. What's the urgency to move ISS?
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Offline William Barton

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #44 on: 10/12/2009 04:24 PM »
Yes, the question is, how would this change the overall architecture, what would be the net cost pluses and minuses of an ISS in 30 degree inclination orbit wrt outward bound exploration, assuming full international cooperation?  It could be a depot for fuels and other consumables, in-space construction 'dry-dock' for assembly of large vehicles, return decontamination and rest before return to Earth...of what value is a large, semi-permanent, multifunctional outpost in this location to incoming and outgoing traffic? 

...versus having nothing there.

VASIMR could be a good way to change the orbit of the ISS. But all the things you say can be done - and should but likely won't - from its current orbit. What's the urgency to move ISS?

The other question is whether it matters enough to bother, at whatever cost. Aren't the launch windows for the Moon much more important to chemical propulsion than something like VASIMR? Von Braun has a line in "The Mars Project" pointing out a space station is any orbit is not important to his fleet, because even if you assemble it at one, you won't be able to return to it, due to the realities of orbital mechanics. But if you've got a little extra delta-v, that's not so.

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #45 on: 10/12/2009 04:48 PM »
Von Braun has a line in "The Mars Project" pointing out a space station is any orbit is not important to his fleet, because even if you assemble it at one, you won't be able to return to it, due to the realities of orbital mechanics. But if you've got a little extra delta-v, that's not so.

Or higher Isp, or aerobraking or a higher energy orbit. Propulsive braking back to a Lagrange point is perfectly possible - even with ... tadadada ... hypergolics.
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Offline SpaceWarper

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #46 on: 10/12/2009 05:14 PM »
Who said anything about orbit beyond LEO?  We are just discussing using VASMIR to change the orbit inclination and maintain altitude margin.

The orbital inclination of the ISS won't be changed.
Statements about future have to be taken with care because not every aspect of future is already determined be present.

It's a non-started out of a multitude of reasons, most notably international partners being fundamentally against it.
I don't think so.  Who is it?

It's an odd discussion anyway, considering this is a VASIMR thread and when (or better if) VASIMR is ultimately flown to the ISS and used as an experiment (!) is totally up in the air.

Does that mean that all discussion in this thread is suffers from a weak base?  The question is not "What is VF-200 is invented for?" but "What is VF-200 capable for?"

Offline William Barton

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #47 on: 10/12/2009 05:15 PM »
Von Braun has a line in "The Mars Project" pointing out a space station is any orbit is not important to his fleet, because even if you assemble it at one, you won't be able to return to it, due to the realities of orbital mechanics. But if you've got a little extra delta-v, that's not so.

Or higher Isp, or aerobraking or a higher energy orbit. Propulsive braking back to a Lagrange point is perfectly possible - even with ... tadadada ... hypergolics.

I think Von Braun was thinking of very low Isp hypergolics (in the middle 200s). His 3-stage shuttles were 4x the size of Saturn V for a 20mT payload (iirc) and the fleet was going to take 900 launches to assemble!

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #48 on: 10/12/2009 05:25 PM »
I think Von Braun was thinking of very low Isp hypergolics (in the middle 200s). His 3-stage shuttles were 4x the size of Saturn V for a 20mT payload (iirc) and the fleet was going to take 900 launches to assemble!

But he was assuming using hypergolics from LEO, wasn't he? Nowadays we could use cryogenic propulsion from LEO to L1/L2, and hypergolics only from L1/L2 to Earth swingby through TMI. And we could preposition propellant using electric propulsion, initially SEP but later on maybe VASIMR.

The idea of returning to a space station is perfectly possible. LEO would be more difficult than L1/L2, but not impossible with VASIMR or aerobraking. On the other hand, you don't really need a whole station, a depot or even just a refuelable transfer vehicle acting as a depot would be good enough. On the other hand, if you have one anyway, why not use it? It seems more useful on the outbound leg than on the inbound leg though.

But why oh why do we need to change the orbit of the ISS for that? VASIMR could be an excellent way of doing it but I haven't heard an explanation why the orbit needs to be changed. It looks like a solution in search of a problem. I'm all for finding initial applications for VASIMR, especially VASIMR on the ISS, but I don't think changing the inclination of the orbit of the ISS is that application. Why not just use VASIMR to reboost its orbit periodically?
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Offline SpaceWarper

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #49 on: 10/12/2009 05:45 PM »
The other question is whether it matters enough to bother, at whatever cost.
Almost nothing is for free but all consumables are on the ISS for free and could at least cheap produced there.  Unused Hydrogen gets blown into space.  That could get the fuel for VF-200.   If you realize a cascade with the existing cooling aggregates you can perhaps produce the coolant for the superconductors of VF-200.  At least oxygen is liquefiable at nitrogen is close.

Aren't the launch windows for the Moon much more important to chemical propulsion than something like VASIMR?

Do you mean using VASIMR between earth and moon?  Excellent idea! But why drop every time a spacecraft that can get cheap refueled?  To keep such a spacecraft in orbit would get much easier if you have an orbital spaceport in LEO.

Von Braun has a line in "The Mars Project" pointing out a space station is any orbit is not important to his fleet, because even if you assemble it at one, you won't be able to return to it, due to the realities of orbital mechanics.  But if you've got a little extra delta-v, that's not so.

Well, the technology that Von Braun did thought about was totally based on chemical drives.  His thoughts are therefore often outdated and in this case it's obviously outdated.  It's anyway curious to argue in a VASIMR-thread against a space station in a (more) equatorial orbit with an architecture that is totally based on chemical drives.

I think Jules Verne space cannon also won't have any advantage by a space station. :D

Offline SpaceWarper

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #50 on: 10/12/2009 06:17 PM »

But he was assuming using hypergolics from LEO, wasn't he? Nowadays we could use cryogenic propulsion from LEO to L1/L2, and hypergolics only from L1/L2 to Earth swingby through TMI. And we could preposition propellant using electric propulsion, initially SEP but later on maybe VASIMR.

The idea of returning to a space station is perfectly possible. LEO would be more difficult than L1/L2, but not impossible with VASIMR or aerobraking. On the other hand, you don't really need a whole station, a depot or even just a refuelable transfer vehicle acting as a depot would be good enough. On the other hand, if you have one anyway, why not use it? It seems more useful on the outbound leg than on the inbound leg though.

But why oh why do we need to change the orbit of the ISS for that?
If we change the ISS's orbit to same inclination as the moon have you don't have to wait for ca. 2 weeks to get a new window.  This means increased flexibility for missions.

VASIMR could be an excellent way of doing it but I haven't heard an explanation why the orbit needs to be changed.
Nobody did say that the orbit have to get changed.

It looks like a solution in search of a problem.

That was basically concern of my question what advantages a ISS in equatorial orbit would have.   I think this question is valid.

I'm all for finding initial applications for VASIMR, especially VASIMR on the ISS, but I don't think changing the inclination of the orbit of the ISS is that application.

My concern is not making use of VASIMR but to improve the use of the ISS and to improve the conditions for constellation.

Why not just use VASIMR to reboost its orbit periodically?

That's obvious and already intended and published by AdAstra in this month.

If it's it's not a problem for Japan to launch from 28 into 51,6 inclination
they won't have problems more problems to launch instead into 0 declination.  That means that the new orbit would be not badder for their HTV.   Therefore i can't see a strong reason to stop changing orbit from 51,6 at 28.

At moment the ISS have an "exclusive" inclination.  If the ISS have a very common inclination a lot of new opportunities would appear.   I think if there is no reason against changing it and it's economic=possible to change it it's should be ok to think about reasons to to change it.

Offline Stephan

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #51 on: 10/12/2009 06:21 PM »
If we change the ISS's orbit to same inclination as the moon have you don't have to wait for ca. 2 weeks to get a new window.  This means increased flexibility for missions.
Nodal regression will rotate your orbit plane out of moon plane.
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #52 on: 10/12/2009 06:31 PM »
Nodal regression will rotate your orbit plane out of moon plane.

Exactly. Which incidentally is part of why L1/L2 are much better staging points. But the idea of using ISS as a staging point is a very good one, more so on the outward journey than on the return journey and more so with smaller launchers than with HLV. It can be done from the current orbit of the ISS, it could be done from a lower inclination. VASIMR is a good idea. ISS staging is a good idea. Current ISS orbit and lower inclination orbits are all fine. VASIMR might be a good way to move the ISS should we want to. The international partners seem to prefer the current orbit.

But the bigger point is the ISS is under enormous threat from SDLV, though fortunately not in the short term. On the other hand and unfortunately action may have to be taken soon to make sure ISS has a future beyond 2020. ISS staging makes much less sense with HLV and heavy upper stages. SDLV consumes so much money there will not be an ISS after 2020 if there is an SDLV unless NASA gets more money. ISS is an excellent proving ground for VASIMR, but also for things like automated docking and rendez-vous, bioregenerative life support systems etc. It is also a potential anchor customer for commercial manned spaceflight. Making sure ISS continues to exist at all is much more important than changing its orbit.
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Offline William Barton

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #53 on: 10/12/2009 07:26 PM »
The other question is whether it matters enough to bother, at whatever cost.
Almost nothing is for free but all consumables are on the ISS for free and could at least cheap produced there.  Unused Hydrogen gets blown into space.  That could get the fuel for VF-200.   If you realize a cascade with the existing cooling aggregates you can perhaps produce the coolant for the superconductors of VF-200.  At least oxygen is liquefiable at nitrogen is close.

Aren't the launch windows for the Moon much more important to chemical propulsion than something like VASIMR?

Do you mean using VASIMR between earth and moon?  Excellent idea! But why drop every time a spacecraft that can get cheap refueled?  To keep such a spacecraft in orbit would get much easier if you have an orbital spaceport in LEO.

Von Braun has a line in "The Mars Project" pointing out a space station is any orbit is not important to his fleet, because even if you assemble it at one, you won't be able to return to it, due to the realities of orbital mechanics.  But if you've got a little extra delta-v, that's not so.

Well, the technology that Von Braun did thought about was totally based on chemical drives.  His thoughts are therefore often outdated and in this case it's obviously outdated.  It's anyway curious to argue in a VASIMR-thread against a space station in a (more) equatorial orbit with an architecture that is totally based on chemical drives.

I think Jules Verne space cannon also won't have any advantage by a space station. :D

What I had in mind when I mentioned it was a VASIMR tug between ISS (where it is) and LLO (or L1/2). Obvious a VASIMR tug would be reusable. I was just questioning the value of moving ISS, esepcially since there is no LEO orbit that will stay coplanar with lunar orbit without ongoing orbital plane changes. As for Jules Verne's cannon, yes we can continue to drift the thread, especially if we don't pay careful attention to what was actually posted (which had nothing to do with advocating for chemical propulsion). What's being ignored is, it will cost money to move ISS. Is it worth it, or would the money be better spent elsewise? Lets no forget VASIMR isn't a fuelless space drive!

Online hop

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #54 on: 10/12/2009 07:52 PM »
"International Partners" means the Russians who launch manned missions from 51 north at present.  If encouraged [ie funded] they could launch manned missions from Kourou.  They have been building this capability for some time now.
No they haven't. People keep saying this and it's simply not true. Soyuz (launch vehicle) from Kourou is a commercial venture that has nothing to do with the Russian manned program. The Russians are not "working" on Soyuz (spacecraft) launches for Kourou, and if they do move their manned operations, it will almost certainly be to somewhere inside their own territory.
Quote
As for the Japanese, Tanegashima is at 30 degrees north.
And so would be completely unable to reach an equatorial orbit with a reasonable amount of fuel, just like KSC.
Quote
Chinese Xichang is...
Totally irrelevant.

Offline SpaceWarper

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #55 on: 10/12/2009 08:04 PM »
Nodal regression will rotate your orbit plane out of moon plane.

Understand.   0 declination would mean a coplanar nodal regression.

Exactly. Which incidentally is part of why L1/L2 are much better staging points. But the idea of using ISS as a staging point is a very good one, more so on the outward journey than on the return journey and more so with smaller launchers than with HLV. It can be done from the current orbit of the ISS, it could be done from a lower inclination. VASIMR is a good idea.  ISS staging is a good idea.

I did think about using a heavy Orion-variant between ISS and LLO and using the ISS to exchange the TPS with a fresh because it gets used by  air-brakes.  Orion-lite could serve between EG0 (earth ground) and a heavy (expensive) Orion-heavy could deal the route between ISS and LLO.

Current ISS orbit and lower inclination orbits are all fine. VASIMR might be a good way to move the ISS should we want to. The international partners seem to prefer the current orbit.  But the bigger point is the ISS is under enormous threat from SDLV, though fortunately not in the short term.

It doesn't make any sense to me to burn your house to buy a new car.

On the other hand and unfortunately action may have to be taken soon to make sure ISS has a future beyond 2020. ISS staging makes much less sense with HLV and heavy upper stages. SDLV consumes so much money there will not be an ISS after 2020 if there is an SDLV unless NASA gets more money.

Did read about 20% more budget are intended.  :D

ISS is an excellent proving ground for VASIMR, but also for things like automated docking and rendezvous, bioregenerative life support systems etc. It is also a potential anchor customer for commercial manned spaceflight. Making sure ISS continues to exist at all is much more important than changing its orbit.

If the worth of the ISS could get increased, for example by a changed orbit, and the ISS the existence of the ISS is more safe.  Therefore is "Making sure ISS continues to exist at all is much more important than changing its orbit." perhaps not correct because changing the orbit could help to continue to exist.  It's at least no reason not to think more about but reverse.  If the lesser inclination enables to operate the ISS cheaper than that's also a reason to extend the ISS's lifetime.  ESA and Roskosmos could lift from Korou ca. 10% more freight to the ISS without inclination.


The other question is whether it matters enough to bother, at whatever cost.
Almost nothing is for free but all consumables are on the ISS for free and could at least cheap produced there.  Unused Hydrogen gets blown into space.  That could get the fuel for VF-200.   If you realize a cascade with the existing cooling aggregates you can perhaps produce the coolant for the superconductors of VF-200.  At least oxygen is liquefiable at nitrogen is close.

Aren't the launch windows for the Moon much more important to chemical propulsion than something like VASIMR?

Do you mean using VASIMR between earth and moon?  Excellent idea! But why drop every time a spacecraft that can get cheap refueled?  To keep such a spacecraft in orbit would get much easier if you have an orbital spaceport in LEO.

What I had in mind when I mentioned it was a VASIMR tug between ISS (where it is) and LLO (or L1/2). Obvious a VASIMR tug would be reusable.

I did find thoughts about powering five VF-200 with 1MW.  Therein is a lot to interprete.

What's being ignored is, it will cost money to move ISS.  Is it worth it, or would the money be better spent elsewise? Lets no forget VASIMR isn't a fuelless space drive!

Fuel is for free if you take the hydrogen from their oxygen-generator that produce oxygen from water and they blow into space.  VF-200 can work with hydrogen.  I didn't find any significant necessary consumable that isn't there for free or can't get produced there.  Therefore i think it's almost for free.

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #56 on: 10/12/2009 08:09 PM »
It doesn't make any sense to me to burn your house to buy a new car.

House = ISS and car = SDLV? If so, we agree.
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Offline SpaceWarper

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #57 on: 10/13/2009 01:43 PM »
It doesn't make any sense to me to burn your house to buy a new car.

House = ISS and car = SDLV? If so, we agree.

we agree ;)

Offline Serafeim

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #58 on: 01/04/2010 05:22 PM »
maybe if they use  heavy xenon and not h2 vasimr engine will have greater performance?
why not carry some noble heavy gas to iss, to test the true potencial of vasimr?

Online Robotbeat

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Re: VASIMR on the ISS
« Reply #59 on: 01/22/2010 11:32 PM »
maybe if they use  heavy xenon and not h2 vasimr engine will have greater performance?
why not carry some noble heavy gas to iss, to test the true potencial of vasimr?
Or Argon. Xenon is so expensive.

Also, is there any more news of VASIMR?

It looks like they have certainly updated their website so it looks a little more professional.

Apparently, the ISS-version of VASIMR (the 200kw total VF-200-1) will be a double-thruster design, with the two electromagnets being in opposite directions, forming a quadrapole so they do not exert a torque on the space station. Also, the superconducting electromagnets will recycle their coolants (I read a press release of them receiving the coolant-recycling superconducting magnet) and I believe is planned to use waste hydrogen (this is not new).

Their current ground-testing version, the 200kw VX-200, is a single-thruster design.

Once the VASIMR system is delivered where would it be placed on the station? On top of Z1?

Here's an updated animation/image of the VASIMR payload on the ISS (click on it to see the animation, which shows where it's currently planned to go on the ISS):
http://www.adastrarocket.com/aarc/VASIMRISS
« Last Edit: 01/22/2010 11:37 PM by Robotbeat »
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