Author Topic: A look at the future from the past (2004)  (Read 3675 times)

Offline JonSBerndt

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A look at the future from the past (2004)
« on: 03/22/2008 10:56 AM »
Remember these?

From the NASA web site: "Each of the contractors has presented unique ideas about the space transportation systems needed for future journeys."

http://www.nasa.gov/missions/solarsystem/vision_concepts.html

Given recent discussions here, revisiting these concept proposals is interesting ...

Jon
Jon S. Berndt
Aerospace Engineer
The opinions expressed herein are of course solely my own.

Offline texas_space

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Re: A look at the future from the past (2004)
« Reply #1 on: 03/24/2008 01:34 AM »
Interesting reading.  The Northrup Grumman one was especially interesting how it stated that 130t and 30t launchers were not good options.  The 55t option was best according to NG.
"We went to the moon nine times. Why fake it nine times, if we faked it?" - Charlie Duke

Offline Lampyridae

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Re: A look at the future from the past (2004)
« Reply #2 on: 03/24/2008 02:54 AM »
Orbital Sciences meanwhile had something that looked very similar to our good old DIRECT 2.0. Existing ET, 4 seg SRBs and 3 expendable SSMEs (AKA Rs-68s). They have an uncanny knack for finding those good options. Back in the Orbital Space Plane days, they were the only ones touting an Apollo capsule until they were bullied into a lifting body. The only weak part of their plan (politically and development-wise) was a reusable lander. It would be interesting to revisit their proposal in light of DIRECT... and they seemed to be pitching their LV only as an 80MT vehicle.
SKYLON... The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's preferred surface-to-orbit conveyance.

Offline Nathan

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RE: A look at the future from the past (2004)
« Reply #3 on: 03/27/2008 08:31 AM »
I always liked the simplicity and modularity of the Spacehab approach.
The transit CEV of tSpace was a near perfect spacecraft - all it was lacking was a clearly defined fuel station to which to obtain it's fuel from.
Given finite cash, if we want to go to Mars then we should go to Mars.

Online MATTBLAK

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Re: A look at the future from the past (2004)
« Reply #4 on: 03/27/2008 11:04 AM »

Quote
texas_space - 24/3/2008 2:34 PM Interesting reading. The Northrup Grumman one was especially interesting how it stated that 130t and 30t launchers were not good options. The 55t option was best according to NG.

Thank you so much for finding this link and its documents!! Yup: I myself claimed in the past in other threads both on Nasaspaceflight.com and other spaceblogs that many of the VSE trade studies recommended 45-55 ton boosters to be the best value for money development cost-wise and technical-risk wise. Several EELV fans, the ones reckoning 20-ton launchers could send people to the Moon and (laughably) Mars as well, in essence, called me a fool and demanded proof of my assertions. Well you guys -- read the papers, those done by space professionals. Although 100+plus ton Heavy Lift is desirable, especially by me, the 50+ton boosters could do the deed with engineering cleverness and innovation. I especially like the T-Space presentation for clarity and infrastructure common sense. Also, the follow-up Boeing Final Report for the VSE (anyone got a link?) says much about L-1 and L-2 lunar mission integration, which I think are excellent ideas.

 

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Offline William Barton

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Re: A look at the future from the past (2004)
« Reply #5 on: 03/27/2008 12:29 PM »
One of the problems I see with discourse here and elsewhere is a tendency to treat these sorts of proposals as irreducible packages, and to do the same with various architectures, rather than treating them like "Chinese menus" (as in, "One from Column A, two from Column B..."). In terms of getting the most for the least, soonest, various architectures and proposals have different components to work with. Fuel depot or no, it seems obvious there's an advantage to having the most LV that can be built from existing components, whether that's SDV or EELVDV, or some hybrid of the two. I always liked the t\Space reusable lander as it seemed to offer a lot of flexibility.

Offline edkyle99

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RE: A look at the future from the past (2004)
« Reply #6 on: 03/27/2008 01:28 PM »
Telling is the absence of ATK in these studies, yet Stick was around at the time.  The SRB in-line launcher may have been first mentioned to a large public audience in February 2004 at the Space Shuttle Life Extension Program Summit (SLEP) in Galveston, Texas.  ATK then presented a paper on it at the April 2004 Space Congress.  Notice that an unremarked image of Stick appeared in Boeing's VSE presentation.  

Remember that this was all before Griffin arrived, he clearly having been convinced of the Astronaut Office/ATK approach even prior to his arrival at NASA HQ in April 2005.  (Griffin coauthored the a July 2004 paper for The Planetary Society titled "Extending Human Presence into the Solar System" that recommended use of an SRB-based crew launch vehicle.)  

 - Ed Kyle

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