Author Topic: Proposed ITS Cargo Modules to Initiate a Chemical Industry on Mars  (Read 11740 times)

Offline Lar

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might be proprietary or under patent review so he may not be able to give a lot of detail, but yes please
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Ludus

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It would also be interesting to see how the different proposed Farings of an ITS Cargo Variant would work for alternative ITS missions and uses other than Mars. Like deploying satellite constellations, Bigelow modules or other spacecraft in earth orbit, outer solar system missions etc.

Offline sghill

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PLEASE tell us about PAW.

Edit:  :)

See attached white paper from one of the inventors. The table on page 5 is of particular interest. PAW isn't the only technology, but it's by far the simplest with the least damaging process. The electricity use is higher than Haber-Bosch, but in a martian context, electricity use isn't as big a factor as getting feedstock and not damaging your extremely small enclosed system.
Bring the thunder Elon!

Offline CraigLieb

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Coming from a facilities maintenance perspective, pay attention to maintainability.

Filters have to be changed, pumps and such have to be replace, repaired and serviced.
Belt drives wear out, gears get fouled (especially in a dusty environment),  etc.
Consider space for access ladders, platforms, hoists to lift up equipment and lower down equipment.

The shell of the container creates a barrier to entry which helps protect against environmental issues, but also requires access doors to ingress and bring in/out equipment.

Unknowns are all around you like what does this equipment work like in a different atmosphere, with different gravity?  At least make a head-nod in the plan and diagrams to a pump/equipment room, access issues, etc. This would go a long way towards making the modules look more realistic.

Why have a separate half shell on ITS?  Would you consider making the side wall (top half) of the module the outer skin of ITS and have it be removable/replaceable. This makes access to the module much easier. The residents can use sheeting temporarily, and then material constructed on Mars from these other chemicals to enclose the open modules. The half shell is could then be replaced on the ITS and returned to Earth, saving the weight of double walls.  for that matter, the whole module could be more like a ribbed cage which has sections for securing the wrapped wall material which will be constructed on Mars. This saves a lot of weight.



Colonize Mars!

Offline Ionmars

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Coming from a facilities maintenance perspective, pay attention to maintainability.

Filters have to be changed, pumps and such have to be replace, repaired and serviced.
Belt drives wear out, gears get fouled (especially in a dusty environment),  etc.
Consider space for access ladders, platforms, hoists to lift up equipment and lower down equipment.
...
...
You are right on target. We addressed the maintenance and acces issue in our Jan draft  Here is an excerpt from the section regarding a Sabatier-Electrolysis module:

"To extrapolate the production rate of a small Sabatier unit to an ITS reactor module, one requires a linear volumetric expansion factor (F). This assumes that a compact plumbing arrangement will be found for the SE Module that is comparable to the plumbing efficiency of the prototype unit. Any near-term advances in design technology are not considered. Of the 1860 m3 volume of the SE module one may allocate 600 m3 for crew access for maintenance and for additional plumbing to tie together multiple reactors (Estimate by the Author). Thus we have
FCH4 = 1260 m3 / 1.571 m3 = 802."

Do you think this is adequate?
I am updating this section III, subsections C and D this week with revised module volumes. Do you have ideas about how to arrange equipment for maintenance access? 
Edit: Does anyone?
« Last Edit: 03/10/2017 02:49 PM by Ionmars »
* Mars: a convenient service station for an asteroid-sized spaceship en-route to Ceres. *

Offline CraigLieb

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seems like a good start.
Maybe too early in concept to show it in diagrams too access, ladders, pump platforms.
Colonize Mars!

Offline Ionmars

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seems like a good start.
Maybe too early in concept to show it in diagrams too access, ladders, pump platforms.
You are right. When one of these types of cargo vessels is adopted by SpaceX there will be 33 module variations to design in detail!  :)
* Mars: a convenient service station for an asteroid-sized spaceship en-route to Ceres. *

Offline Ionmars

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The technical paper has now been approved for presentation at the AIAA Conference SPACE 2017. :)

Please see the updated info in Reply #1 or go to L2 - new thread of same title.
* Mars: a convenient service station for an asteroid-sized spaceship en-route to Ceres. *

Offline gospacex

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What about making polyurethane? It's a liquid, and requires only C, O, N.

I tried mixing polyurethane lacquer with sand - the result is a sort of "plastic concrete". Sand on Mars is readily available, even sorted by size in dunes...

Offline Ionmars

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As of this week, the final technical paper was uploaded to AIAA and accepted.
* Mars: a convenient service station for an asteroid-sized spaceship en-route to Ceres. *

Offline tdperk

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What about making polyurethane? It's a liquid, and requires only C, O, N.

I tried mixing polyurethane lacquer with sand - the result is a sort of "plastic concrete". Sand on Mars is readily available, even sorted by size in dunes...

Can it cure in the Martian atmosphere?  (Or would it need baking and pressurization?)

Either way, add glass fiber and you've got a good engineering material.

Offline Ionmars

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What about making polyurethane? It's a liquid, and requires only C, O, N.

I tried mixing polyurethane lacquer with sand - the result is a sort of "plastic concrete". Sand on Mars is readily available, even sorted by size in dunes...
I really like your idea. Following tdperk, we should test it in a vacuum chamber.
If this works, the process would readily fit into the modular chemical industry described in the paper I mentioned above . The carbon and oxygen could be derived from an oxygen generator module and the nitrogen would be a byproduct of the 4-step CO2 cleaning process. The production of perc and plastic concrete could be a module unto itself.

Would you like to pursueyour idea? I could help.
* Mars: a convenient service station for an asteroid-sized spaceship en-route to Ceres. *

Offline Lar

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What about making polyurethane? It's a liquid, and requires only C, O, N.

I tried mixing polyurethane lacquer with sand - the result is a sort of "plastic concrete". Sand on Mars is readily available, even sorted by size in dunes...
I really like your idea. Following tdperk, we should test it in a vacuum chamber.
If this works, the process would readily fit into the modular chemical industry described in the paper I mentioned above . The carbon and oxygen could be derived from an oxygen generator module and the nitrogen would be a byproduct of the 4-step CO2 cleaning process. The production of perc and plastic concrete could be a module unto itself.

Would you like to pursue your idea? I could help.

I would think that this is a natural adjunct to ammonia production so it makes a lot of sense... other poymers may also be natural early products. My favorite one (ABS) , though, is a terpolymer that takes three precursor monomers. Still all  CHON but much more complex. Also much more variable material properties... but probably nont something produced early.


As of this week, the final technical paper was uploaded to AIAA and accepted.


Congrats to your team for the acceptance, well done. (and a thanks to the NSF reviewers that helped... )

That's two years in a row now right? What are you going to do next year? :)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Ionmars

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...
...
Congrats to your team for the acceptance, well done. (and a thanks to the NSF reviewers that helped... )

That's two years in a row now right? What are you going to do next year? :)
Thank you for the kind words.

The pot of ideas is boiling over, so there is no shortage of material. In this paper we cited a chart of 33 essential chemicals for the chemical industry that would eventually be required on Mars. This table alone could produce 33 PhD dissertations for the detailed designs of specialized chemical reactor modules.

I have two subjects in mind to discuss with potential authors. I can introduce them in due time, but you can bet the titles will contain the word "Proposed."

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Offline Ionmars

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Update:
A hurricane crossing Florida prompted the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics to cancel the meeting SPACE 2017 that was planned to be held in Orlando. The paper was never presented, but all 400 papers are available to the public for the next 3 months at no charge.

To download, go to AIAA.com. On the home page, click on Aerospace Research Center (ARC), then select "Meeting Papers" and click on AIAA Space Forum(s). Go down the list to 2017 Space and Astronautics Forum and Exposition. Then go down the list of sessions to SYS-05 Systems Architecture and Analysis, where you will find paper AIAA 2017-5335 is the first one.
* Mars: a convenient service station for an asteroid-sized spaceship en-route to Ceres. *

Offline Ionmars

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I have the slides for the presentation, so here they are in the attached file. You may have to read some of the paper to fill in the gaps because the slides are not accompanied by the talk.
* Mars: a convenient service station for an asteroid-sized spaceship en-route to Ceres. *

Offline Llian Rhydderch

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Will be interesting to see what sort of scale your chem processing might be able to do in the much smaller cargo spaceships that Musk outlined last week at IAC2017.

Can your processes scale down and fit in the smaller modules, just at a lessened chem ops capability?  Or would some of your processes require the larger process line, say distillation towers, etc.?
Re arguments from authority on NSF:  "no one is exempt from error, and errors of authority are usually the worst kind.  Taking your word for things without question is no different than a bracket design not being tested because the designer was an old hand."
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Offline Ionmars

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Will be interesting to see what sort of scale your chem processing might be able to do in the much smaller cargo spaceships that Musk outlined last week at IAC2017.

Can your processes scale down and fit in the smaller modules, just at a lessened chem ops capability?  Or would some of your processes require the larger process line, say distillation towers, etc.?
Yes, we used a linear volumetric model to scale from the ISS prototype Sabatier reactor to the large ITS/BFS module. We would just use a different volume for the scaled-down version. The projection factors are just ratios of volume (module) / volume (prototype) times propellant production rate (prototype). The propellant tanks to be filled would also scale linearly by volume; so the number of modules required to fill them should remain about the same, even though their size is different.

This is something I had planned to do, but I am working heavily on the next paper. If you wish, you could look at the volumetric factors in the paper and give it a shot. I would be interested also.
* Mars: a convenient service station for an asteroid-sized spaceship en-route to Ceres. *

Offline Robotbeat

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What about making polyurethane? It's a liquid, and requires only C, O, N.

I tried mixing polyurethane lacquer with sand - the result is a sort of "plastic concrete". Sand on Mars is readily available, even sorted by size in dunes...
Polyurethane is aromatic, so you're going to have to make Benzene or similar at some point.

Polyurethane or epoxies are probably essential for industry. Much harder to make than polypropylene, etc, though.
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Offline Katana

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What about making polyurethane? It's a liquid, and requires only C, O, N.

I tried mixing polyurethane lacquer with sand - the result is a sort of "plastic concrete". Sand on Mars is readily available, even sorted by size in dunes...
Polyurethane is aromatic, so you're going to have to make Benzene or similar at some point.

Polyurethane or epoxies are probably essential for industry. Much harder to make than polypropylene, etc, though.
PU could be aliphatic instead of aromatic, quite common. But manufactuing either needs many steps, including polyols and isocynates.

Bitumen from soot and tar is already strong enough in freezing environment.

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