Author Topic: Constellation Program historical overview  (Read 13728 times)

Offline woods170

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Constellation Program historical overview
« on: 12/17/2011 08:34 PM »
One of the final documents to come out of the public section of the CX assets management database is a one page historical overview of the CxP timeline with milestones and accomplishments. See attached file.
« Last Edit: 12/17/2011 08:38 PM by woods170 »

Offline ChileVerde

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #1 on: 12/17/2011 08:50 PM »
One of the final documents to come out of the public section of the CX assets management database is a one page historical overview of the CxP timeline with milestones and accomplishments. See attached file.

Thanks, that is a useful and interesting document.

But it does remind me of a question: For Windows, is there a reasonably good, reasonably inexpensive timeline generator around? Could be standalone or an add-on to Excel, Calc or whatever.
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #2 on: 12/21/2011 09:21 PM »
But it does remind me of a question: For Windows, is there a reasonably good, reasonably inexpensive timeline generator around? Could be standalone or an add-on to Excel, Calc or whatever.

Seconded. I've wanted to produce timelines for historical projects (like reconnaissance satellite programs) and all I hear from people is "use PowerPoint and hire a graphic artist," which sounds like b ull poopy to me.
« Last Edit: 12/21/2011 09:21 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #3 on: 12/21/2011 09:28 PM »
One of the final documents to come out of the public section of the CX assets management database is a one page historical overview of the CxP timeline with milestones and accomplishments. See attached file.

Interesting document. Many thanks for posting it. I have long thought that it would be helpful if we had an annotated timeline for Constellation.

Something that I don't see there, but which I think should also be included, are the lunar exploration workshops that were held ca 2007 or so. I forget the specifics, but I believe that there was a significant (and welcome) change to the goals of the program as a result of them. If you remember, the initial NASA press conference on CxP discussed the establishment of a lunar outpost at the south pole. That made sense from an engineering standpoint (near-permanent sunlight). But then they held a workshop and invited a bunch of scientists who pointed out that being stuck at the pole all the time really limited what you could actually do at such an outpost. As a result, NASA actually revised the goals to include mobility. That's when things like ATHLETE and the rover started to get more play.

In my view, NASA a) showed a willingness to listen to the scientific community (although that might not have lasted), and b) came up with some really clever ideas for mobility.

All for naught, unfortunately.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #4 on: 12/22/2011 05:04 AM »
The mobility ideas were some of the most interesting, IMHO. And they may survive conceptually in MMSEV (if anything ever happens with that).
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Offline Prober

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #5 on: 12/22/2011 02:55 PM »
So begs the question:

Does the cancelled LEO Orion become owned by LM?

Does the cancelled LEO SM become owned by Boeing?

Could they bid for commercial crew?
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #6 on: 12/22/2011 04:09 PM »
So begs the question:

Does the cancelled LEO Orion become owned by LM?

Does the cancelled LEO SM become owned by Boeing?

Could they bid for commercial crew?

It's not canceled. Orion has become MPCV (and thus become Orion again, thank God).
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Offline Jim

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #7 on: 12/22/2011 08:18 PM »

Does the cancelled LEO SM become owned by Boeing?


Boeing has nothing to do the the SM

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #8 on: 12/23/2011 06:46 PM »
The mobility ideas were some of the most interesting, IMHO. And they may survive conceptually in MMSEV (if anything ever happens with that).

I agree. I thought that there was some really intriguing stuff there.

Now, of course, initial engineering designs always have to be scaled back, so many of those ideas might not have worked. For instance, the big windows on the lunar rover were probably totally impractical because of pressurization issues. And in 10-20 years we might be at a point where that's totally unnecessary and you could get better visibility simply by sticking a bunch of little cameras all over the outside.

I did see the initial ATHLETE proposal and then was blown away by the Tri-ATHLETE modification. True brilliance.

And I'll admit that my enthusiasm is (surprise) accompanied by a lot of ignorance about the specifics. For example, what about the power requirements? Were they realistic? I was hanging out with some JSC guys and they were mocking some of the various lunar proposals because they knew about the flaws and the shortcuts.

This is one area where I think we can be optimistic. Robotics are always improving no matter what NASA does, and autonomous systems are getting better by the second. It is entirely possible that a future approach to this task would involve sending autonomous systems to set everything up so that the people simply use it and don't have to do any construction/assembly. So a lunar architecture that is put together in the 2020s or 2030s will be far superior to anything that we could design today.

(And allow me to be maudlin a bit: When Bush approved the Vision for Space Exploration I knew, as an experienced space policy analyst, that it would eventually get canceled. I didn't know the specifics, but I figured it was near-certain that it would happen. And I was always wary of NASA's implementation. However, I started to get excited when I saw some of the lunar exploration work that NASA was doing. They clearly had some innovative people and some great ideas. So I was more disappointed with the cancellation than I should have been considering that I knew it was coming.)

Offline Jason1701

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #9 on: 12/23/2011 08:08 PM »
What changed from ATHLETE to Tri-ATHLETE?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #10 on: 12/23/2011 09:44 PM »
What changed from ATHLETE to Tri-ATHLETE?

ATHLETE was a ring with six wheels. Tri-ATHLETE could separate into two halves, each with three wheels. That way the pieces could separate and move to the sides of an object and connect up to it, then move it. It could even work like a forklift in this manner. It was really clever.

I suspect that the biggest problem for ATHLETE would have been power.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #11 on: 12/24/2011 02:49 AM »
What changed from ATHLETE to Tri-ATHLETE?

ATHLETE was a ring with six wheels. Tri-ATHLETE could separate into two halves, each with three wheels. That way the pieces could separate and move to the sides of an object and connect up to it, then move it. It could even work like a forklift in this manner. It was really clever.

I suspect that the biggest problem for ATHLETE would have been power.
Yeah, I loved ATHLETE as well. No surprise that it came out of JPL. Those folk must be absolutely brilliant (they've done the vast majority of major interplanetary NASA missions) and they have by far the most experience with operating on Mars.
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #12 on: 12/24/2011 04:28 AM »
Yeah, I loved ATHLETE as well. No surprise that it came out of JPL. Those folk must be absolutely brilliant (they've done the vast majority of major interplanetary NASA missions) and they have by far the most experience with operating on Mars.

I'm not sure if ATHLETE is still active. I think they were working on grants, so they probably had to reapply at some point.

As for your comment, it's not quite hitting the mark. NASA (and JPL) used to be leaders in robotics. But they lost that lead and it's been at least a decade or more since NASA did anything truly advanced in robotics. That's a general statement. I'm not knocking ATHLETE, but although it is clever and a really intriguing idea for planetary exploration, I'm not sure that it's at the forefront of robotics technology. My guess is that the most advanced robotics work is being funded by the military. I also suspect that the really advanced stuff concerns autonomous operations as well as walking vehicles. NASA will certainly benefit from the autonomous work, at least (the walking stuff requires more power, so is probably not helpful to NASA).

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Constellation Program historical overview
« Reply #13 on: 12/24/2011 05:46 PM »
Here's a very good video showing Tri-ATHLETE:



I cannot find any good still images.

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