Author Topic: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars  (Read 13385 times)


Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #1 on: 06/09/2017 09:54 PM »
Great article, and yes great images to support the story.

While the support of a well-watched advisory board is good, it does not change the political calculation for getting the overall DSG/DST plan approved and funded.

One thing I liked was:

"...NASA expected to publish individual documents for each system, such as environmental control and life support, power, data, storage, etc., that would contain voluntary standards rather than requirements, with the hope that both international and industry partners would be able to develop hardware and software that could easily be incorporated into the overall architecture, per the overview to the ASAP."

In this day and age of distributed contributions (think Github, open source s/w, etc.) I think providing a framework for identifying the known issues and being a "repository" for solutions makes a lot of sense. It leverages not only the "wisdom of the crowds", but also the resources of the planet. To me that was the most noteworthy part of the article.

As to the Deep Space Gateway, it's difficult to build things when you don't have very specific use cases for them. And I'm not talking about theoretical use cases, but real use cases that "customers" are vocal about needing to be solved. For instance, from the article:

“In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached.

As of today there are really only two likely spacecraft that could use the DSG, the Orion MPCV and the Dragon Crew - I'm ignoring Soyuz for now.

We know that even though SpaceX is being paid to send two humans around the Moon, otherwise they are focused on building interplanetary spacecraft that can start to colonize Mars. So I don't see SpaceX themselves being interested in the DSG. Maybe a SpaceX customer would want to go, but I think there is a limited market for that.

Which leaves the Orion MPCV as the primary spacecraft that can reach the DSG. But because of the cost of the Orion and the SLS, and the production lead times for both with current factory capabilities, we're talking about 42 days in space per year at the DSG. Compared to the 6-12 months current U.S. astronauts spend on the ISS, I'm not sure what the value proposition is for spending 42 days in space. Sure the location is unique, but what is being learned in 12% of a year at the DSG vs 100% of the year at the ISS?

I mention that because there will need to be sponsors of the legislation for the DSG/DST in both the House and Senate, and they will need to be able to explain the value proposition to their fellow legislators and get them to set aside their priorities in order to fund this effort.

In internet startup terminology, I'm not seeing a "killer app" with the DSG, just a "nice to have". Things that are "nice to have" don't get funding priority, so I think NASA needs to work harder on identifying and explaining what the value proposition is for the Deep Space Gateway.

My $0.02
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 yg1968

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #2 on: 06/09/2017 10:23 PM »
I thought this quote in the article was also interesting:

Quote from: ASAP
“It would include a power and propulsion bus and a habitat, and would incorporate a logistics strategy that could involve cargo resupply or crew transportation flights by industry or international partners, such as what is done now for the ISS.”

Given that only one SLS is planned per year, Orion would also only be launched once a year. If NASA were to decide that it wants 2 or 3 crewed flights to the DSG per year, it could contract SpaceX or another commercial company for the other flights. That would be an interesting scenario.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2017 10:27 PM by yg1968 »

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #3 on: 06/09/2017 10:29 PM »
The 'killer app' for the DSG is sending people to Mars on the Deep Space Transport. To save fuel etc. the big ships will return to the DSG rather than LEO. An Orion could pick up the astronauts and return them to the Earth's surface.

IMHO The DSG day job will be sending people and cargo to the lunar surface. Reusable lunar landers will need to be parked and refuelled somewhere between missions.

Reusable LEO to DSG and back transfer vehicles will be useful. SEP for cargo and chemical rocket engines for people. Providing the LEO spacestation, DSG and transfer vehicle have NASA Docking Ports then NASA can simply buy tickets for the 3-4 day journey rather than pay for the vehicle's development.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #4 on: 06/09/2017 11:26 PM »
The 'killer app' for the DSG is sending people to Mars on the Deep Space Transport.

OK. Although at the funding level NASA has today industry experts don't think NASA will ever get to Mars, so at best this is a use case that is far in the future. Something more near-term is needed...

Quote
IMHO The DSG day job will be sending people and cargo to the lunar surface. Reusable lunar landers will need to be parked and refuelled somewhere between missions.

OK. So the near-term "killer app" for the Deep Space Gateway is a U.S. Government program to return humans to the surface of the Moon? Why hasn't this been made an explicit goal then?

Quote
Reusable LEO to DSG and back transfer vehicles will be useful. SEP for cargo and chemical rocket engines for people. Providing the LEO spacestation, DSG and transfer vehicle have NASA Docking Ports then NASA can simply buy tickets for the 3-4 day journey rather than pay for the vehicle's development.

All great stuff, but we shouldn't conflate personal desire with U.S. Government needs - because the USG doesn't have a current "need" to do any of that (as defined by USG policy and funding).

One way to look at the situation with the DSG/DST is whether this proposal would have been made regardless if the SLS & Orion existed or not? In other words, is the goal what's important, of the use of the SLS & Orion? And would the U.S. Government be willing to give up the SLS and Orion in order to pursue the DSG/DST effort if needed?

Those are questions the President needs to answer since it should be the President that proposes and supports such efforts. Obama had other priorities that he supported, some that succeeded and some that didn't, so we'll have to see if Trump is willing to attach his name to a long term effort too.
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 okan170

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #5 on: 06/10/2017 12:13 AM »
All great stuff, but we shouldn't conflate personal desire with U.S. Government needs - because the USG doesn't have a current "need" to do any of that (as defined by USG policy and funding).

One way to look at the situation with the DSG/DST is whether this proposal would have been made regardless if the SLS & Orion existed or not? In other words, is the goal what's important, of the use of the SLS & Orion? And would the U.S. Government be willing to give up the SLS and Orion in order to pursue the DSG/DST effort if needed?

As always, we come back to your assertion that we... shouldn't do anything at all until we 100% have congress and the president agreeing with full budget in-hand (which is never.)   ::)

We have a golden opportunity to do something that commercial and international partners are both interested in contributing to and using.  Its not an ideal plan, but its pretty good for what we have to work with and what money there is.  We can spend years arguing about what should be done or we can make a start on providing our own do-able cislunar toehold.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #6 on: 06/10/2017 12:31 AM »
The 'killer app' for the DSG is sending people to Mars on the Deep Space Transport.

OK. Although at the funding level NASA has today industry experts don't think NASA will ever get to Mars, so at best this is a use case that is far in the future. Something more near-term is needed...

Quote
IMHO The DSG day job will be sending people and cargo to the lunar surface. Reusable lunar landers will need to be parked and refuelled somewhere between missions.

OK. So the near-term "killer app" for the Deep Space Gateway is a U.S. Government program to return humans to the surface of the Moon? Why hasn't this been made an explicit goal then?
{snip}

Obama did not ask for it, DSG is being managed by the Mars team and NASA would have to pay for an explicit goal. Providing support but no money to Lunar CATALYST industry/NASA partnership hopefully will produce several cargo lunar landers one of which is big enough to carry people. (The cabin will have to be a later project.) NASA is already looking for lunar surface payloads.
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-seeks-additional-information-on-small-lunar-surface-payloads

Offline northenarc

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #7 on: 06/10/2017 02:16 AM »
 I don't generally like to rain on space parades, and mods can pull this if they think it doesn't belong. I just feel this entire direction is a waste of time and money, it isn't going to get us to Mars, at least not anytime soon, and wouldn't even do that much to facilitate a moon base or missions that can't be done in other ways. I have trouble seeing the advantages, all this does is add another layer of unnecessary complexity. It sounds like something created to eat budgets. Sorry to be cynical.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #8 on: 06/10/2017 02:52 AM »
I don't generally like to rain on space parades, and mods can pull this if they think it doesn't belong. I just feel this entire direction is a waste of time and money, it isn't going to get us to Mars, at least not anytime soon, and wouldn't even do that much to facilitate a moon base or missions that can't be done in other ways. I have trouble seeing the advantages, all this does is add another layer of unnecessary complexity. It sounds like something created to eat budgets. Sorry to be cynical.

NASA has a long term problem. It takes about a decade to develop a major machine. Unlike the Apollo days it can only afford to develop one major machine at a time. Going to Mars will require several new machines. It has chosen to work on an important component - long term life support. ECLSS are needed in capsules, transfer vehicles, spacestations, landers, spacesuits, planetary buildings and manned rovers. It has decided to flight test the ECLSS in a spacestation's habitat.

Offline yg1968

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #9 on: 06/10/2017 03:10 AM »
I don't generally like to rain on space parades, and mods can pull this if they think it doesn't belong. I just feel this entire direction is a waste of time and money, it isn't going to get us to Mars, at least not anytime soon, and wouldn't even do that much to facilitate a moon base or missions that can't be done in other ways. I have trouble seeing the advantages, all this does is add another layer of unnecessary complexity. It sounds like something created to eat budgets. Sorry to be cynical.

I disagree. Regardless of where we go, we need habitats. I don't think that we are going to Mars any time soon. So this is what we get in the mean time. But this has to be done cheaply. If it's expensive, I agree that it then becomes a distraction.

Offline northenarc

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #10 on: 06/10/2017 03:13 AM »
I don't generally like to rain on space parades, and mods can pull this if they think it doesn't belong. I just feel this entire direction is a waste of time and money, it isn't going to get us to Mars, at least not anytime soon, and wouldn't even do that much to facilitate a moon base or missions that can't be done in other ways. I have trouble seeing the advantages, all this does is add another layer of unnecessary complexity. It sounds like something created to eat budgets. Sorry to be cynical.

NASA has a long term problem. It takes about a decade to develop a major machine. Unlike the Apollo days it can only afford to develop one major machine at a time. Going to Mars will require several new machines. It has chosen to work on an important component - long term life support. ECLSS are needed in capsules, transfer vehicles, spacestations, landers, spacesuits, planetary buildings and manned rovers. It has decided to flight test the ECLSS in a spacestation's habitat.
  I do not deny your points, NASA is doing the best they feel they can with the current circumstances, doing something different with the same money might well require unpopular things. We can blame the last decade of conflicted and uncertain direction from all quarters for the current state of affairs. I think a small lunar base would better serve all of our long term exploration goals for getting to Mars, a cislunar stations' only advantage is not needing to be landed or landed at, we could always send out smaller modules for fueling if we decided to go that direction. And we really don't want to hire the military industrial complex as the only gas station for interplanetary missions, and it sounds like they'd love to have that monopoly.     

Offline RonM

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #11 on: 06/10/2017 03:39 AM »
Each Orion launch on SLS Block 1B will have about 10 tonnes payload capacity unused. NASA is trying to do something with that excess capacity. So, DSG is actually a pretty good idea considering the situation.

If DSG turns out to be just a tin can for astronauts to sit in, it won't be very useful. If our ISS partners join up with NASA and add lunar landers, especially reusable ones to be docked at DSG, then it will be money well spent.

SLS and Orion are Congressional pet projects. They will continue to be funded for the foreseeable future. Might as well get some good use out of them.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #12 on: 06/10/2017 03:56 AM »
  I do not deny your points, NASA is doing the best they feel they can with the current circumstances, doing something different with the same money might well require unpopular things. We can blame the last decade of conflicted and uncertain direction from all quarters for the current state of affairs. I think a small lunar base would better serve all of our long term exploration goals for getting to Mars, a cislunar stations' only advantage is not needing to be landed or landed at, we could always send out smaller modules for fueling if we decided to go that direction. And we really don't want to hire the military industrial complex as the only gas station for interplanetary missions, and it sounds like they'd love to have that monopoly.     

Since they are self catering I sometimes think of these spacestations as YMCA in space.

Out of the way hotels probably have experience with logistics. Bigelow both builds and runs hotels. The oil companies run gas stations and are used to drilling off road. Walmart may be able to submit a very different bid.

Offline okan170

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #13 on: 06/10/2017 03:59 AM »
I think a small lunar base would better serve all of our long term exploration goals for getting to Mars, a cislunar stations' only advantage is not needing to be landed or landed at, we could always send out smaller modules for fueling if we decided to go that direction. And we really don't want to hire the military industrial complex as the only gas station for interplanetary missions, and it sounds like they'd love to have that monopoly.     

One big advantage of the station is that, according to Gerst, it can be done within the relatively flat NASA budgets.  A surface base would be nice, but it requires commitment and funding that is not there and may not materialize for some time.  This is what we can do now with what we have and even Bezos has expressed interest in basing a lander there.

We also don't want to have the only gas station held by corporate space interests instead of the military industrial complex if thats what you're implying.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #14 on: 06/10/2017 04:15 AM »
{snip}

We also don't want to have the only gas station held by corporate space interests instead of the military industrial complex if thats what you're implying.

If there is only one space gas station then it is a natural monopoly. NASA could try running it itself but since the propellant depot will hope to sell fuel to commercially run space-lines the two boss problem will make management a mess. A depot paid for by NASA but leased out to an operator may work. (See Britain's motorway service stations for a terrestrial equivalent.)

NASA and the FAA can regulate the propellant depot. If the operator misbehaves they can threaten to take it to the Monopolies Commission. I do not know what the Commission will do but the operator is unlikely to like it.

Online su27k

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #15 on: 06/10/2017 04:21 AM »
I don't generally like to rain on space parades, and mods can pull this if they think it doesn't belong. I just feel this entire direction is a waste of time and money, it isn't going to get us to Mars, at least not anytime soon, and wouldn't even do that much to facilitate a moon base or missions that can't be done in other ways. I have trouble seeing the advantages, all this does is add another layer of unnecessary complexity. It sounds like something created to eat budgets. Sorry to be cynical.

NASA has a long term problem. It takes about a decade to develop a major machine. Unlike the Apollo days it can only afford to develop one major machine at a time. Going to Mars will require several new machines. It has chosen to work on an important component - long term life support. ECLSS are needed in capsules, transfer vehicles, spacestations, landers, spacesuits, planetary buildings and manned rovers. It has decided to flight test the ECLSS in a spacestation's habitat.

To quote the article "“In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached."

Please explain how is a 42 days ECLSS qualifies as long term life support?

Online redliox

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #16 on: 06/10/2017 04:37 AM »
Finally content where I can use some of Nathan's amazing L2 renders on the DSG! ;D

ASAP being positive about something!
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/06/asap-nasas-dsg-stepping-stone-mars/

They are definitely beautiful to look at  :)
I don't generally like to rain on space parades, and mods can pull this if they think it doesn't belong. I just feel this entire direction is a waste of time and money, it isn't going to get us to Mars, at least not anytime soon, and wouldn't even do that much to facilitate a moon base or missions that can't be done in other ways. I have trouble seeing the advantages, all this does is add another layer of unnecessary complexity. It sounds like something created to eat budgets. Sorry to be cynical.

I disagree. Regardless of where we go, we need habitats. I don't think that we are going to Mars any time soon. So this is what we get in the mean time. But this has to be done cheaply. If it's expensive, I agree that it then becomes a distraction.

I agree with you both: it's not really required to get to Mars but it is the only thing NASA could possibly afford in the near future.

My personal opinion is mixed, in addition to what I just mentioned the DSG would be good for the Moon, but it's a distraction for Mars.  What would be better would be to develop an actual landing vehicle for the respective celestial bodies, not so much an ISS 2.0-Luna Deluxe.  Telescopes and experiments can be sent up and act largely autonomously; the Hubble for instance benefited from sporadic human service, but a 24/7 human presence would have compromised its mission (outgassing from life support, ect. were one reason astronomy options for Freedom and then ISS weren't prominent).

As for whether the DSG or DST will materialize...it will largely depend on the success of the SLS firstly.  Secondly, we need to see what the current and future administrations will do (not to get political, but frankly I think Mr Trump is too preoccupied with 'other' matters not to mention I think being explained the impossibility of reaching Mars within a single term threw his interest in NASA away).  I'm only giving it a 40% chance of happening; ARM I'd have given 10% on a generous day for comparison.

I think what could help the DSG's case would be listing a very specific set of objectives it could accomplish.  Testing out self-sufficient and enclosed life support could be considered one, but it shouldn't be the only one.  If its main occupation is near the Moon, include some remote lunar science.  After that, perhaps arrange for servicing other craft is Cislunar space - hypothetically the DSG is supposed to move anywhere, so it could visit a lunar-Lagrange Hubble and refuel and fix it for example, perhaps with a larger tool set than the STS had.  Ensure it is more specific than the ISS yet useful.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #17 on: 06/10/2017 04:47 AM »

To quote the article "“In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached."

Please explain how is a 42 days ECLSS qualifies as long term life support?

After 10 visits that is 10 * 42 = 420 days. More than a year.

The ECLSS in capsules can be serviced every time they return to Earth but the DSG's ECLSS can only expect its consumables to be replaced. NASA hopes to use the same design of ECLSS on its Mars trips.

Offline Chalmer

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #18 on: 06/10/2017 04:48 AM »
I am in two minds about this DSG.

On the one hand NASA needs to find their next big project after ISS, on the other hand this has some of the hallmarks of a make work program to utilize the SLS/ORION.

I general I like the idea of a way-station where spacecraft’s can refuel and astronauts rest/resupply before the next leg of a journey either to the moon or mars. For that reason, DSG is appealing.

But it should not be a substitute for LEO infrastructure such as a zero-gravity research, tech-demo etc. such as what is happening on ISS. Now commercial might take over this role with after ISS, with NASA as anchor tenant, but NASA would probably still need to initiate a COTS type program for that to happen. 

NASA has forced itself out of LEO in some ways with all its talk of handing over LEO to commercial operators and SLS/ORION is for BLEO. SLS/ORION only justification other than pure pork lies in its superior per launch BLEO capability.

So, given the need to justify and utilize SLS/ORION what to do in BLEO, that is within the flat budget profile?
DSG allows NASA to utilize SLS/ORION to build an infrastructure capacity. A make work program for SLS/ORION that also delivers some permanent value.

The big fear is that a DSG program under the SLS umbrella so to speak will mean its cost will be enormous and ends up never flying or constant being revised since political forces align to keep it going no matter the high costs and low return.  Much like SLS and ORION.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2017 04:49 AM by Chalmer »

Online Lars-J

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #19 on: 06/10/2017 05:19 AM »

To quote the article "“In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached."

Please explain how is a 42 days ECLSS qualifies as long term life support?

After 10 visits that is 10 * 42 = 420 days. More than a year.

The ECLSS in capsules can be serviced every time they return to Earth but the DSG's ECLSS can only expect its consumables to be replaced. NASA hopes to use the same design of ECLSS on its Mars trips.

But if the ECLSS needs to be replenished every 42 days, you certainly aren't getting to Mars. Or am I missing something?

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #20 on: 06/10/2017 05:28 AM »
I am in two minds about this DSG.

On the one hand NASA needs to find their next big project after ISS, on the other hand this has some of the hallmarks of a make work program to utilize the SLS/ORION.

I general I like the idea of a way-station where spacecraft’s can refuel and astronauts rest/resupply before the next leg of a journey either to the moon or mars. For that reason, DSG is appealing.

But it should not be a substitute for LEO infrastructure such as a zero-gravity research, tech-demo etc. such as what is happening on ISS. Now commercial might take over this role with after ISS, with NASA as anchor tenant, but NASA would probably still need to initiate a COTS type program for that to happen. 

NASA has forced itself out of LEO in some ways with all its talk of handing over LEO to commercial operators and SLS/ORION is for BLEO. SLS/ORION only justification other than pure pork lies in its superior per launch BLEO capability.

So, given the need to justify and utilize SLS/ORION what to do in BLEO, that is within the flat budget profile?
DSG allows NASA to utilize SLS/ORION to build an infrastructure capacity. A make work program for SLS/ORION that also delivers some permanent value.

The big fear is that a DSG program under the SLS umbrella so to speak will mean its cost will be enormous and ends up never flying or constant being revised since political forces align to keep it going no matter the high costs and low return.  Much like SLS and ORION.


The prototype machines are being developed under Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP).
https://www.nasa.gov/nextstep

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #21 on: 06/10/2017 05:31 AM »

To quote the article "“In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached."

Please explain how is a 42 days ECLSS qualifies as long term life support?

After 10 visits that is 10 * 42 = 420 days. More than a year.

The ECLSS in capsules can be serviced every time they return to Earth but the DSG's ECLSS can only expect its consumables to be replaced. NASA hopes to use the same design of ECLSS on its Mars trips.

But if the ECLSS needs to be replenished every 42 days, you certainly aren't getting to Mars. Or am I missing something?

Tank sizes can be stretched. Also I did not say the ECLSS was replenished each time. I suspect this is an argument that NASA and the contactors are having.

Offline Chalmer

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #22 on: 06/10/2017 06:18 AM »
I am in two minds about this DSG.

On the one hand NASA needs to find their next big project after ISS, on the other hand this has some of the hallmarks of a make work program to utilize the SLS/ORION.

I general I like the idea of a way-station where spacecraft’s can refuel and astronauts rest/resupply before the next leg of a journey either to the moon or mars. For that reason, DSG is appealing.

But it should not be a substitute for LEO infrastructure such as a zero-gravity research, tech-demo etc. such as what is happening on ISS. Now commercial might take over this role with after ISS, with NASA as anchor tenant, but NASA would probably still need to initiate a COTS type program for that to happen. 

NASA has forced itself out of LEO in some ways with all its talk of handing over LEO to commercial operators and SLS/ORION is for BLEO. SLS/ORION only justification other than pure pork lies in its superior per launch BLEO capability.

So, given the need to justify and utilize SLS/ORION what to do in BLEO, that is within the flat budget profile?
DSG allows NASA to utilize SLS/ORION to build an infrastructure capacity. A make work program for SLS/ORION that also delivers some permanent value.

The big fear is that a DSG program under the SLS umbrella so to speak will mean its cost will be enormous and ends up never flying or constant being revised since political forces align to keep it going no matter the high costs and low return.  Much like SLS and ORION.


The prototype machines are being developed under Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP).
https://www.nasa.gov/nextstep

I know it is, but that does not preclude a politically motivated  (down-) selection of station provider/designer. Or a massive cost+ program. I see NextSTEP more as a way for NASA to get the ball moving without having a fully funded program of record for a DSG.

In any case the DSG would still be beholden to SLS, since that is the rocket that will put it in space, and service it with crews. As such any DSG would have its fate and schedule tied to SLS and ORION.

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #23 on: 06/10/2017 07:24 AM »
We must look realistically what the HEOMD budget is supposed to support at the end of the next decade:

ISS or its replacement: Despite all the talk about dropping the ISS so as to free money for deep space exploration NASA will not abandon LEO. There is a community that will lobby to ensure that it will keep on having a place and the ability to conduct its experiments. In any case dropping the shuttle did not release tons of money for SLS: The NASA budget reached its Shuttle value only 6-7 years after the last flight. Appropriators used the savings to reduce the deficit rather than redirected it an NASA. The best we can hope is that ISS replacement is cheaper to operate than ISS.

Exploration architecture: That is pretty nebulous so far with DSG being the best option so far. SLS will fly, SpaceX made the mistake of not placing its factory in Alabama. After SLS block II rocket development will take a back stage. The army of engineers needs other challenges. ARM proved too complicated with few fans. The community was willing to take the money, but no one loved the project. 42 days right now does not look much, but I have always understood that the idea is to stretch it to months without resupply. Let's see what will go forward, for now NASA is mostly going by autopilot due to lack of strong direction, let alone large budget

Offline TaurusLittrow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #24 on: 06/10/2017 09:58 AM »

We know that even though SpaceX is being paid to send two humans around the Moon, otherwise they are focused on building interplanetary spacecraft that can start to colonize Mars. So I don't see SpaceX themselves being interested in the DSG. Maybe a SpaceX customer would want to go, but I think there is a limited market for that.


I'm sure SpaceX would be happy to ferry cargo and crew to the DSG if NASA picked up the tab (per the ISS). William Gerstenmaier, who is NASA establishment personified, has given the nod of approval to the notion of a mixed stable of commercial and government rockets and vehicles. “This is a great way to be. I love every one of these rockets. We will figure out some way to use some subset of these as they mature through the industry.” Eventually, extend the current CC/ISS model to the DSG so NASA with its SLS/Orion can focus on Mars.

Offline Chris Bergin

Yep. Gerst hates it when people say "them vs us". He sees everyone as different parts of the same team.

Per the DSG plan. I love it. I love the L2 Gateway and I love this. :)

Great stepping stone approach to deep space human space flight. And building an outpost out there. Heck, *just from a public coolness point of view* (minor, but a point about public support) imagine the photos tweeted from those astros? Those photos from the ISS are probably the most viewed thing relating to NASA etc in the public arena.

Offline TaurusLittrow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #26 on: 06/10/2017 02:34 PM »
Heck, *just from a public coolness point of view* (minor, but a point about public support) imagine the photos tweeted from those astros? Those photos from the ISS are probably the most viewed thing relating to NASA etc in the public arena.

Exactly. I'm (barely) old enough to remember Apollo 8 and where I was when I first saw the grainy BW images of crescent earth. If you can't get exited by HD color images from cislunar space, check your pulse, you may be dead.

Offline ncb1397

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #27 on: 06/10/2017 06:15 PM »

To quote the article "“In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached."

Please explain how is a 42 days ECLSS qualifies as long term life support?

After 10 visits that is 10 * 42 = 420 days. More than a year.

The ECLSS in capsules can be serviced every time they return to Earth but the DSG's ECLSS can only expect its consumables to be replaced. NASA hopes to use the same design of ECLSS on its Mars trips.

But if the ECLSS needs to be replenished every 42 days, you certainly aren't getting to Mars. Or am I missing something?

Presumably the ECLSS can be replenished. You don't throw away the DSG after 42 days to be replaced by another one. Attach 12 resupply craft to hard points on the outer shell and use the arm to dock the resupply craft to one of the ports every 42 days. 42 x 13 = 546 days.

But again, even though you could do Mars with DSG, Gerstenmaier indicates that it really is just a test bed for a better craft down the line(DST). The engines and solar panels at the very least need to be tested long duration in the relevant environment. Wear levels on the solar panels in the precise radiological environment is something that needs to be 100% understood. NASA's Space Radiation Laboratory(NSRL) is only an approximation.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2017 06:22 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline TrevorMonty

The DST is Mars vehicle and its ECLSS will be tested in 1 yr shakedown cruise in cislunar space. The DSG duration limitations are more likely its small habitat space for crew and limited storage.


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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #29 on: 06/10/2017 10:09 PM »
Yep. Gerst hates it when people say "them vs us". He sees everyone as different parts of the same team.

Per the DSG plan. I love it. I love the L2 Gateway and I love this. :)

Great stepping stone approach to deep space human space flight. And building an outpost out there. Heck, *just from a public coolness point of view* (minor, but a point about public support) imagine the photos tweeted from those astros? Those photos from the ISS are probably the most viewed thing relating to NASA etc in the public arena.
I agree. With the NASA human spaceflight budget being lukewarm for the forseeable future - the DSG near the Moon is about all we can expect, so we should get onboard with it. I like the idea better than putting a truck-sized asteroid into lunar orbit anyway. The conditions out a bit beyond the Moon will be very similar to a cruise across the Solar system - except for the radio time delay. They'll get to truly pioneer decent, long-duration ECLSS and radiation mitigation. And being part of the Earth-Moon system: the DSG would get to travel right around the Solar System anyway, as the Earth and Moon will 'drag' it across millions of kms of space every year.

The crew could tele-operate lunar rovers and sample-return probes in virtual realtime and eventually with some Commercial space cooperation; maybe operate reusable, manned lunar landers as well (eventually). Basically; what's not to like?! I also hope NASA gets the budget and mandate to test and develop large scale SEP - it could be a game-changer.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2017 10:09 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #30 on: 06/10/2017 10:11 PM »
...

But again, even though you could do Mars with DSG, Gerstenmaier indicates that it really is just a test bed for a better craft down the line(DST). The engines and solar panels at the very least need to be tested long duration in the relevant environment. Wear levels on the solar panels in the precise radiological environment is something that needs to be 100% understood. NASA's Space Radiation Laboratory(NSRL) is only an approximation.

It isn't exploration if this is your standard.  Some risk and unknowns must remain unless another 50 years on planet Earth is your timeline.
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Offline UltraViolet9

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #31 on: 06/12/2017 04:47 PM »

DSG repeats the "build it and they will come" NASA human space flight mantra.  But like STS, ISS, and SLS before it, I worry that DSG will be an underutilized and expensive albatross.  I don't see the clear set of deep space research objectives driving DSG's design decisions or an architecture to get to a planetary surface that justifies DSG's existence. 

I also worry that DSG is an unnecessarily large and complex station, requiring its own marching army and multiple launches thru EM-8 (circa 2026 at best) to field -- well beyond the end of the current Administration.

As Napoleon said, when you set out to take Vienna, take Vienna.

If NASA leadership wants to do research on long-duration, human deep space flight, then propose a station beyond the Van Allen Belts that can simulate those missions for hundreds of days at a time starting in the next 4-7 years.

If NASA leadership wants to go back to the Moon, then propose a reasonable human lander to the Administration that can get something done in the next 4-7 years.  Maybe throw in some robotics that can be joysticked from Earth.

If NASA leadership want to put humans on Mars, then get serious about sample return and flight testing some of the necessary transit, EDL, and surface technologies in the next 4-7 years. 

Maybe propose all three and let the Administration pick.  There are reasonable plans and/or capable partners for each outside NASA.  And if the Administration wants all three, then propose terminating SLS and Orion and relying on other domestic HLVs and capsules to free up the necessary funds.

But don't propose spending billions of dollars that SLS and Orion don't leave in the budget to build a station in lunar orbit that:

-- even under the most optimistic schedule, can't be used until the first term of the next Administration;
-- can't simulate long-duration human exploration missions,
-- lacks a defined architecture to get to the surface of the Moon, and
-- lacks an architecture or even technology investments to get to the surface of Mars.

Sure, if you have no direction, no plan to get to any planetary surface, and few resources, DSG is as good as anything else -- and maybe marginally better that ARM -- to give SLS and Orion something to do and maintain the STS infrastructure and workforce.

But that's not what NASA's human space flight enterprise is supposed to be about.

« Last Edit: 06/12/2017 04:52 PM by UltraViolet9 »

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #32 on: 06/12/2017 06:43 PM »
Agree that DSG can become an albatross - look at the intense desires to "overbuild" DSG with lots of stupid modules. To be avoided.

But please consider what NASA has in its hands - SLS. And that everyone still wants "firsts", especially "first men on Mars", possibly preceded by "first men at Mars".

So, like playing catch between two as a minimal game, you have two mitts and a baseball. Two DSG's and a DST.
To which you could add a lander.

Polar opposite of Musk's BFR/BFS approach.  Might be hard to consider SLS as a minimalist's approach to Mars, but it is.

How the Moon would factor in is after DSG/DST, then DSG/DST/DSG, you'd be able to test the lander from DSG on the Moon before SEP'ing it off to Mars. And you might land on Mars before Musk does, getting your "first".

So what might keep the govt HSF (possibly all govts BTW ...) from getting irrelevant would be a tight mission focus that could keep it from dithering, due to "competition".

Now, there's no issue (other than diversion of aggregate global resources/focus) to use both DSG's to construct other missions/stations/whatnot nearby - fine, make a line of Bigelow Hotels at Earth/Moon/Mars/wherever, but they are separate entities entirely self-supporting. Perhaps Russia builds its Cislunar station using it, perhaps China does likewise near Mars ... but no more combined ISS nightmares, just "at a distance" support from DSG in case of emergency.

That way you use what you have most effectively.

Offline UltraViolet9

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #33 on: 06/12/2017 10:32 PM »
So, like playing catch between two as a minimal game, you have two mitts and a baseball. Two DSG's and a DST.

If you mean put a DSG in lunar orbit and another DSG in Mars orbit, at that point, it probably makes sense to consider a cycler.  Rendezvous in Mars orbit is an unproven capability and adding them to Mars architectures will cause overall mission risk to jump for some time to come.

Quote
Might be hard to consider SLS as a minimalist's approach to Mars, but it is.

Putting so many resources into a vehicle that will launch so infrequently certainly constrains options.

It's not clear that a Mars surface mission or more than one lunar surface mission a year could be fielded without heavy involvement from other launchers, which begs the question of why bother with SLS.

It also seems to put high-power electric propulsion on the critical path to Mars.  Hopefully that will work out in time, but it should be an enhancer, not an enabler.

Quote
you'd be able to test the lander from DSG on the Moon before SEP'ing it off to Mars.

EDL at Mars is very different from EDL at the Moon.  A Mars lander has to be demonstrated at Mars.

Quote
So what might keep the govt HSF (possibly all govts BTW ...) from getting irrelevant would be a tight mission focus that could keep it from dithering

Tight focus does not seem to be in the cards, unfortunately.

Quote
just "at a distance" support from DSG in case of emergency.

There is some logic in having an independent shelter a little distance from a station.  Rapidly bringing crews all the way back to Earth's surface under emergency conditions (from LEO or lunar orbit) is a risky proposition in itself.  And there are failure modes where that would not be required or desirable.

But a shelter, like insurance, has to be affordable -- a small fraction of the cost of the station (or an emergency crew return vehicle) itself.  Unfortunately, our insurance for ISS cargo/crew and for other domestic HLVs and capsules is many times bigger than those costs.

« Last Edit: 06/12/2017 10:37 PM by UltraViolet9 »

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #34 on: 06/13/2017 04:02 AM »
So, like playing catch between two as a minimal game, you have two mitts and a baseball. Two DSG's and a DST.

If you mean put a DSG in lunar orbit and another DSG in Mars orbit, at that point, it probably makes sense to consider a cycler.

Nope. Because you have no high delta-v propellant logistics to use such. Cyclers don't handle the delta-v differential well otherwise.

And you have now increased the scope of the problem w/o using what you have well. Your suggestion works backwards.

Quote
Rendezvous in Mars orbit is an unproven capability and adding them to Mars architectures will cause overall mission risk to jump for some time to come.
No different than in Earth or lunar orbit.

Quote
Quote
Might be hard to consider SLS as a minimalist's approach to Mars, but it is.

1)Putting so many resources into a vehicle that will launch so infrequently certainly constrains options.

2)It's not clear that a Mars surface mission or more than one lunar surface mission a year could be fielded without heavy involvement from other launchers, which begs the question of why bother with SLS.

3)It also seems to put high-power electric propulsion on the critical path to Mars.  Hopefully that will work out in time, but it should be an enhancer, not an enabler.

1. You use it because it is available, it advances your mission, and it allows political/industry to renegotiate the new landscape of technology. And if it fails, new launch capability will phase in from three sources that can eventually serve in the same capacity.

2. Logistical support of Mars/lunar DSG's can also be via commercial on long cycle trajectories to pre-position consumables/supplemental payload. The primary function of SLS will be the crew ride and exploration payloads.

3. SEP is/has been the only propulsion technology that has improved enough to allow reasonable mass margins for a near term HSF Mars mission. Short of Musk's approach to allow a much larger mission architecture, which is out of the scope of current plans.

Quote
Quote
you'd be able to test the lander from DSG on the Moon before SEP'ing it off to Mars.

EDL at Mars is very different from EDL at the Moon.  A Mars lander has to be demonstrated at Mars.
Certainly.

But you can test the function of the system's mission architecture, much in the same manner of with Phobos /Deimos. As well as tests of preliminary vehicles flow unmanned earlier to Mars ahead of time, which a) don't have to carry the additional burden of ECLSS/provisions, b) don't have to have DSG's in place, and c) might also not require SLS capabilities to get them there.

Quote
Quote
So what might keep the govt HSF (possibly all govts BTW ...) from getting irrelevant would be a tight mission focus that could keep it from dithering

Tight focus does not seem to be in the cards, unfortunately.
Agreed. But that's the minimum.

Quote
Quote
just "at a distance" support from DSG in case of emergency.

1. There is some logic in having an independent shelter a little distance from a station.  Rapidly bringing crews all the way back to Earth's surface under emergency conditions (from LEO or lunar orbit) is a risky proposition in itself.  And there are failure modes where that would not be required or desirable.

2. But a shelter, like insurance, has to be affordable -- a small fraction of the cost of the station (or an emergency crew return vehicle) itself.  Unfortunately, our insurance for ISS cargo/crew and for other domestic HLVs and capsules is many times bigger than those costs.

1. Apollo/LM was done under the consideration that the American resources of the time would not be left in place before/following the lunar campaign. For various reasons. But when you have a DSG that can hibernate between uses, unlike the "always on" ISS, it becomes the prime contingency instead of Earth return. Nearby help means less scope of capability to reach such contingencies.

2. By keeping the size down of DSG to a fraction of ISS, and because it hibernates, the overhead to maintain capability is a fraction of ISS's costs, which resupply/maintenance is amplified by the lack of these things.

Which is why DSG's aren't "stations". And can't be if they are to be affordable.

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #35 on: 06/13/2017 12:40 PM »
...

1. You use it because it is available, it advances your mission, and it allows political/industry to renegotiate the new landscape of technology. And if it fails, new launch capability will phase in from three sources that can eventually serve in the same capacity.

2. Logistical support of Mars/lunar DSG's can also be via commercial on long cycle trajectories to pre-position consumables/supplemental payload. The primary function of SLS will be the crew ride and exploration payloads.

3. SEP/has been the only propulsion technology that has improved enough to allow reasonable mass margins for a near term HSF Mars mission. Short of Musk's approach to allow a much larger mission architecture, which is out of the scope of current plans.
...

1. Not available.  Still many years away from any operations.

2. DSGs (plural)?  First DSG needs 4 SLS flights after EM-1, so late 2020s.  And you think a second will be built?

3. SEP will never be used for a HSF mission, let alone a near-term one.  Improved enough for cargo... maybe the next generation of SEP.  On orbit refueling is the only technology that will get anything to Mars beyond a flag and a couple people to make footprints.

DSG as conceived -- a multi-launch, SLS-only, DRO assembled/fitted out space craft -- will be stillborn.
« Last Edit: 06/13/2017 12:42 PM by AncientU »
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #36 on: 06/13/2017 01:48 PM »
{snip}
2. DSGs (plural)?  First DSG needs 4 SLS flights after EM-1, so late 2020s.  And you think a second will be built?

{snip}

4 SLS flights will not needed to launch DSG#2 if NASA does not launch 4 Orions at the same time.

Offline TrevorMonty

The 1st module of DSG may fly on EM2 with unmanned Orion. If this happens then crew of EM3 could deliver habitat module and stay for a while.

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #38 on: 06/14/2017 01:18 AM »
...

1. You use it because it is available, it advances your mission, and it allows political/industry to renegotiate the new landscape of technology. And if it fails, new launch capability will phase in from three sources that can eventually serve in the same capacity.

2. Logistical support of Mars/lunar DSG's can also be via commercial on long cycle trajectories to pre-position consumables/supplemental payload. The primary function of SLS will be the crew ride and exploration payloads.

3. SEP/has been the only propulsion technology that has improved enough to allow reasonable mass margins for a near term HSF Mars mission. Short of Musk's approach to allow a much larger mission architecture, which is out of the scope of current plans.
...

1. Not available.  Still many years away from any operations.
Like any comparable LV in payload weight/volume.

Quote
2. DSGs (plural)?  First DSG needs 4 SLS flights after EM-1, so late 2020s.  And you think a second will be built?
Or ... suppose you build DSG ... qualify DST on cislunar/NEO/other flights ... use it to build another station, possibly for another govt/corporation.

Then you "rent" just the time you use for missions on the other station ... and SEP the DSG to Mars (why you keep it minimal). So you build/maintain just one of them. And, its all checked out for long duration.

Quote
3. SEP will never be used for a HSF mission, let alone a near-term one.  Improved enough for cargo... maybe the next generation of SEP.  On orbit refueling is the only technology that will get anything to Mars beyond a flag and a couple people to make footprints.
SEP is the only propulsion technology that can/will be used by govt for both crew and cargo.

That's the Boeing proposal. Read it.

Quote
DSG as conceived -- a multi-launch, SLS-only, DRO assembled/fitted out space craft -- will be stillborn.
Suggest perhaps overblown, but it is a viable means of getting to Mars soonest.

Will it be "soonest"? Have no idea. Trying to predict govts/politics is out of my ken (and likely theirs).

But it is feasible. More so in many ways than BFR/BFS (much more risk to be retired, economics yet to work).

IMHO - best approach would be more aggressive strategy on the exploration vehicles earlier, a greater use of the ISS for assembly/check-out (personally flying SLS w/o Orion/EUS/IUS makes significant sense including economics, first flight, and reasonable flight rate considerations for the initial sequence of flights). Matures SLS/DSG ahead of crew.

Then spiral out the assembled, smaller DSG and autonomously dock a full-up Orion, resupply handled robotically (as it should be for Mars). DST on station following. Second Orion mission as crewed with checkout of DST.

All propellants/consumables via commercial/partner launches.

More bang for the buck.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #39 on: 06/14/2017 11:46 AM »
I used to think a Mir/Zvezda core module attached to an ISS multi-docking Node would make a good Deep Space Gateway station. It has proven life support systems and refuelability and with improved thermal and radiation shielding could handle the constant sunlight of Cislunar space well. I've attached a picture of the very early configuration of ISS as Zarya/Node 1. But imagine the same type of Node attached to the larger Mir/Zvezda module. This would be the basis of a decent Gateway station, I feel, though I don't know if Russia can still make this type of spacecraft. The duo of core module and Node could be sent out beyond the Moon either with chemical propulsion or a combined Chemical/SEP propulsion bus. I don't know what Russia would charge for another one of these modules, or how long they would take to build it (they're not great with schedules) but this combination would mass about 35 tons.

To send the Core Module out beyond the Moon; first, it is placed in orbit by a Proton launcher. Then, a modified Falcon Heavy upper stage could be placed into orbit near it, with about 55 tons of propellants left over from ascent. On top of the stage could be a docking mechanism compatible with the Russian module. The Corestage is commanded to dock with it and the Falcon stage boosts it on a low energy trajectory to the chosen Cislunar location. The Node module could be taken to it by a crewed Orion spacecraft later on.

If not the actual, above configuration - then something similar. There is no need to build another ISS scale station, this time in deep Cislunar space.
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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #40 on: 06/14/2017 05:28 PM »
Suggest we are past so much mass/ineffective ISS modules.

What do you most need in a DSG? Think about Mars arrival - what do you want at "base camp", to support surface descent/ascent/return ... that you don't want to carry along with you on DST. And ... a DSG whose logistics to maintain when idle (99% of the time) is least.

Mars robots have already a significant record accumulated of operation. A robotically maintained/resupplied/repaired station with longevity and substantial solar power/EP/"stationkeeping"/orbital maneuvering margin (to Phobos/Deimos) is the minimum, and the expectation of normal operation. Because that's where the basic economics of DSG operations would come from - nothing more than a glorified version of MAVEN/Curiosity, what we have there already, just with scaled up SEP and 5-10x longer life. And, if this basis module to the DSG were to start to deteriorate (like equipment on the ISS), you schedule your ground spare for flight immediately (and if it doesn't fail, it's a "hot" standby).

That's the minimum.

Next, likely you want an airlock / tools / "arm" for extraordinary repairs, meant to be used less than once a year, meaning not for  FRFs etc. Keeping this useful but constrained would be difficult (you'd likely incrementally "grow" this capability on every mission).

Propellant/consumables/components reserves for extraordinary needs/leaks/spoilage/whatever.

Docking capability for N > 3 vehicles (two plus automated resupply). In the worst, worst case, the ability to always gain access through robotic vehicle access would be preserved, potentially launched at unfavorable times and possibly through peculiar conditions/windows.

That's it.

Specifically, no hab and little persistent ECLSS/human volume, not much more than a capsule. Your transit vehicle is the one that needs that, the one that will be used longest, have the most wear/tear.

This is why such dumb notions as Bigelow modules are worst solutions ever. Your astros shouldn't spend anytime with DSG at all - that wears down a hard to reach/maintain asset for no gain. Stations are a really bad idea for exploration. Like rovers, we need to have exploration assets on the move at all times.

So DSG's cannot be a burden but instead refuge/repair/resupply/"plan B". Most of the time cold storage.

Spend your Bigelow module time/resources on exploration vehicles like landers/rovers/MMSEV's etc. Something that generates a research product, possibly part-time used HSF, rest robotic. Think different.

Leave the Bigelow module/etc to what they do best - resorts. Govt does not need to fund any Trump towers in space. That's not exploration - leave it to commercial space, where it always belonged.

Possibly research labs in space fit for materials/other research. Also a commercial activity past the ISS "one-shot".

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #41 on: 06/14/2017 11:10 PM »
I too don't believe the Bigelow modules will do for a Gateway Module. They're far too unproven at this stage to rely on. But Gateway modules will have to be structurally robust - which would mean aluminum. I'd never advocate just plunking surplus ISS modules at Lagrange points - though the ISS modules are proven spacecraft hulls. Continually starting from a clean sheet design could bring up as many costly delays as it would new operational features and improvements. Double-edged sword, I guess.
« Last Edit: 06/14/2017 11:10 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Online envy887

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #42 on: 06/14/2017 11:32 PM »
I don't buy for a minute that aluminum vessels are structurally better than a well designed composite inflatable.

However, Bigelow habs are focused on habitable volume, which as pointed out above isn't the primary need in a DSG.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #43 on: 06/15/2017 12:04 AM »
I didn't say better - I said proven.
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #44 on: 06/15/2017 07:19 AM »
I didn't say better - I said proven.

Operate a prototype gateway in LEO for a few years and composite inflatables will also be proven.

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #45 on: 06/15/2017 08:03 AM »
Good! Let's see them get on with it then... I hope by 2021 & beyond, we're all still not waiting. Though I would urge us all not to have blind faith in any particular structural substance or configuration. Some people are treating composite and/or inflatable modules as a given - and suggesting anything else seems to make that same folk bizzarely upset. We'll just have to wait and see.
« Last Edit: 06/15/2017 11:50 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #46 on: 06/17/2017 04:33 AM »

To quote the article "“In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached."

Please explain how is a 42 days ECLSS qualifies as long term life support?

After 10 visits that is 10 * 42 = 420 days. More than a year.

Where does 10 visits come from? There are only 6 Orion flights (EM-1 to 5 and EM-7) before DST one year shakedown mission, and only 4 Orion flights (EM-3 to 5 and EM-7) after Habitation Module is deployed, so you only gets to run ECLSS 4 * 42 = 168 days before you need to run ECLSS for a year. And you only run ECLSS 42 days a time, so you can't test whether it can be run continuously without breakdown.

A multi-year continuous ECLSS test can easily be done via ISS, so why run it in DSG? This is the whole problem with this DSG plan. If you want to test long term ECLSS then just focus on ECLSS, if you want to build DST then build it, drag DSG into it will only mean less funding for things actually matter.
« Last Edit: 06/17/2017 04:36 AM by su27k »

Offline Oli

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #47 on: 06/17/2017 08:10 AM »
This is the whole problem with this DSG plan. If you want to test long term ECLSS then just focus on ECLSS, if you want to build DST then build it, drag DSG into it will only mean less funding for things actually matter.

The point of DSG is to give SLS/Orion something to do until DST is ready. Experience gained is a bonus.

Offline TrevorMonty

This is the whole problem with this DSG plan. If you want to test long term ECLSS then just focus on ECLSS, if you want to build DST then build it, drag DSG into it will only mean less funding for things actually matter.

The point of DSG is to give SLS/Orion something to do until DST is ready. Experience gained is a bonus.
Plus international partners want it as it get them closer to moon.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #49 on: 06/17/2017 10:09 AM »

To quote the article "“In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached."

Please explain how is a 42 days ECLSS qualifies as long term life support?

After 10 visits that is 10 * 42 = 420 days. More than a year.

Where does 10 visits come from? There are only 6 Orion flights (EM-1 to 5 and EM-7) before DST one year shakedown mission, and only 4 Orion flights (EM-3 to 5 and EM-7) after Habitation Module is deployed, so you only gets to run ECLSS 4 * 42 = 168 days before you need to run ECLSS for a year. And you only run ECLSS 42 days a time, so you can't test whether it can be run continuously without breakdown.
{snip}
10 is a nice simple round number. The EM-n flights are unlikely to be the only visits to the DSG.

Offline TaurusLittrow

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #50 on: 06/17/2017 12:20 PM »
Long-term reliable ECLSS is one issue for DSG but equally pressing are human factors esp. radiation exposure. I believe one or more Apollo missions missed significant (potentially fatal) solar particle events (SPE) during their short forays BEO. One large SPE occurred between Apollo 16 and 17.

The DSG will need some type of radiation "storm shelter" on-board for the crew. Given that DSG will include a propulsion module, is using the moon as a shield during an SPE by re-positioning the outpost an option?  Any public sources on this topic specifically for DSG?

Offline Oli

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #51 on: 06/17/2017 01:33 PM »
This is the whole problem with this DSG plan. If you want to test long term ECLSS then just focus on ECLSS, if you want to build DST then build it, drag DSG into it will only mean less funding for things actually matter.

The point of DSG is to give SLS/Orion something to do until DST is ready. Experience gained is a bonus.
Plus international partners want it as it get them closer to moon.

They have no money to land on the moon.

Offline TrevorMonty

No country except maybe China can afford to fund a lunar architecture with earth as your starting point. Apollo did it at huge cost and Constellation tried.

If the starting point is 2.5km/s from lunar surface and only thing required is lander capable of 5-5.5km/s then develop costs are lot lower. A lot easier sell especially if it could be operation within 5yrs of approval. I suspect there will be cargo landers operating by time DSG is in place, making development of human lander more affordable than it is now.
« Last Edit: 06/17/2017 04:34 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline ncb1397

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #53 on: 06/18/2017 04:52 PM »
This is the whole problem with this DSG plan. If you want to test long term ECLSS then just focus on ECLSS, if you want to build DST then build it, drag DSG into it will only mean less funding for things actually matter.

The point of DSG is to give SLS/Orion something to do until DST is ready. Experience gained is a bonus.
Plus international partners want it as it get them closer to moon.

They have no money to land on the moon.

Applying the funding split ratio between the Apollo LM and the CSM to Orion and a new lunar lander, a lander would require funding of about $800 million per year.

Funding by agency
NASA: ~$19.6 billion
ISRO: ~$1.2 billion
ESA: ~$6.4 billion
CNSA: ~$1.3 billion
JAXA: ~$2 billion
Roscosmos: ~$3.2 billion
KARI: $583 million

In reality, any of a half dozen space agencies could afford it. Probably including south korea's if that was their only project.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #54 on: 06/18/2017 05:20 PM »
No country except maybe China can afford to fund a lunar architecture with earth as your starting point. Apollo did it at huge cost and Constellation tried.

If the starting point is 2.5km/s from lunar surface and only thing required is lander capable of 5-5.5km/s then develop costs are lot lower. A lot easier sell especially if it could be operation within 5yrs of approval. I suspect there will be cargo landers operating by time DSG is in place, making development of human lander more affordable than it is now.

Don't think even China can set up an Earth based architecture with their currently planned space vehicle development program. IMO

However the folks from Hawthorne can in theory set up a system of propellant depots at LEO, L4/L5 & HLO  locations with the ITS tankers as both depots and propellant transfer vehicle plus act as Lunar lander. Of course this system does not need the SLS, Orion, DSG and inspace SEP tug. So it will be a race for NASA to field a DSG before the ITS tanker enters servuce. Presuming the ITS development program is happening & somewhat on time.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #55 on: 06/18/2017 05:42 PM »
They have no money to land on the moon.

Applying the funding split ratio between the Apollo LM and the CSM to Orion and a new lunar lander, a lander would require funding of about $800 million per year.

$800M/year for how many years? What are you assuming the cost of a new lunar lander would be?

Plus, Oli did not state they couldn't afford a lander, but that there was no money to land on the Moon. Which to me means the funding for the entire effort, not just a transportation element.

Quote
Funding by agency
NASA: ~$19.6 billion
ISRO: ~$1.2 billion
ESA: ~$6.4 billion
CNSA: ~$1.3 billion
JAXA: ~$2 billion
Roscosmos: ~$3.2 billion
KARI: $583 million

In reality, any of a half dozen space agencies could afford it. Probably including south korea's if that was their only project.

You are assuming that each of those space agencies could easily substitute a $800M/year lander program for programs they are already committed to working on - which ignores the constituents of those other programs.

As to the U.S. all monies come from the general fund, and there is no constitutional limit on how much money Congress can allocate to NASA. If it's important Congress will fund it - we've already seen that Congress is OK for deficit spending.

Same with the DSG/DST. If Congress thinks it's important to have a national asset in cislunar space, then they will fund it. That won't happen in the FY2018 fiscal year though, so yet again payloads and missions for the SLS and Orion will not be committed to - not sure how much longer that can happen before it's recognized as a trend...
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 ncb1397

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #56 on: 06/18/2017 06:06 PM »
They have no money to land on the moon.

Applying the funding split ratio between the Apollo LM and the CSM to Orion and a new lunar lander, a lander would require funding of about $800 million per year.

$800M/year for how many years? What are you assuming the cost of a new lunar lander would be?

Plus, Oli did not state they couldn't afford a lander, but that there was no money to land on the Moon. Which to me means the funding for the entire effort, not just a transportation element.

Quote
Funding by agency
NASA: ~$19.6 billion
ISRO: ~$1.2 billion
ESA: ~$6.4 billion
CNSA: ~$1.3 billion
JAXA: ~$2 billion
Roscosmos: ~$3.2 billion
KARI: $583 million

In reality, any of a half dozen space agencies could afford it. Probably including south korea's if that was their only project.

You are assuming that each of those space agencies could easily substitute a $800M/year lander program for programs they are already committed to working on - which ignores the constituents of those other programs.

As to the U.S. all monies come from the general fund, and there is no constitutional limit on how much money Congress can allocate to NASA. If it's important Congress will fund it - we've already seen that Congress is OK for deficit spending.

Same with the DSG/DST. If Congress thinks it's important to have a national asset in cislunar space, then they will fund it. That won't happen in the FY2018 fiscal year though, so yet again payloads and missions for the SLS and Orion will not be committed to - not sure how much longer that can happen before it's recognized as a trend...

Ohh, I think DSG is already in the process of being acquired. For instance, engines:

Quote
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has signed a $67 million cost-plus fixed fee (plus performance incentive) contract with NASA to develop a high-power electric propulsion system that will enable key elements of NASA's plans for exploration of cis-lunar space and Mars.

Under the Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) contract, the Aerojet Rocketdyne team will develop, qualify and deliver five 12.5 kilowatt Hall thruster subsystems including thrusters,
http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-signs-contract-develop-advanced-electric-propulsion-system-nasa

ARM is in the process of being shut-down and these will be transferred to DSG to act as 4 flight units and one spare.

Offline punder

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #57 on: 06/18/2017 06:25 PM »
Luke, it's a trap!

DSG will neatly close the USG/contractor "business case." Deep space destination for US HSF: Check. Big flashy rocket and spacecraft for transportation thereto: Check. Throw in some low-mass science experiments on each flight, and... what more could you want? Or more precisely, what more could you get? Because for the next 20 years, your entire budget will be barely adequate for maintaining the DSG and building/launching/disposing of its transportation system.

And that will be that.

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #58 on: 06/20/2017 01:53 PM »
Luke, it's a trap!

DSG will neatly close the USG/contractor "business case." Deep space destination for US HSF: Check. Big flashy rocket and spacecraft for transportation thereto: Check. Throw in some low-mass science experiments on each flight, and... what more could you want? Or more precisely, what more could you get? Because for the next 20 years, your entire budget will be barely adequate for maintaining the DSG and building/launching/disposing of its transportation system.

And that will be that.

Ars Technica article agrees:
Quote
The Journey to Mars seems to be pretty much dead

Quote
On Friday, the space agency released what it called a "mid-year report" on NASA five months into the presidency of Donald Trump. The nearly five-minute video...

Quote
...the video makes no mention of Mars at all, the planet where NASA has by far the most assets of any world other than Earth—several rovers and orbiters studying the red planet's surface and atmosphere for clues of its past habitability for life. NASA has made a number of significant discoveries about Mars this year, such as confirming the absence of carbonate in rocks there. But none merit mention in the promotional video.
Journey to Mars

The red planet is also excluded from the video's discussion when it comes to human exploration. Prior to this year, the agency's off-stated goal was sending humans to Mars in the 2030s. This "Journey to Mars" had been a frequent talking point for then-administrator Charles Bolden and other agency leaders. They talked about the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft as key components of this mission.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/06/the-journey-to-mars-seems-to-be-pretty-much-dead/
« Last Edit: 06/20/2017 01:53 PM by AncientU »
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #59 on: 06/21/2017 01:17 PM »
SLS/Orion always seemed much more a 'Moon Rocket' and spaceship to me. A lunar gateway station, with or without any Mars endgame in sight could be a good place to base and service/refuel a reusable lunar lander craft. If the Lander is a Commercially-competed craft or a joint venture between NASA and it's partners... Seems to me a better way of doing things than the purely Constellation modus-operandi.

As I've liked to say before: America could provide the Orion 'Mothership' and the heavy lifter (SLS and/or others) and a NASA/Commercial co-op or ESA/JAXA partnership could provide the reusable Lunar Lander (2,3 or 4 Astronauts). Have the Lander be either a crew or cargo version - a bit like Soyuz/Progress as the two 'flavors' it now comes in. Commercial space entities could compete for cargo deliveries to the Gateway station, as they did to ISS. Also - the Orion could bring a 'Tanker Module' of propellants for the Lander with each crew it brings to the Gateway Station. With Block SLS 1B; Orion could bring 10 tons of propellants for a Lander. With the Block 2 - about 20 tons.

The crew and cargo missions to the Moon could rely on a best-case scenario of the SLS flight rate; which would be 3 or 4 flights per year. With 3x flights - two could be crewed and one could be cargo only. This could allow one 'Sortie' manned mission and one longer duration mission, using the equipment and consumables of the cargo lander. Allowing for an Outpost buildup, the missions could be increased to 2x longer duration Outpost flights per year after a 'simple' Outpost has been established. It would make sense to have the Outpost be a NASA/ESA/JAXA partnership; joined by Commercial Space entities. After a few years of Outpost and Gateway station missions - I consider the Gateway to be the natural successor to ISS - considerable experience in deep space manned mission exploration operations would be accumulated. And the reach for Mars would be happening all in good time; with or without the cooperation of Commercial Space, such as the Musk dream of Mars colonization. Of course - the Gateway does not need to be a 450 ton behemoth at DRO or a Lagrange Point. Something closer to Mir or the projected Chinese station should suffice.

In time, the SLS/Orion system could be supplanted and then superseded by more modern, efficient and more fully reusable space transportation systems. I still believe commercial space entities such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are going to one day hit their stride in a spectacular fashion. Call it faith-based, if you like. And I'm fully aware that everything I just wrote above is best-case scenario in nature. If it happens at all; it will be a slow variation on what I've written. :) :(
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Offline eric z

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #60 on: 06/21/2017 01:55 PM »
 Matt, Great minds must think alike, I couldn't have said it better myself! 8) I notice Stephen Hawking is calling for a return to the moon, too. [Today's Washington Post]
Seriously, I could differ a bit here and there, but you are definitely nailing the issue. Here at NSF I respectfully feel that collectively people can lose sight of the forest for all the trees sometimes. Without a lander-element this is going to get old really fast, IMHO. DSG/H are parts of a plan; not really a plan in and of itself.
 Congress?Admin bigshots need to say to NASA--"We're moving outta here; first phase is to resume manned exploration of different lunar sites leading promptly towards 2 or 3 outposts; with all needed lunar-orbit support, comm sats, etc, etc. The asteroid/Mars-moon thing is running almost simultaneously [hey, I just learned how to use my spell-checker! ::)] and by golly we WILL land there during the early 30s!" NASA leads but incorporates international and commercial as much as possible--Stop Talking and Powerpointing and get rolling already. Fly,Fly Fly--Take Mr. Musk up on his offer to give slots to NASA people; hell he's got one in the corp now! Let the urgency of the good old days be rekindled, but stop micromanaging everything! Yes, kiddies the budget needs a big plus-up; but we should demand much greater results. Better/faster for the next 20-30 years; forget cheaper. Space is NOT the area to get cheapskate with anymore-once we get established more out there things can settle into their more normal economic state--I truly feel we are rushing a false "commercialism/privatize" mentality very inorganically these days instead of a massive, almost war-like all-out push outwards as was envisioned when I was running around making a wooden Gemini capsule in my back yard! Enough with the studies and commissions and white papers already!
  Don't get me wrong, though. Of course reusability and the other cutting-edge advancements of New Space have a huge role to play in what I'm talking about. Smarter minds than me can figure out all this. All I'm trying to say is: In the short-mid term use all the assets we  have to get jump-started. One last point; I feel strongly that the USG has every right, thru NASA or other entities to own space stations, bases, spaceships, etc. for the good of all our people: No one, well hopefully no-one, disputes having National Labs, NIH, etc. but I know this isn't a very popular viewpoint here sometimes...A strong government-led push is what got all this going in the first place, with the great support of industry, of course.
« Last Edit: 06/21/2017 05:55 PM by eric z »

Offline Khadgars

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #61 on: 06/21/2017 10:38 PM »
No country except maybe China can afford to fund a lunar architecture with earth as your starting point. Apollo did it at huge cost and Constellation tried.

If the starting point is 2.5km/s from lunar surface and only thing required is lander capable of 5-5.5km/s then develop costs are lot lower. A lot easier sell especially if it could be operation within 5yrs of approval. I suspect there will be cargo landers operating by time DSG is in place, making development of human lander more affordable than it is now.

China is piling up debt faster than we are, they wouldn't be able to afford it either.  The DSG as you pointed out makes a lot of sense for a one off development lander, a lot easier to get from lunar orbit to the lunar surface.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #62 on: 06/23/2017 05:59 AM »
No country except maybe China can afford to fund a lunar architecture with earth as your starting point. Apollo did it at huge cost and Constellation tried.

If the starting point is 2.5km/s from lunar surface and only thing required is lander capable of 5-5.5km/s then develop costs are lot lower. A lot easier sell especially if it could be operation within 5yrs of approval. I suspect there will be cargo landers operating by time DSG is in place, making development of human lander more affordable than it is now.

China is piling up debt faster than we are, they wouldn't be able to afford it either.  The DSG as you pointed out makes a lot of sense for a one off development lander, a lot easier to get from lunar orbit to the lunar surface.

Of course China can afford it - it would only be a small part of their already large national debt.

We here in the U.S. can afford it too. There is no constitutional limit on how much money NASA gets.

All that the U.S., China, and any other nation needs is a "need" to go to the Moon. A justification to spend money on doing that as opposed to whatever other priorities they have here on Earth. Which is not a new situation, and is why the Constellation program was so easy to kill - going to the Moon was no longer a priority for the U.S. Government in 2010.

Does anyone think that situation has changed?
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 MATTBLAK

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #63 on: 06/23/2017 06:03 AM »
Not much... But it should. Leave Mars to Elon, I say. When and if he's ready to go - if he and his investors want some technical and infrastructure help; he can only say no, but offer it when the time comes.

And SLS/Orion are not strictly needed for Lunar operations - but it is a far better use for them than Mars at this point.
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Online AncientU

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #64 on: 06/23/2017 02:22 PM »
No country except maybe China can afford to fund a lunar architecture with earth as your starting point. Apollo did it at huge cost and Constellation tried.

If the starting point is 2.5km/s from lunar surface and only thing required is lander capable of 5-5.5km/s then develop costs are lot lower. A lot easier sell especially if it could be operation within 5yrs of approval. I suspect there will be cargo landers operating by time DSG is in place, making development of human lander more affordable than it is now.

China is piling up debt faster than we are, they wouldn't be able to afford it either.  The DSG as you pointed out makes a lot of sense for a one off development lander, a lot easier to get from lunar orbit to the lunar surface.

Of course China can afford it - it would only be a small part of their already large national debt.

We here in the U.S. can afford it too. There is no constitutional limit on how much money NASA gets.

All that the U.S., China, and any other nation needs is a "need" to go to the Moon. A justification to spend money on doing that as opposed to whatever other priorities they have here on Earth. Which is not a new situation, and is why the Constellation program was so easy to kill - going to the Moon was no longer a priority for the U.S. Government in 2010.

Does anyone think that situation has changed?

China has a need: prestige.  To be the only Nation that has the capability to go to the Moon would have huge propaganda value for China.  If it offers to partner with ESA for a Moon Village, they can claim de facto leadership in space.

Assuming that this scenario unfolds, the USG can cede this to China -- or make it a priority again.
« Last Edit: 06/23/2017 02:24 PM by AncientU »
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Offline ncb1397

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #65 on: 06/23/2017 04:46 PM »
Since a lunar lander came up here with some debate about whether other countries could afford a lander...some new information (to me) about European interest in the lander component.

Quote
In the meantime, Europe is advancing its plans for a large, robotic Moon lander closely associated with the Deep Space Gateway. The lander is expected to collect lunar soil samples and shoot them back to the station, where they can be delivered back to Earth by astronauts. The lander might also include a rover that would embark on what might become a record-breaking journey across the lunar surface, toward Amundsen crater near the Moon’s south pole.

The European effort, known by some as HLEPP, the Human Lunar Exploration Precursor Program, would pave the way for a larger crewed lander that could be based at the Deep Space Gateway. At the international partner meeting, engineers confirmed the capability of the station to support human expeditions to the surface. However, the station apparently would not be able to descend to low-lunar orbit, which would be the most convenient option for staging lunar landings.
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2017/20170607-iss-partners-dsg.html

Offline UltraViolet9

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #66 on: 06/23/2017 07:56 PM »
some new information (to me) about European interest in the lander component.

ESA has had a low-level lunar lander effort ongoing for some time.  This article dates to 2009, for example:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234503467_An_ESA_precursor_mission_to_human_exploration_of_the_Moon

The question is whether the lunar lander effort can get enough traction to obtain substantial funding from ESA member governments and ramp up.  Even with a lunar advocate like Worner at the Director-General's helm the past couple years, there doesn't seem to be much positive budget movement in this direction.

Maybe the DSG will change that.  But even the DSG doesn't have funding in the current budget before Congress, so any lunar plans will probably remain at these informal, low-level interagency discussions for at least a couple more years.

« Last Edit: 06/23/2017 07:59 PM by UltraViolet9 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Read price tag of $1.5B to develop 2 stage robotic lander. 2nd stage came back to DSG with sample. Could be reused with new 1st stage.
Their R&D might be better spent on using commercially available GLXP landers. If launched from DSG some could do a sample return. Moon Express should be capable of round trip returning <10kg.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #68 on: 06/24/2017 05:22 AM »
No country except maybe China can afford to fund a lunar architecture with earth as your starting point. Apollo did it at huge cost and Constellation tried.

If the starting point is 2.5km/s from lunar surface and only thing required is lander capable of 5-5.5km/s then develop costs are lot lower. A lot easier sell especially if it could be operation within 5yrs of approval. I suspect there will be cargo landers operating by time DSG is in place, making development of human lander more affordable than it is now.

China is piling up debt faster than we are, they wouldn't be able to afford it either.  The DSG as you pointed out makes a lot of sense for a one off development lander, a lot easier to get from lunar orbit to the lunar surface.
China just paid a Ukrainian company to modernize the Soviet lunar lander design and give them the plans. China could easily beat us back to the Moon as we seem to be pouring all our money into an oversized launcher and capsule. At least for the Program of Record.
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Online Lars-J

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #69 on: 06/24/2017 06:02 AM »
China is not going to "beat us" to anything in space. Their human spaceflight pace in the last decade has been a snails pace (being generous) - they only spend the bare minimum to make slow progress. They are not going to start a race anytime soon, so don't count on them creating a race to the moon.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #70 on: 06/24/2017 06:02 AM »
Isn't the Soviet lander a bit of a too-basic, one man design?!
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #71 on: 06/24/2017 06:31 AM »
All that the U.S., China, and any other nation needs is a "need" to go to the Moon. A justification to spend money on doing that as opposed to whatever other priorities they have here on Earth. Which is not a new situation, and is why the Constellation program was so easy to kill - going to the Moon was no longer a priority for the U.S. Government in 2010.

Does anyone think that situation has changed?

China has a need: prestige.

I see no evidence of that, especially since China's space plans are progressing slowly. If anything they are focusing their "exploration" money on building up their presence in the South China Sea, which has a much larger prestige and economic impact than going to the Moon would have.

Quote
To be the only Nation that has the capability to go to the Moon would have huge propaganda value for China.

Maybe. Although isn't it likely that Elon Musk will be on Mars before China lands on our Moon? And if the BFR/BFS combo can land on Mars, then landing on our Moon will be doable - and likely far more impressive than anything China can build. Already China's expendable rockets are looking pretty antiquated, even the new Long March 5.

Quote
If it offers to partner with ESA for a Moon Village, they can claim de facto leadership in space.

Well, except for that guy named Elon Musk. Who is going to Mars. In a giant reusable spaceship.

Quote
Assuming that this scenario unfolds, the USG can cede this to China -- or make it a priority again.

Just because the U.S. Government may not want to send U.S. Government employees back to our Moon doesn't mean we are "ceding" our Moon to anyone. Just like we didn't "own" our Moon after landing on it, neither will anyone else.
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 guckyfan

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #72 on: 06/24/2017 09:30 AM »
China is not going to "beat us" to anything in space. Their human spaceflight pace in the last decade has been a snails pace (being generous) - they only spend the bare minimum to make slow progress. They are not going to start a race anytime soon, so don't count on them creating a race to the moon.

Yes they are slow. But at least they are moving forward. Who else does that?

Online AncientU

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #73 on: 06/24/2017 09:47 AM »
All that the U.S., China, and any other nation needs is a "need" to go to the Moon. A justification to spend money on doing that as opposed to whatever other priorities they have here on Earth. Which is not a new situation, and is why the Constellation program was so easy to kill - going to the Moon was no longer a priority for the U.S. Government in 2010.

Does anyone think that situation has changed?

China has a need: prestige.

I see no evidence of that, especially since China's space plans are progressing slowly. If anything they are focusing their "exploration" money on building up their presence in the South China Sea, which has a much larger prestige and economic impact than going to the Moon would have.

Quote
To be the only Nation that has the capability to go to the Moon would have huge propaganda value for China.

Maybe. Although isn't it likely that Elon Musk will be on Mars before China lands on our Moon? And if the BFR/BFS combo can land on Mars, then landing on our Moon will be doable - and likely far more impressive than anything China can build. Already China's expendable rockets are looking pretty antiquated, even the new Long March 5.

Quote
If it offers to partner with ESA for a Moon Village, they can claim de facto leadership in space.

Well, except for that guy named Elon Musk. Who is going to Mars. In a giant reusable spaceship.

Quote
Assuming that this scenario unfolds, the USG can cede this to China -- or make it a priority again.

Just because the U.S. Government may not want to send U.S. Government employees back to our Moon doesn't mean we are "ceding" our Moon to anyone. Just like we didn't "own" our Moon after landing on it, neither will anyone else.

So you thing the USG with a bigger space budget than the rest of the world will just sit this one out?
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Offline darkenfast

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #74 on: 06/25/2017 07:04 AM »
Maybe we don't "own" the Moon, but that doesn't mean a country like China can't come along and treat it just as they have the South China Sea.   Their only claim there is that they have installed military installations and therefore, it's theirs.  If China feels that they have a reason to claim a chunk of space and that no one has the backbone to stand up to them, then they will claim it. 

Offline Oli

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #75 on: 06/25/2017 10:29 AM »
China has a need: prestige.

There are other far cheaper ways to gain prestige than to repeat a manned lunar landing.

Curiosity was prestigious for NASA, Rosetta for ESA. Those so-called flagship science missions are the future of prestige in spaceflight. In contrast to human spaceflight there are still plenty of targets. China can do something new instead of just copying what the US has done half a century ago.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 10:32 AM by Oli »

Online Lars-J

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #76 on: 06/25/2017 04:08 PM »
China is not going to "beat us" to anything in space. Their human spaceflight pace in the last decade has been a snails pace (being generous) - they only spend the bare minimum to make slow progress. They are not going to start a race anytime soon, so don't count on them creating a race to the moon.

Yes they are slow. But at least they are moving forward. Who else does that?

Pretty much everyone? And are you blind to the progress in this country? (Commercial space/crew on top of what NASA is doing)

Offline guckyfan

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #77 on: 06/25/2017 06:39 PM »

Pretty much everyone? And are you blind to the progress in this country? (Commercial space/crew on top of what NASA is doing)

I don't see NASA moving forward. And I did not want to mention SpaceX.

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #78 on: 06/25/2017 06:50 PM »
Do we have any guesses where the DSG will ultimately be placed?  Specifically as in what type of lunar orbit or Lagrange point.  I assume NASA is still eyeing either high elliptical or one of those DRO variations.

I ask this because it'll influence the needs of a future (potentially reusable) lunar lander; closer to the moon the less fuel needs.  I furthermore refer to the needs of a crewed lander; a cargo lander would probably just be sent one-way to Luna itself from Earth.
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Offline TrevorMonty

Do we have any guesses where the DSG will ultimately be placed?  Specifically as in what type of lunar orbit or Lagrange point.  I assume NASA is still eyeing either high elliptical or one of those DRO variations.

I ask this because it'll influence the needs of a future (potentially reusable) lunar lander; closer to the moon the less fuel needs.  I furthermore refer to the needs of a crewed lander; a cargo lander would probably just be sent one-way to Luna itself from Earth.
NRO is favoured at present. See link on orbit info. NB DSG can move between orbits while vacant, crew missions could visit it at NRO followed by EML2 the next year.

http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Whitley_4-13-16/

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #80 on: 06/25/2017 07:54 PM »
Just because the U.S. Government may not want to send U.S. Government employees back to our Moon doesn't mean we are "ceding" our Moon to anyone. Just like we didn't "own" our Moon after landing on it, neither will anyone else.

So you thing the USG with a bigger space budget than the rest of the world will just sit this one out?

I'm not sure what there is to "sit out", since the solar system is a pretty big place.

For instance, a medium-sized private company in California is planning on colonizing Mars. Does that mean if China doesn't have plans for sending humans to Mars that China is planning to "sit this one out"?

Plus, China has currently only landed a 140 kg rover on our Moon using expendable rockets and spacecraft, so in order for them to scale up to something that is truly meaningful they will have to be dedicating $Billions more per year for decades to come. And other than "science", I'm not sure exactly what they will be doing on our Moon that will cause concern within our U.S. Government.

People tend to confuse space exploration with prestige, mainly because of the Apollo program. But Apollo was an effort to help win a political problem, which was the Cold War, and we lack such a motivator today here on Earth that can be solved by sending humans out into space.

Fast forward to today and NASA's primary skill set is in doing "science", both with robotic systems and in learning how humans can survive in space. But otherwise the U.S. Government does not have plans to use NASA to compete in some sort of "Space Race". Even this Deep Space Gateway (DSG) is kind of a muddled program that tries to get NASA closer to Mars while using the Congressionally-mandated SLS and Orion.

But as we see with the current Trump Administration proposed budget, Trump does not think we need MORE government-funded science, but LESS. So if the only goal for the DSG/DST are "science", then that is shaky ground to build a program on...
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Offline ncb1397

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #81 on: 06/25/2017 08:15 PM »
But as we see with the current Trump Administration proposed budget, Trump does not think we need MORE government-funded science, but LESS. So if the only goal for the DSG/DST are "science", then that is shaky ground to build a program on...

You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Quote
Space science, which includes missions to study Earth, other planets in the solar system, astrophysics, solar physics and space weather, would receive $5.7 billion under the Trump administration’s budget request, about $53 million less than in the enacted FY ’17 budget.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/23/trumps-nasa-budget-request-reduces-earth-science-eliminates-education-office/

The Obama administrations FY 2017 budget request had a notional 2018 spending amount of 5408.5 million. So, this is almost $300 million more than Obama's notional out year funding profile submitted over a year ago.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 08:19 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #82 on: 06/25/2017 10:03 PM »
China doesn't have a national impetus for exploration on this level, whilst for the US it's more of a cultural need. USA has unquestionable global media and economic reach, China will compete on those terms, not on slinging stuff into the solar system.  To think national competitiveness is the reason to go to space will just result in a pointless repeat in the moon landings. A federal government impelled equivalent of masturbatory competitive project with taxpayers dollars won't solve the underlying issue of space being as untouchable and distant as ever.

People need better reasons to act in space than just pandering to insecurity. Granted, science is not enough, but prestige should be a result, not the reason.

China would doubtless fill the void if America left that void unfilled, but it isn't unfilled yet.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 10:05 PM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #83 on: 06/25/2017 10:48 PM »
But as we see with the current Trump Administration proposed budget, Trump does not think we need MORE government-funded science, but LESS. So if the only goal for the DSG/DST are "science", then that is shaky ground to build a program on...

You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Actually I'm just pointing out that no one should assume the molehill will to turn into a mountain...  ;)

Quote
Space science, which includes missions to study Earth, other planets in the solar system, astrophysics, solar physics and space weather, would receive $5.7 billion under the Trump administration’s budget request, about $53 million less than in the enacted FY ’17 budget.

I certainly didn't expect any big changes in this transition budget, from either Presidential candidates, so small movement up or down really doesn't tell us much today.

But in order for the DSG and DST to happen within the next decade there needs to be not only a commitment to the effort from Trump, but Congress has to increase NASA's budget substantially in order to get the program going.

That has to happen soon (i.e. FY2019) since the Deep Space Gateway is a major program, not only because it is supposed to be an international program (i.e. Secretary of State has to be involved) with multiple new human-rated hardware elements (reusing elements is good, but they are being used in new ways), but also because it requires the start of serial production for the SLS and Orion.

It will be interesting to see if V.P. Pence pushes for this in the soon-to-be-reconstituted National Space Council, which should be our first indication of whether the DSG/DST proposal will make it to reality.
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Offline UltraViolet9

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #84 on: 06/26/2017 01:34 AM »
The Obama administrations FY 2017 budget request had a notional 2018 spending amount of 5408.5 million. So, this is almost $300 million more than Obama's notional out year funding profile submitted over a year ago.

But less than the prior year's enacted.  It's an increase over a projection but a cut from last year's actual budget.

And a fraction of what something like DSG will need, which isn't in the Administration's FY18 request.

As happens with most transitions, FY18 a placeholder NASA budget for the current Administration -- they didn't have leadership in place on the 9th floor or in the White House (whether National Space Council or something else) when the FY18 request was formulated.  And they won't for some time to come.

Planetary science, DSG, SLS/Orion, etc. are all angels on a pin until some leadership with known positions are place (at least), and even then, we'll want to wait until they put out a budget request to see where they really come down.

Offline ncb1397

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #85 on: 06/26/2017 11:10 PM »

But in order for the DSG and DST to happen within the next decade there needs to be not only a commitment to the effort from Trump, but Congress has to increase NASA's budget substantially in order to get the program going.

That has to happen soon (i.e. FY2019) since the Deep Space Gateway is a major program, not only because it is supposed to be an international program (i.e. Secretary of State has to be involved) with multiple new human-rated hardware elements (reusing elements is good, but they are being used in new ways), but also because it requires the start of serial production for the SLS and Orion.

SLS and Orion already are producing as if it was serial production. They plan to start building serial number 3 hydrogen tank for instance. There is no reason to think their budget needs to increase for serial production. It could actually decrease. I believe that Orion/CEV funding peaked around 2009/2010 for instance. Obviously, serial production is expensive, but development is also expensive as well. Which is more so? My educated guess is that for 1 flight/year, it is development that is more expensive than serial production.

And there are other significant pieces of NASA's budget that are in transition period where it is not optimized and efficient. For instance, 3 providers are being paid for LEO crew rotation, but only 1 is currently delivering that service. So, I really think that DSG/DST doesn't require any actual increase to NASA's budget beyond annual inflation adjustment.
« Last Edit: 06/26/2017 11:25 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #86 on: 06/27/2017 01:48 AM »
SLS and Orion already are producing as if it was serial production. They plan to start building serial number 3 hydrogen tank for instance.

There are clear lines that delineate between development and production. You can use production tooling, and you can build parts that may not be changing between development and production, but until program management, engineering, and the production folks sign off that a particular SLS configuration is ready for production, it's not yet in production.

Quote
There is no reason to think their budget needs to increase for serial production. It could actually decrease.

Absolutely. You normally don't need as many engineering resources for sustaining production as you do for development, so overhead changes like that are normal. Keep in mind though that SLS development is not ending anytime soon, since Block 1B and Block 2 are still in development for many years to come.

Quote
I believe that Orion/CEV funding peaked around 2009/2010 for instance.

When development spending peaked has no relationship to what a production version of the SLS or Orion will cost on a yearly basis. Plus, production costs are divided up between procurement costs and production & test costs, with procurement being committed years before production occurs.

Quote
Obviously, serial production is expensive, but development is also expensive as well. Which is more so? My educated guess is that for 1 flight/year, it is development that is more expensive than serial production.

My post was not about the difference in cost between development and production. And what has not been decided on yet is how the SLS and Orion material will be procured, which has a significant effect on the per/unit cost for both.

For instance in 2002 NASA announced a contract extension for the Shuttle SRM's, bringing the contract value up to $2.4B for 70 motors (35 flight sets) for use through 2007. That works out to $69M per set, but that was based on decades of serial production and building on average of 7 sets per year. Congress has not yet determined what the flight rate for the SLS will be, but chances are it will be between 1-1.5/year, so the per unit cost of a set of SRM's will not be anywhere near what the Shuttle SRM costs were due to the low production volume.

What NASA is waiting for from Congress is authorization to start full-up production, which will also define what the planned production rate will be. It could only be a year-to-year authorization, which is the most expensive way to buy & build, or it could be a multi-year authorization. But so far Congress has only authorized some - some - long lead material, like the RS-25 engines.

Quote
And there are other significant pieces of NASA's budget that are in transition period where it is not optimized and efficient. For instance, 3 providers are being paid for LEO crew rotation, but only 1 is currently delivering that service. So, I really think that DSG/DST doesn't require any actual increase to NASA's budget beyond annual inflation adjustment.

You are talking about the ISS program, which is not related to the DSG/DST program, and does not share (at this time) any transportation elements. So the DSG/DST program is going to be IN ADDITION TO the ISS program, and not a 1:1 replacement of it. At least for part of the life of both programs.

And again, I'm not talking cost per se, just pointing out that at this point the SLS and Orion programs are only authorized for development, and no authorization has been provided by Congress for serial production. No one outside of NASA, not even Congress, knows what the production costs will be (NASA has not shared them with Congress yet), so there will need to be some discussion within Congress about the total proposed costs for the DSG/DST proposed program (station costs, installation costs, support costs, etc.).

When will that happen? I think we'll have to wait for V.P. Pence to push that forward - if the Trump Administration wants to back this proposal...
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Online redliox

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #87 on: 07/03/2017 12:25 AM »
Japan is apparently declaring it's intention to get to the Moon by 2030, in the process agreeing to assist with the DSG:
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/07/01/national/science-health/jaxa-reveals-plans-put-japanese-moon-2030/#.WVkO3ojyjIW
http://www.astrowatch.net/2017/07/japan-plans-to-land-astronauts-on-moon.html
Quote
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has ambitious plans to put an astronaut on the moon sometime around 2030, according to new proposals from the space agency.

This is the first time JAXA has publicly explored sending astronauts anywhere beyond the International Space Station, a JAXA spokeswoman said Friday.

The idea is to first join a NASA-led mission in 2025 to build a space station in the moon’s orbit — part of a longer-term effort by NASA to reach Mars.

Tokyo hopes that contributing to the multinational mission and sharing Japanese technology will land it a coveted spot at the station, from which it could eventually put an astronaut on the moon, the spokeswoman said.
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Offline TrevorMonty

They need a manned lunar lander
and probably a partner (ESA?) to help with R&D costs.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2017 02:34 AM by TrevorMonty »

Offline calapine

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #89 on: 07/03/2017 12:43 PM »
An ESA-JAXA co-operation would be a very nice start to a "Moon renaissance". 

Offline Khadgars

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #90 on: 07/03/2017 09:07 PM »
An ESA-JAXA co-operation would be a very nice start to a "Moon renaissance".

I agree, except it all starts with NASA DSG including SLS/Orion which we all know how everyone on here feels about.

Offline TrevorMonty

An ESA-JAXA co-operation would be a very nice start to a "Moon renaissance".

I agree, except it all starts with NASA DSG including SLS/Orion which we all know how everyone on here feels about.
Speak for yourself, I think DSG great idea. Back to moon would be better but endup being cancelled because high cost. DSG is achievable on current NASA budget. Once in place the next step from DSG to moon is not so big or expensive.

Offline Propylox

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Re: ASAP on board with NASA's DSG as stepping stone to Mars
« Reply #92 on: 07/04/2017 04:50 AM »
"... NASA expected to publish individual documents for each system, such as environmental control and life support, power, data, storage, etc., that would contain voluntary standards rather than requirements, with the hope that both international and industry partners would be able to develop hardware and software that could easily be incorporated into the overall architecture, per the overview to the ASAP.
... In terms of basic functionality, the DSG is being planned to support multiple NASA, commercial, and international objectives,” added the overview. “It would be designed for the deep space environment and would support a crew of 4 for total mission durations of up to 42 days with the Orion vehicle attached."


A multi-year continuous ECLSS test can easily be done via ISS, so why run it in DSG? This is the whole problem with this DSG plan. If you want to test long term ECLSS then just focus on ECLSS ...
There's no reason for DSG development to be hamstrung by the requirement for a long-term ECLSS. Initial operation could be achieved via an Enhanced Cygnus; outfitted with external airlock, additional propellant for station keeping, CO2 scrubbers, communications, etc. Effectively, it creates a 'rest stop' in LLO to begin positioning and assembling DSG build-up. The 42-days with Orion vehicle attached is all that's needed initially, not a full-fledged ECLSS.

I used to think a Mir/Zvezda core module attached to an ISS multi-docking Node would make a good Deep Space Gateway station. It has proven life support systems and refuelability and with improved thermal and radiation shielding could handle the constant sunlight of Cislunar space well.
If not the actual, above configuration - then something similar. There is no need to build another ISS scale station, this time in deep Cislunar space. ...
In complete agreement, and this is the build-up. Initially just a tin can (Cygnus), the day a DOS (Salyut) arrives - with it's permanent ECLSS and substantial SKD/DPO engines - is the day we'll have a functioning DSG. While the ISS continued packing on lbs, a DSG composed of DOS, Cygnus (with backup ECLSS/propulsion, primary airlock and storage space), a docking node and maybe a truss/arm for supply docking is complete and capable of all Lunar or Deep Space ambitions for decades to come as well as future ECLSS or teleoperation development.

SLS/Orion always seemed much more a 'Moon Rocket' and spaceship to me. A lunar gateway station, with or without any Mars endgame in sight could be a good place to base and service/refuel a reusable lunar lander craft. If the Lander is a Commercially-competed craft or a joint venture between NASA and it's partners... Seems to me a better way of doing things than the purely Constellation modus-operandi.

Commercial space entities could compete for cargo deliveries to the Gateway station, as they did to ISS.
...
Absolutely a DSG could and should be the staging point for surface missions, but I don't see a Commercial role for landers. Sure, some X-Prize contestants may try to hawk their wares, but the surface and DSG should be international undertakings. As to lander specifics; I'd use Russian engines, thrusters, fuel systems, etc while the rest can be debatable international sourcing.

I wouldn't bother asking International or Commercial partners for specific deliveries to DSG. People require rapid transport from LEO to LLO, but not infrastructure, supplies or fuel. Those can be slowly transported (SEP tug) with considerably less fuel. As DSG would be the only buyer for an SEP tug it's best run by those operating the DSG while organizing and purchasing payload to LEO from Commercial providers. ie; A Falcon Heavy with reusable boosters, but expendable core lofts 37mT to LEO(?) which becomes ~29mT in LLO using a tug. That's more than adequate for anything conceivable.

... even though you could do Mars with DSG, Gerstenmaier indicates that it really is just a test bed for a better craft down the line(DST). The engines and solar panels at the very least need to be tested long duration in the relevant environment. Wear levels on the solar panels in the precise radiological environment is something that needs to be 100% understood. NASA's Space Radiation Laboratory(NSRL) is only an approximation.
   ...
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has signed a $67 million cost-plus fixed fee (plus performance incentive) contract with NASA to develop a high-power electric propulsion system that will enable key elements of NASA's plans for exploration of cis-lunar space and Mars.
Under the Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) contract, the Aerojet Rocketdyne team will develop, qualify and deliver five 12.5 kilowatt Hall thruster subsystems including thrusters,

http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-signs-contract-develop-advanced-electric-propulsion-system-nasa
ECLSS, surface missions, automated docking, communications, etc should all be significantly advanced by the design and operation of DSG, but propulsion development would be DSG's greatest benefit. Just running a SEP tug is a big step, but seeing what wears out and the difference between 'real space' and laboratory approximation cannot be accomplished any other way.
Frankly, AR's 12.5kw HET isn't even enough for tugs. But 30kw to 50kw HET arranged into grids could work and the only way to know if grids even DO work is testing them in space.

Beyond tugs, DSG could run larger or developmental systems (including nuclear) around the Moon for years, then allow them to be inspected and parts replaced to refine the design. Again, no place else is this kind of development possible. Lastly; Lunar orbit is an exceptional place to put telescopes, especially if they could be visited once every month from DSG with quick orbital maneuvers in case of failure or upgrades.
« Last Edit: 07/04/2017 05:16 AM by Propylox »

Tags: DSG JAXA