Author Topic: Is there still a way to close the gap?  (Read 12536 times)

Offline sdsds

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5479
  • "With peace and hope for all mankind."
  • Seattle
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 677
Is there still a way to close the gap?
« on: 12/24/2009 12:07 AM »
A gap in orbital human spaceflight on U.S. vehicles will occur after STS-133 (or after STS-135 if that mission flies).  Other than a Shuttle schedule stretch (i.e. inserting delays between the remaining Shuttle flights), is there now any practical way to close the gap?

Assume Obama and Congress are in perfect accord; assume shortening of schedules through added funding; assume a greater tolerance of LOM/LOC risk; assume anything else within reason.  I'm not asking about visiting ISS; just getting people to orbit.  Is there still a way? 
-- sdsds --

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8406
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 316
  • Likes Given: 137
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #1 on: 12/24/2009 12:33 AM »
People in space - use a Delta IV to launch Gemini or Apollo capsules.

Offline savuporo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5155
  • Liked: 981
  • Likes Given: 343
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #2 on: 12/24/2009 12:49 AM »
to close a "human spaceflight gap" in US, Pull SpaceShipOne out of Smithsonian.

For orbital, tough call. Yes, maybe a Gemini rebuilt would work.
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12677
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3573
  • Likes Given: 719
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #3 on: 12/24/2009 02:31 AM »
A gap in orbital human spaceflight on U.S. vehicles will occur after STS-133 (or after STS-135 if that mission flies).  Other than a Shuttle schedule stretch (i.e. inserting delays between the remaining Shuttle flights), is there now any practical way to close the gap?

Assume Obama and Congress are in perfect accord; assume shortening of schedules through added funding; assume a greater tolerance of LOM/LOC risk; assume anything else within reason.  I'm not asking about visiting ISS; just getting people to orbit.  Is there still a way? 

Augustine Committee said Orion won't be operational until 2017 (NASA still says 2015), but Augustine also said that the alternative, commercial "space taxis", would not be operational until 2016 at the earliest.  As far as I'm concerned, neither option can, at this point in time, realistically claim to beat the other, time-wise.  (One option is funded and underway, however, while the other is an idea posited by a Committee.)

So no, no gap-closing unless shuttle keeps flying. 

My question is what's wrong with a "gap"?  NASA astronauts will continue to orbit Earth during the entire interim, will continue to fly on Soyuz, and will, at some point, begin to be supplied by systems launched from the U.S. (albeit powered in part by Russian rocket engines on Ukrainian-built boosters).

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 12/24/2009 04:06 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Nascent Ascent

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
  • Liked: 21
  • Likes Given: 40
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #4 on: 12/24/2009 02:58 AM »
to close a "human spaceflight gap" in US, Pull SpaceShipOne out of Smithsonian.

For orbital, tough call. Yes, maybe a Gemini rebuilt would work.

Rebuild Gemini?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just keep flying the shuttles?
“Why should we send people into space when we have kids in the U.S. that can’t read”. - Barack Obama

Offline jml

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 280
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #5 on: 12/24/2009 03:00 AM »
ATK still has the ability to cast more SRB segments, and MSFC has the partially-built ET 139 and ET 140 plus the non-SLWT ET-94. If the dollars and the will are there, another two or three missions could be added after STS-135.

At this point, the best option to narrow but not entirely close the gap would be to add these as ISS resupply missions, stretch the manifest out a bit, and come up with some dollars to accelerate whatever's next, be it Ares I, some other SDLV, or commercial LV's.

I'd note that ULA think that Atlas and/or Delta can be ready for commercial crew launch much faster than Aerospace and Augustine suggest, and Space-X sure think that Falcon 9 and Dragon will be ready far before 2016. Whether these are all just unreasonably optimistic sales pitches by these vendors is the question.

What's wrong with a gap?  Just the brain drain that will occur when thousands of people lose their jobs at KSC, MAF, ATK and elsewhere and don't just stick around collecting welfare checks and waiting years for NASA to resume operations. It will take many years for new crews to re-discover the know-how that will be lost.

Offline Patchouli

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4370
  • Liked: 170
  • Likes Given: 295
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #6 on: 12/24/2009 03:07 AM »
There sure is and it's easy just extend the shuttle to 2012 and fund COTS-D the gap will all but disappear.
How to get the money kill Ares and fly Jupiter instead this also will act as insurance if COTS-D is delayed.

The only hard part will be shutting up naysayers and the stay the course with Ares I types.
But they had their chance in fact several chances and they failed.

Offline Antares

  • ABO^2
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5201
  • Done arguing with amateurs
  • Liked: 368
  • Likes Given: 226
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #7 on: 12/24/2009 03:35 AM »
Money = more STS flights + (Orion acceleration V crew taxi development) - Ares 1 + EELV

for Gap = (Money)-1
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Online Archibald

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2456
  • Liked: 396
  • Likes Given: 968
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #8 on: 12/24/2009 06:15 AM »
A gap in orbital human spaceflight on U.S. vehicles will occur after STS-133 (or after STS-135 if that mission flies).  Other than a Shuttle schedule stretch (i.e. inserting delays between the remaining Shuttle flights), is there now any practical way to close the gap?

Assume Obama and Congress are in perfect accord; assume shortening of schedules through added funding; assume a greater tolerance of LOM/LOC risk; assume anything else within reason.  I'm not asking about visiting ISS; just getting people to orbit.  Is there still a way? 

Augustine Committee said Orion won't be operational until 2017 (NASA still says 2015), but Augustine also said that the alternative, commercial "space taxis", would be operational until 2016 at the earliest.  As far as I'm concerned, neither option can, at this point in time, realistically claim to beat the other, time-wise.  (One option is funded and underway, however, while the other is an idea posited by a Committee.)

So no, no gap-closing unless shuttle keeps flying. 

My question is what's wrong with a "gap"?  NASA astronauts will continue to orbit Earth during the entire interim, will continue to fly on Soyuz, and will, at some point, begin to be supplied by systems launched from the U.S. (albeit powered in part by Russian rocket engines on Ukrainian-built boosters).

 - Ed Kyle


What about Orion lite ? If Lockheed and Bigelow strip down the design, can't the schedule be compressed ?
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline ares-mojo

  • Member
  • Posts: 70
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #9 on: 12/24/2009 06:49 AM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

Offline khallow

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1956
  • Liked: 6
  • Likes Given: 4
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #10 on: 12/24/2009 07:49 AM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

Why would we invade the sovereign territory of an allied country? Is this how you propose to get an "international partner" to help pay for NASA's stuff?

My view is that this level of international drama would not help us close the gap.
Karl Hallowell

Offline ares-mojo

  • Member
  • Posts: 70
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #11 on: 12/24/2009 07:58 AM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

Why would we invade the sovereign territory of an allied country? Is this how you propose to get an "international partner" to help pay for NASA's stuff?

My view is that this level of international drama would not help us close the gap.


It was a joke. We all know only extending the STS program is the only way to close the gap.

Merry Christmas by the way.

Online Archibald

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2456
  • Liked: 396
  • Likes Given: 968
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #12 on: 12/24/2009 09:09 AM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

I know three space activists who would be happy with your proposal. Initials M.W, T.D, and R.S.
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Ben the Space Brit

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7116
  • A spaceflight fan
  • London, UK
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 751
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #13 on: 12/24/2009 09:53 AM »
At this stage, only an indefinate shuttle extension could close the gap.  Note: 'Gap' is defined here as the US indigenous crew launch capability.  As Ed rightly points out, there will be no US HSF gap as US crews will fly on Soyuz to the ISS until the shuttle follow-up spacecraft is ready.

What strategy would be used in the event of a shuttle extension? Well, the cost of maintaining shuttle would probably massively slow the development of Ares-I.  Because of this, it might be wise to try to go for one of the quicker-to-deploy "more-directly shuttle-derived" alternative LVs instead.  Ideally, the objective would be to get as smooth as possible transition as possible, with the new LV's test flights overlapping the last shuttle flights.
"Oops! I left the silly thing in reverse!" - Duck Dodgers

~*~*~*~

The Space Shuttle Program - 1981-2011

The time for words has passed; The time has come to put up or shut up!
DON'T PROPAGANDISE, FLY!!!

Offline butters

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1741
  • Liked: 371
  • Likes Given: 119
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #14 on: 12/24/2009 10:01 AM »
With an unlimited amount of money, anything is possible.


If it were a matter of national security, or if Goldman Sachs requested that it happen, then I'm sure we could find a way, probably via ULA, to whip us up a spacecraft and launch vehicle in 3 years.


Humanity has an almost limitless capacity for achievement.  All that stands in the way is money and politics.

Offline Downix

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7087
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #15 on: 12/24/2009 11:33 AM »
to close a "human spaceflight gap" in US, Pull SpaceShipOne out of Smithsonian.

For orbital, tough call. Yes, maybe a Gemini rebuilt would work.

Rebuild Gemini?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just keep flying the shuttles?
Actually no, Gemini was, don't forget, designed to be built in short-order with as much off-the-shelf hardware as possible.  A student research group in Alabama has been doing a lot of preliminary work on redoing Gemini's original landing profile with the parasail.  Adapting their work, could easily get it going by the time the shuttle ends in 2012.

http://www.aio50.org/
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Patchouli

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4370
  • Liked: 170
  • Likes Given: 295
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #16 on: 12/24/2009 03:36 PM »
to close a "human spaceflight gap" in US, Pull SpaceShipOne out of Smithsonian.

For orbital, tough call. Yes, maybe a Gemini rebuilt would work.

Rebuild Gemini?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just keep flying the shuttles?
Actually no, Gemini was, don't forget, designed to be built in short-order with as much off-the-shelf hardware as possible.  A student research group in Alabama has been doing a lot of preliminary work on redoing Gemini's original landing profile with the parasail.  Adapting their work, could easily get it going by the time the shuttle ends in 2012.

http://www.aio50.org/

For a few billion ULA and Boeing probably could build big Gemini in just a few years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Gemini.

The original Gemini looks good from a mass stand point but I read only people 5'10" or shorter could ride on it though removing the ejection seats probably would remove that limitation.
As for more on orbit time maybe resurrect MOL and have more room in the service module.
Since the service module is not reused a Soyuz style non referbishable WCS also can be used.

Might be best to try and use as much off the shelf stuff as possible like they did in 1962.
Maybe borrow the service module systems from the Starbus platform used in Cygnus and the hab module from a standard MPLM.
The LAS a cut down version of Orion's or just reproduce the old Apollo LAS with a new controller.
Heck even use the three wires running down the LV from Apollo's LAS as a triggering system it was simple and it worked.


But I'd also fund DreamChaser on Atlas and try to design the two vehicles for complementary missions.

Manned Dragon would be the backup as it would only cost 700 million.

As for Ares I and Orion since it seems Ares V is not being funded these programs can be delayed or even canceled.

As for the Moon we need to forget about ESAS it was a mistake and go with something like ELA and LANTR.

Gemini and Dragon can both be used as crew vehicles for ELA.
Dragon or a highly modified Dreamchaser cabin could be used for the crew compartment of the NTR ferry in LANTR.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2009 04:06 PM by Patchouli »

Offline Nascent Ascent

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
  • Liked: 21
  • Likes Given: 40
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #17 on: 12/24/2009 03:43 PM »
i dont buy it. you would have all the design, testing, prototyping, etc to do. all that work for something that would only fly for a few missions/years?  it probably would cost 75% of Orion.

it would be less costly and make more sense stretch funding to the shuttles and to accelerate orion.
“Why should we send people into space when we have kids in the U.S. that can’t read”. - Barack Obama

Offline HIPAR

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 586
  • NE Pa (USA)
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #18 on: 12/24/2009 03:47 PM »
To close but not eliminate the gap:

a) Cross your fingers and hope SpaceX doesn't encounter developmental problems with cargo missions to the space station. 

b) Stretch out the remaining Shuttle flight manifest into 2012

c) Plus-up funding for Ares/Orion attempting to shave a year (or so) from its development

---  CHAS
« Last Edit: 12/24/2009 03:51 PM by HIPAR »

Offline Nascent Ascent

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
  • Liked: 21
  • Likes Given: 40
Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #19 on: 12/24/2009 03:54 PM »
i dont understand...  if you're going to bite the bullet and make new components to stretch out the shuttle into 2012, why not bite a little harder and make a bit more and stretch it out to 2015 or even further?

why the self-imposed deadline?  the shuttles are performing very nicely now with a minimum of problems and in the big scheme the extra cost would seem to be a drop in the bucket (well, considering how much we're spending these days - just increase the debt ceiling by only .001 percent should cover it).
“Why should we send people into space when we have kids in the U.S. that can’t read”. - Barack Obama

Tags: