Author Topic: Blue Moon Lunar Lander  (Read 10814 times)

Offline sanman

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Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« on: 03/03/2017 10:05 PM »
As part of Blue Origin's proposal to deliver supplies to the Moon for paying customers, founder Jeff Bezos mentioned a  lunar lander vehicle known as Blue Moon, which would ferry goods to the surface.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/ct-bezos-amazon-moon-20170303-story.html


What are the likely specifications of this vehicle? What propulsion will it use?
In his AvWeek talk, Bezos mentions upper-stage/vacuum version of the BE-3 liquid-H2 engine -- so will that be used on the lander? I thought you want a low-volatility fuel that doesn't boil off in transit.
Bezos also mentions possibly flying on SLS or Atlas-V -- what kind of mass envelope does that impose on the lander?

If unmanned flights/deliveries to the lunar surface are used to man-rate the vehicle for later manned flights, then what kinds of unmanned payloads would be sent to the Moon? Robot rovers mainly?
What might be the limits on the mass-return capability?
Does this require an Apollo-style design architecture?

(Hey, that name sounds familiar - should've taken out a trademark on it)  ;)
« Last Edit: 03/03/2017 11:19 PM by sanman »

Offline sdsds

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #1 on: 03/04/2017 01:28 AM »
For crewed lunar landings experience (which is to say, Apollo) indicates a solution can be achieved by dividing the descent into two phases: a braking burn (which utilizes quite a bit of thrust) and a hovering touch down which requires relatively little thrust.The Lunar Module Descent Engine operated in two distinct thrust regimes for this very reason.

But of course more recent experience with vertical rocket landings on Earth (F9, New Shepard) suggest a different approach might be possible on the Moon as well, i.le. don't bother with hovering, just hoverslam onto the surface.

I think the wording Bezos used suggests he might be thinking the new approach might work on the Moon as well. Do others read him that way?
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Online Jimmy Murdok

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #2 on: 03/04/2017 02:17 AM »
SLS and Orion will only shine if there is an attractive lunar project. A lander is a must that NASA needs, it's time to find funds for a lunar lander private challenge, there is a coral of private companies with interesting projects, hardware and funds waiting for a plan leaded by NASA were they can put everything on place. Selling Mars by mid 30's is not appealing.

There are several robot size landers on it's way, concepts from Boeing-Masten and Blue for human sized ones, Bigelow, 3 capsules, low cost cargo capacities... connect the dots and build a South Pole public-private architecture that does not break the bank. That would put NASA back on track roviding leadership and a clear objective for the big rocket and Orion.
« Last Edit: 03/04/2017 09:46 AM by Jimmy Murdok »

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #3 on: 03/04/2017 09:40 AM »
The Atlas may not be ideal LV for it but does allow it fly before 2020. With NG or Vulcan it would be capable of 5t, use a SLS and it could be 10t.

Use lander as solar power station, have solar panels similar to Cygnus deploy from top and track sun. With robotic arm payloads can be winched to surface. For ice mining the tanks could be used for storing extracted water until LH/LOX processing plant is landed.

Refuel at DSH and it could be used as crew lander, surface access may require winched platform.

The best thing about this lander is that is based on flight proven vehicle and company has money to make it happen.

Edit.
After bit more thought I've realised they will need a whole new control system. The NS control surfaces will need to be replaced with small engines or gas thrusters.
« Last Edit: 03/04/2017 02:53 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #4 on: 03/04/2017 05:43 PM »
When I think of a lunar lander, I think of something that looks non-aerodynamic, like the Apollo's LEM or Constellation's Altair, whereas New Shepard is of course aerodynamic as it's made for Earthly suborbital flights.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/03/02/an-exclusive-look-at-jeff-bezos-plan-to-set-up-amazon-like-delivery-for-future-human-settlement-of-the-moon/

Quote
Last year, Blue Origin successfully launched and landed its suborbital rocket, the New Shepard, five times within less than a year, flying just past the 62-mile edge of space and then landing vertically on a landing pad at the company’s West Texas facility.

That same technology could be used to land the Blue Moon vehicle on the lunar surface, the company said. Its white paper shows what looks like a modified New Shepard rocket, standing on the moon with an American flag, a NASA logo and Blue Origin’s feather symbol.

So I assume that's just a symbolic representation of the Blue Moon lunar lander, and not an actual representation of what it's supposed to look like. We're not able to see the actual white paper or that image, but anything that looks vaguely like New Shepard sounds like it's mainly optimized for Earthly aerodynamic flight, rather than for lunar flight. There's no need for fin-ring or tall-and-skinny design as compared to the classical lander shape.

Besides, I thought people here argued that New Shepard was mainly a pathfinder design.

Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #5 on: 03/06/2017 07:39 PM »
From the Av Week article posted by Navier-Stokes:

http://www.aviationweek.com/space/blue-origin-developing-10000-lb-lunar-polar-lander

Quote
The New Shepard, set to begin flying humans this year, is the basis for the Blue Moon concept, Bezos said. Its BE-3U upper stage engine, a high-altitude variant of the hydrogen-fueled BE-3 that took the first New Shepard booster to space five times in 2016 without a change-out, would send the lander into its trans-lunar injection trajectory. It would retain enough capability after that to begin slowing the vehicle toward its target on the lunar surface, he said.

Like New Shepard, Blue Moon would land tail-down, braking with retropropulsion from a set of 11,000-lb.-thrust liquid oxygen/methane engines already in development at Blue Origin’s Kent, Washington, facility, Bezos said.

So why is it using Methalox for the landing thrusters, instead of Hydrolox all the way? Is it because the Methalox suffers from less boiloff compared to Hydrolox? Are there any other reasons? I don't think there's any way to harvest Methane from the lunar surface, is there?

Online AncientU

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #6 on: 03/06/2017 07:47 PM »
Methlox seems to be the easiest cryo propellant.
Commonality with other designs, too.
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Online TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #7 on: 03/06/2017 10:51 PM »
From the Av Week article posted by Navier-Stokes:

http://www.aviationweek.com/space/blue-origin-developing-10000-lb-lunar-polar-lander

Quote
The New Shepard, set to begin flying humans this year, is the basis for the Blue Moon concept, Bezos said. Its BE-3U upper stage engine, a high-altitude variant of the hydrogen-fueled BE-3 that took the first New Shepard booster to space five times in 2016 without a change-out, would send the lander into its trans-lunar injection trajectory. It would retain enough capability after that to begin slowing the vehicle toward its target on the lunar surface, he said.

Like New Shepard, Blue Moon would land tail-down, braking with retropropulsion from a set of 11,000-lb.-thrust liquid oxygen/methane engines already in development at Blue Origin’s Kent, Washington, facility, Bezos said.

So why is it using Methalox for the landing thrusters, instead of Hydrolox all the way? Is it because the Methalox suffers from less boiloff compared to Hydrolox? Are there any other reasons? I don't think there's any way to harvest Methane from the lunar surface, is there?

The BE3U will do the TLI and de orbit burn, doubt it would throttle low enough for lunar landing. They needed smaller engines for landing, plus these engines could be used to hover for last minute course changes. Being Methane means they could be used in 2nd stage of NG for orbital maneuvers and maybe for landing in future. Wouldn't be surprised if these methane engines are a spin off of BE4 development.

As for harvesting Methane, these landers are destined for a one way trip, at least until water is being harvested and processed into fuel. Which is quite a few years and cargo landers away.

Online AncientU

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #8 on: 03/06/2017 11:13 PM »
From the Av Week article posted by Navier-Stokes:

http://www.aviationweek.com/space/blue-origin-developing-10000-lb-lunar-polar-lander

Quote
The New Shepard, set to begin flying humans this year, is the basis for the Blue Moon concept, Bezos said. Its BE-3U upper stage engine, a high-altitude variant of the hydrogen-fueled BE-3 that took the first New Shepard booster to space five times in 2016 without a change-out, would send the lander into its trans-lunar injection trajectory. It would retain enough capability after that to begin slowing the vehicle toward its target on the lunar surface, he said.

Like New Shepard, Blue Moon would land tail-down, braking with retropropulsion from a set of 11,000-lb.-thrust liquid oxygen/methane engines already in development at Blue Origin’s Kent, Washington, facility, Bezos said.

So why is it using Methalox for the landing thrusters, instead of Hydrolox all the way? Is it because the Methalox suffers from less boiloff compared to Hydrolox? Are there any other reasons? I don't think there's any way to harvest Methane from the lunar surface, is there?

The BE3U will do the TLI and de orbit burn, doubt it would throttle low enough for lunar landing. They needed smaller engines for landing, plus these engines could be used to hover for last minute course changes. Being Methane means they could be used in 2nd stage of NG for orbital maneuvers and maybe for landing in future. Wouldn't be surprised if these methane engines are a spin off of BE4 development.

As for harvesting Methane, these landers are destined for a one way trip, at least until water is being harvested and processed into fuel. Which is quite a few years and cargo landers away.

BE-4 engines are 500klbf staged combustion engines (50x larger and much too complex for a lander).
BE-3 are 10x larger and simpler (though hydrolox)... if anything, a BE-3 derivative. 

More likely is pressure-fed or pump-fed, simple engines.
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Online GWH

Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #9 on: 03/07/2017 04:22 PM »
So why is it using Methalox for the landing thrusters, instead of Hydrolox all the way? Is it because the Methalox suffers from less boiloff compared to Hydrolox? Are there any other reasons? I don't think there's any way to harvest Methane from the lunar surface, is there?
BE-4 engines are 500klbf staged combustion engines (50x larger and much too complex for a lander).
BE-3 are 10x larger and simpler (though hydrolox)... if anything, a BE-3 derivative. 

More likely is pressure-fed or pump-fed, simple engines.

I'm thinking the thrusters are actually being developed for New Glenn booster and 2nd stage RCS.  Makes sense for those to be methalox.

Online AncientU

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #10 on: 03/07/2017 04:32 PM »
So why is it using Methalox for the landing thrusters, instead of Hydrolox all the way? Is it because the Methalox suffers from less boiloff compared to Hydrolox? Are there any other reasons? I don't think there's any way to harvest Methane from the lunar surface, is there?
BE-4 engines are 500klbf staged combustion engines (50x larger and much too complex for a lander).
BE-3 are 10x larger and simpler (though hydrolox)... if anything, a BE-3 derivative. 

More likely is pressure-fed or pump-fed, simple engines.

I'm thinking the thrusters are actually being developed for New Glenn booster and 2nd stage RCS.  Makes sense for those to be methalox.

Second stage control should be much smaller thrusters.  Draco thrusters are <100lbf.

First stage could use larger thrusters -- quite a mass to reorient for reentry, but wouldn't need to be quick unless they are considering RTLS.  A single superdraco is 16,000 lbf, so about the right category for the lander; still might be too big for attitude control.

Whatever thrusters are used, it they are methlox, thumbs up!
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Online GWH

Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #11 on: 03/07/2017 04:37 PM »
You're right I misread that the landing thrusters are 11,000 lbf. 

Online Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #12 on: 03/07/2017 06:48 PM »
Engines are a big deal, they take forever to develop, you need to use them broadly/extensively to recover investment/support/continuity, and you are constantly improving them. So you don't do many different kinds of them. Note that the two stage NG, like FH/F9, basically use just one base engine.

BO's lander uses a BE-3 derivative (likely an overexpanded BE-3U), because he has the engine, he wants hydrolox in-space propulsion efficiencies. Now, if you build such a lander, it will scale to a huge landed drymass - likely the biggest lander only short of the ITS/BFS enormity.

Such a single engine lander would likely be used for cargo, because of reliability concerns. It could eventually be extremely cost effective, if you could bring down the cost of hydrolox infrastructure end to end. Something ULA has some experience with. To do that you'd also need demand, much like the demand for F9R payloads to support a reusable booster.

We don't see a radical growth in the number of payloads to space. Since Apollo, we've had less than 10 payloads to the moon, compared to hundreds to a thousand of other payloads.

So it's likely to assume that the business revenue of such a lander will take decades to develop, after the first lander lands ... once anew.


Online TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #13 on: 03/07/2017 06:50 PM »
So why is it using Methalox for the landing thrusters, instead of Hydrolox all the way? Is it because the Methalox suffers from less boiloff compared to Hydrolox? Are there any other reasons? I don't think there's any way to harvest Methane from the lunar surface, is there?
BE-4 engines are 500klbf staged combustion engines (50x larger and much too complex for a lander).
BE-3 are 10x larger and simpler (though hydrolox)... if anything, a BE-3 derivative. 

More likely is pressure-fed or pump-fed, simple engines.

I'm thinking the thrusters are actually being developed for New Glenn booster and 2nd stage RCS.  Makes sense for those to be methalox.

Second stage control should be much smaller thrusters.  Draco thrusters are <100lbf.

First stage could use larger thrusters -- quite a mass to reorient for reentry, but wouldn't need to be quick unless they are considering RTLS.  A single superdraco is 16,000 lbf, so about the right category for the lander; still might be too big for attitude control.

Whatever thrusters are used, it they are methlox, thumbs up!
2nd stage landing engines most likely.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2017 06:50 PM by TrevorMonty »

Online savuporo

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #14 on: 03/07/2017 06:59 PM »
What propulsion will it use?
Not a pump-fed engine. Or an electric pump, perhaps.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #15 on: 03/08/2017 11:01 AM »
What propulsion will it use?
Not a pump-fed engine. Or an electric pump, perhaps.
And why NOT pump-fed? Smaller pumpfed engines have been developed. The Fregat stage is pumpfed but half the thrust. Do you have any evidence that it's not pump-fed? If it's just your opinion, say so. Don't state it as if it's a fact.
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Offline daveklingler

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #16 on: 03/08/2017 10:27 PM »
What propulsion will it use?
Not a pump-fed engine. Or an electric pump, perhaps.
And why NOT pump-fed? Smaller pumpfed engines have been developed. The Fregat stage is pumpfed but half the thrust. Do you have any evidence that it's not pump-fed? If it's just your opinion, say so. Don't state it as if it's a fact.

I don't have any evidence, but I'm going to guess a pressure-fed, clean-sheet design based on a need for simplicity.  I don't see any way this engine could be derived from either the BE-3 or BE-4, so I think it's new. 

If it turns out not to be pressure fed, I'll go with expander cycle, because I can easily see how they'd consider a methalox expander cycle engine of that size to be very useful.  There's been a lot of interest in methalox expander cycle engines of late, and it's entirely possible one or more of the researchers ended up at Blue.

edit - I think this is a pretty interesting bit of news all by itself.  Blue has another new engine.
« Last Edit: 03/08/2017 10:30 PM by daveklingler »

Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #17 on: 03/09/2017 12:07 PM »
So again from the same AvWeek article:

http://aviationweek.com/space/blue-origin-developing-10000-lb-lunar-polar-lander

Quote
The lander would be “launch-vehicle agnostic,” able to lift off from Earth on NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS), the United Launch Alliance Atlas V; the reusable New Glenn orbital launcher Blue Origin is developing, and even the Falcon Heavy under development by reusable-launch rival SpaceX.

Bezos said the lander’s payload would be scalable, with an SLS launch enabling 10,000 lb. to the lunar surface and smaller payloads on less capable launchers achieved by reducing the propellant load and number of descent engines.

He says the lander mass would be scalable by reducing number of engines and propellant load, in order to match the payload requirements. So if Blue Moon travels on SLS, the overall mass envelope would be 10,000 lbs - both lander and payload would have to fit within that. What kind of mass envelopes are possible with the other launchers mentioned?


Online savuporo

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #18 on: 03/09/2017 11:15 PM »
What propulsion will it use?
Not a pump-fed engine. Or an electric pump, perhaps.
And why NOT pump-fed? Smaller pumpfed engines have been developed. The Fregat stage is pumpfed but half the thrust. Do you have any evidence that it's not pump-fed? If it's just your opinion, say so. Don't state it as if it's a fact.

Because going pump fed from no deep space flight heritage is simply infeasible, considering it hasn't been done before.
State of the art of deep space main engines is still hypergolic, pressure fed.
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Online TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #19 on: 03/09/2017 11:47 PM »
If Be3 is doing deorbit burn then pressure feed should be fine for landing engines. These landers are not meant to fly again.

Blue must have a long term use for them, the most obvious is for storing extracted water. Maybe habitats.

Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #20 on: 03/10/2017 04:24 AM »
I was just wondering why methalox in particular for those landing thrusters. You guys have said it's the easiest cryoprop, and that it may be a spinoff of BE-4.

What about LH2-Fluorine? It's got superior Isp, and the Moon has no ozone layer or atmosphere to contaminate, and the mass savings it provides could be significant when lugging it all the way to the Moon.

A 1-way lander that isn't reused wouldn't have to worry so much about the higher reactivity of fluorine posing greater corrosion risk over time.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #21 on: 03/10/2017 06:01 AM »
What about LH2-Fluorine? It's got superior Isp, and the Moon has no ozone layer or atmosphere to contaminate, and the mass savings it provides could be significant when lugging it all the way to the Moon.

Unfortunately, LF2 is extremely toxic and corrosive. It would be a nightmare if something went wrong on the ground. Being cryogenic, you'd need to take extreme care with the boil-off. Its so powerful, that it will burn with water, with an Isp similar to that of solid motors!

Propellants  MR   dp (kg/L)  ve (m/s) Id (Ns/L)
F2/H2       14.6   0.6553     4704     3083
F2/H2O       2.1   1.2942     2876     3722
F2/HTP       0.88  1.4689     2966     4357
F2/NH3       3.4   1.1770     4115     4843
F2/B2H6      6.4   1.1314     4416     4996
F2/N2H4      2.3   1.3073     4212     5506
« Last Edit: 03/10/2017 06:07 AM by Steven Pietrobon »
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Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #22 on: 03/10/2017 12:42 PM »
Yeah, I know Fluorine is famously toxic, but would that matter so much on the Moon? Okay, you wouldn't want any mishaps on Earth, but in the lunar environment the toxicity wouldn't be terribly relevant. Meanwhile there's a fair amount of Fluorine in some of the lunar rocks:


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016703711003450

Online savuporo

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #23 on: 03/10/2017 12:59 PM »
Yeah, I know Fluorine is famously toxic, but would that matter so much on the Moon?..
It's not about the target operational environment. The problem is that someone would have to spend a good decade doing development with it, and then shift to operations with fueling and spacecraft integration issues etc.

There is a good reason why a reasonable part of industry is searching for other alternatives to hydrazine as well. Going fluorine would be a step backwards, not forward.
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Offline brickmack

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #24 on: 03/10/2017 03:08 PM »
Because going pump fed from no deep space flight heritage is simply infeasible, considering it hasn't been done before.
State of the art of deep space main engines is still hypergolic, pressure fed.

Theres no such thing as a "deep space main engine", the statement is meaningless. Any engine becomes a deep space main engine once you take it to deep space and use it. The only functional difference between this application and a standard upper stage is time on-orbit, and theres plenty of examples of pump fed engines lasting far longer in space than is necessary for this

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #25 on: 03/11/2017 04:19 AM »
What propulsion will it use?
Not a pump-fed engine. Or an electric pump, perhaps.
And why NOT pump-fed? Smaller pumpfed engines have been developed. The Fregat stage is pumpfed but half the thrust. Do you have any evidence that it's not pump-fed? If it's just your opinion, say so. Don't state it as if it's a fact.

Because going pump fed from no deep space flight heritage is simply infeasible, considering it hasn't been done before.
State of the art of deep space main engines is still hypergolic, pressure fed.
Fregat, which is the small pump-fed example I used, is as deep space as anything. I believe it can last for days in orbit in between burns, which is enough to go all the way to the Moon.

Blue Origin hasn't even done anything orbital yet, but that doesn't seem to be stopping their ambitions, so don't let that count as evidence it wouldn't be pumpfed.
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Offline Kryten

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #26 on: 03/11/2017 09:21 AM »
Fregat, which is the small pump-fed example I used, is as deep space as anything. I believe it can last for days in orbit in between burns, which is enough to go all the way to the Moon.
Fregat's ancestor, the Phobos probes' ADU propulsion unit, used the same engine for Mars orbit insertion after a six month cruise.

Offline Dante80

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #27 on: 03/13/2017 01:49 AM »
I don't think that the lander will utilize BE-3. Bezos never said that explicitly (he talked about the system using the BE-3U, not the lander itself), and he also talked about the lander having multiple descent engines.

BE-2 comes to mind. I might be wrong on this of course.

Edit: Saw the quote above about methalox thrusters. My bad.
« Last Edit: 03/13/2017 08:09 AM by Dante80 »

Offline Norm38

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #28 on: 03/13/2017 01:49 PM »
But of course more recent experience with vertical rocket landings on Earth (F9, New Shepard) suggest a different approach might be possible on the Moon as well, i.le. don't bother with hovering, just hoverslam onto the surface.

Hoverslam landings  are probably fine once a base is operational and a nice big landing field has been cleared.  But for early missions, how much imaging resolution will they have before hand to know they're not coming down on top of a big boulder, or other terrain they can't land on?  They may need to be able to hover and translate. 

Online savuporo

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #29 on: 03/13/2017 03:26 PM »
Because going pump fed from no deep space flight heritage is simply infeasible, considering it hasn't been done before.
State of the art of deep space main engines is still hypergolic, pressure fed.

Theres no such thing as a "deep space main engine", the statement is meaningless. ..
Yes  there is.

BT-4, Leros variants, AJ10 derivatives and so on. Common characteristics are low complexity, high redundancy, extensive flight heritage.

Indeed it appears KTDU-425A/KRD-425A/11D425A flew to Mars and fired - i wasn't aware at all. And according to sources, some predecessors from the S5 engine series, 11D417/KRD-417 flown on Luna 15-24 were already pump-fed as well. ( I'm now really interested in obtaining a copy of Bolonkin A. A. The Development of Soviet Rocket Engines, Delphic Ass., 1991, 134 p. ISBN 1-55831-130-0 that would probably be the authoritative source documenting the evolution of it )

Note that this engine series underwent extensive development iterations and multiple spaceflights before it became part of Ye-8-5, Ye-8-5M, ADU and eventually Fregat.

Fregat has also had a spectacular series of malfunctions, but more often than not they have been control systems related than engine/plumbing.

Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline sdsds

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #30 on: 03/14/2017 07:36 AM »
how much imaging resolution will they have before hand to know they're not coming down on top of a big boulder, or other terrain they can't land on?

Maybe they could locate a landing site with synthetic aperture radar?

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a miniSAR-equipped aircraft flying within 10 kilometers over a golf course "could resolve the fact that there were two golf balls 4 inches apart"
http://www.aviationtoday.com/2006/09/01/product-focus-sar-antennas-increased-abilities-smaller-size/
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Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #31 on: 03/15/2017 05:38 PM »
Or maybe even just LIDAR?

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #32 on: 04/05/2017 04:28 PM »
Real design or just artist's impression? UPDATE: from other tweets, think this is real design

Quote
Blue Origin's Rob Meyerson discusses proposed "Blue Moon" lander for supplying lunar settlement under public-private partnership. #33SS

https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/849653603308589058

Edit to add clearer angle from:
https://twitter.com/timmermansr/status/849652340076539904
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 04:46 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #33 on: 04/05/2017 07:45 PM »
Here's a write-up by Alan Boyle of what Rob Meyerson said today:

http://www.geekwire.com/2017/blue-origin-sneak-peek-blue-moon-lunar-lander/

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #34 on: 04/05/2017 08:23 PM »
The concept as shown appears to be a cargo lander with legs that telescope but do not fold, and given the selections of launch vehicles, size, and energies required, is either hydrolox or methalox, handling LOI, PDI, landing, and possibly ascent/ EOI (if reused).

Note the thrust can be accepted by an adapter at the top - perhaps the concept is to launch upside down, tanks and engine up. Such a concept could be adapted after the design matured for crew as well as cargo, with various additions including docking adapter.

This design isn't well suited to sorties but more follows the model of Altair, FLO, and Russian reusable landers in terms of payload delivery and operations tempo.

Online Navier–Stokes

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #35 on: 04/05/2017 08:33 PM »
The concept as shown appears to be a cargo lander with legs that telescope but do not fold, and given the selections of launch vehicles, size, and energies required, is either hydrolox or methalox, handling LOI, PDI, landing, and possibly ascent/ EOI (if reused).

Note the thrust can be accepted by an adapter at the top - perhaps the concept is to launch upside down, tanks and engine up. Such a concept could be adapted after the design matured for crew as well as cargo, with various additions including docking adapter.

This design isn't well suited to sorties but more follows the model of Altair, FLO, and Russian reusable landers in terms of payload delivery and operations tempo.
According to the Aviation Week article in March, BE-3U handles TLI through PDI. Landing is handled by 11,000-lb methalox descent engines. The number of descent engines is scalable based on the launch vehicle.

Edit: The phrasing in the Aviation Week article isn't particularly clear with respect to use of the BE-3U during descent and could possibly be interpreted as referring to LOI: "It [BE-3U] would retain enough capability after that to begin slowing the vehicle toward its target on the lunar surface, he said."
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 08:40 PM by Navier–Stokes »

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #36 on: 04/05/2017 11:26 PM »
The concept as shown appears to be a cargo lander with legs that telescope but do not fold, and given the selections of launch vehicles, size, and energies required, is either hydrolox or methalox, handling LOI, PDI, landing, and possibly ascent/ EOI (if reused).

Note the thrust can be accepted by an adapter at the top - perhaps the concept is to launch upside down, tanks and engine up. Such a concept could be adapted after the design matured for crew as well as cargo, with various additions including docking adapter.

This design isn't well suited to sorties but more follows the model of Altair, FLO, and Russian reusable landers in terms of payload delivery and operations tempo.
According to the Aviation Week article in March,
My comments (as I've highlighted above) are solely directed to the Rob Meyerson graphic.

They likely don't apply to the Av week article. You'll have to ask Rob/BO to reconcile the two.

Quote
BE-3U handles TLI through PDI. Landing is handled by 11,000-lb methalox descent engines. The number of descent engines is scalable based on the launch vehicle.

Edit: The phrasing in the Aviation Week article isn't particularly clear with respect to use of the BE-3U during descent and could possibly be interpreted as referring to LOI: "It [BE-3U] would retain enough capability after that to begin slowing the vehicle toward its target on the lunar surface, he said."
Please note significant discrepancies between these two.

1) Four large tanks, not six. If you have three (LH2, LOx, LCH4/propane) you can't do that with four and handle TLI through PDI, less landing.

2) The vehicle does not show propulsion/engines - however, from sizing and leg extension, you can barely fit a BE-3U bell, and likely you'd desire a larger expansion ratio with an in-space propulsion, especially for TLI/LOI.

3) Likely you can use BE-3U for braking part of landing, and the following concern of landing is that of terminal burn for landing shock mitigation. Just as F9 lands with three engines and then cuts off two leaving one, you could use a tiny set of thrusters, possibly variants of the methalox RCS thrusters BO has already tested at its Kent location. However, none of this is visible from the concept shown.

Another item - if this is part of a scale-able lander concept, one would have to assume that the concept shown is the smallest "pathfinder" version, as nothing presents itself as using the capability of a hydrolox lander (see for comparison ULA's DTAL lander that does show scaling as a full-up lunar hydrolox architecture including  propellant depots.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 11:35 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Online Navier–Stokes

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #37 on: 04/05/2017 11:48 PM »
My comments (as I've highlighted above) are solely directed to the Rob Meyerson graphic.
They likely don't apply to the Av week article. You'll have to ask Rob/BO to reconcile the two.
The Aviation Week article is only a month old at this point and was sourced directly from comments by Jeff Bezos. It's possible that the design has changed since then or that Frank Morring may have misrepresented some of the details; however, I am inclined to believe that both descriptions represent the same concept.

Please note significant discrepancies between these two.
2) The vehicle does not show propulsion/engines - however, from sizing and leg extension, you can barely fit a BE-3U bell, and likely you'd desire a larger expansion ratio with an in-space propulsion, especially for TLI/LOI.
I suspect that Blue Moon may be actually be two stage vehicle: a BE-3U hydrolox crasher stage and methalox lander.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 11:49 PM by Navier–Stokes »

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #38 on: 04/06/2017 12:57 AM »
The 2stage would make sense. The BE3U crasher would be variation of NG 3rd stage which is also likely to be basis of Orbitals NGLV upper stage.

Offline redliox

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #39 on: 04/06/2017 01:13 AM »
So far it's pleasing to hear about the Blue Moon Lander.  Perhaps it will be to Luna what Red Dragon may be to Mars.  It's nice to see another company showing it can be as ambitious as SpaceX.

Although I favor Mars slightly more than Luna, I do want this to pan out.  A cargo vehicle either to the surface or the (Gateway I think is what it's being called now?) Lunar space station is a decent start and the combination of a hydrolox upper/crasher stage with a methalox landing system is reasonable; bulky compared to the old LEM but when you think about it the LEM was a small, borderline-improvised rush job made for the Cold War.  Whatever we put on the Moon this time around needs to deliver more and perform more specific functions.

It's no SpaceX ITS but this could be made reality more swiftly.
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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #40 on: 04/06/2017 02:15 AM »
Please note that no one has demonstrated a hydrolox stage with ZBO necessary for such a mission.

Also, a methalox propulsion lander would need a similar means as well.

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #41 on: 04/06/2017 02:37 AM »
Why do we need zero boil-off, again? Oh right, we don't. Small amount of boil-off is fine.
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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #42 on: 04/06/2017 03:29 AM »
Why do we need zero boil-off, again? Oh right, we don't. Small amount of boil-off is fine.
Ok.

Please calculate the boil-off for a hydrolox stage that launches to parking orbit, does TLI, coasts 3-4 days, does LOI to LLO, two orbits - about 8-10 hours, does PDI,  and hour of life and perhaps a braking burn.

You'll find irrespective of the other requirement of continuous power to keep the stage alive (something like a kilowatt base, improvable with stage power downs / bring ups, which are a bit chancy beyond prelaunch conditioning) that you'll lose a minimum of 60-70% of your props over that time.

If you don't, I'd really love to see how you bring that off, and so would a lot of other talented folk. Oh, and that's not all - remember its an US and all that goes with it, including the mass budget to do so.

In short, it's all about weight budget and getting payload to the surface. With ZBF your trades for preserving mass look the best.

If we're to be doing Amazon Prime to the lunar surface, perhaps you don't want to end up just delivering a bag of Kona coffee with each mission?

Offline daveklingler

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #43 on: 04/06/2017 06:05 AM »
Why do we need zero boil-off, again? Oh right, we don't. Small amount of boil-off is fine.
Ok.

Please calculate the boil-off for a hydrolox stage that launches to parking orbit, does TLI, coasts 3-4 days, does LOI to LLO, two orbits - about 8-10 hours, does PDI,  and hour of life and perhaps a braking burn.

With passive thermal management and 40 MLI layers, about 8% annually for an EELV-sized hydrogen tank, or about 2-3% per year for the same number of layers on a 200 mt tank.  I think the claim was pretty close to zero for ACES with IVF.  Unless I'm missing something? 

ACES with a XEUS kit?

http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Upper_Stages/ACES-Stage_Concept-AIAASpace_2015.pdf

« Last Edit: 04/06/2017 06:06 AM by daveklingler »

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #45 on: 04/08/2017 01:20 AM »
Or one can just put 25 tons on the lunar surface and return to orbit with something a little more elaborate.  :)

http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Upper_Stages/ACES-Stage_Concept-AIAASpace_2015.pdf

I have a sneaking suspicion that Blue and ULA will find more areas of cooperation over the next few years.  A NG would do a nice job tanking up an ACES depot in L2.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #46 on: 04/26/2017 03:01 PM »
From today's senate hearing:

Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust

Meyerson: Blue willing to invest in “Blue Moon” lunar lander concept in partnership with NASA; return to Moon worthy national goal.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/857242844934877185

Quote
Eric Berger ‏Verified account @SciGuySpace

Eric Berger Retweeted Jeff Foust

Willing to invest "significantly." Which IMO is significant.
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/857242959653351424

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Blue Moon Lunar Lander
« Reply #47 on: 04/26/2017 08:47 PM »
From today's senate hearing:

Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust

Meyerson: Blue willing to invest in “Blue Moon” lunar lander concept in partnership with NASA; return to Moon worthy national goal.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/857242844934877185

Quote
Eric Berger ‏Verified account @SciGuySpace

Eric Berger Retweeted Jeff Foust

Willing to invest "significantly." Which IMO is significant.
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/857242959653351424
Ok, so now it is only a question of When not If.

It will happen, but when will the first launch of the BML occur?
Did he mention a NET date for first landing?