Author Topic: Can SLS/Orion carry a LITTLE lunar lander with ascent vehicle?  (Read 2475 times)

Offline carmelo

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Theoretically  can SLS/Orion carry a LITTLE lunar lander (with ascent vehicle)?
We said the size of old Lunar Module for two Astronauts and for relatively short stays ( 7-10 days at the most).
In other words (theoretically speaking) can SLS-Orion performing a modernizate version of Apollo architecture?

Offline AegeanBlue

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The LM was intended for 72 hours max. There was a study by MIT a few years ago that using modern technology you can cut weight 40% if you were to replicate it, or more likely increase the safety margin. SLS block 1 can send 28 tons to earth moon L2 and 12 tons to low lunar orbit according to Wikipedia. Orion has a total mas of 26 tons. Can you fit a lunar lander in 2 tons? No. But if we are talking about the Orion block 1B you have a mass margin

Offline Bubbinski

Could the SLS Block 1B and Orion carry a modernized version of the open cockpit 1 man lander proposed in the 60's? That could be a "tech demonstrator" lunar landing if it's doable.

Edited to add: http://jalopnik.com/americas-crazy-backup-plan-to-get-to-the-moon-1783989895 - a link to the Langley Lander plan
« Last Edit: 02/10/2017 06:34 PM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline kch

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... Can you fit a lunar lander in 2 tons? No.

Don't be too sure (take a look at the third of the following links for a sub-2-ton lunar lander):

Three Lightweight Lunar Landers (NASA Langley, 1961)
http://astronautix.com/l/lmlangleylight.html
http://astronautix.com/l/lmlangleylighter.html
http://astronautix.com/l/lmlangleylightest.html

:)

Offline carmelo

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The LM was intended for 72 hours max. There was a study by MIT a few years ago that using modern technology you can cut weight 40% if you were to replicate it, or more likely increase the safety margin. SLS block 1 can send 28 tons to earth moon L2 and 12 tons to low lunar orbit according to Wikipedia. Orion has a total mas of 26 tons. Can you fit a lunar lander in 2 tons? No. But if we are talking about the Orion block 1B you have a mass margin

So,with SLS block 1B is possible replicate a Apollo approach?

Starring:
SLS  block 1B as Saturn V
Orion capsule as Apollo capule
A update modernized LEM  as LEM


Online brickmack

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SLS block 1 can send 28 tons to earth moon L2 and 12 tons to low lunar orbit according to Wikipedia.

SLS block 1 (or 1B for that matter, given that the long-duration operation requirement for CPS/EUS was removed years ago) can't send ANY payload to low lunar orbit. It can send about 30 tons to TLI (marginally more than the mass of Orion itself). Entering lunar orbit will require one or more burns several days later, and for LLO that will take about a km/s of delta v. iCPS and EUS lack the longevity to perform this maneuver, and Orion can't even get to LLO by itself even without a comanifested payload. Not sure where Wikipedia pulled those numbers from, but they have zero basis in reality

Online envy887

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The LM was intended for 72 hours max. There was a study by MIT a few years ago that using modern technology you can cut weight 40% if you were to replicate it, or more likely increase the safety margin. SLS block 1 can send 28 tons to earth moon L2 and 12 tons to low lunar orbit according to Wikipedia. Orion has a total mas of 26 tons. Can you fit a lunar lander in 2 tons? No. But if we are talking about the Orion block 1B you have a mass margin

So,with SLS block 1B is possible replicate a Apollo approach?

Starring:
SLS  block 1B as Saturn V
Orion capsule as Apollo capule
A update modernized LEM  as LEM


The Orion SM doesn't have enough fuel to do what the Apollo SM did, i.e. put the whole stack in lunar orbit and then return Orion to Earth. Altair's solution was to have the LM do the lunar orbital insertion burn, but this requires a large LM with a fairly powerful engine. SLS Block 1B can't launch a LM big enough to do this in a single launch with Orion.

Online IanThePineapple

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Perhaps have a hypergolic or solid third stage, then use Orion's SM for final maneuvers?
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Offline MATTBLAK

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An SLS with decent liquid boosters could probably get enough mass into LEO to do manned lunar missions in 'one shot' like Apollo did. But as has been pointed out; the Orion Service Module only has enough delta-v for maybe some minor circularizing burns as well as TEI. Unless the Orion SM had big design changes, this wont improve. Steve Pietrobon has done some mission mass calculations for the SLS with 'Dark Knights' solid boosters and 5x RS-25s on the core stage and also different upper stage configs. If memory serves; the mission mass design comes close to working out, then.
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Offline carmelo

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So,in conclusion no way that SLS-Orion can perform a lunar landing mission in Apollo style ALSO WITH A MODERN VERSION OF THE OLD LEM.

A very useful rocket!

You need at least two launch of SLS and this imply a huge lunar lander.

Online RonM

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So,in conclusion no way that SLS-Orion can perform a lunar landing mission in Apollo style ALSO WITH A MODERN VERSION OF THE OLD LEM.

A very useful rocket!

Orion is larger than Apollo. No surprise SLS can't carry Orion and the original LM. Repeating Apollo isn't the objective.

You need at least two launch of SLS and this imply a huge lunar lander.

That was the plan during the Constellation program for Ares V, Orion, and Altair. Two launches gets back to the Moon with more capable vehicles.

SLS, Orion, and a big lander would do the trick. The lander could be reusable. Lots of options, but currently no funding for a lander.

Offline Rocket Science

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Send a lander on a Falcon Heavy for LOR with Orion arriving on SLS...
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Send a lander on a Falcon Heavy for LOR with Orion arriving on SLS...
The Falcon Heavy - as we currently understand it - could only send about 12 tons to the Moon in a single launch. Not enough for even an Apollo sized LM. But a two-launch scenario with 1x Falcon 9 and 1x Falcon Heavy could work. The Falcon 9 Block 5 in reusable mode could put a 15 or 16 ton LM into a 28 degree LEO. A fully expendable Falcon 9 - which I would advocate - could place a lovely 22 ton LM into orbit to await the Falcon Heavy's delivery of an Earth Departure Stage; in the form of an adapted Falcon Heavy second stage. The LM autonomously docks with EDS and takes a relatively slow course out to Lunar orbit, where the EDS inserts it into a capture orbit. The LM uses a bit of it's own propellants to circularize the orbit.

A Block 1B SLS could then send the crew out to Lunar Orbit in an Orion to rendezvous with the LM. Landing mission proceeds etc, etc. This architecture should be a lot cheaper than a 2x Block 1B SLS architecture - but it would be a bit more complex, yes. But leveraging a co-operation of Govt. & Commercial Space has an appeal to me. If the LM was all-composite and eventually all-reusable; much could be done to build up and supply a small but perfectly-formed Lunar Outpost. The LM could even come in a cargo-only flavour.
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Offline carmelo

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SLS 1B could launch both  a Dragon (with modified heath shield for lunar return) and a LEM type of lander?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Theoretically  can SLS/Orion carry a LITTLE lunar lander (with ascent vehicle)?
We said the size of old Lunar Module for two Astronauts and for relatively short stays ( 7-10 days at the most).
In other words (theoretically speaking) can SLS-Orion performing a modernizate version of Apollo architecture?

While living within artificial restrictions can help you discover what your limitations are, for sending mass to various places in space we already know that multi-launch architectures are more capable than single-launch architectures - and likely far less expensive too.  And that would be multiple launches of any launch vehicle.
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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Since this thread is predominantly about SLS-Lunar, I had only brought in mention of using other launchers to keep the use of SLS down to only one or two launchers per year - currently, it's predicted launch rate.

In other threads I had advocated using Orion with other launchers to do 2x + 2x launch architectures to get lots of mass to Lunar orbit, bypassing SLS altogether if that launcher ends up being too busy with Mars operations etc. In that case, there would probably be alternate Command vehicles for Lunar missions, too other than Orion. Falcon Heavy and Vulcan/ACES could get some serious capability going on lunar missions if they are launched in pairs per launch windows. Not to mention other commercial launchers such as New Glenn in coming years.
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Offline MATTBLAK

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SLS 1B could launch both  a Dragon (with modified heath shield for lunar return) and a LEM type of lander?
With hypergolic engine capabilities and efficiencies being well-known; we can still count on several tons of hydrazine and NTO being required for a lunar 'Grey Dragon' for circularization and Trans-Earth Injection. And imagine that spacecraft making a pinpoint propulsive landing at KSC or some other locale! ;) That type of Command Module vehicle would likely be lighter than a full-blown Orion, but not a hell of a lot less. We have to figure that a Lunar Module is going to be about 15-16 tons at a bare minimum - such a lander during the Constellation program was nicknamed the 'Walmart' lunar lander :). Far more capability can be expected if we aim for a mass more like 20-22 metric tons. This is a decent compromise that could be launched on a Falcon 9, a Delta IV-Heavy, an Atlas V-552, Ariane V or 6 etc. The big Constellation 'Altair' lander was going to mass at least 40 tons, including lots of LOX/LH2 propellants.

I'm picking that future landers are either going to be hypergolic fueled or maybe LOX/Methane; which gets us ready for Mars.
« Last Edit: 02/11/2017 12:17 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline guckyfan

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SLS 1B could launch both  a Dragon (with modified heath shield for lunar return) and a LEM type of lander?

My understanding always was that Dragon can not launch with crew on vehicles with solid boosters because of its low acceleration LES. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Offline TrevorMonty

Any future lunar lander is likely to operate from DSH. Approximately 5km/s for round trip to surface. In case of expendable landers they will have to be inside SLS 1B TLI mass and have DV to get to DSH plus round trip to surface.

Reusable landers have few more options for delivery run to DSH. Use commercial LV to deliver dry lander to DSH. Launch fuelled lander to LEO and fly its self to DSH.
Fuel delivery to DSH can be done by commercial LVs.

Online Robotbeat

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Yes. If the service module of Orion were redesigned. Or if you had a really Spartan lander.
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Offline carmelo

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So the key is a new service module (and of course a new LEM)?

Offline MATTBLAK

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I'm unsure of the architecture of the Orion Service module these days - most of the documentation I have for the SM is from the Constellation era. It's a relatively 'stumpy' design, so I'm not sure if a mere propellant tank stretch would work without a big moldline change.
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Offline ncb1397

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I'm unsure of the architecture of the Orion Service module these days - most of the documentation I have for the SM is from the Constellation era. It's a relatively 'stumpy' design, so I'm not sure if a mere propellant tank stretch would work without a big moldline change.

If you needed the stack to carry more propellant, why would you stretch the service module instead of just adding more to the lander from the beginning? The SLS Block 1B's universal stage adapter provides 286 cubic meters of volume, enough for a couple hundred mT of propellant.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Well, yes. The dry unfueled mass of the Apollo LM was less than 5 metric tons, or 10,000 pounds. And that was a bare-bones vehicle! It's 10 tons of hypergolic propellants was only just sufficient for the job. The Constellation Altair baseline - though the goalposts moved a few times - was a 40+plus ton vehicle. And that was a LOX/LH2 powered craft that was to carry enough propellants to insert itself and an Orion into Lunar orbit. If we assume that a baseline modern LM was to be sent to the Moon separately on another SLS 1B, which apparently can send 39 tons on TLI, then it's probable fueled mass would be in that 39 ton neighborhood. Assuming that it would be a hypergolic fueled LM that only needed to insert itself into LLO, then it's propellant load for that - plus descent/ascent duties would be about 27 tons.

This is assuming a modern composite, low mass unfueled structure of about 10 or 11 metric tons for a crew of 4. A crew of 2 with this class of vehicle would be easier to achieve. Using LOX/Methane for the LM would yield better results, but not a massively better difference. So; that's the design goal for a low technology risk, understood LM concept - a crew of 2 or 4, throttling hypergolic engine(s) and an all-up fueled mass of 37-to-39 metric tons. This craft could be evolved to be fully reusable, staging from a Lunar Orbit space station. That way, a Command Module either Orion or some other commercial craft could transit crews to the Station and it's Lander. And as others have said; propellants for the Lander can be sent by Commercial suppliers or brought as a refueling pod by the Command Module.
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