Author Topic: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?  (Read 11264 times)

Offline NUAETIUS

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Considering the recent endorsement of the Fuel Depot concept by the Augustine Commission, what would be the most effective way to implement a fuel depot?

Does the technology involved in building a fuel depot lend itself to a funded Space Act agreement (Ala COTS), or is the technology involved too advanced?

Whether it is a Space Act Agreement, or a Cost Plus contract what companies have the technology to make a reasonable bid on the contract? 

-Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. built Nextsat for Orbital Express so surely has all the data from that mission to help design a depot.

-Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, built Astro for Orbital Express so surely has all the data from that mission to help design a depot also.

-General Dynamics, builds the Centaur upper stage, a favorite amongst the converted upper stage advocates.

-Space Systems/Loral proposed a Space Tug, which likely involved many of the technologies for a Hyperbolic depot considering it assumed hyperbolic fuel transfer, ans station keeping.

The most important question for me is, how do you get to the Depot, without breaking the bank, or reinventing the wheel?
“It has long been recognized that the formation of a committee is a powerful technique for avoiding responsibility, deferring difficult decisions and averting blame….while at the same time maintaining a semblance of action.” Augustine's Law - Norm Augustine

Offline simon-th

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #1 on: 08/01/2009 07:36 PM »
I don't think it can be done through a Space Act agreement like COTS. NASA would be the only customer of a fuel depot in LEO for the foreseeable future and the technology and depot infrastructure isn't easy to develop.

Standard NASA contracts to either Boeing or LM will do...

Offline Danny Dot

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #2 on: 08/01/2009 07:47 PM »
Considering the recent endorsement of the Fuel Depot concept by the Augustine Commission, what would be the most effective way to implement a fuel depot?

Does the technology involved in building a fuel depot lend itself to a funded Space Act agreement (Ala COTS), or is the technology involved too advanced?

Whether it is a Space Act Agreement, or a Cost Plus contract what companies have the technology to make a reasonable bid on the contract? 

-Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. built Nextsat for Orbital Express so surely has all the data from that mission to help design a depot.

-Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, built Astro for Orbital Express so surely has all the data from that mission to help design a depot also.

-General Dynamics, builds the Centaur upper stage, a favorite amongst the converted upper stage advocates.

-Space Systems/Loral proposed a Space Tug, which likely involved many of the technologies for a Hyperbolic depot considering it assumed hyperbolic fuel transfer, ans station keeping.

The most important question for me is, how do you get to the Depot, without breaking the bank, or reinventing the wheel?


The answer is you start off with a one way transfer of prop from a tanker to an EDS or a lander in LEO.  Hopefully there is a cryo temp diaphragm out there that can do a one time transfer.  If there is, this job is very easy.  Or you bite the bullet on ISP and only use room temp propellants.  It is hard to state how easy this becomes with a one time diaphragm.  Even at room temperature, diaphragms are not an option for a depot because of the requirement for multiple use. 

Or, I vote we break the problem up into smaller pieces (cryo diaphragms, auto docking, thrusting settling, rotation settling, zero gravity tanks with screens) and let each needed technology out as a smaller Space Act Agreement.  Or have NASA develop the technology with civil servants.

Even if we go for a full up depot (or a demo of fueling an EDS on orbit), I like Space Act Agreements. 

Because this is not launch vehicle technology, I think international companies could compete.
Danny Deger

Offline tamarack

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #3 on: 08/01/2009 10:09 PM »
Considering the recent endorsement of the Fuel Depot concept by the Augustine Commission, what would be the most effective way to implement a fuel depot?
 ...
The most important question for me is, how do you get to the Depot, without breaking the bank, or reinventing the wheel?

LEO Propellant Depot: A Commercial Opportunity?
http://gwen.barnesos.net/NasaColab/Ken%20Davidian%20NGEC%20Supporting%20Docs/2007.10.01%20Fuel%20Depot%20Presentationl.ppt#0

Presentation mentions a SpaceX long term agreement.
« Last Edit: 08/01/2009 10:12 PM by tamarack »

Offline Antares

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #4 on: 08/02/2009 10:01 PM »
There are a lot of contract types between those two extremes.  The way to go is to issue an RFI and see what industry suggests.  There are still some low ROI fundamentals that probably have to be done cost-plus, or by civil servants.  However, once that technology is in place, firm fixed-price should be the order of the day.  At some point, it could become an LON $/kg commodity to the lowest bidder(s) that meet(s) the interface and mission assurance requirements.

TAKE HEED LURKERS WITH POWER, regarding the immediate preceding post, any civil servant who is distracting SpaceX from completing Falcon 9 and Dragon development deserves a negative review in their OPF (not orbiter processing facility).  They are not some relatively bottomless well of labor like OldSpace.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline loomy

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #5 on: 08/02/2009 10:19 PM »
First of all you do it all in metric units and design the interface with international partners.  Then once the usage standards are decided upon, anyone can build them.  Which will nasa pick?  Another cots-style program will decide.

Considering the recent endorsement of the Fuel Depot concept by the Augustine Commission, what would be the most effective way to implement a fuel depot?

Offline Danderman

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #6 on: 03/30/2011 01:37 PM »
This is the person who apparently can answer the question:

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/03/29/space-access-11-schedule/


Saturday April 9th

9 am Charles Miller/NASA, on Propellant Depot Progress & Market Implications
« Last Edit: 03/30/2011 01:37 PM by Danderman »

Offline mike robel

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #7 on: 03/30/2011 01:57 PM »
Congress, through NASA, should offer a prize of a significant amount of money and the promise of a contract for services.  That way prize competitors risk their own money, the money is placed in trust earning some interest, which can be directed back to the government, and the tax payer risks no money.  Contractors are incentivized to complete the development as effectively and efficiently as possible so that they stay within the bounds of the prize and either recoup their invesement or are able to make a profit on it, in addition to the follow on contract.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #8 on: 03/31/2011 03:09 AM »
the money is placed in trust earning some interest

They're not allowed to do stuff like that.  See the Centennial Challenges for how funding has to be appropriated for prizes.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #9 on: 03/31/2011 04:26 AM »
Simple make the funding mile stone driven vs cost plus.


Offline sdsds

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #10 on: 04/27/2011 09:11 AM »
NASA Broad Agency Announcement (BAA): In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer Demonstration Mission Concept Studies

Solicitation: NNC11ZCH001K
Release Date: April 22, 2011

"NASA is examining potential mission concepts for an In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer Demonstration."
"This BAA solicits proposals for mission concept studies."
"The mission cost target is approximately $200M."
"The price proposal shall include the overall firm fixed price for the mission concept study. The offer shall not exceed $600,000."

http://nspires.nasaprs.com
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #11 on: 04/27/2011 09:24 AM »
neat.. Award is anticipated on or about August 1, 2011.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #12 on: 04/27/2011 03:49 PM »
I wonder if ULA will be allowed to bid, or if Boeing and Lockheed will insist on doing it themselves.  ULA would probably be the best technically, but it all comes down to business sense.
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #13 on: 04/27/2011 04:11 PM »
I wonder if ULA will be allowed to bid, or if Boeing and Lockheed will insist on doing it themselves.  ULA would probably be the best technically, but it all comes down to business sense.
ULA can't build spacecraft. They aren't allowed to. It'd have to be the parent companies.
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Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #14 on: 04/27/2011 09:29 PM »
I wonder if ULA will be allowed to bid, or if Boeing and Lockheed will insist on doing it themselves.  ULA would probably be the best technically, but it all comes down to business sense.
ULA can't build spacecraft. They aren't allowed to. It'd have to be the parent companies.

Since when are upper stages spacecraft?

Edit: Has not stopped ULA from studying: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/DepotBasedTransportationArchitecture2010.pdf

CRYOTE seems like the perfect starting point.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2011 09:35 PM by Ronsmytheiii »
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #15 on: 04/27/2011 09:39 PM »
I wonder if ULA will be allowed to bid, or if Boeing and Lockheed will insist on doing it themselves.  ULA would probably be the best technically, but it all comes down to business sense.
ULA can't build spacecraft. They aren't allowed to. It'd have to be the parent companies.

Since when are upper stages spacecraft?

Edit: Has not stopped ULA from studying: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/DepotBasedTransportationArchitecture2010.pdf

CRYOTE seems like the perfect starting point.
You may well be right. Where's the line, though?

Agena, for instance, was both an upper stage and a satellite bus.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Jim

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #16 on: 04/27/2011 11:26 PM »
I wonder if ULA will be allowed to bid, or if Boeing and Lockheed will insist on doing it themselves.  ULA would probably be the best technically, but it all comes down to business sense.
ULA can't build spacecraft. They aren't allowed to. It'd have to be the parent companies.

Since when are upper stages spacecraft?

Edit: Has not stopped ULA from studying: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/DepotBasedTransportationArchitecture2010.pdf

CRYOTE seems like the perfect starting point.
You may well be right. Where's the line, though?

Agena, for instance, was both an upper stage and a satellite bus.

When it stops being a launch vehicle

Offline sdsds

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Re: Fuel Depot Space Act or Cost Plus development contract?
« Reply #17 on: 04/28/2011 07:28 AM »
When it stops being a launch vehicle

It's a fine line, and not a particularly clear one.  I'm hoping ULA will propose the "simple depot" concept mission, where the Atlas V payload is a dedicated LH2 module and the Centaur used for ascent is repurposed as the LO2 module.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2011 07:30 AM by sdsds »
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