Author Topic: NASA reviews progress of habitat development for deep-space exploration  (Read 82230 times)

Offline montyrmanley

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Why should NASA focus on landing hundreds of people on Mars or colonizing space? NASA is the Lewis and Clark expedition, the initial explorers. The idea that we shouldn't go anywhere in space unless we can colonize it at the same time is incorrect in my view. Let the private sector worry about colonization and let NASA focus on actually reaching the location for the first time.

I agree with everything you said vis-a-vis the cislunar station idea -- in fact, if I had my way, NASA would focus all of their efforts on orbital stations and give up on the idea of planetary bases for the forseeable future. But then I'm an advocate of the O'Neill "cities in space" idea -- I find the idea of going right back down another gravity well after spending eons getting out of this one to be ludcrous. Planets are where you put your mining and resource-gathering robots; space stations are the things you build for people to live in.

I do take issue with the notion that NASA is the "Lewis and Clark" of space exploration, however. Notionally, that should (IMO) be their remit, but in reality NASA has never been that organization, either spiritually or as a matter of organizational purpose. NASA's legacy is a conservative engineering bureaucracy, but gradually the "bureaucracy" part has overwhelmed even the "engineering" part and now NASA mainly exists to perpetuate itself. It exists to employ people, and to distribute federal funds to the districts the various centers operate in. To the extent that NASA can do "space exploration" commensurate with those two higher goals, fine; but when actual space science and exploration conflict with those goals, space exploration is going to lose. Every time. I don't think there was ever a "golden age" of NASA where things were ever any different, really -- NASA was born and bred as such an organization, and to expect anything different from it is actually kind of silly.

NASA's innate risk-aversion and (increasingly) bureaucratic inertia is completely at odds with being the path-breaker for crewed deep space missions. I expect the private sector to quickly outpace the nation-state space programs in the coming decades (we be at the leading edge of that process right now).

Offline Coastal Ron

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Why should NASA focus on landing hundreds of people on Mars or colonizing space? NASA is the Lewis and Clark expedition, the initial explorers. The idea that we shouldn't go anywhere in space unless we can colonize it at the same time is incorrect in my view. Let the private sector worry about colonization and let NASA focus on actually reaching the location for the first time.

I agree with everything you said vis-a-vis the cislunar station idea -- in fact, if I had my way, NASA would focus all of their efforts on orbital stations and give up on the idea of planetary bases for the forseeable future.

I just wanted to highlight this comment, but I'll address it last...

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But then I'm an advocate of the O'Neill "cities in space" idea -- I find the idea of going right back down another gravity well after spending eons getting out of this one to be ludcrous. Planets are where you put your mining and resource-gathering robots; space stations are the things you build for people to live in.

You appear to be assuming that humans can actually live in space - not only survive, but thrive.  And that it will be easily to have the same quality of life and GDP in space that it would on a planet. I'm not sure I agree with that, or at least not until we know that artificial gravity space stations will be a popular thing (and I hope they will be). So I think this is a premature conclusion to make at this point.

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I do take issue with the notion that NASA is the "Lewis and Clark" of space exploration, however. Notionally, that should (IMO) be their remit, but in reality NASA has never been that organization, either spiritually or as a matter of organizational purpose.

My philosophy about NASA is based on remembering that NASA is just one of many government agencies that the U.S. Government uses to solve problems. Which for NASA means addressing problems that require sending hardware and/or humans into space to solve problems in peaceful ways.  But they are still U.S. Government problems, not goals set by those within NASA. That is an important point to remember, that NASA works for the President and is funded by Congress - it does not get to pick what it wants to do.

But what it does well is what the private sector can't or won't do. But once the private sector is able to do something, then it should be questioned whether the U.S. Government should have NASA do that same task.

In that light, it may be appropriate for NASA to be the lead for a deep space habitat, but so far there is no U.S. Government need for doing that. Does it solve a problem with another country, like Apollo did in the Cold War? Does it solve a science problem that is acknowledged to be something needed to be solved by many nations, like the ISS? I'm not sure we have a clear "business case" for a lunar DSH yet. It would be nice to have some clarity on this, but our government seems too busy with many other issues to provide clear direction during this year.

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 corneliussulla

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The Cis lunar base has nothing to do with going to Mars it just gives Orion somewhere to go.

NASA is lost its main mission is to keep various legacy Rocket development centres populated with people. The fact there is a outcome of this process is almost irrelevant.

Imagine a trip to Mars lasting 2-3 years and u don't Evan land, its sad, sort of pathetic. No vision, Evan the things we are building have no obvious purpose other than getting a few people to Mars orbit or lunar orbit so we can say we have been there.

The absolute truth is SX and to a lesser extent BO are the only people with a vision for space and are making strides to make it happen. NASA will continue with this waste of time until its cancelled and the congress will look for some other nonsense to keep the jobs in their states.

I see zubrin is in agreement with me http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447644/nasa-lunar-orbit-space-station-terrible-idea.

Although I don't agree with his solution. NASA only roll should be publish destinations and required capabilities in broadest terms, choose best solution and administer contracts. Never going to happen but as NASA is really just a political slush fund.
« Last Edit: 05/22/2017 06:36 AM by corneliussulla »

Offline BrightLight

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FISO report on Boeing version of DSG and integrated Lunar and Mars lander programs:
http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/%7Efiso/telecon/Duggan_8-9-17/

The DSG proposals coming from the commercial sector are incorporating ISS diameter (if not actual hardware) modules for the Cis-Lunar gateway.  This concept is using the MSFC larger diameter module for the Mars Transport facility similar to the Smitherman report - which used ISS heritage modules for the DSG and recommended a 5.2m diameter module for the Mars Transport.  This concept mirrors the MSFC co-manifest plan with the addition of lunar, Phobos and Mars landers explicitly called. Note that the Smitherman MSFC report does not call out landers.

Offline redliox

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The chart about how they'd handle Lunar operations got my attention chiefly.  It appear that the station would indeed be used as a gateway, or likewise a way-point, for the Orion and would-be-Lunar Lander.  More specifically they clearly show the lander traveling all the way from DRO/NRO to the lunar surface.  It appears that the ascent stage would return to the station, so possibly half-a-lander could be reused.

Without the dead weight of an Orion to drag around, I would think it could be reasonably possible to have a (clearly a slimmed-down -Altair-redux) lander capable of shuttling between the surface and the Gateway Station.

Can't say I'm as impressed with the Martian half of plans, but we'll see.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline okan170

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The chart about how they'd handle Lunar operations got my attention chiefly.  It appear that the station would indeed be used as a gateway, or likewise a way-point, for the Orion and would-be-Lunar Lander.  More specifically they clearly show the lander traveling all the way from DRO/NRO to the lunar surface.  It appears that the ascent stage would return to the station, so possibly half-a-lander could be reused.

I wonder if you could just bring a new descent stage with you for the next mission?  Who knows how it'd berth to the ascent stage, but at least the DSG notionally has a Canadarm.


Just a moment... whats that half-cut out Cargo SLS image?  Enhance!  Is that... my public-side SLS cargo render?   :o
« Last Edit: 08/16/2017 03:00 AM by okan170 »

Online brickmack

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The chart about how they'd handle Lunar operations got my attention chiefly.  It appear that the station would indeed be used as a gateway, or likewise a way-point, for the Orion and would-be-Lunar Lander.  More specifically they clearly show the lander traveling all the way from DRO/NRO to the lunar surface.  It appears that the ascent stage would return to the station, so possibly half-a-lander could be reused.

I wonder if you could just bring a new descent stage with you for the next mission?  Who knows how it'd berth to the ascent stage, but at least the DSG notionally has a Canadarm.


Just a moment... whats that half-cut out Cargo SLS image?  Enhance!  Is that... my public-side SLS cargo render?   :o

Well, if you only bring new descent stages on Orion flights, that doesn't leave much room for expansion or logistics modules (which should take priority for Orion comanifests, given the lack of propulsive capability). If you let the descent stage do its own orbital maneuvering, you could launch it on a much smaller vehicle (DIVH class?), maybe even carry some small cargo externally and use it as a logistics vehicle on the way up. Not clear how fuel would be delivered for the ascender though. Carry it up in extra tanks on descent module deliveries? At that point, might as well just go for direct tank swapping

Boeing's legal department just felt a ripple in the Force

Online TrevorMonty



The chart about how they'd handle Lunar operations got my attention chiefly.  It appear that the station would indeed be used as a gateway, or likewise a way-point, for the Orion and would-be-Lunar Lander.  More specifically they clearly show the lander traveling all the way from DRO/NRO to the lunar surface.  It appears that the ascent stage would return to the station, so possibly half-a-lander could be reused.

I wonder if you could just bring a new descent stage with you for the next mission?  Who knows how it'd berth to the ascent stage, but at least the DSG notionally has a Canadarm.



Beside new descent stage would also need fuel for ascent stage.

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