Author Topic: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?  (Read 24689 times)

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« on: 05/24/2016 10:08 PM »
The financial year 2017 Budget for the US Government contains wording that suggests NASA should target the Moon. Since each president has his own views on missions to the Moon or Mars IMHO there may only about 8 years before this changes again. NASA may get a small budget but a big one is unlikely.

What can we do in these 8 years?

Produce a cargo lander?
Develop a cargo lander by modifying an existing stage?
Develop a cabin with life support for the lander?
Produce a spacesuit?
Develop a habitat?

Develop a spacestation in lunar orbit?
Develop a (reusable) LEO to lunar orbit transit vehicle?

Land solar panels and batteries able to power a Moon base, small rovers, large manned rovers and ISRU equipment.

Several of the above?
« Last Edit: 05/24/2016 10:11 PM by A_M_Swallow »

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7877
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 3171
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #1 on: 05/24/2016 10:09 PM »
Lander and ISRU is where the big bang is, IMHO. ISRU includes extraction, processing, storage, transfer, all the tech.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7973
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2672
  • Likes Given: 652
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #2 on: 05/24/2016 10:13 PM »
Rename SLS and squabble.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1071
  • Arsia Mons, Mars, Sol IV, Inner Solar Solar System, Sol system.
  • Liked: 754
  • Likes Given: 628
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #3 on: 05/24/2016 11:48 PM »
A lander and ISRU do seem like viable options within eight years - but so does a habitat if you derive the pressure vessel off current or near-current hardware, such as Bigelow tech, Cygnus, ISS modules, the list of options go on. Space suit is also necessary if you want to use any of the above in a useful manner.

Why not do a commercial competition? You'll see progress within those eight years at the minimum, and even if if every element isn't on schedule, they will be far enough along to make program cancellation extremely difficult.
« Last Edit: 05/24/2016 11:50 PM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
Resident feline spaceflight expert. Knows nothing of value about human spaceflight.

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7877
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 3171
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #4 on: 05/25/2016 01:05 AM »
I think habitats are higher TRL than ISRU and there are people making stuff already.. BEAM is on ISS after all (not the same thing, I know) and there's already a proposal solicitation active with several proposers...

So I vote ISRU and lander. Or if I have to pick only one, ISRU. It's the long pole in the tent, technically.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1071
  • Arsia Mons, Mars, Sol IV, Inner Solar Solar System, Sol system.
  • Liked: 754
  • Likes Given: 628
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #5 on: 05/25/2016 01:17 AM »
I think habitats are higher TRL than ISRU and there are people making stuff already.. BEAM is on ISS after all (not the same thing, I know) and there's already a proposal solicitation active with several proposers...

So I vote ISRU and lander. Or if I have to pick only one, ISRU. It's the long pole in the tent, technically.

ISRU without a lander? I appreciate the reasoning, and it's good reasoning, but it still seems backward somehow.
Resident feline spaceflight expert. Knows nothing of value about human spaceflight.

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7877
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 3171
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #6 on: 05/25/2016 01:29 AM »
I think habitats are higher TRL than ISRU and there are people making stuff already.. BEAM is on ISS after all (not the same thing, I know) and there's already a proposal solicitation active with several proposers...

So I vote ISRU and lander. Or if I have to pick only one, ISRU. It's the long pole in the tent, technically.

ISRU without a lander? I appreciate the reasoning, and it's good reasoning, but it still seems backward somehow.
We're farther along on landers. Also, private enterprise will deliver landers if there's traffic to be had. :) And I trust NASA to do tech development more than I trust it to do vehicles. (c.f. SLS)

If we do a lander first, with plans for ISRU next and then there are cuts, goodbye ISRU.. .then the worst outcome? we get flags and footprints, again. Been there, done that, we need exploitation, not exploration. And another round of F&F drains popular support.

Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 01:30 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #7 on: 05/25/2016 01:31 AM »
A lot depends on what goal is.
More Apollo missions but a little longer eg 1-2wks operating out of lander or rover. In this case the only things needed are lander and rover.

If manned lunar base is long term goal, then it can begin with a robotic base and ISRU development in next few years. The XPrize landers and rovers would be a great place start, allowing NASA to concentrate on ISRU technology.

The human lander can be NASA developed eg Altair for $Bs if not $10Bs or a commercial lander eg ULA/Masten Xeus using COTS approach. In case of reusable lander, supplier could also be responsible for refueling it eg ULA using its distributed launch system.


Offline nadreck

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #8 on: 05/25/2016 03:15 AM »
Two related ideas:

Of all the current and previous activities going on in commercial space and with national space programs what can be levered to accomplish a worthwhile goal in 8 years?

What goals that we could accomplish in those 8 years leaves the most behind that can be carried on by industry or existing programs when the impetus to switches to a new plan so that it can be levered by some future private or public initiative at the moon?
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline rocx

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 384
  • NL
  • Liked: 263
  • Likes Given: 145
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #9 on: 05/25/2016 08:06 AM »
Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

Don't forget about Masten, Blue Origin and the lunar X-prize contestants!
Any day with a rocket landing is a fantastic day.

Offline pierre

  • Member
  • Member
  • Posts: 95
  • Turin, EU
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #10 on: 05/25/2016 08:31 AM »
Europe has been talking for years now with its international partners (including NASA, Russia and China) about an ISS-like cooperation to build a permanent crewed base on the Moon: http://www.space.com/32695-moon-colony-european-space-agency.html

So the wording in the 2017 budget for NASA may be a consequence of that, among other things, and go beyond the next 8 years.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #11 on: 05/25/2016 10:05 AM »
We will be lucky if even the RPM mission gets completed...
"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 A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #12 on: 05/25/2016 01:48 PM »
One early mission could be to place several tons of solar cells and batteries near one of the poles. They can power rovers, habitats and ISRU equipment that arrives later.

Solar panels are a useful item that can be made quickly, in bulk and relatively cheaply providing an existing design of chip is used. A cargo of solar panels is suitable for the first landing of a lander because if it crashes we simply make some more.

A small rover made be needed to deploy the panels. For short timescales KISS the robot rover.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #13 on: 05/25/2016 05:59 PM »
One early mission could be to place several tons of solar cells and batteries near one of the poles. They can power rovers, habitats and ISRU equipment that arrives later.

Solar panels are a useful item that can be made quickly, in bulk and relatively cheaply providing an existing design of chip is used. A cargo of solar panels is suitable for the first landing of a lander because if it crashes we simply make some more.

A small rover made be needed to deploy the panels. For short timescales KISS the robot rover.
A self contain lander with battery bank and solar panel sail/mast that can track sun is all you need for a power station. No assembly required. Prime landing sites will have >80% sunlight.
A few kWs would support a couple of exploration rovers and Comms relay rover.



Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30829
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9060
  • Likes Given: 292
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #14 on: 05/25/2016 06:03 PM »


Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

You mean Boeing, LM, ORB-ATK, NG, Spacex, etc.  And, that is who NASA would contract anyways, just like Orion.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 06:03 PM by Jim »

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7877
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 3171
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #15 on: 05/25/2016 07:13 PM »


Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

You mean Boeing, LM, ORB-ATK, NG, Spacex, etc.  And, that is who NASA would contract anyways, just like Orion.

No, I meant what I said. ULA has been mooting the ACES derived lander for some time now. And I don't mean NASA contracting for, just like Orion, I mean buying landing services. ... so many Kg subjected to no more than X g of acceleration, landed safely within Y meters of point Z.

This being a wishlist I get to wish for whatever I want. :)  Don't bother me with reality, Jim. :)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #16 on: 05/26/2016 12:24 AM »
One early mission could be to place several tons of solar cells and batteries near one of the poles. They can power rovers, habitats and ISRU equipment that arrives later.

Solar panels are a useful item that can be made quickly, in bulk and relatively cheaply providing an existing design of chip is used. A cargo of solar panels is suitable for the first landing of a lander because if it crashes we simply make some more.

A small rover made be needed to deploy the panels. For short timescales KISS the robot rover.
A self contain lander with battery bank and solar panel sail/mast that can track sun is all you need for a power station. No assembly required. Prime landing sites will have >80% sunlight.
A few kWs would support a couple of exploration rovers and Comms relay rover.


A ULA & Masten Centaur/XEUS may be able to deliver 10 tonnes of payload. We may as well fill up the faring. People can always find use for power - additional rovers can arrive on smaller landers.

ULA shows ACES/XEUS as 15 years away, so under time constraints that becomes a mark 2 lander.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1071
  • Arsia Mons, Mars, Sol IV, Inner Solar Solar System, Sol system.
  • Liked: 754
  • Likes Given: 628
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #17 on: 05/26/2016 03:13 AM »
I think habitats are higher TRL than ISRU and there are people making stuff already.. BEAM is on ISS after all (not the same thing, I know) and there's already a proposal solicitation active with several proposers...

So I vote ISRU and lander. Or if I have to pick only one, ISRU. It's the long pole in the tent, technically.

ISRU without a lander? I appreciate the reasoning, and it's good reasoning, but it still seems backward somehow.
We're farther along on landers. Also, private enterprise will deliver landers if there's traffic to be had. :) And I trust NASA to do tech development more than I trust it to do vehicles. (c.f. SLS)

If we do a lander first, with plans for ISRU next and then there are cuts, goodbye ISRU.. .then the worst outcome? we get flags and footprints, again. Been there, done that, we need exploitation, not exploration. And another round of F&F drains popular support.

Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

And yet ULA has an interest in lunar ISRU for propellant depot purposes. The lines blur.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2016 03:14 AM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
Resident feline spaceflight expert. Knows nothing of value about human spaceflight.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
  • Liked: 2540
  • Likes Given: 3535
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #18 on: 05/29/2016 10:40 PM »
We can run a COTS-like program for depots and reusable landers.

If we actually start building infrastructure and a sustainable method of engaging the private sector, we'll have finally moved beyond F&F.  ISRU is pretty useless without depot tech.
« Last Edit: 05/29/2016 10:42 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
  • Liked: 2540
  • Likes Given: 3535
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #19 on: 05/29/2016 10:57 PM »


Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

You mean Boeing, LM, ORB-ATK, NG, Spacex, etc.  And, that is who NASA would contract anyways, just like Orion.

If NASA is contracting just like Orion, eight years will get us zip, zero, nada.  See Orion.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #20 on: 05/29/2016 11:48 PM »


Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

You mean Boeing, LM, ORB-ATK, NG, Spacex, etc.  And, that is who NASA would contract anyways, just like Orion.

If NASA is contracting just like Orion, eight years will get us zip, zero, nada.  See Orion.

CCDev (Commercial Crew Development) will have taken 6-8 years to produce 2 flying spacecraft. So a mixture of Space Act Agreements (SAA) and fixed price FAR 15 contracts may work.

Offline ncb1397

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 679
  • Liked: 316
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #21 on: 05/30/2016 12:24 AM »
8 years? Some sort of Orion derived lunar lander is feasible. It just needs an SM that holds about ~60,000 kg of MMH/NTO vs the current ~10,000 kg...and landing legs. Would be fueled in lunar orbit by an SM derived SEP logistics drone to do LLO -> surface -> LLO in one stage. 4 astronauts on the surface for 2 weeks. 3 launches for the first mission and 2 for each subsequent mission.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #22 on: 05/30/2016 01:31 AM »
8 years? Some sort of Orion derived lunar lander is feasible. It just needs an SM that holds about ~60,000 kg of MMH/NTO vs the current ~10,000 kg...and landing legs. Would be fueled in lunar orbit by an SM derived SEP logistics drone to do LLO -> surface -> LLO in one stage. 4 astronauts on the surface for 2 weeks. 3 launches for the first mission and 2 for each subsequent mission.

Since the Orion's sensors were designed to dock the top of it rather than vertically land the bottom adding the lidar hardware developed by the AL HAT project to the stretched Service Module may help.
See http://alhat.jpl.nasa.gov

Offline Rocket Science

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7689
  • NASA Educator Astronaut Candidate Applicant 2002
  • Liked: 2030
  • Likes Given: 4697
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #23 on: 05/30/2016 01:47 AM »
I heard today that Trump asked Newt to consider the VP position... So if Hillary blows it, you never know since Newt was for a Moon colony... I'm not advocating you vote for him, just saying what I heard...

EDIT: to add
« Last Edit: 05/30/2016 02:00 AM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Online okan170

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 940
  • Los Angeles
  • Liked: 4872
  • Likes Given: 1155
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #24 on: 05/30/2016 05:27 PM »
CCDev (Commercial Crew Development) will have taken 6-8 years to produce 2 flying spacecraft. So a mixture of Space Act Agreements (SAA) and fixed price FAR 15 contracts may work.

Actually this seems like the most likely course of action.  It seems incredibly unlikely that congress would actually put it's money where it's mouth is and seriously pay for development of those landers and surface elements under traditional methods, making a partially commercial approach one big way to satisfy their requirements while not taking as much money as the traditional model (and still expanding the commercial market).
« Last Edit: 05/30/2016 05:28 PM by okan170 »

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6124
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1510
  • Likes Given: 1247
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #25 on: 05/30/2016 05:41 PM »
Is it really conceivable that Congress would fund another endeavour like Commercial Crew? It took a lot of bartering SLS vs. CC to get that through.

If it happens then with a contract to Lockheed Martin or Boeing, I could imagine. But in 8 years?

Offline nadreck

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #26 on: 05/30/2016 06:05 PM »
Is it really conceivable that Congress would fund another endeavour like Commercial Crew? It took a lot of bartering SLS vs. CC to get that through.

If it happens then with a contract to Lockheed Martin or Boeing, I could imagine. But in 8 years?

I think it is possible that projects like CRS and CC become easier and easier for NASA (and later maybe other government agencies/offices/departments as programs like CRS and CC leave in their wake a growing inventory products/services that are very biddable and comparable). Just look how Sierra Nevada was able to bring a partly funded project back to full funding with CRS-2.  If we imagine that there is a lunar orbital station commissioned for the 2020's and long before the first piece is launched, a lander program like CRS/CC starts up for maybe 2 types of lander (one way cargo, two way personel). It is easier to administer, approve and specify because of experience with the former ones from the NASA side. The industrial partners though find it easier than previous ones and can bring to bear elements that they used previously. The next step might be for Mars Landers. Again, some of the same submitters as the lunar lander might leverage their work for that.

Now another possibility that might overtake the potential for that, is that 2 or 3 companies actually move beyond/ahead of what NASA is asking for (BO and SpaceX are both in a big way trying to do this now and many smaller companies with more niche or scaled down projects are as well).
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #27 on: 05/30/2016 07:56 PM »
Is it really conceivable that Congress would fund another endeavour like Commercial Crew? It took a lot of bartering SLS vs. CC to get that through.

If it happens then with a contract to Lockheed Martin or Boeing, I could imagine. But in 8 years?

Several people have said on this site that NASA's budget has been flat for decades. If so replacement projects for the development money will be needed when SLS and Commercial Crew development come to an end.

Big projects may need a political owner to look after them. Such as the president or committee chairmen in the Senate.

The initial studies for new projects can be approved as a task on projects approaching completion.

Space Act Agreements (SAA) tend to last about 2 years. Senators are re-elected every 6 years and Members of the House of Representatives every 2 years - so need regular campaign contributions. Since projects can last a decade, and therefore need to contain several sets of SAA, I suspect that the similarity in timescales mat not be a coincidence.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #28 on: 05/30/2016 08:24 PM »
{snip} But in 8 years?

Under the Constitution US Presidents can be elected for two 4 years terms. To prevent them from becoming dictators, as happens in many third world countries, this limit is strongly enforced. So any project that lasts longer than 8 years will need approval from two presidents and 5-6 sets House of Representatives = high political risk of cancellation.

The 8 years is not an absolute limit. 16 or 12 year projects could be broken up into 4-6 stages. At each stage a useful product is delivered; plus some parts for the next stage. Each stage can have its own sub-project name but that needs careful planning.

At the start of Apollo the USA could only just send a man into orbit. Now NASA has its own launch vehicles, decades of space experience, working life support and has developed automatic landing guidance systems. Doing something awesome in the next 8 years should be possible.

Offline su27k

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 512
  • Liked: 293
  • Likes Given: 33
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #29 on: 05/31/2016 03:11 AM »
Is it really conceivable that Congress would fund another endeavour like Commercial Crew? It took a lot of bartering SLS vs. CC to get that through.

If it happens then with a contract to Lockheed Martin or Boeing, I could imagine. But in 8 years?

Several people have said on this site that NASA's budget has been flat for decades. If so replacement projects for the development money will be needed when SLS and Commercial Crew development come to an end.

After SLS/Orion is finished, they would need billions to keep the standing army and facilities ($3B per year from the document I saw), so there won't be much development money left. If Congress has its way, Commercial Crew money will be used to develop a habitat, and what we can do in 8 years is a habitat around the Moon and one flight to it via Orion per year. Awesome? I think not...

(8 years is not a lot of time for traditional contractors, just see how long it has taken and will take to complete Orion, nearly 20 years!)

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #30 on: 06/07/2016 08:22 PM »
A lander and ISRU do seem like viable options within eight years - but so does a habitat if you derive the pressure vessel off current or near-current hardware, such as Bigelow tech, Cygnus, ISS modules, the list of options go on. Space suit is also necessary if you want to use any of the above in a useful manner.

Why not do a commercial competition? You'll see progress within those eight years at the minimum, and even if if every element isn't on schedule, they will be far enough along to make program cancellation extremely difficult.

Exactly!

An 8 year time frame with SLS and Orion in place gives enough time to get on to the surface.  Being productive once there and not just collecting rocks is important.

Start building up a south or north pole base with tele-operated landers and ISRU.  Up close imaging and maping of the landing zone.  Site selection, navigation beacon, each landed load provides raw materials. 

I think a series of competitions that develop ISRU technology, not just for oxygen, but trace elements, metals and other feed stocks that could be produced for 3D printers to create more capability.

Let the commercial sector compete for transport and landing of cargo and depot facilities.  If it takes months to get cargo to lunar orbit with an ion drive who's going to argue.

Unlike the do nothing go no where ISS, if 20 years of deliveries to the moon were done there would be considerable materials to work with and an increasing capability.  Instead we have a big ISS lump that's going in the ocean one day.

As for foreign partners, let them join if they can keep up. But not rely on them for anything critical.  The US should go ahead on it's own.  Larger groups take too long to make decisions.  JAXA, ESA and CSA are okay, but Russia is unreliable and shouldn't be critical path.
« Last Edit: 06/07/2016 08:36 PM by wannamoonbase »
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7877
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 3171
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #31 on: 06/07/2016 08:39 PM »
A lander and ISRU do seem like viable options within eight years - but so does a habitat if you derive the pressure vessel off current or near-current hardware, such as Bigelow tech, Cygnus, ISS modules, the list of options go on. Space suit is also necessary if you want to use any of the above in a useful manner.

Why not do a commercial competition? You'll see progress within those eight years at the minimum, and even if if every element isn't on schedule, they will be far enough along to make program cancellation extremely difficult.

Exactly!

An 8 year time frame with SLS and Orion in place gives enough time to get on to the surface.  Being productive once there and not just collecting rocks is important.

Start building up a south or north pole base with tele-operated landers and ISRU.  Up close imaging and maping of the landing zone.  Site selection, navigation beacon, each landed load provides raw materials. 

I think a series of competitions that develop ISRU technology, not just for oxygen, but trace elements, metals and other feed stocks that could be produced for 3D printers to create more capability.

Let the commercial sector compete for transport and landing of cargo and depot facilities.  If it takes months to get cargo to lunar orbit with an ion drive who's going to argue.

Unlike the do nothing go no where ISS, if 20 years of deliveries to the moon were done there would be considerable materials to work with and an increasing capability.  Instead we have a big ISS lump that's going in the ocean one day.

As for foreign partners, let them join if they can keep up. But not rely on them for anything critical.  The US should go ahead on it's own.  Larger groups take too long to make decisions.  JAXA, ESA and CSA are okay, but Russia is unreliable and shouldn't be critical path.
You think ISS is do-nothing/go-nowhere but you think SLS is a good way to get to the moon?  Really?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline pietro

  • Member
  • Posts: 26
  • Hungary, the home of Martians
  • Liked: 7
  • Likes Given: 25
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #32 on: 06/07/2016 09:14 PM »
Cargo and astronaut transport seems to be a solved issue to me in this timeframe: Red/Blue Dragon (or probably MCT??). Why reinvent the wheel? Focus on the rest of the issues. Habitat: hopefully Bigelow. The rest: ?

Offline ThereIWas3

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 590
  • Liked: 244
  • Likes Given: 206
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #33 on: 06/07/2016 09:38 PM »
In 8 years Elon time, humans will be landing on Mars.  I think SpaceX would view any such lunar efforts as a distraction.
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Offline pietro

  • Member
  • Posts: 26
  • Hungary, the home of Martians
  • Liked: 7
  • Likes Given: 25
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #34 on: 06/07/2016 10:00 PM »
In 8 years Elon time, humans will be landing on Mars.  I think SpaceX would view any such lunar efforts as a distraction.

It is financing for the SpaceX Mars Colonisation Initiative (or SMaCI).

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1898
  • Likes Given: 1382
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #35 on: 06/07/2016 10:32 PM »
A change of mind on a grand scale.

Apollo/Saturn forced a fundamental flaw that persists. Actually worsened. That we wield "soft power" through massive public investment, where the overspending "waste" is channeled through aerospace industry primes to achieve large vision exploration as a global "circus act" transient event that lacks conviction. On the scale of "interstate highway system" funds, which are all about conviction, every penny.

However/whoever changes launch, such that it is no longer all about funneling resources into launch as the prime consumer of them. This is the crisis.

So, by taking away that consumer of resources, America (and its partners/rivals) have to ask the question: do we continue to wield "soft power" through space exploration, and if so, how if not in the "launch"?

And in that resolution of that crisis, partnerships and opportunity create a dynamic for going forward, what ever it is, and how ever it evolves beyond launch.

It's not that fundamentally things can or cannot be done, its that you can't use fiat as before, where no one actually has the gumption to admit to the scope of damage incurred as the price that was paid detracts from the success obtained in exploration. In a word, "pride". That pride locked in this flaw. That's what must be undone.

If afterward we continue to do "soft power" space exploration, its because the fiat doesn't just wastefully force the effort/event/opportunity, but is used more deftly by leveraging developing strengths to reach beyond where we thought we could expect, to a higher skilled application that we then could attempt.

Public budgets will always be some form of return to regional economies, through political favoritism. How that does so, degree, and level of commitment remains to be seen. If any.

Three private commitments of varying degrees have been made. SX's generic to Mars, and specific of lander to any body. ULA's hydrolox inspace propulsion generic. BO's heavy industrialization of space generic.

But first we need to see significant change followed through on launch. It is not enough to recover vehicles like BO and SX, nor limited relaunch. And given SX's quiet non-discourse about static fires, engine issues, and steady pace to orbital reflight, from a frequently bellicose firm, suggests that getting to "aircraft like operations" won't be a casual undertaking for them. Or others.

Will it need to work at a larger (BFR) scale? Do compromises in payload/LV capacity/performance slow the agenda?

Or, like SX's CRS-7 LOM, and ULA's OA-6 RD-180 mixture valve anomaly, take significant time to revise/prove to bring the original program back on course to deliver as promised.

Even if right now, FH was lofting 30+ tons and all three boosters RTLS repeatedly for relaunch back to 39A, it would take significant effort to change the above mentioned "flaw" of exploration funding intent. We are now used to expending money on rarely used HLV under the pretext of exploration, simply to use its high labor costs to divert funds politically. Many don't want this use of funds to vanish.

For your eight year mission to end up even partially funded by Congress, its not the components that are the issue by far. As is, it is self-defeating. One must get beyond this.

The issue is a) getting to the crisis, b) articulating goals/means, c) having the political will to get through the crisis, and d) doing so.

Then, you can assemble the components given the partners and the budgets. Horse, cart - not cart, horse.

Which perhaps isn't as much fun for those who post here. But a lot more fun for a few of us. ;)

edit: clarity.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2016 12:06 AM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3081
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 1937
  • Likes Given: 2238
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #36 on: 06/07/2016 10:48 PM »
The financial year 2017 Budget for the US Government contains wording that suggests NASA should target the Moon. Since each president has his own views on missions to the Moon or Mars IMHO there may only about 8 years before this changes again. NASA may get a small budget but a big one is unlikely.

What can we do in these 8 years?

Finally come to the realization that the U.S. Government should NOT be directly involved in lunar mining or lunar colonization.  At least not until some sort of "National Imperative" comes along that merits sending government employees to the Moon.

Picking a destination and then trying to figure out how to justify it so we can spend gobs of U.S. Taxpayer money is a bad idea.  Let's not do it...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #37 on: 06/08/2016 03:15 PM »
You think ISS is do-nothing/go-nowhere but you think SLS is a good way to get to the moon?  Really?

I didn't say I liked or thought SLS was a good vehicle, just that it would be in place.

It's a beast created by congress to maximize jobs in districts. 

I'd prefer if NASA provided specs for payloads, just as mass and dimensions and contracted industry to put them in place.  Let the market sort out the rocket.
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #38 on: 06/08/2016 03:24 PM »
In 8 years Elon time, humans will be landing on Mars.  I think SpaceX would view any such lunar efforts as a distraction.

1) Who cares what SpaceX thinks, if there are contracts for launches and cargo delivery SpaceX would be all over it  like a cheap suit.
2) You hit the nail on the head with 'Elon time'. I'd comfortably bet everything I own now or in the future that humans to Mars in 2024 has a 0.000000% likelihood of happening.
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7877
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 3171
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #39 on: 06/08/2016 03:30 PM »
In 8 years Elon time, humans will be landing on Mars.  I think SpaceX would view any such lunar efforts as a distraction.

1) Who cares what SpaceX thinks, if there are contracts for launches and cargo delivery SpaceX would be all over it  like a cheap suit.
2) You hit the nail on the head with 'Elon time'. I'd comfortably bet everything I own now or in the future that humans to Mars in 2024 has a 0.000000% likelihood of happening.


That's a lot of decimal points, what odds are you offering? :) (I have been known to take the short end of really long odds bets, and I actually hit one once at 100:1)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline MattMason

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 913
  • Space Enthusiast
  • Indiana
  • Liked: 622
  • Likes Given: 1061
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #40 on: 06/08/2016 04:07 PM »
We're using the wrong word here.

There is no "mission." Any next adventures to the moon aren't Apollo-like explorations. There is an "expedition," or "homestead," or "colony," or "base."

If anyone, private or public, is going to allocate landers, rovers, material processors, habitats, a launch vehicle and cislunar manned and cargo shuttles, the only real benefit is to go there and establish a beachhead that stays there. Forever.

Why?

(1) No one government, nor even several right now, have a political reason to explore the moon or kit it out beyond an unmanned probe or rover. Governments are public sector. Their money comes from taxing its people or selling its country's resources. If there are no people (as in, several hundred), there can be no government. Now, this doesn't mean that government can't find a way to shoehorn themselves a "piece of the action" if they piggyback on...

(2) The private sector, whose only purpose for going to the moon is a long-term monetary venture. What money can be made from the moon? Mining? No: Much of what's there can be mined here and far more cheaply. Let's also note that the age of "lunar environmentalism" will appear if commercialism goes overboard, stripping the moon so broadly that it changes the face of the moon. Some people are like that.

The most economical commercial reason for the private sector to go to the moon start with lunar-based hotels and homes supporting commercial mining, tourism services (low-G sports, amusement, tourism, space camping, retirement communities). People will pay for a long-term stay or colonizing the moon.

But an infrastructure must be built first. The builder community comes first and builds the power plants and buries the first homes for themselves and later, commercial workers. Commercial Crew-derived shuttling of cargo and crew is done. Next come more habitats, for the hotels, more contractors, the first hospitals, food stores...you can see how this can all positively spiral.

But for some time, there's no money made until you can reliably bring the first people to enjoy it all who pay.

All of this presumes you can convince the commercial side that there's money to be made in the long term, private space travel is reliable and cheaper, especially to the moon (and in comfort, not astronaut-style, suggesting the need for a cislunar habitat that's only for Earth-to-moon transport, like a cruise-ship), comfortable landers...

And governments then step in, because when a group of people get too large, someone has to set laws, enforce them, govern resources--and charge taxes to pay for all that.

I'm not saying anything new. It's just that the thread is talking about tech and not how humans tend to migrate. People go in first, solo, businesses grow or come to these first homesteads, then the government swoops in as people and businesses grow and become towns and cities.

That "international no-country-can-claim-the-moon" treaty thing is going to need a lot of amendment to define what's private, public and common, and whose laws work in what habitat or zone.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2016 04:08 PM by MattMason »
"Why is the logo on the side of a rocket so important?"
"So you can find the pieces." -Jim, the Steely Eyed

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10252
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 1973
  • Likes Given: 614
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #41 on: 06/08/2016 04:30 PM »
Hmmm. While I believe a lander plus ISRU is a solid proposal, I would suggest separating them and doing the lander first, then the ISRU. What I am getting at is that the lander will be the mainstay for many, many years so we have to do it with a look into the foreseeable future and provide for those “likely” future needs as well. This will prove costly and time consuming to get it right. Once the design and hardware is fixed and in place there will be no changing it for a very long time.

Unlike Apollo’s LM, I suggest that the lander be a single stage vehicle. This will save considerable mass. Propellant for the ascent would be loaded in the lander’s main tanks, while propellant for the descent would be in external drop tanks to be expended and left on the lunar surface. Eventually, once lunar propellant production is online we could dispense with the drop tanks and just land, refuel on the surface and return to space, where the incoming crew/cargo vehicles would refuel the lander with propellant supplied earlier by lunar ISRU production.
 
The cabin should be large enough to transport seven (7) crew as this seems to be the design capacity of all the underway crew vehicles. This would allow 7 crew to be transported to or from the surface or any combination of crew and pressurized cargo. This cabin would have a twin, based on the exact same core design, and would serve as a cargo-only vehicle for pressurized cargo. An additional cabin could be mounted in place of the crew/cargo cabin, of similar design, but more of a constraint cage for large unpressurized cargo. For this version I see the cargo cage being offloaded and positioned on the surface and the powered stage returned to lunar orbit/EML-2 to wait where it could be outfitted with additional cargo cages transported from earth by other means. This would allow the SLS, FH or Vulcan, or any other nation's capable launch vehicle to send just the cargo thru TLI because the descent stage would be waiting for them at the cis-lunar destination.

All variations of this lander should have provision for refueling either on the lunar surface or in either earth or lunar orbit and for its initial trip to cis-lunar space would make the trip autonomously. Any crew that would be making a surface landing would be transported to cis-lunar space in their respective space-only spacecraft, transfer to the waiting lander and descend. The trip home would be the reverse. No crew should be bringing their lander with them. That creates unnecessarily huge limits on the available earth launch vehicles that could participate.

Once this far-sighted lander capability is in position and fully operational the temptation to use it will be overwhelming to enough different people, governments, NGOs, commercial entities, etc, that payloads to the surface will not be a problem. Getting TO the moon is the easy part. Getting safely down to the surface and back up again is the hard part. Solve THAT roadblock and the lunar surface will be opened to anybody with the financial wherewithal to do it.

In terms of overall architecture I envision this lander, once sent to cis-lunar space, will remain there in either lunar orbit, or imo a better place, EML-2, available for incoming crew or cargo transport from earth. Do this lander right, make it robust enough, and it should serve for many, many missions before it's final descent to the surface for scrapping and cannibalization for use by the surface facilities.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2016 05:07 PM by clongton »
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #42 on: 06/08/2016 04:40 PM »
In 8 years Elon time, humans will be landing on Mars.  I think SpaceX would view any such lunar efforts as a distraction.

1) Who cares what SpaceX thinks, if there are contracts for launches and cargo delivery SpaceX would be all over it  like a cheap suit.
2) You hit the nail on the head with 'Elon time'. I'd comfortably bet everything I own now or in the future that humans to Mars in 2024 has a 0.000000% likelihood of happening.


That's a lot of decimal points, what odds are you offering? :) (I have been known to take the short end of really long odds bets, and I actually hit one once at 100:1)

Whatever odds you want.  I'm comfortable adding a few hundred more zero's to that percentage. 

Although to clarify I meant on the surface of Mars.  There's maybe a 0.1% chance they do a free return style trip Mars by 2024.
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #43 on: 06/08/2016 04:54 PM »
Oh great and wise Clongton,

I like where you're going.  However, I'd disagree with a crew size of 7.  I'd say 4, 2 groups of 2.  Everyone should have a buddy.  Maybe the first crews are 2 people.

Crew rotations of 6 months work for the ISS, that should work for the moon as well, except for maybe radiation concerns.  A 2 person mission every 3 months would provide a surface crew of 4.  That seems like a nice starting point.

I like the idea of single stage lander, something like the Curiosity rover Sky crane but reusable and with legs.  the lander could have a modular payload area in the center.  Where it could haul crew or cargo.  Whatever is being delivered needs to be close to the surface.  Unlike the LEM or the proposed Constellation lander.

One of the biggest advantages of the moon is being close to home.  I think a basic ISRU facility could be delivered and made operational to provide oxygen for propellant and crew before the first crew shows up reducing risk.  It doesn't have to be big, just reliable and consistent.

Return propellant, or at least oxidizer, could be refilled on the surface from ISRU storage farm.

Keeping the size of the base rational (unlike ISS), growing incrementally and using as much commercial competition over time should be more affordable and sustainable than the ISS.
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Online whitelancer64

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #44 on: 06/08/2016 05:13 PM »
The end goal, or overall purpose of going to the Moon matters tremendously, as this alters dramatically what you need to develop to accomplish that end goal. Is it: Further exploration? Colonization? Exploitation of resources? Given a timeline of only 8 years, the most reasonable purpose of going to the Moon is further exploration.

If we want to resume lunar exploration, the best course of action is to mandate a series of stationary landers (to create the long-desired-by-scientists lunar geophysical network) followed by small to mid-sized (MER size) rovers, culminating in a series of small (1-10 kg) sample returns. This is doable within 8 years and would inform where we should go for for further exploration / large sample returns with a manned exploration program (if this is desirable).

There are many locations that would be interesting for further exploration, since we have only just barely scratched the surface of the Moon in terms of terrain types and locations that would be interesting for sample returns. Looking at the old lists of Apollo alternate / planned / desirable landing sites is a good place to start. Examples:

Censorinus Crater – very bright crater (Alternate landing site for Apollo 15)
Marius Hills – possible lava tube skylight (Alternate landing site for Apollo 17)
Tycho Crater – Surveyor 7 site (Potential landing site for the cancelled Apollo 20)

Returning to a site of previous exploration to study the effects of micrometeorite impacts, lunar dust deposition via static forces, solar wind, cosmic rays, etc. on old equipment on the lunar surface would be valuable, and would likely be a good initial target for future human exploration since creative judgment or manipulation may be needed for a sample recovery of such equipment.

Further ranging to areas not covered by Apollo would be desirable as well, we've learned a tremendous amount about the Moon since then with our orbiters. We know for sure the lunar poles and far side offer targets of interest for both science and possible future resource extraction:

Compton-Belkovich region – lunar far side, unusual silicate volcanoes
Permanently shaded areas at the lunar poles
Many, many more.

Further human exploration and exploitation of lunar resources could follow from this initial 8 year period of exploration, if that's the goal that you realy want.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #45 on: 06/08/2016 07:15 PM »
{snip}
The cabin should be large enough to transport seven (7) crew as this seems to be the design capacity of all the underway crew vehicles. This would allow 7 crew to be transported to or from the surface or any combination of crew and pressurized cargo. This cabin would have a twin, based on the exact same core design, and would serve as a cargo-only vehicle for pressurized cargo. An additional cabin could be mounted in place of the crew/cargo cabin, of similar design, but more of a constraint cage for large unpressurized cargo. For this version I see the cargo cage being offloaded and positioned on the surface and the powered stage returned to lunar orbit/EML-2 to wait where it could be outfitted with additional cargo cages transported from earth by other means. This would allow the SLS, FH or Vulcan, or any other nation's capable launch vehicle to send just the cargo thru TLI because the descent stage would be waiting for them at the cis-lunar destination.

All variations of this lander should have provision for refueling either on the lunar surface or in either earth or lunar orbit and for its initial trip to cis-lunar space would make the trip autonomously. Any crew that would be making a surface landing would be transported to cis-lunar space in their respective space-only spacecraft, transfer to the waiting lander and descend. The trip home would be the reverse. No crew should be bringing their lander with them. That creates unnecessarily huge limits on the available earth launch vehicles that could participate.
{snip}

One thing we can do within the next two years is standardise the interface between the landers and space shipping containers. Some of the containers can be cabins housing people. This will allow independent development of the machines. I suspect that over the years that both landers and containers will come in different sizes.

The landers will need a set of heavy duty connectors able to handle say 20 tonnes of payload under full thrust. I suggest the standard door in the containers is the NASA docking port. This will allow the containers to dock to spacestations, visiting vehicles and the habitats on the Moon (and Mars). The docking port also provides a way for the lander and the container to exchange data, power, consumables and control.

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #46 on: 06/08/2016 07:41 PM »
The end goal, or overall purpose of going to the Moon matters tremendously, as this alters dramatically what you need to develop to accomplish that end goal. Is it: Further exploration? Colonization? Exploitation of resources? Given a timeline of only 8 years, the most reasonable purpose of going to the Moon is further exploration.
(snip)

I respectfully disagree.  I think exploration of resources is the correct path for a few reasons.

1) I think it's important to build up capability in 1 location.  Not scatter your equipment out.
2) The moon is a big rock, everywhere you go, it's a big rock.  I know there is more to it than that and there is valuable science.  But, like in Apollo, it's hard to maintain interest in an endless horizon of monotone rock.
3) Exploiting resources will allow a bases capacity to grow and support more science over time.
4) Reduces the cost of missions if ISRU can produce fuels and consumables for crew.
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Online whitelancer64

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #47 on: 06/08/2016 09:06 PM »
The end goal, or overall purpose of going to the Moon matters tremendously, as this alters dramatically what you need to develop to accomplish that end goal. Is it: Further exploration? Colonization? Exploitation of resources? Given a timeline of only 8 years, the most reasonable purpose of going to the Moon is further exploration.
(snip)

I respectfully disagree.  I think exploration of resources is the correct path for a few reasons.

1) I think it's important to build up capability in 1 location.  Not scatter your equipment out.
2) The moon is a big rock, everywhere you go, it's a big rock.  I know there is more to it than that and there is valuable science.  But, like in Apollo, it's hard to maintain interest in an endless horizon of monotone rock.
3) Exploiting resources will allow a bases capacity to grow and support more science over time. [emphasis mine]
4) Reduces the cost of missions if ISRU can produce fuels and consumables for crew.

It is an admirable goal, but it's not achievable in 8 years.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 26308
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 6250
  • Likes Given: 4576
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #48 on: 06/08/2016 09:48 PM »
In 8 years Elon time, humans will be landing on Mars.  I think SpaceX would view any such lunar efforts as a distraction.

1) Who cares what SpaceX thinks, if there are contracts for launches and cargo delivery SpaceX would be all over it  like a cheap suit.
2) You hit the nail on the head with 'Elon time'. I'd comfortably bet everything I own now or in the future that humans to Mars in 2024 has a 0.000000% likelihood of happening.


That's a lot of decimal points, what odds are you offering? :) (I have been known to take the short end of really long odds bets, and I actually hit one once at 100:1)

Whatever odds you want.  I'm comfortable adding a few hundred more zero's to that percentage. 

Although to clarify I meant on the surface of Mars.  There's maybe a 0.1% chance they do a free return style trip Mars by 2024.
Okay! I'll take it at 1,000,000:1 odds, and I'll pay in the form of beverage of your choice (of that 1:1,000,000 value, or more at my discretion) that you can redeem in person wherever I'm living at that point. In return, I just want you to pay for my SpaceX ticket to Mars (the slim chance of this sort of thing being available in my lifetime will be much improved if SpaceX gets people to the surface of Mars by 2025, launched in 2024). :D
« Last Edit: 06/08/2016 09:50 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 A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #49 on: 06/08/2016 10:50 PM »
The end goal, or overall purpose of going to the Moon matters tremendously, as this alters dramatically what you need to develop to accomplish that end goal. Is it: Further exploration? Colonization? Exploitation of resources? Given a timeline of only 8 years, the most reasonable purpose of going to the Moon is further exploration.
(snip)

I respectfully disagree.  I think exploration of resources is the correct path for a few reasons.

1) I think it's important to build up capability in 1 location.  Not scatter your equipment out.
2) The moon is a big rock, everywhere you go, it's a big rock.  I know there is more to it than that and there is valuable science.  But, like in Apollo, it's hard to maintain interest in an endless horizon of monotone rock.
3) Exploiting resources will allow a bases capacity to grow and support more science over time. [emphasis mine]
4) Reduces the cost of missions if ISRU can produce fuels and consumables for crew.

It is an admirable goal, but it's not achievable in 8 years.

All of the dream: No.
Some of the dream in 8 years: Yes.

We should be able to land small robotic rovers within 8 years.
A communications and power hub for the robots is possible.
Sophisticated robotic rovers - depends on their current state.
Medium cargo lander able to land many tons - I suspect that sufficient preliminary work has been done to make this possible, other people do not.
A single habitat - may be possible if something very similar is already in orbit and the medium cargo lander works.
Manned rover - possible but would need funding.
People - likely to take longer. Need reusable lander with cabin. Spacestations and propellant depots in lunar orbit and LEO probably needed.

Small scale ISRU may be possible in 8 years using robotic systems. Large scale will have to wait for a bigger lunar base.

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #50 on: 06/09/2016 02:34 PM »
A_M_Swallow,

I'd happily take small scale ISRU and some dumb-ish rovers and that power hub you threw in.

Rovers that can do recon of the area, not as much focused on science.  A good size, capable of covering ground, collecting some science like minerals, 3-d imaging and ground penetrating radar.

Small scale ISRU that proves concept, produces enough for a fuel cell maybe or some capability to boot strap to larger ISRU capability.

Landing beacon obviously.  How cool would the video be of a cargo lander coming in for touchdown?

Edit: Rover endurance and ruggedness over sexiness and complexity.  something that can survives years of lunar day/night cycles.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2016 03:06 PM by wannamoonbase »
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #51 on: 06/09/2016 09:37 PM »
{snip}
Edit: Rover endurance and ruggedness over sexiness and complexity.  something that can survives years of lunar day/night cycles.

There are several rovers in development at the moment. Since surviving lunar day/night cycles adds mass and causes a major increase in cost I suspect that they may only work for 1 lunar day cycle.

NASA could run a COTS like development program for rugged rover chassis with bodies able to transport and protect their payload through several lunar day/night cycles. Permit 3 or 4 different sizes. Make it a competition by awarding two rovers of each size a flight to the Moon in 2019. The free flights to use dummy/test payloads supplied by NASA.

The companies can recover their investment by selling TRL 9 lunar rover chassis to science laboratories (including NASA's), universities and mining companies. Ask the LunarCATALYST companies for their transportation fees.

Online whitelancer64

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #52 on: 06/09/2016 10:03 PM »
It is an admirable goal, but it's not achievable in 8 years.

All of the dream: No.
Some of the dream in 8 years: Yes.

We should be able to land small robotic rovers within 8 years.
A communications and power hub for the robots is possible.
Sophisticated robotic rovers - depends on their current state.
Medium cargo lander able to land many tons - I suspect that sufficient preliminary work has been done to make this possible, other people do not.
A single habitat - may be possible if something very similar is already in orbit and the medium cargo lander works.
Manned rover - possible but would need funding.
People - likely to take longer. Need reusable lander with cabin. Spacestations and propellant depots in lunar orbit and LEO probably needed.

Small scale ISRU may be possible in 8 years using robotic systems. Large scale will have to wait for a bigger lunar base.

Isn't the entire point of your OP "what can be done in 8 years"?

Accomplishing the staging of resources which the next administration may decide to abandon isn't really what you'd like to see, is it?

If your end goal is exploitation of lunar resources, the next question is: to what end are you extracting resources? What is the ISRU for?

Dispense with precursor rover missions entirely, they really aren't needed. We've got good area maps and terrain elevation data from orbiters, including composition maps showing where various substances on the Moon are located. Money needs to be immediately put into building flight-ready ISRU units, crew / cargo lunar landers, and lunar surface habitats, since those are the main big items needed that we don't have right now. Assuming the use of SLS and Orion for launch of these items and crew to the Moon.

Before 2030 we could probably, if we really wanted to, put two habitats, cargo units, and an ISRU device or two on the Moon as a first outpost. Depending what resources you want to exploit, that would be a good start.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2016 10:23 PM by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #53 on: 06/09/2016 10:26 PM »

Isn't the entire point of your OP "what can be done in 8 years"?

Accomplishing the staging of resources which the next administration may decide to abandon isn't really what you'd like to see, is it?

No, but to live is to risk.

One of the reasons for pushing prospecting rovers and ISRU equipment is to get away from the high risk situation of having a monopoly suppler of money.

The next president can be offered the opportunity of going down in history as the founder of a robotic Moon base.
NASA offers the president after that a manned Moon base as his legacy.

Simply because presidents tend to plan 8 years ahead does not prevent rocket men from planning 16 years ahead. Just ensure that there is something to impress the voters ever 3-4 years.

Online whitelancer64

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #54 on: 06/09/2016 10:42 PM »
No, but to live is to risk.

One of the reasons for pushing prospecting rovers and ISRU equipment is to get away from the high risk situation of having a monopoly suppler of money.

The next president can be offered the opportunity of going down in history as the founder of a robotic Moon base.
NASA offers the president after that a manned Moon base as his legacy.

Simply because presidents tend to plan 8 years ahead does not prevent rocket men from planning 16 years ahead. Just ensure that there is something to impress the voters ever 3-4 years.

NASA makes recommendations to the President, the President makes recommendations to Congress, and Congress is the one who decides what NASA is going to do.

If half of Congress doesn't like the president (as seems will be the case at least for the next president), they really don't have any motivation to make him / her look good to the voters.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #55 on: 06/09/2016 11:49 PM »
No, but to live is to risk.

One of the reasons for pushing prospecting rovers and ISRU equipment is to get away from the high risk situation of having a monopoly suppler of money.

The next president can be offered the opportunity of going down in history as the founder of a robotic Moon base.
NASA offers the president after that a manned Moon base as his legacy.

Simply because presidents tend to plan 8 years ahead does not prevent rocket men from planning 16 years ahead. Just ensure that there is something to impress the voters ever 3-4 years.

NASA makes recommendations to the President, the President makes recommendations to Congress, and Congress is the one who decides what NASA is going to do.

If half of Congress doesn't like the president (as seems will be the case at least for the next president), they really don't have any motivation to make him / her look good to the voters.

One of the main skills of US presidents is building support for his / her policies in Congress. So that is normal politics.

If each rover gets built in a different state a good negotiator may be able to gain a few friends in the Senate.

ItemStates
Rovers: 4 sizes, 2 per size8
Solar array hub1
Communications hub1
Types of lander3
Types of launch vehicles2
Launch sites3
Total18

Online whitelancer64

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #56 on: 06/10/2016 02:17 PM »
One of the main skills of US presidents is building support for his / her policies in Congress. So that is normal politics.

If each rover gets built in a different state a good negotiator may be able to gain a few friends in the Senate.

ItemStates
Rovers: 4 sizes, 2 per size8
Solar array hub1
Communications hub1
Types of lander3
Types of launch vehicles2
Launch sites3
Total18

Dispense with precursor rover missions entirely, they really aren't needed. We've got good area maps and terrain elevation data from orbiters, including composition maps showing where various substances on the Moon are located.

If your end goal is exploitation of lunar resources, the next question is: to what end are you extracting resources? What is the ISRU for?

Money needs to be immediately put into building flight-ready ISRU units, crew / cargo lunar landers, and lunar surface habitats, since those are the main big items needed that we don't have right now. Assuming the use of SLS and Orion for launch of these items and crew to the Moon.

Before 2030 we could probably, if we really wanted to, put two habitats, cargo units, and an ISRU device or two on the Moon as a first outpost. Depending what resources you want to exploit, that would be a good start.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline ThereIWas3

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 590
  • Liked: 244
  • Likes Given: 206
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #57 on: 06/10/2016 04:36 PM »
Something that would interest the science community is getting some astronomical resources (optical, and particularly radio telescopes) on the far side.  These do not have to be manned full time once constructed, but do require some infrastructure work for power and for communications around the edge back to Earth.

You could do some interesting things with long-baseline interferometry between a few widely spaced facilities back there for pure research, SETI, and deep space radar looking for rogue asteroids.
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Online whitelancer64

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #58 on: 06/10/2016 04:44 PM »
<snip> deep space radar looking for rogue asteroids.

Radar isn't particularly good for searching for asteroids, there's a lot of noise in radar data. It's great for precisely measuring the orbits of asteroids we've already found, but we can do that equally well from Earth.

An IR telescope is a better option, particularly for the 2 week lunar night, but will need to be well shielded during the 2 week day.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Phil Stooke

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 315
  • Canada
  • Liked: 182
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #59 on: 06/10/2016 04:55 PM »
"Dispense with precursor rover missions entirely, they really aren't needed. We've got good area maps and terrain elevation data from orbiters, including composition maps showing where various substances on the Moon are located. "

No, ground truth is wayyyy better that orbital remote sensing for composition.  Apart from anything else, orbital data are always an average of every grain in the area of regolith.  You need to get APXS or LIBS on individual rocks to get useful composition.  What we have now is only good enough to suggest very generally where interesting things might be, and much is completely unknown.  So if you want to understand lunar resources you need to get on the surface.  I would almost go so far as to say that orbiters have little purpose after LRO except for comm relay.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #60 on: 06/10/2016 05:31 PM »
I don't think there is money to support crew lander, habitat development/ deployment and ISRU. Robotic surveys is critical for ISRU and possible base location. This may even result in establishment of a robotic base.


Online whitelancer64

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #61 on: 06/10/2016 07:08 PM »
"Dispense with precursor rover missions entirely, they really aren't needed. We've got good area maps and terrain elevation data from orbiters, including composition maps showing where various substances on the Moon are located. "

No, ground truth is wayyyy better that orbital remote sensing for composition.  Apart from anything else, orbital data are always an average of every grain in the area of regolith.  You need to get APXS or LIBS on individual rocks to get useful composition.  What we have now is only good enough to suggest very generally where interesting things might be, and much is completely unknown.  So if you want to understand lunar resources you need to get on the surface.  I would almost go so far as to say that orbiters have little purpose after LRO except for comm relay.

Whatever resource is intended to be harvested from the Moon will require the processing of tons of regolith to accomplish. General maps of composition is perfectly fine to get to an area rich in whatever it is you want.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 26308
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 6250
  • Likes Given: 4576
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #62 on: 06/10/2016 07:19 PM »
You're going to want to ground-truth this.
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

Online mike robel

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2029
  • Merritt Island, FL
  • Liked: 136
  • Likes Given: 35
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #63 on: 06/10/2016 09:08 PM »
The Lunar Module RFP, as every one knows, was issued in July 1962, awarded in and let in October 1962, and flew for the first time on Apollo 5 in January 68, first manned flight on Apollo 9 in March 1969, and the rest is history, and was completed in December 1972.

Assume the companies that bid on the contract were exploring concepts for at least a year if not 2 before the contract, so we have a total time of 10 - 12 years of development and flight effort.

This demonstrates a properly funded and managed effort could be accomplished within 2 or 3 presidential terms.

Since we are at the end of President Obama's term, there would probably need to have been signs that NASA was considering such an effort.  Given what is going on, I think there is a small (say 10% probability) that we can have a DSH flying at the end of 8 years (2024).   I say slim, because the SLS first flight in 2018 (likely to be delayed in my opinion), 1st manned flight in 2021 - 2023, will mean that perhaps the third SLS Mission could be used to place the initial DSH into orbit (somewhere) and the fourth, no earlier than 2024 - 2025 could be used to deliver crew.  Of course, Dragon, CST-100, or (ugh) Soyuz could be used to deliver crew to it if it is in Earth Orbit.

This time is extended if we fly the ARM or the Europa Missions with SLS.

So given funding and launch rates I don't see a path to a manned lunar lander in the next 8 - 10 years.

Over the years I have become increasingly pessimistic about our ability to manage such large projects.  F-22 late and over budget, F-35 late and over budget, RAH-66 late and over budget, KC-46 late and over budget (but its an FFP so Boeing is eating some money and penalties), SLS and Orion are glacially slow and keep moving to the right.  Various Army contracts Crusader Howitzer, The XM-8 light tank, RAH-66; the USMC advanced assault amphibian late, over budget were all cancelled, the Presidential Helicopter, the James Webb telescope, the Zumwalt Destroyer, the Littoral Combat Ship, and the USS Ford Aircraft Carrier, and probably others also show this disturbing trend.

These contracts are spread all around the major contractors (Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics) so it is not strictly a company thing.  Of course, funding changes and a culture of customer requirements changing do not help.  One might reasonably think companies bid low in order to deliberately utilize the sunk cost gambit and extend the development out to make more money.

-------
Now switching focus from time and money I think we need to consider

Where do we want to go?
What do we want to do when we get there?  I have come to the conclusion the government could reasonably be expected to fund and execute a limited objective such as a lunar or martian research station.  I do not see establishing orbital bases around the moon or Mars, except as they support the establishment of these stations.  Anything else should be done, if at all, by commercial companies (their choice) as to whether they send people or not.
Why do we want to go there?
Must we send humans or can robots do the job?  If human's have to go, just exactly what do we want to accomplish and demonstrate when we get there?
HOW will we get there?

I think NASA and the Senate, and to an extent Space Fan Boys and other activist groups, have not carefully thought through and explained these questions to politicians and the public.

Jim, over the years, has affected me to the point where I only favor robotic and human scouting missions done at government expense (analogous to the Lewis and Clarke Expedition and actions by the US Army during the 18th and 19th Centuries) and perhaps not even that or research stations like we operate in the Antarctic.

But I still love watching boosters launching uphill to deliver their payloads.

 

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10252
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 1973
  • Likes Given: 614
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #64 on: 06/10/2016 11:39 PM »
Something that would interest the science community is getting some astronomical resources (optical, and particularly radio telescopes) on the far side.  These do not have to be manned full time once constructed, but do require some infrastructure work for power and for communications around the edge back to Earth.

You could do some interesting things with long-baseline interferometry between a few widely spaced facilities back there for pure research, SETI, and deep space radar looking for rogue asteroids.

You need a lander first. Nearly everything on this thread so far doesn't happen without a lander. Build the lander first.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #65 on: 06/11/2016 02:38 AM »
"Dispense with precursor rover missions entirely, they really aren't needed. We've got good area maps and terrain elevation data from orbiters, including composition maps showing where various substances on the Moon are located. "

No, ground truth is wayyyy better that orbital remote sensing for composition.  Apart from anything else, orbital data are always an average of every grain in the area of regolith.  You need to get APXS or LIBS on individual rocks to get useful composition.  What we have now is only good enough to suggest very generally where interesting things might be, and much is completely unknown.  So if you want to understand lunar resources you need to get on the surface.  I would almost go so far as to say that orbiters have little purpose after LRO except for comm relay.

Whatever resource is intended to be harvested from the Moon will require the processing of tons of regolith to accomplish. General maps of composition is perfectly fine to get to an area rich in whatever it is you want.

Mining will require the equivalent of bulldozers, diggers, dump trucks and mobile cranes. These will have to be built on rugged lunar rover chassis. Get the rover chassis working first then we can add useful mining and surveying equipment.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #66 on: 06/11/2016 02:39 AM »
Something that would interest the science community is getting some astronomical resources (optical, and particularly radio telescopes) on the far side.  These do not have to be manned full time once constructed, but do require some infrastructure work for power and for communications around the edge back to Earth.

You could do some interesting things with long-baseline interferometry between a few widely spaced facilities back there for pure research, SETI, and deep space radar looking for rogue asteroids.

You need a lander first. Nearly everything on this thread so far doesn't happen without a lander. Build the lander first.

Possibly by funding LunarCATALYST-2.

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1898
  • Likes Given: 1382
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #67 on: 06/11/2016 11:08 PM »
Something that would interest the science community is getting some astronomical resources (optical, and particularly radio telescopes) on the far side.  These do not have to be manned full time once constructed, but do require some infrastructure work for power and for communications around the edge back to Earth.

You could do some interesting things with long-baseline interferometry between a few widely spaced facilities back there for pure research, SETI, and deep space radar looking for rogue asteroids.

You need a lander first. Nearly everything on this thread so far doesn't happen without a lander. Build the lander first.

The mission module for the mission commits you. Always.

The reason it hasn't been funded is that there is no stomach for funding such missions. Pure and simple.

The political capital is present to fund HLV w/o such missions. Because building a big rocket as a "confidence game" is good enough to the rubes to believe that it might actually be used for something. Totally cynical.

You want to land on something, you need a lander for that something. Many ways to get it there. People too.

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10252
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 1973
  • Likes Given: 614
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #68 on: 06/12/2016 01:22 AM »
My opinion: Until SpaceX puts a lander on the lunar surface there will be no Americans on the moon. NASA is not going to do it - no money. Nobody else is going to do it - no money. Except the Chinese might do it. It's either going to be SpaceX or the Chinese. NASA's best days are behind them because of its funding profile. NASA is funded by people who don't give 2 craps about NASA. End of story.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Online raketa

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 185
  • Liked: 32
  • Likes Given: 16
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #69 on: 06/12/2016 03:31 AM »
NASA has army of employees to feed , no money to do Space exploration.
This army of bureaucrats spending billions, give just several millions  to creative people that do real research.
If congress give them more billions, they will have just more money to waste and no too much money will be used for real work.
Our only hope is Spacex, Elon is not hiring managers, but engineers.
I could see this disregard to engineers everywhere in establish companies. I am passionate developer IT developer and doing it for 30 years. I could decided 20 years to be manager and waste my experience and have great salary. Instead I do what I like and have engineer salary.
Not to much companies are able to award my experience and my innovation and how much money I save them to do project first time right.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #70 on: 06/12/2016 05:06 AM »
My opinion: Until SpaceX puts a lander on the lunar surface there will be no Americans on the moon. NASA is not going to do it - no money. Nobody else is going to do it - no money. Except the Chinese might do it. It's either going to be SpaceX or the Chinese. NASA's best days are behind them because of its funding profile. NASA is funded by people who don't give 2 craps about NASA. End of story.

It does not have to be SpaceX. A company copying their can do attitude with a rich backer could do the same for the Moon.

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3626
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 1142
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline Phil Stooke

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 315
  • Canada
  • Liked: 182
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #72 on: 06/12/2016 06:42 AM »
"Whatever resource is intended to be harvested from the Moon will require the processing of tons of regolith to accomplish. General maps of composition is perfectly fine to get to an area rich in whatever it is you want. "

Check that with a geologist.  The point is, as regolith is a mixture of materials, a pixel of the orbital remote sensing contains signals from all the materials merged together.  It's not 'general composition' in a useful sense, it is almost useless.  It's too general.  We will need to get on the surface, to put APXS or LIBS on individual rocks, to see what the actual composition is.  IR spectrometers might be good too, since on the surface they can resolve the individual chunks which they cannot do from orbit.

Case in point, the Ina-like mare features which might be signs of the last gasp of volcanism and might hint at non-polar volatiles.  Their floors often contain small bright spots.  We won't know what they are made of until we get on the ground.  Orbital data chiefly reveal that they are not very space-weathered, but don't help much with composition. 

The orbital data hint at where useful things might be, but ground truth will tell us what they are.

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10252
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 1973
  • Likes Given: 614
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #73 on: 06/12/2016 07:15 PM »
But you need a lander. NASA won't be building one anytime in the foreseeable future.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #74 on: 06/12/2016 07:55 PM »
But you need a lander. NASA won't be building one anytime in the foreseeable future.

Sort of.

NASA is cheer leading the Lunar CATALYST initiative. The entrants may produce small cargo landers.

These small cargo landers could be used to produce a robotic Moon Base. Although it would be smaller than I would like.

Masten Space and ULA were/are adding vertical landing vertical take-off (VLVT) rocket engines and legs to the upper stage of the Vulcan. Depending which upper stage the payload may be sufficient for a small manned cabin. ULA has publicly estimated 15 years.

So development of a lander has started. The major problem will be getting the project fully financed.

Offline ncb1397

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 679
  • Liked: 316
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #75 on: 06/13/2016 01:26 AM »
My opinion: Until SpaceX puts a lander on the lunar surface there will be no Americans on the moon. NASA is not going to do it - no money. Nobody else is going to do it - no money. Except the Chinese might do it. It's either going to be SpaceX or the Chinese. NASA's best days are behind them because of its funding profile. NASA is funded by people who don't give 2 craps about NASA. End of story.

The internet meme that NASA's funding is small irks me more than just about any other. NASA's funding is equal to the Austrialian Defense budget..an entire military. It is roughly equal to what the rest of the world spends on their space agencies combined. If NASA fails, it has more to do with cancelling projects before they are able to succeed than budget. You get 0 babies if you have 100 women but terminate the pregnacies before 9 months because it is taking too long. You are suggesting that having more money to support more women will lead to any other result...but abortion because you actually didn't want it in the first place is the real problem.NASA also had a tendency to try to accomplish technologically un-accomplishable goals because in doing so it MIGHT develop new technology thus making the goals accomplishable. There are no technological hurdles with a lander. There really isn't a budget hurdle either. It would cost ~1 billion per year over ~8 years which is 5% of NASA's budget. It is almost in the noise.
« Last Edit: 06/13/2016 01:34 AM by ncb1397 »

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7877
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 3171
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #76 on: 06/13/2016 02:51 AM »
My opinion: Until SpaceX puts a lander on the lunar surface there will be no Americans on the moon. NASA is not going to do it - no money. Nobody else is going to do it - no money. Except the Chinese might do it. It's either going to be SpaceX or the Chinese. NASA's best days are behind them because of its funding profile. NASA is funded by people who don't give 2 craps about NASA. End of story.

The internet meme that NASA's funding is small irks me more than just about any other. NASA's funding is equal to the Austrialian Defense budget..an entire military. It is roughly equal to what the rest of the world spends on their space agencies combined. If NASA fails, it has more to do with cancelling projects before they are able to succeed than budget. You get 0 babies if you have 100 women but terminate the pregnacies before 9 months because it is taking too long. You are suggesting that having more money to support more women will lead to any other result...but abortion because you actually didn't want it in the first place is the real problem.NASA also had a tendency to try to accomplish technologically un-accomplishable goals because in doing so it MIGHT develop new technology thus making the goals accomplishable. There are no technological hurdles with a lander. There really isn't a budget hurdle either. It would cost ~1 billion per year over ~8 years which is 5% of NASA's budget. It is almost in the noise.

When you say "NASA does X"  what you really mean is "Congress directed NASA to do X".
When you say "NASA wasted money on X and didn't complete it" what you really mean is "Congress directed wasteful spending and then didn't complete it"

My view of NASA is that when they are allowed to do things, given good budgets, and aren't micromanaged to get the pork sliced up to the satisfaction of every influential congresscritter, they actually do things for reasonable cost in reasonable time.  The problem is they are never allowed to.

But we veer into space policy...
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6124
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1510
  • Likes Given: 1247
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #77 on: 06/13/2016 10:22 AM »
When you say "NASA does X"  what you really mean is "Congress directed NASA to do X".
When you say "NASA wasted money on X and didn't complete it" what you really mean is "Congress directed wasteful spending and then didn't complete it"

My view of NASA is that when they are allowed to do things, given good budgets, and aren't micromanaged to get the pork sliced up to the satisfaction of every influential congresscritter, they actually do things for reasonable cost in reasonable time.  The problem is they are never allowed to.

I would like to agree with you. I usually do. However I don't forget that NASA destroyed singlehandely all on their own a chance for Mars by coming up with the Battlestar Galactica concept, that was designed to feed all NASA centers as prime objective.

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10252
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 1973
  • Likes Given: 614
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #78 on: 06/13/2016 07:19 PM »
When you say "NASA does X"  what you really mean is "Congress directed NASA to do X".
When you say "NASA wasted money on X and didn't complete it" what you really mean is "Congress directed wasteful spending and then didn't complete it"

My view of NASA is that when they are allowed to do things, given good budgets, and aren't micromanaged to get the pork sliced up to the satisfaction of every influential congresscritter, they actually do things for reasonable cost in reasonable time.  The problem is they are never allowed to.

I would like to agree with you. I usually do. However I don't forget that NASA destroyed singlehandely all on their own a chance for Mars by coming up with the Battlestar Galactica concept, that was designed to feed all NASA centers as prime objective.

Guckyfan I assume you are talking about the Senate Launch Vehicle (SLS). Don't forget that NASA was handed the specs to build it, without consultation. They had no choice but to do it except to deliberately disobey the law, in which case Congress would pull all the funding. Remember they came VERY close to holding the Administrator in Contempt of Congress because he was dragging his feet in getting the SLS going. NASA did not want to build SLS. They like to explain it as "we are going to Mars", when in reality it is a super ubber jobs program, not a space mission.
« Last Edit: 06/13/2016 07:23 PM by clongton »
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6124
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1510
  • Likes Given: 1247
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #79 on: 06/13/2016 08:18 PM »
No. I was talking about the Mars mission designed by NASA when asked by the elder president Bush.

From Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Direct

Quote
By December 1990, a study to estimate the project's cost determined that long-term expenditure would total approximately 450 billion dollars spread over 20 to 30 years.[3] The "90 Day Study" as it came to be known, evoked a hostile Congressional reaction towards SEI given that it would have required the largest single government expenditure since World War II.[4] Within a year, all funding requests for SEI had been denied.

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1898
  • Likes Given: 1382
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #80 on: 06/14/2016 12:03 AM »
My opinion: Until SpaceX puts a lander on the lunar surface there will be no Americans on the moon.

That can happen very quickly and remarkably cheaply. Why it doesn't is more telling.

Quote
NASA is not going to do it - no money. Nobody else is going to do it - no money. Except the Chinese might do it. It's either going to be SpaceX or the Chinese.

The Chinese have to conquer much internally to do this, and Congress won't goad them on. Sometimes think that some in Congress are more PO'd with SX then both the Chinese and Russians combined ;) NASA might put more hardware on Mars with SX unfunded than funded ;)

Quote
NASA's best days are behind them because of its funding profile. NASA is funded by people who don't give 2 craps about NASA. End of story.
Need to add the underlining for some here.

Isn't it interesting that we have a private company with a more sincere, believable, and funded Mars program ... than the major world governments can even articulate getting a minimal lunar, or even beyond LEO HSF program (EM2 doesn't count)? And he's declared a mission, with a NET, with largely present hardware of today.

We went to the moon decades ago, but apparently the "been there, done that" bit got set in all political leaders minds as a result. Just used as a meaningless phrase to poke with by all of them, as no credible efforts since, including Constellation. Missions are the only thing that matter.

Who else on earth will name a Mars or Moon mission with a NET, leading to HSF there? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Offline robertinventor

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 227
  • Liked: 5
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #81 on: 06/21/2016 07:01 PM »
I think our priority right now is to find out about the Moon, as you can't really design your missions until you know where you are going and why. Are the lunar caves the best place to go, or the poles? Or somewhere else?

So, I'd say, prioritize lunar mapping and landers, get landers back there for the first time since lunakhod. Luckily the private sector is doing this with Lunar X so to encourage that, more of that. Back in the 1970s the best way to do that was to send humans, probably. But now, I think we should do this reconnaissance phase with robots. I don't think 8 years is short enough for humans back on the Moon without a major push. Right now the lunar caves and the polar ice are theoretical. We know there are pits there which they think lead into long lava tube caves - but so far we can only see about 5 meters into those caves if they exist. We know that there is some ice at the poles from LCROSS but we don't know what form it takes and have conflicting data on how much there is and where it is.

Everyone is drawing up elaborate plans based on their interpretations of the data, but what if they are wrong? There's always going to be that question until we know more. While if we know for sure what's there, then it will be much easier to motivate people and to plan properly. As well as the caves at the poles and the ice, there's Dennis Wingo's suggestion of platinum rich ores on the Moon, due to iron meteorite impact, and possibly also due to the core of the 110 km asteroid that formed the Aitken basin. Also the idea that there might be ice in permanently shadowed regions further from the poles or even maybe ice deep down. And what about the geologically active recent features like the Ina depression - is there anything interesting there? And could there be ice deep down?

Also what are the scientifically most interesting sites that need to be preserved? We need to know, not just where humans should land, but also, places that perhaps are best studied robotically. Wherever humans go they will bring organics and wastes that will confuse scientific study, as has already happened in analysis of Apollo soil samples for small trace amounts of naturally forming organics. Also the larger rockets needed to land humans mean more need for rocket fuel which is another site contaminant wherever they land. Luckily the Moon's surface is huge and there isn't much by way of processes to move material around - so you can always explore a pristine square kilometer a few kilometers from your base - but there are some smaller areas of scientific study at the poles, or individual lunar caves, and amongst all of those there may be some of special scientific interest that may not be the best for a human base at an early stage. For instance Dennis Wingo suggested siting all commercial Moon exploitation at the North pole and leave the Aitken basin relatively undisturbed for science study. But is that right, or indeed, is it even the other way around, or should particular areas at each pole be best for exploitation and others for science? These are questions we could decide at an early stage with a good enough set of preliminary survey missions first.

So - I think that's our focus first. The more we put behind this, the more missions like this now, then the sooner we can find out about the Moon. While if we just spend the time planning human missions in great detail, we may not send them to the right place on the Moon and may miss opportunities for much better sites to visit based on a more detailed understanding of the Moon. Which I think may still have many surprises in store, probably including unexpected things nobody has predicted yet.

These sorts of questions can probably be answered for less cost and more quickly using robots. And the photos those robots take and the discoveries they make can help to excite people about returning to the Moon as well.

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #82 on: 06/25/2016 05:19 PM »
No. I was talking about the Mars mission designed by NASA when asked by the elder president Bush.

From Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Direct

Quote
By December 1990, a study to estimate the project's cost determined that long-term expenditure would total approximately 450 billion dollars spread over 20 to 30 years.[3] The "90 Day Study" as it came to be known, evoked a hostile Congressional reaction towards SEI given that it would have required the largest single government expenditure since World War II.[4] Within a year, all funding requests for SEI had been denied.

How is that a surprise.  Have you see the ISS?  That was designed to use the most shuttle flights possible and spread the wealth around the NASA centers.  A Skylab type space station could have done as much as the ISS and be on orbit in a few super heavy launches.  It's not about cost effectiveness it's about jobs in congressional district.

It took me years to get to the point of thinking the NASA budget is fine where it's at.  The problem is pork projects like ISS and the JWST.  Not that this is strictly a NASA problem.  Defense spending is brutally inefficient as well.

NASA is still stuck in the mind set of big gestures like Apollo, Shuttle, ISS.  Building up Lunar capacity and a lunar village could be done incrementally.  Add capacity and capability and people over time.  I look at it this way the ISS will be on orbit for 25-30 years then it will be dumped in the pacific.  If there was 2-3 missions to the Moon each year, how much would there be in 25 years?  And it could continue to be used and built on. 

The law makers of the 80's and 90's, didn't want to 'just repeat' Apollo.  They lacked vision.  The newer generation didn't see Apollo, I don't think they expect they have to have Mega projects like Apollo. 

I think the Moon is next and that it's coming soon.  Sometime in the next 5-10 years, hopefully less.
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Offline the_other_Doug

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2396
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Liked: 1455
  • Likes Given: 2481
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #83 on: 06/26/2016 12:41 AM »
ISS was built up incrementally, remember.  So, yes, it was a big NASA project and involved a lot of Shuttle flights.  But it wasn't a "we're spending this money and you'll have a full-fledged space station next month" Big Gesture.  It was a "we're starting this, it's gonna be incredible!" followed by dozens upon dozens of iterations of "look what we just added!" and "look what people on the station just did!" events.

As a Big Gesture, ISS was/is not only trumpeted for just plain existing, each incremental addition could be trumpeted, making the PR value of the Big Gesture last for more than a decade.  What makes you think that NASA wouldn't do the same thing with an incrementally built-up lunar village?

After all, with enough PR people working on it, you can make almost anything a Big Gesture... and one that goes on and on with additions and upgrades is just what the PR people ordered!  ;)
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #84 on: 06/26/2016 07:40 AM »
If we are planning a Moon base it will need published standards for many things. Such standards can be written fairly cheaply. Update after 1 year and then every 5 years.

Since the Moon has gravity inter-habitat berthing modules will have to contain doors that will allow men to walk through without stooping.

Other standards include:
* air content and quality including pressure
* radiation levels inside
* lunar radiation levels outside
* temperature inside
* lunar temperature range and vacuum pressure outside
* lighting levels
* electrical power including voltage levels
* sound levels
* suitports
* docking ports between landers, habitats and ground vehicles
* cargo containers
* consumables including oxygen, lox, water and propellant

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10252
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 1973
  • Likes Given: 614
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #85 on: 06/26/2016 01:07 PM »
Lander - Lander - Lander. How many times do I have to say this? NOTHING will happen without a good lander. THAT is what we should be focusing on. Everything else comes after. NOTHING can come before.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #86 on: 06/26/2016 03:38 PM »
Lander - Lander - Lander. How many times do I have to say this? NOTHING will happen without a good lander. THAT is what we should be focusing on. Everything else comes after. NOTHING can come before.

I was hoping that the lunar lander was already in development. A Centaur-Xeus with ~5 ton payload produced under LunarCATALYST carrying a 5 ton cabin/habitat produced under NextSTEPS-2. Oh well. That level of sneakiness is not NASA's way.

Offline gbaikie

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1628
  • Liked: 48
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #87 on: 06/27/2016 12:40 AM »
Lander - Lander - Lander. How many times do I have to say this? NOTHING will happen without a good lander. THAT is what we should be focusing on. Everything else comes after. NOTHING can come before.
NASA already tried that and gave us, Altair.
It's similar to NASA needing a big enough launcher. SLS - SLS - SLS.
SLS is a good rocket launcher- billions of dollars being spent and schedule of first launch gets push forward.

I would say that what is needed is is a good lunar program. And I would define good as short duration
and cheap. Once we get a good program, then we can get a lunar lander. Or we will need one pretty quickly.

So what would be good lunar lander, once we get a good lunar program.

I would say a good lunar program starts with robotic exploration of the lunar poles.
And starts with developing depot at JSC launch inclination at about 160 km by 250 km orbit. We going in solar Min period and will be in Solar Min for next 5-10 years- which has less atmosphere drag at 160 km elevation.
NASA should get to point of having a depot which can transfer LOX to another spacecraft and done robotically. So non crewed depot and focuses only on receiving and transferring LOX.
While get depot in LEO, start lunar robotic exploration and when depot is operational, send these robotic lunar missions, first to depot to be re-fueled with LOX and then go to moon and polar lunar surface.
Do many lunar robotic missions until about 2024. Then in 2024 send crew to lunar polar region, and return lunar samples. Send about 4 crewed mission to Moon and be completed before beginning of 2026. And continue robotic lunar program and end it before beginning of 2026.
Have Mars exploration program begin in 2026. Continue mars robotic explorations which currently planned and add any missions which would be critical to getting crew to Mars surface starting in 2026 and later.
Do something with ISS so NASA is not longer required to spent billions on ISS for 2025 and later.
I would recommend that "do something with ISS" not include de-orbiting ISS. There could many things which could be done with ISS other than the current fixation of the only possible solution is de-orbiting it.

So lunar exploration should take less than 10 years, and include the cost of establishing an operational depot in LEO [does not include cost of ISS], and includes all robotic and manned missions to the Moon. Does not include cost of Mars related stuff which may be done at or near the Moon. And total cost should less than 40 billion dollars.
Edit: Does include any SLS launch cost related to Lunar exploration- which unlikely robotic but could be crewed lunar missions.

The results of lunar exploration program should be to answer the question, is there commercially minable lunar water on the Moon and where are some locations which are the better sites to commercially mine lunar water.

A site would be some location which is about 1 square km in area and these "betters sites" would not all be within one region [say within 100 square km region] or one will explore sites in different locations which may be quite widely spaced from each other- could end up picking sites in both North and South poles.

These mining sites could be only found in the dark crater of the Moon, but it might possible there might be mining sites which are not in the permanently shadowed crates. And for example, other aspects of being minable would be related to the availability of solar energy near the site, and the accessibility to radio signals from Earth.

So when lunar exploration ends NASA will have quantified various sites in lunar poles in regard to prospects
of future mining, and NASA will have returned lunar samples from such regions which could/would be studied for years thereafter. Or samples usefulness could go beyond the limited purpose of mining lunar water.

So the lunar exploration program does not include cost of building a lunar base, nor cost of NASA mining lunar water, but rather focused where there is minable lunar water, and where there is minable water would be related to where some future lunar base might be located.
But idea is that NASA should finish exploring the Moon, so that NASA can than focus on exploring Mars and such a plan can allow a seamless transition time period from Lunar to Mars exploration.
Or Lunar exploration will enable "some party" to plan such things as lunar water mining and building bases- and it's possible the "some party" includes NASA. It's possible because Congress could decide to increase NASA budget to allow NASA to build a lunar base while at same time it continues to fund Mars exploration.

An important aspect is having low cost of lunar program and to complete program on time and within budget
costs, which had been projected to a have cost. And see this as faster way to get to Mars exploration program, as compared to a "Mars only focus" which appears to not go anywhere.

Were NASA to explore the Moon, and commercial lunar mining to start immediately, this would not clearly be seen to lower cost of Mars exploration.
Or let's say cost of rocket fuel at EML-1 was $5000 per kg right now [which it isn't and we have no real idea what price would actually be. After NASA established a depot at LEO- we could have a better clue].
And we finish exploring Moon and NASA buys rocket fuel for Mars exploration at EML-1 for 5000 kg.
Once lunar mining starts and once it delivers rocket fuel to EML-1, it's going to sell rocket fuel at or near price
that rocket fuel is delivered from Earth. And for period of 10 years earth and Moon could be selling at prices which are competitive [meaning around the same price].

Another aspect is that the price of rocket fuel at EML-1 could have little to do the the NASA program costs.
Or if price was $1000 or $10,000 per kg, its not big effect. Or $1000 per kg is 1 million per ton- 100 tons 100 million, compared to 1 billion at 10,000 kg. So per year, how many tons are needed. 100 tons at EML-1 equals about 6 Falcon heavy launches or few SLS launches.
So does Mars exploration need 6 Falcon Heavy to go to EML-1 per year, or 12 Falcon per trip to mars which has window every 2 years?
Or I think most of payload going to Mars [particularly in the first 10 years] will not be crew related. Or stuff which can directly launched from Earth to Mars trajectory- and land on Mars with 2 to 10 tons payloads.
Another thing is if dependent on Moon rocket fuel, are going to prohibit any lunar competition. Or decree all must come from the Moon.
Or quite simply if wanted to lower cost, you would cancel SLS, now, and use Falcon launchers and use other commercial launcher- that lower costs by significant factor.

But commercial lunar water would lower NASA Exploration cost in other ways other than a simple price of rocket fuel. For someone to start lunar water mining will require buying earth launches. So lunar water mining will increase earth launches, and more earth launches will lower cost of each earth launch. So NASA earth launches to Mars will be cheaper, and this lowers price or rocket fuel at EML-1. Plus that lunar rocket fuel could be competitive with earth launches, will lower cost for NASA Mars exploration.

BUT what is far more significant, is why is NASA exploring Mars? The answer should to lower the cost of future
Mars settlements [which includes having less dead Mars settlers, dead because they lacked the knowledge which otherwise be gain from NASA Mars exploration]. So NASA mars exploration should focus on if and where there could be viable Mars settlements. And lunar water mining could very significantly lower the cost of Mars settlers getting to Mars.
So lunar water mining would factor in NASA "finding" that Mars as viable place for Mars settlements.

« Last Edit: 06/27/2016 01:09 AM by gbaikie »

Offline Rocket Science

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7689
  • NASA Educator Astronaut Candidate Applicant 2002
  • Liked: 2030
  • Likes Given: 4697
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #88 on: 06/27/2016 12:56 AM »
Altair was too big and the cabin way too high from the surface. A more resonable design is needed and has been discussed many time here over the years...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline gbaikie

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1628
  • Liked: 48
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #89 on: 06/27/2016 02:09 AM »
Altair was too big and the cabin way too high from the surface. A more resonable design is needed and has been discussed many time here over the years...

Can't argue it's not a bad design, but part bad design due to not knowing what it's suppose to do.
And if lunar lander in near term are landing robotic mission, I don't think one gets the result of the Altair.
Rather then focus weeks of living quarters for crew, one focuses on getting a robots and/or cargo to the lunar surface.
I think a lunar hopper for robot or crew might something to consider and if have hopper, your crew stays might
limited to 5 days or less.
And the hopper might be used to land on lunar surface- if assume it's the second stage of lunar lander. And maybe if second stage, the hopper is part of return lander.
Or can robotic rover on lunar surface be modified to move crew around- or your robotic rover might be something similar to the Apollo manned rover.
Musk dreamed of putting greenhouse on Mars- why not greenhouse on the Moon. Or inflatable tent with say 2.5 to 3 psi. So put inflatable tent on Moon via robotic operation. If got tent on lunar surface send crew with open cockpit.

So we talking about polar regions. A region where sun is always just above horizon. Or level ground is colder than level ground on Mars when either are sunlit. So could want "greenhouse" to warm the ground. If ground warmed, crew could sleep in it [could sleep anyhow even if wasn't warmed, but could be easier]. And not that you want crew spending much time sleeping- might plan it so most sleeping time is done in orbit.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #90 on: 06/27/2016 02:32 AM »
Splitting water produces the propellants hydrogen and oxygen. Some minerals can be split to produce LOX (oxygen) and say a metal. The LOX can be sold as propellant. Settlers can probably find a use for most materials.

Can commercially viable chemical process be devised that produce LOX from about 3 lunar minerals and sun light?
Three mines are likely to be more expensive to operate than a single water mine but may still be viable.

Offline the_other_Doug

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2396
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Liked: 1455
  • Likes Given: 2481
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #91 on: 06/27/2016 03:31 AM »
What you can get out of lunar rocks depends on where on the Moon you happen to be, and what rock suite is predominant.

If you're going to set up on the rim of Shackleton crater, for example, you're going to find almost entirely highland rocks.  These have a lot of aluminum, and depending on relative abundances of different highland species, you can have a fair amount of iron, magnesium and calcium also bound up in these rocks.  The non-metallic element included in these rocks (mostly in the anorthosite that contains the aluminum), of course, is oxygen.  The non-anorthositic components of the highland rocks tend to be olivine and pyroxene, and high-magnesium species come from deeper in the original magma-ocean crust, which solidified after the ferroan (iron-rich) aluminous rocks but before the KREEP rocks, which are not very common anywhere on the Moon.

If you set up on the mare somewhere, you've got a vast majority of lunar basalt available.  These basalts have a lot of pyroxene and olivine, although a lot of them do feature thin laths of plagioclase (an anorthositic mineral).  Also included in the basalts in terms of useful items are calcium, potassium, magnesium and, in some mare lavas, titanium.  If you're looking for titanium, though, you've got to go to the right place -- only some of the lunar mare are high in titanium, while others are very low in it and are usually commensurately higher in magnesium.

All of the basalts do contain oxygen, of course.

Importantly, almost none of the rocks you will find on the surface are hydrated (the percentage of apatite is extremely low), and so there is little to no hydrogen bound up in the rocks you can scoop up off the surface in most places.

Me, I've always thought that for a long-term resource, the high-Ti mare basalts would be worth mining, at least for use in situ for building things like really strong pressurized compartments for lunar bases.  And also, of course, for building spacecraft and rockets on the Moon.  Titanium is a rather rare metal on Earth, as well -- if it could be harvested from the Moon, and transport costs could be made to come down an order of magnitude or two, it could even become economical to mine it for use on Earth.  But such things would be way, way far down the line from the OP's original speculations about what can be done in a single President's potential 8 years in office.

Even an infrastructure that uses relatively simple solar magnifiers to roast rocks and drive off oxygen may be well beyond what can be landed on the lunar surface and made to operate effectively in less than a decade...
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #92 on: 06/27/2016 11:21 AM »
What you can get out of lunar rocks depends on where on the Moon you happen to be, and what rock suite is predominant.

If you're going to set up on the rim of Shackleton crater, for example, you're going to find almost entirely highland rocks.  These have a lot of aluminum, and depending on relative abundances of different highland species, you can have a fair amount of iron, magnesium and calcium also bound up in these rocks.  The non-metallic element included in these rocks (mostly in the anorthosite that contains the aluminum), of course, is oxygen.  The non-anorthositic components of the highland rocks tend to be olivine and pyroxene, and high-magnesium species come from deeper in the original magma-ocean crust, which solidified after the ferroan (iron-rich) aluminous rocks but before the KREEP rocks, which are not very common anywhere on the Moon.

If you set up on the mare somewhere, you've got a vast majority of lunar basalt available.  These basalts have a lot of pyroxene and olivine, although a lot of them do feature thin laths of plagioclase (an anorthositic mineral).  Also included in the basalts in terms of useful items are calcium, potassium, magnesium and, in some mare lavas, titanium.  If you're looking for titanium, though, you've got to go to the right place -- only some of the lunar mare are high in titanium, while others are very low in it and are usually commensurately higher in magnesium.

All of the basalts do contain oxygen, of course.

Importantly, almost none of the rocks you will find on the surface are hydrated (the percentage of apatite is extremely low), and so there is little to no hydrogen bound up in the rocks you can scoop up off the surface in most places.
{snip}

Practically any material that burns can be used to power a rover or a Moon base at night.

For the next 5 years (start 2016) there is a reasonable hope of landing 100 kg payloads at $2,000,000 a kg on the Moon.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #93 on: 06/27/2016 03:23 PM »
Gbaikie had it right with robotic missions to find polar water.

This may even extend to NASA funded commercial pilot plant (<1t per year).

Getting to this stage would take a good 8years.

Offline Rocket Science

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7689
  • NASA Educator Astronaut Candidate Applicant 2002
  • Liked: 2030
  • Likes Given: 4697
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #94 on: 06/27/2016 03:43 PM »
Altair was too big and the cabin way too high from the surface. A more resonable design is needed and has been discussed many time here over the years...

Can't argue it's not a bad design, but part bad design due to not knowing what it's suppose to do.
And if lunar lander in near term are landing robotic mission, I don't think one gets the result of the Altair.
Rather then focus weeks of living quarters for crew, one focuses on getting a robots and/or cargo to the lunar surface.
I think a lunar hopper for robot or crew might something to consider and if have hopper, your crew stays might
limited to 5 days or less.
And the hopper might be used to land on lunar surface- if assume it's the second stage of lunar lander. And maybe if second stage, the hopper is part of return lander.
Or can robotic rover on lunar surface be modified to move crew around- or your robotic rover might be something similar to the Apollo manned rover.
Musk dreamed of putting greenhouse on Mars- why not greenhouse on the Moon. Or inflatable tent with say 2.5 to 3 psi. So put inflatable tent on Moon via robotic operation. If got tent on lunar surface send crew with open cockpit.

So we talking about polar regions. A region where sun is always just above horizon. Or level ground is colder than level ground on Mars when either are sunlit. So could want "greenhouse" to warm the ground. If ground warmed, crew could sleep in it [could sleep anyhow even if wasn't warmed, but could be easier]. And not that you want crew spending much time sleeping- might plan it so most sleeping time is done in orbit.
I like the idea of telerobotics with the such a small signal delay could even be operated from Earth. John Glen promoted this a few years back. A separate hab would allow for a smaller reusable lander as well.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2016 03:46 PM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #95 on: 06/27/2016 05:46 PM »
Lander - Lander - Lander. How many times do I have to say this? NOTHING will happen without a good lander. THAT is what we should be focusing on. Everything else comes after. NOTHING can come before.

Well maybe not 'nothing' but it's a good point.

What aspects or systems of the lander can be broken out and developed quietly or with other funds and can be sold as being later used for Mars?

Landing technology?
Propulsion?
Life support?
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 26308
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 6250
  • Likes Given: 4576
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #96 on: 06/27/2016 06:51 PM »
Lander - Lander - Lander. How many times do I have to say this? NOTHING will happen without a good lander. THAT is what we should be focusing on. Everything else comes after. NOTHING can come before.

Well maybe not 'nothing' but it's a good point.

What aspects or systems of the lander can be broken out and developed quietly or with other funds and can be sold as being later used for Mars?

Landing technology?
Propulsion?
Life support?
Well if you developed an ascent vehicle that was its own descent stage (and refueled on the surface for ascent), then you'd have a single-stage lunar lander.

So a Mars lander would be perfectly capable of operating as a lunar lander.
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 KelvinZero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3264
  • Liked: 380
  • Likes Given: 85
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #97 on: 06/28/2016 12:42 AM »
Well if you developed an ascent vehicle that was its own descent stage (and refueled on the surface for ascent), then you'd have a single-stage lunar lander.

So a Mars lander would be perfectly capable of operating as a lunar lander.
It is often pointed out that the Curiosity rover is about the mass of a Morris Mini.. which I think could have been an awesome final episode of Top Gear. There they go.. off into the red sunset. 8)

My point was that it is the robotic side which is heading towards actually achieving useful HSF hardware, not the HSF side.

If we were not designing everything from scratch all the time but had some sort of evolving workhorse lander perhaps a bit bigger than curiosity scale, I think that could be big enough to land two crew on the moon given plenty of infrastructure in place, refuel and return them to something in orbit. The Apollo ascent vehicle was about 4 tons but it also served as a base for a few days, delivered a rover and returned rocks.

Methane (or possibly even CO?) could be a viable choice for lunar ISRU, according to LCROSS. I think there is meant to be even more CO than H2O.
« Last Edit: 06/28/2016 12:43 AM by KelvinZero »

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #98 on: 06/28/2016 04:23 AM »
Lander - Lander - Lander. How many times do I have to say this? NOTHING will happen without a good lander. THAT is what we should be focusing on. Everything else comes after. NOTHING can come before.

Well maybe not 'nothing' but it's a good point.

What aspects or systems of the lander can be broken out and developed quietly or with other funds and can be sold as being later used for Mars?

Landing technology?
Propulsion?
Life support?

I suspect that the lander's engines are already in development, even if officially classified as a test of 3D printing.

Things to develop:
Avionics suitable for human operation - radar, radio, lights, computers, camera etc.?
Lunar spacesuit?
Cabin?
Air lock?
Control panels?
Space suit recharging points - electricity, water, air, CO2 scrubbers etc.?
Stair case?
Space rated human rover?

Offline DougSpace

  • Member
  • Posts: 27
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #99 on: 06/30/2016 03:57 AM »
For $20 million have Masten modify one of the two Centaurs ULA has on loan to him to develop a "terrestrial demonstrator".  Demonstrating a full-sized lander undergoing the complete propulsive maneuvers would help convince people that we can afford the Moon.

Second, fully commit to the Lunar Resource Prospecting Mission

Third, purchase a block buy of about 20 Falcon Heavies ($2.7 B = 1 year of SLS & Orion funding) to secure all of the initial launches needed to develop a permanent lunar base.

Fourth, fixed-price contract for the laboratory development of and ice-harvester and hardware to produce propellant from it.  Make facilities such as the Space Power Facility available to simultaneously simulate nearly all the environmental conditions (vacuum, cryo temps, gritty regolith, suspend 5/6th weight, etc).

Fifth, develop a large, thin-walled, pancake-shaped habitat that can be unrolled and "constructed" simply by inflating it.  Demonstrate delayed telerobotic pushing of dirt on top of it prior to inflation.  Meanwhile start training the initial crew for the necessary jobs (e.g. hydroponic gardening, animal AG experiments, telerobot repairs, life-support equipment maintenance, metallurgy, machining, organic chemistry, etc).

Start by launching telerobots.  I think that enough progress could be made in eight years to make it difficult to stop.

Online wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2571
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 488
  • Likes Given: 819
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #100 on: 06/30/2016 04:10 AM »
DougSpace is right. 

8 years of working on enabling technologies can make it a no brainier.

Marketing and sales of these enabling technologies can be done by the commercial enterprises developing them. 

It can't be left to be 100% in the hands of NASA,or you end up spending $2.7B a year on a rocket that doesn't fly.
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #101 on: 09/27/2016 10:18 PM »
SpaceX's proposed Mars Transport ship is so big that it would a good habitat for the Moon base. It is a village in its own right. It should be available in the early 2020s. The Moon would also be a good place to give it a long term test.


Online okan170

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 940
  • Los Angeles
  • Liked: 4872
  • Likes Given: 1155
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #102 on: 09/27/2016 10:58 PM »
SpaceX's proposed Mars Transport ship is so big that it would a good habitat for the Moon base. It is a village in its own right. It should be available in the early 2020s. The Moon would also be a good place to give it a long term test.



"Should" being operative here.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #103 on: 09/27/2016 11:04 PM »

"Should" being operative here.

Even 10 years later it would still be useful as the primary habitat.

Food, people, machines and fuel can be brought using smaller landers like the Xeus.

Offline savuporo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4855
  • Liked: 828
  • Likes Given: 293
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #104 on: 09/28/2016 03:52 AM »
Extrapolation.

Also a good word.
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #105 on: 10/20/2016 01:29 PM »
The Republican Party has just issued its space policy. With Trump going to KSC there is a chance to ask him to change any parts you do not like.

Offline Patchouli

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4129
  • Liked: 104
  • Likes Given: 191
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #106 on: 10/21/2016 04:02 AM »
SpaceX's proposed Mars Transport ship is so big that it would a good habitat for the Moon base. It is a village in its own right. It should be available in the early 2020s. The Moon would also be a good place to give it a long term test.



It's unknown if ITS will be flying by then let alone if it's even a sure thing.

Musk's presentation on it reminded me of old films of Von Braun's vision of moon missions from the 1950s.
He did eventually get to the moon but the hardware that flew was very different.

« Last Edit: 10/21/2016 04:57 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Hauerg

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 661
  • Berndorf, Austria
  • Liked: 278
  • Likes Given: 988
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #107 on: 10/21/2016 04:51 AM »
At least Elon has already built an O2 tank.

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3081
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 1937
  • Likes Given: 2238
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #108 on: 10/21/2016 04:54 AM »
SpaceX's proposed Mars Transport ship is so big that it would a good habitat for the Moon base.

I don't think a vehicle optimized for zero-G habitation would be good for 1/6th-G habitation.  And from what I've been able to discern the ITS is not meant for habitation on Mars, just the transportation to/from.

Quote
The Moon would also be a good place to give it a long term test.

Not sure why.  There is no atmosphere to test the re-entry systems, and the dust on the Moon is more of a problem than the dust on Mars, so that just adds more complications.

Musk is committed to Mars, so doing all of their testing AT Mars makes sense.  Trying to use the Moon would just delay things and add costs.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6124
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1510
  • Likes Given: 1247
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #109 on: 10/21/2016 07:30 AM »

I don't think a vehicle optimized for zero-G habitation would be good for 1/6th-G habitation.  And from what I've been able to discern the ITS is not meant for habitation on Mars, just the transportation to/from.

Adapting the interior for the intended use is not an unsurmountable problem. It would be done in cooperation with the paying customer.

Elon Musk has mentioned that ITS, MCT back then, would be the habitat for the first manned flight. There is plenty of space for 20 people even with the open architecture. They would have to install handrails at the decks before or after landing.

I agree that a moon landing is unlikely in the test phase.

Offline brickmack

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 192
  • USA
  • Liked: 55
  • Likes Given: 7
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #110 on: 10/21/2016 11:05 PM »
Quote
The Moon would also be a good place to give it a long term test.

Not sure why.  There is no atmosphere to test the re-entry systems, and the dust on the Moon is more of a problem than the dust on Mars, so that just adds more complications.

Musk is committed to Mars, so doing all of their testing AT Mars makes sense.  Trying to use the Moon would just delay things and add costs.

It allows testing of the landing system and surface EVA equipment in a vaguely Mars-esque environment. No air, low gravity, unprepared landing surface. Testing landing at Mars after only doing it at Earth is a bad idea because it takes so long to do each test and theres less margin for an off-nominal landing. With the moon, the test rate would be constrained only by how often they can refurbish and launch, and they can pre-position a tanker or 2 in lunar orbit to provide additional fuel during early attempts to increase margins, then gradually reduce fuel margins and increase payload to be somewhat more representative of a Mars landing. Reentry systems testing is less critical because that can be done so extensively at Earth

Development costs to adapt ITS for lunar landings should be minimal (especially if the only goal is short duration test flights), and Mars windows are only every 26 months so they might as well take full advantage of the schedule gaps.

Offline Bob Shaw

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 950
  • Liked: 355
  • Likes Given: 325
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #111 on: 10/21/2016 11:24 PM »
I've previously pointed out that ITS will demand test flights simply to prove that the environmental systems work; in the first instance, these will need to be close enough to Earth to allow a return home at short notice. In other words, ITS will in effect be a space station, albeit one that returns to Earth. Similarly, there will be a need to perform tests under low-gravity conditions, and 1/6G is a decent enough test environment for 1/3G; the Moon also provides a benign landing environment, being well-mapped and close(ish) to home.

Additionally, as pointed out, there is the matter of cadence. Particularly during the early stages of the SpaceX vision, there will be years between flights. Is it likely that the low-hanging fruit of the Moon will be ignored? Hardly. And, there is the prospect of selling upmass, which is the raison d'etre of the Spacex model.

Finally, what would RAH do? Right, you got it...

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6124
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1510
  • Likes Given: 1247
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #112 on: 10/22/2016 05:58 AM »
Similarly, there will be a need to perform tests under low-gravity conditions, and 1/6G is a decent enough test environment for 1/3G;

I mostly agree with your post. Those tests are necessary. I diagree with using the moon for gravity testing. Mars gravity is more than twice the gravity of the moon. They are not comparable and doing such tests has the risk of showing up problems which then are falsely extrapolated to Mars.

I have suggested before that tests with mice could be done on MCT/ITS in centrifuges. Two levels in the same centrifuge could even give the data for Mars and moon in parallel. Times would be long enough that a full generation of mice could be conceived, born and raised to maturity and another generation. They have the space, they have the time, they have the people to do it during test of the ITS systems.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #113 on: 10/22/2016 09:00 AM »
Similarly, there will be a need to perform tests under low-gravity conditions, and 1/6G is a decent enough test environment for 1/3G;

I mostly agree with your post. Those tests are necessary. I diagree with using the moon for gravity testing. Mars gravity is more than twice the gravity of the moon. They are not comparable and doing such tests has the risk of showing up problems which then are falsely extrapolated to Mars.

I have suggested before that tests with mice could be done on MCT/ITS in centrifuges. Two levels in the same centrifuge could even give the data for Mars and moon in parallel. Times would be long enough that a full generation of mice could be conceived, born and raised to maturity and another generation. They have the space, they have the time, they have the people to do it during test of the ITS systems.

We definitely need to do artificial gravity experiments with rodents. We also need to do low gravity experiments with full sized equipment. Despite being suggested mainly times centrifuges able to take entire spaceships have not been built and flown.

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3081
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 1937
  • Likes Given: 2238
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #114 on: 10/23/2016 07:18 PM »
It allows testing of the landing system and surface EVA equipment in a vaguely Mars-esque environment. No air, low gravity, unprepared landing surface.
Quote
Reentry systems testing is less critical because that can be done so extensively at Earth

Since the ITS is also capable of landing on Earth, and Earth is a much more analogous location as well as being far harder in all mission aspects, there would be little to learn by landing on an airless moon.  Because if you can land on Earth then you can land on Mars, right?

Quote
With the moon, the test rate would be constrained only by how often they can refurbish and launch, and they can pre-position a tanker or 2 in lunar orbit to provide additional fuel during early attempts to increase margins, then gradually reduce fuel margins and increase payload to be somewhat more representative of a Mars landing.

I do think they will take trips to the Moon and around it, especially in early testing, since that simulates deep space so much better than LEO does (i.e. radiation environments, thermal control, psychological, etc.).

Quote
Testing landing at Mars after only doing it at Earth is a bad idea because it takes so long to do each test and theres less margin for an off-nominal landing.
Quote
Development costs to adapt ITS for lunar landings should be minimal (especially if the only goal is short duration test flights), and Mars windows are only every 26 months so they might as well take full advantage of the schedule gaps.

As Musk mentioned their plan is to have fleets of ITS leaving for Mars at the same time when they are in full operation, but in the early testing phase I think they will be more focused on being able to land on Earth and learning how to live/survive in space - and I think that will take up a lot of time between synods.  I could certainly be wrong, but I don't see where landing on our Moon provides them with valuable information about Earth-Mars transportation systems...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline savuporo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4855
  • Liked: 828
  • Likes Given: 293
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #115 on: 10/23/2016 08:04 PM »
I do think they will take trips to the Moon and around it, especially in early testing, since that simulates deep space so much better than LEO does (i.e. radiation environments, thermal control, psychological, etc.).
Good question to ask on the AMA coming up in next 2h. How do you plan to test any of this grandiose stuff, or you just don't?
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6124
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1510
  • Likes Given: 1247
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #116 on: 10/23/2016 08:10 PM »
As Musk mentioned their plan is to have fleets of ITS leaving for Mars at the same time when they are in full operation, but in the early testing phase I think they will be more focused on being able to land on Earth and learning how to live/survive in space - and I think that will take up a lot of time between synods.  I could certainly be wrong, but I don't see where landing on our Moon provides them with valuable information about Earth-Mars transportation systems...

I have a hard time taking that literally. A fleet departing together means a fleet touching down together as well. They will need some spacing done, I would think.

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3081
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 1937
  • Likes Given: 2238
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #117 on: 10/23/2016 10:51 PM »
As Musk mentioned their plan is to have fleets of ITS leaving for Mars at the same time when they are in full operation, but in the early testing phase I think they will be more focused on being able to land on Earth and learning how to live/survive in space - and I think that will take up a lot of time between synods.  I could certainly be wrong, but I don't see where landing on our Moon provides them with valuable information about Earth-Mars transportation systems...

I have a hard time taking that literally. A fleet departing together means a fleet touching down together as well. They will need some spacing done, I would think.

Mars has the same dry land area that Earth does, so I'd say there is plenty of room for fleets of ships to land concurrently...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Phil Stooke

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 315
  • Canada
  • Liked: 182
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #118 on: 10/23/2016 11:01 PM »
Leaving at the same time doesn't mean at the same second. 

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
  • Liked: 2540
  • Likes Given: 3535
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #119 on: 10/23/2016 11:07 PM »
<snip>

As Musk mentioned their plan is to have fleets of ITS leaving for Mars at the same time when they are in full operation, but in the early testing phase I think they will be more focused on being able to land on Earth and learning how to live/survive in space - and I think that will take up a lot of time between synods.  I could certainly be wrong, but I don't see where landing on our Moon provides them with valuable information about Earth-Mars transportation systems...

There are some practical applications, such as actually landing, unloading, and returning to Earth.  But the biggest advantage is the demonstration that this spaceship is the read deal.  Being the second entity to put boots on the Lunar surface, and this time unloading infrastructure for an expeditionary base that may become permanent would be full validation of the capability.

It would make doing the same on Mars much less a fantasy.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #120 on: 10/24/2016 06:46 AM »
It allows testing of the landing system and surface EVA equipment in a vaguely Mars-esque environment. No air, low gravity, unprepared landing surface.
Quote
Reentry systems testing is less critical because that can be done so extensively at Earth

Since the ITS is also capable of landing on Earth, and Earth is a much more analogous location as well as being far harder in all mission aspects, there would be little to learn by landing on an airless moon.  Because if you can land on Earth then you can land on Mars, right?
{snip}

The Earth landing system is likely to use flaps to guide the spaceship and a heat shield to slow the craft down. The atmosphere on Mars is very weak so the spaceship will probably have to use rocket engines for both. At the ground Mars atmospheric pressure various by over an order of magnitude so the guidance system will have to detect and handle a near vacuum landing. Mars gravity is lower and changes at a different rate from that of the Earth giving more variables for the guidance and control system to handle.

Offline gbaikie

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1628
  • Liked: 48
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #121 on: 10/26/2016 06:07 PM »
It allows testing of the landing system and surface EVA equipment in a vaguely Mars-esque environment. No air, low gravity, unprepared landing surface.
Quote
Reentry systems testing is less critical because that can be done so extensively at Earth

Since the ITS is also capable of landing on Earth, and Earth is a much more analogous location as well as being far harder in all mission aspects, there would be little to learn by landing on an airless moon.  Because if you can land on Earth then you can land on Mars, right?
{snip}

The Earth landing system is likely to use flaps to guide the spaceship and a heat shield to slow the craft down. The atmosphere on Mars is very weak so the spaceship will probably have to use rocket engines for both. At the ground Mars atmospheric pressure various by over an order of magnitude so the guidance system will have to detect and handle a near vacuum landing. Mars gravity is lower and changes at a different rate from that of the Earth giving more variables for the guidance and control system to handle.

If had platform on Earth at 100,000 feet elevation [say to launch rockets from]. Landing directly from orbit
to that platform at 100,000' would be like landing on surface of Mars. Or at 70,000' on Earth the stall speed
is near speed of sound- the Space Shuttle would not be able to land at +70,000'.
Or consider parachuting from 120,000' down to the 100,000' platform- the easiest solution for human to do this would probably involve using parachute and jetpack.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #122 on: 02/16/2017 01:51 AM »
A reusable lunar lander will need parking in lunar orbit or cis space. The lander will need refuelling and repairing. A hanger attached to a spacestation would fit. A Deep Space Habitat (DSH) could be used as the living quarters and control room of the spacestation.

What sort of facilities would the lander's hanger need to provide?

Offline carmelo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 383
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #123 on: 02/16/2017 01:54 PM »
But why not simply resume where we left off?
Modernized versions of Apollo lunar AAP.
Two week of permanence for two or three astronauts,a rover,and step by step a LM shelter,a pressurized rover,and so.
Big plans are are doomed to failure (remember post Apollo plan and SEI)?
A modernized Apollo lunar AAP style plan is It is enough bold and ambitious.

What you need is a new service module for Orion,a modernized version of LM,a rover an SLS1B.
Afterwards you can launch the LM shelter and pressurized rover with unmanned SLS.
« Last Edit: 02/16/2017 01:55 PM by carmelo »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11346
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 2470
  • Likes Given: 355
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #124 on: 02/17/2017 07:42 AM »
A agree with you carmelo, but a new SM is not needed. Just make the EUS last for the four days to get to the Moon so that it can perform LOI for both Orion and the LM. Orion has enough delta-V to perform TEI from LLO.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2156
  • Liked: 942
  • Likes Given: 609
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #125 on: 02/17/2017 01:43 PM »
A agree with you carmelo, but a new SM is not needed. Just make the EUS last for the four days to get to the Moon so that it can perform LOI for both Orion and the LM. Orion has enough delta-V to perform TEI from LLO.

Squeezing another 1,000 m/s out of the SLS/EUS stack isn't going to be easy. It can barely get Orion and a Apollo LEM through TLI.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11346
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 2470
  • Likes Given: 355
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #126 on: 02/18/2017 04:12 AM »
Squeezing another 1,000 m/s out of the SLS/EUS stack isn't going to be easy. It can barely get Orion and a Apollo LEM through TLI.

TLI payload mass is 39.1 t (C3 = -2 km/s²). Insertion into LLO has C3 = 21.1 km/s². That corresponds to a payload of 26.9 t into LEO according to the graph published in Boeing's AIAA Space 2013 on SLS. One SLS takes Orion to LLO. Another SLS takes the LM to LLO.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3626
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 1142
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #127 on: 02/18/2017 04:30 AM »
Is this assuming only 2x SLS launches per year? How long would we have to get the LM to wait in Lunar orbit before sending the crew after them? I'm assuming that there would have to be 2x Corestage, 2x SRB and 2x EUS sets at KSC per year to make this split launch scenario work. And if only 1x launchpad is available (bit of a bummer, that!) how much time is allowed between each launch for pad refurbishment.

In other threads, I speculated how big the LM might be. Have you calculated how much mass the LM would be, Steven? Taking into account the delta-v needed to insert it into LLO? If it's a 2x person craft, I'd imagine it would have to mass at least fairly similar to the Apollo LM. But I reasoned in other threads that a Chinese manned lunar lander sent by a 2x launch architecture might mass around 25 tons with all propellants. Your paper on a Lunar mission with a single launch SLS is very good. Though, if we cannot expect a major corestage change to equip it with 5x RS-25E engines, have you calculated a Lunar mission DRM for 2x SLS launches with the improved 'Dark Knights' boosters? I'd imagine this would allow for a bigger, 4x person LM.
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7973
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2672
  • Likes Given: 652
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #128 on: 02/18/2017 05:08 AM »
But why not simply resume where we left off?

Because it's completely unaffordable?

Proposing NASA do stuff that Congress refuses to fund, that really is resuming where we left off!

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3626
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 1142
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #129 on: 02/18/2017 05:43 AM »
This is why the U.S. might have to ask it's international partners to jointly create a manned Lunar Lander. say, a joint effort of ESA & JAXA, with some input - financial or technical - from the U.S. Be under no illusion that it would be cheap, though! But the logic behind that idea is; U.S. provides the Heavy Lift and the 'Mothership', it's partners create the Lander. And if an Outpost is ever authorized; Commercial Cargo contracts could be competed for to supply the Outpost.

Unless there were major budget increases or another Commercial Space 'Guru' got their 'Moonhat' on - the scenario above, or similar is the best we can hope for :(
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11346
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 2470
  • Likes Given: 355
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #130 on: 02/18/2017 06:39 AM »
Is this assuming only 2x SLS launches per year?

Yes. As the LM uses storable propellants and solar panels it can stay in LLO indefinitely. If a frozen orbit is chosen, little propellant would be needed to maintain orbit.

Quote
How long would we have to get the LM to wait in Lunar orbit before sending the crew after them?

Nominally, six months. Of course less time would be better. It all depends on how long it takes to prepare the next SLS.

Quote
I'm assuming that there would have to be 2x Corestage, 2x SRB and 2x EUS sets at KSC per year to make this split launch scenario work. And if only 1x launchpad is available (bit of a bummer, that!) how much time is allowed between each launch for pad refurbishment.

It would be better if there were two LUTs and two High Bays, as time spent at the pad would probably be no more than two months.

Quote
In other threads, I speculated how big the LM might be. Have you calculated how much mass the LM would be, Steven?

The maximum LM mass is 26.9 t, but it will probably be less than that when various adapters and EUS propellant losses on the way to the Moon are factored it. I actually looked at this in my SLS Moon paper (see page 22). I assumed an LM mass of 25.8 t which is the same as Orion in LLO. I estimated the dry mass of the LM to be 7.8 t.

Quote
Taking into account the delta-v needed to insert it into LLO?

The EUS does LOI (960.4 m/s delta-V). The LM only does powered descent and ascent.

Quote
If it's a 2x person craft, I'd imagine it would have to mass at least fairly similar to the Apollo LM.

The Apollo LM was only 16.4 t, so a 25.8 t LM should easily take four astronauts to the Lunar surface.

Quote
But I reasoned in other threads that a Chinese manned lunar lander sent by a 2x launch architecture might mass around 25 tons with all propellants. Your paper on a Lunar mission with a single launch SLS is very good. Though, if we cannot expect a major corestage change to equip it with 5x RS-25E engines, have you calculated a Lunar mission DRM for 2x SLS launches with the improved 'Dark Knights' boosters? I'd imagine this would allow for a bigger, 4x person LM.

I haven't done a full architecture analysis with Dark Knights. However, Block IB with Dark Knight boosters gets 113.4 t payload to LEO, compared to 97.1 t with RSRMVs. Assuming a linear increase, that increases LLO payload from 26.9 t to 31.4 t.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3626
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 1142
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #131 on: 02/18/2017 08:08 AM »
Fantastic! Thanks, Teach ;)
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Online Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3171
  • California
  • Liked: 2491
  • Likes Given: 1463
Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #132 on: 02/18/2017 10:57 PM »
This is why the U.S. might have to ask it's international partners to jointly create a manned Lunar Lander. say, a joint effort of ESA & JAXA, with some input - financial or technical - from the U.S. Be under no illusion that it would be cheap, though! But the logic behind that idea is; U.S. provides the Heavy Lift and the 'Mothership', it's partners create the Lander. And if an Outpost is ever authorized; Commercial Cargo contracts could be competed for to supply the Outpost.

ISS has shown that international cooperation (while important) is not a magic bullet to solve budget and schedule issues. If anything it has the opposite effect.

There is plenty of domestic capability to be tapped instead.

No, I would hazard to say that the main crux of the problem is the all too cozy arrangement between NASA and its usual prime contractors. (Meaning Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Aerojet Rocketdyne) These guys just have no incentive to improve. I'm not  suggesting they should be excluded, no, but the way things are contracted needs to change.

If NASA's budget was better spent, much more can be done. Hoping for a bigger NASA budget is a pipe dream, IMHO.
« Last Edit: 02/18/2017 10:58 PM by Lars-J »

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3626
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 1142
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #133 on: 02/18/2017 11:03 PM »
Yes - that's why I suggested foreign partners for the LM, instead of the usual 'porky' subjects - and I also suggested it because we cannot forsee a major increase in NASA funding.
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1898
  • Likes Given: 1382
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #134 on: 02/19/2017 12:21 AM »
This is why the U.S. might have to ask it's international partners to jointly create a manned Lunar Lander. say, a joint effort of ESA & JAXA, with some input - financial or technical - from the U.S. Be under no illusion that it would be cheap, though! But the logic behind that idea is; U.S. provides the Heavy Lift and the 'Mothership', it's partners create the Lander. And if an Outpost is ever authorized; Commercial Cargo contracts could be competed for to supply the Outpost.

ISS has shown that international cooperation (while important) is not a magic bullet to solve budget and schedule issues. If anything it has the opposite effect.

There is plenty of domestic capability to be tapped instead.

No, I would hazard to say that the main crux of the problem is the all too cozy arrangement between NASA and its usual prime contractors. (Meaning Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Aerojet Rocketdyne) These guys just have no incentive to improve. I'm not  suggesting they should be excluded, no, but the way things are contracted needs to change.

If NASA's budget was better spent, much more can be done. Hoping for a bigger NASA budget is a pipe dream, IMHO.

It's all the same problem. Too little "flux" going through too few, infrequently. So to deliver the necessary capability/quality/reliability/reproducibility, cost/time suffer greatly.

Does not matter if its international, domestic, government or military. And, if you spread it out, why you can get potentially competition, you've decreased the flux at the same time. Conversely, increase the flux to fewest/one, you get better economies of scale but at the cost of a monopoly. And once you've established a history, epecially flight history, you're locked in to an economic model.

So the key to making things "better" is to greatly increase frequency/flux, such that having more doesn't injury as above. Then to broadly compete, driving up novel solutions as well as heritage before there is to much history to lock in the economic model. That is where both international and "new space" commercial comes in. There's no guarantee that things will be "better", but because of the "hybrid vigor" of the "mix-ins", that matters for both the ability to maintain currency as well as improve standard of practice apart from cost reduction, where the reduction is usually a factor from both of these.

American/european/japanese aerospace systems have been highly refined and tend to produce a low flux of high caliber SC/LV/etc, but they do so in part because the flux is low. It's like betting on the come, which isn't that bad if incidental, but horrendous if you're continually "doubling down".

The supposed gripes of "old vs new" here is really about how to handle increased frequency, which in the past has always been mythical, to increase the flux. SX's trick is to attempt to do so with rapid reuse, while ULA is about optimizing the expendable's performance/cost structure.

Bottom line - the only way it gets cheaper is any kind of business model that returns on increased flux - for SX its rate, for ULA it would be volume. Bezo's says manufacturing in space, Musk says colonization.

But with govt it would have to be volume of missions, likely returning something more than plain moon rocks.

You figure out what supports the increase, and that's what will bring down the cost of such.

Apollo cost the same as the Interstate highway system of the time. Which has fantastic ROI - it's one of the reasons America is a superpower. Figure out a tiny fraction of that and you'll get your economics locked in at 10-100x eventually, if not more.

Don't get hung up on the choice *in the now*, because w/o the above, its a phantom. You can get some (again above) that might help a bit, but it'll be unstable, because you'll just lock in a different economic model not the one you're really after.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #135 on: 02/19/2017 04:34 AM »
A reusable lunar lander will need refuelling and repairing, so a small spacestation in lunar orbit acting as control room for the robotic arms will be useful.

Is there a cabin for the lander massing between 5 tonne and 20 tonnes?

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10252
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 1973
  • Likes Given: 614
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #136 on: 02/19/2017 12:14 PM »
... and I also suggested it because we cannot foresee a major increase in NASA funding.

Matt we don't need a bigger NASA budget. What we need is fiscal responsibility in the use of that budget; things like not giving a dime of it to companies with a decades-long history of sucking it dry and then asking for more, without actually producing what they were contracted for.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3626
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 1142
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #137 on: 02/19/2017 09:22 PM »
... and I also suggested it because we cannot foresee a major increase in NASA funding.

Matt we don't need a bigger NASA budget. What we need is fiscal responsibility in the use of that budget; things like not giving a dime of it to companies with a decades-long history of sucking it dry and then asking for more, without actually producing what they were contracted for.
Far be it for me to denigrate the many fine people who work there - but it sounds to me like one of the main Orion/SLS contractors you're speaking of :(  Besides, I've never realistically advocated the doubling of NASA's budget or some such - though that would be cool - but a modest increase plus the efficiency and fiscal responsibility you/we crave would go a long way towards getting things done.
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7973
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2672
  • Likes Given: 652
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #138 on: 02/19/2017 10:13 PM »
Matt we don't need a bigger NASA budget. What we need is fiscal responsibility in the use of that budget; things like not giving a dime of it to companies with a decades-long history of sucking it dry and then asking for more, without actually producing what they were contracted for.

Matt we don't need a pony. What we need is a unicorn.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1898
  • Likes Given: 1382
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #139 on: 02/19/2017 10:33 PM »
Matt we don't need a bigger NASA budget. What we need is fiscal responsibility in the use of that budget; things like not giving a dime of it to companies with a decades-long history of sucking it dry and then asking for more, without actually producing what they were contracted for.

Matt we don't need a pony. What we need is a unicorn.
My argument is that we need a point. See above.

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3626
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 641
  • Likes Given: 1142
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #140 on: 02/19/2017 11:20 PM »
Matt we don't need a bigger NASA budget. What we need is fiscal responsibility in the use of that budget; things like not giving a dime of it to companies with a decades-long history of sucking it dry and then asking for more, without actually producing what they were contracted for.

Matt we don't need a pony. What we need is a unicorn.


I thought Elon was going to give us all a pony?! And an electric one at that...
« Last Edit: 02/20/2017 04:28 AM by MATTBLAK »
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Online nacnud

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1761
  • Liked: 101
  • Likes Given: 83
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #141 on: 02/19/2017 11:23 PM »

Offline TakeOff

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
  • Liked: 71
  • Likes Given: 92
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #142 on: 02/23/2017 04:05 AM »
Getting rid of the useless Orion and launching the crew with a proven Falcon 9 and Dragon (or Atlas V and Starliner) would help. SLS isn't designed to launch astronauts, wasn't that acknowledged already by the Ares I?

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11346
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 2470
  • Likes Given: 355
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #143 on: 02/23/2017 04:24 AM »
Getting rid of the useless Orion and launching the crew with a proven Falcon 9 and Dragon (or Atlas V and Starliner) would help. SLS isn't designed to launch astronauts, wasn't that acknowledged already by the Ares I?

SLS is specifically designed to be a crew rated vehicle in its final form. Initial versions of the vehicle may have some parts are not fully crew rated. For example EM-1 will be using a non crew rated ICPS (needs to have abort detection hardware and software added), Orion (ECLSS is not complete) and LAS (inert abort motor).
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #144 on: 02/23/2017 08:41 AM »
Getting rid of the useless Orion and launching the crew with a proven Falcon 9 and Dragon (or Atlas V and Starliner) would help. SLS isn't designed to launch astronauts, wasn't that acknowledged already by the Ares I?
There is no proven crew dragon and F9 would put Dragon LAS to test a couple times now.

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7973
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2672
  • Likes Given: 652
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #145 on: 02/23/2017 11:58 PM »
How much more will be spent on Orion and getting it on SLS? If it truly is redundant for a lunar mission (and I really don't see how it is) then it seems like you could make an argument for directing those funds to SLS.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline quanthasaquality

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 146
  • Liked: 6
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #146 on: 03/06/2017 04:48 AM »
Fine, SLS to LEO, NASA contracted SEP from LEO to LLO. Ukrainian hypogolic lunar lander. lunar modules made by Bigelow Aerospace. Talk with Russia and ESA to determine where to land, and which scientific missions to focus on.

Online bad_astra

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1771
  • Liked: 192
  • Likes Given: 146
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #147 on: 03/22/2017 01:39 PM »
in 8 years some work for a full-time outpost could be set up remotely. Maybe not ISRU, (although that should be looked at as well) but possibly the supply caches, equipment and even some excavation work for a moon base. It might be worth revisiting ideas from Project Promethius to have a compact reactor in place.
"Contact Light" -Buzz Aldrin

Online hkultala

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 531
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 43
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #148 on: 03/22/2017 02:17 PM »
SLS isn't designed to launch astronauts, wasn't that acknowledged already by the Ares I?

You are confusing Ares V with SLS. They are totally different things. SLS is designed to launch astronauts, just the delta IV-derived underpowered upper stage of the first launch is not crew rated, all the proper later upper stages will be.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2747
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1120
  • Likes Given: 65
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #149 on: 03/22/2017 05:57 PM »
SLS isn't designed to launch astronauts, wasn't that acknowledged already by the Ares I?

You are confusing Ares V with SLS. They are totally different things. SLS is designed to launch astronauts, just the delta IV-derived underpowered upper stage of the first launch is not crew rated, all the proper later upper stages will be.
A Note is that the EUS has only passed the PDR in Jan 2017 and not yet made it to CDR meaning only the outline and requirements exist not the detail design. CDR is not usually any sooner than 6 months after PDR for complex systems. EUS CDR is likely to be next year or even later in 2019. After CDR it should not take more than 2 years to build the first flight EUS. Putting it ready by sometime in 2021 for acceptance testing.

But indeed one of the baseline requirements is that it be designed to Human Rating standards.

So at the moment the LV for EM-2 is still being designed and once the stage is designed then the pad and VAB changes must be designed.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2017 06:06 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline ThereIWas3

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 590
  • Liked: 244
  • Likes Given: 206
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #150 on: 03/22/2017 07:07 PM »
Just because SLS is designed to carry humans does not require that it be used that way.  All the safer for those expensive unmanned missions to Europa, etc.
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #151 on: 07/06/2017 08:12 PM »
Today (6 June 2017) the Vice President of the USA gave a speech in which he said he wants the USA to go to both the Moon and Mars. Without Apollo levels of spending that cannot occur during Trump's reign. However NASA can reach some major milestones before 2016+4+4 = 2024.

During Trump's first 4 year term Lunar CATALYST should result in small commercial landers landing on the Moon. If at least one of them has produced a lander that can fly then public relations will have no difficulty showing NASA as a proud parent with its children.

Cancellation of the Shuttle flights may have cost the USA its leadership in space but COTS, CCDev and Lunar CATALYST means NASA has recovered from its injuries and is back in the space race. Building the Deep Space Gateway will show the USA and NASA are great again.

NASA has shown a high level plan to build the DSG with 4 SLS launches. The launches would has a 10 tonne module and an Orion. 10 tonnes of payload is not worthy of the SLS - it is less than the Atlas V can launch to LEO. According to Wikipedia Orions mass 25,848 kg. So SLS can lift at least 10 + 25.8 = 35.8 tonne to cis-lunar space. For about 35 tonnes an adequate space station can be built. It would have to be Spartan and, as real estate agents say, bejou.

The entire DSG could be launched on EM-2 or EM-3 in 2022. Over the next year the ion thrusters could be used to correct the orbit. The Orion and crew can be launched on the next EM flight.

Later Orion on SLS flights can deliver a reusable manned lunar lander and parts for Mars Transfer Vehicles. NASA can then again go where no man has gone before.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #152 on: 07/07/2017 01:16 AM »
The modular configuration of DSG would make it difficult to fit one flight. Then it would need assembling without human assistance. Orion would miss out on it uncrewed EM2 flight.
Having assembly spread over a few flights with crew spreads costs, gives more crew flight which is point of SLS/orion.

As each module is assemble crew can check it out, if problems can't be resolved then, they should have parts and fix for following mission.

They hope to deliver service module on unmanned EM2, EM3 would deliver habitat module on first crew mission. In theory 42day stay should be possible on EM3.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2017 01:18 AM by TrevorMonty »

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #153 on: 07/07/2017 04:23 AM »
The modular configuration of DSG would make it difficult to fit one flight. Then it would need assembling without human assistance. Orion would miss out on it uncrewed EM2 flight.
Having assembly spread over a few flights with crew spreads costs, gives more crew flight which is point of SLS/orion.

As each module is assemble crew can check it out, if problems can't be resolved then, they should have parts and fix for following mission.

They hope to deliver service module on unmanned EM2, EM3 would deliver habitat module on first crew mission. In theory 42day stay should be possible on EM3.


I assume the modules would be fitted together on the ground so little inspace assembly is needed. The modules may need mini inter-stages to take the G forces. The contents would need unpacking.

The mission associated with each EM numbers would change. The Orion's second manned flight could still have a 42day stay.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #154 on: 07/07/2017 05:58 AM »
Currently it would be
EM2 Unmanned + service module
EM3 manned + habitat
Em4 manned + module (not sure which)
EM5 manned + module.

4 flights, 3 of which are manned and DSG is being used on first manned flight.

Your plan is.
EM2 DSG
EM3 Unmanned Orion
EM4 manned
EM5 Manned

Lose one crew flight and use of DSG is put back by a year. With maybe 3x 10t of surplus capacity not used

« Last Edit: 07/07/2017 06:05 AM by TrevorMonty »

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #155 on: 07/07/2017 09:10 PM »
Currently it would be
EM2 Unmanned + service module
EM3 manned + habitat
Em4 manned + module (not sure which)
EM5 manned + module.

4 flights, 3 of which are manned and DSG is being used on first manned flight.

Your plan is.
EM2 DSG
EM3 Unmanned Orion
EM4 manned
EM5 Manned

Lose one crew flight and use of DSG is put back by a year. With maybe 3x 10t of surplus capacity not used

Currently the long poll for the EM2 is the Orion. So depending on how long it takes to develop the DSG the unmanned Orion may launch on the same date.

Offline Lsquirrel

  • Member
  • Posts: 83
  • Liked: 27
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #156 on: 07/08/2017 02:18 AM »
Currently it would be
EM2 Unmanned + service module
EM3 manned + habitat
Em4 manned + module (not sure which)
EM5 manned + module.

4 flights, 3 of which are manned and DSG is being used on first manned flight.

Your plan is.
EM2 DSG
EM3 Unmanned Orion
EM4 manned
EM5 Manned

Lose one crew flight and use of DSG is put back by a year. With maybe 3x 10t of surplus capacity not used

Boeing published in GLEX 2017:
EM-5, MoonLander

Offline Hop_David

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1628
  • Ajo, Arizona
    • Hop's Gallery
  • Liked: 110
  • Likes Given: 40
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #157 on: 07/08/2017 11:31 PM »
The financial year 2017 Budget for the US Government contains wording that suggests NASA should target the Moon. Since each president has his own views on missions to the Moon or Mars IMHO there may only about 8 years before this changes again. NASA may get a small budget but a big one is unlikely.

What can we do in these 8 years?

At one time it was thought Bridenstine was on Trump's short list for NASA administrator.

Bridenstine has been advocating formation of a Space Council. Trump's recent executive order might indicate Bridenstine's voice is still in the mix when it comes to Trump space policy

Bridenstine has a Spudis influenced vision of lunar development. He hopes to develop infrastructure at the lunar poles and exploit the volatile ices in the cold traps.

I should know better than to get my hopes up. But I'm a bona fide space cadet and therefore prone to unjustified optimism.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2017 11:32 PM by Hop_David »

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #158 on: 07/09/2017 09:59 AM »
I think there will be push for robotic exploration and exploitation of polar ice. NASA funded human missions before 2025 is not likely.

Commercial tourism mission may happen before 2025, Bezos definitely has moon in his sights and has money and Blue to make it happen.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2747
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1120
  • Likes Given: 65
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #159 on: 07/09/2017 08:27 PM »
Until such time that commercial actually does manned cis-Lunar operations the government will push and fund its own implementation for manned cis-Lunar operations. But once commercial is operational what happens to the government program's funding. Does it go away? Does it start to purchase commercial flights? Other in-space vehicle developments?

The answers to these questions in the universe where commercial manned cis-Lunar operations exists in the near future <4 years, is that the focus indicated by the recent speech would be on manned cis-Lunar/Mars missions and in-space manned hardware developments. Purchase of transport of personnel and cargo to cis-Lunar space from commercial services sources and also programs that develop in-space manned exploration hardware. The budget amount would likely remain ~$3B/yr but would be going to different programs than current. The current program in that environment would not be politically feasible.

Edit: fixed auto correct mistakes. Must have had low blood sugar while typing  :o
« Last Edit: 07/10/2017 03:07 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8061
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 91
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #160 on: 07/10/2017 12:54 AM »
Lunar CATALYST is about to come to an end. Within a couple of years it may have produce small lunar landers. By put a few of the engines together a large lunar lander can be made. What is needed is a cabin with life support for astronauts.

Offline DougSpace

  • Member
  • Posts: 27
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #161 on: 07/16/2017 04:52 PM »
What we need is a "Lunar COTS" program of about 7% of NASA's budget.  If the decision makers are unwilling to find that modest amount within the existing budget then we should increase NASA's budget that much to add a full-scale lunar program.  Masten estimates that it should cost no more than $200 M to modify a Centaur to be a Xeus lander.  Using public-private programs, this should be doable as this is less of a challenge than the $400 M that it cost SpaceX to develop the F9 including brand new engines and a vehicle which stages, undergoes max-Q, and wasn't reusable from the get-go -- Xeus will.

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

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

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

Tags: