Author Topic: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission  (Read 7387 times)

Offline Nathan

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Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« on: 02/07/2010 01:43 AM »
With the new "flexible path" now on the agenda I am wondering what missions to the lunar surface could emerge should Congress push the issue.

One option is a Rapid Lunar Sortie.
This involves:
Command module that takes the crew to lunar orbit and back to Earth orbit. Could be Orion/dragon based or could be ISS Exploration Laboratory based (Inflatable etc)
EDS - chemical or electric propulsion.
Light lunar lander for short duration mission
A complete back-up stack would be in orbit too,for emergency scenarios.

Expected surface EVA time would be 4-6 hours with the entire surface mission lasting no more than 7 hours.
Lunar lander would be unpressurized, one-two person (in spacesuits...), and weigh ~5 tonnes. Drop tanks may be an advantage.

similar to http://www.astronautix.com/craft/lmllight.htm or even
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/lmlhtest.htm

This could perhaps be launched with a single launch on a HLV of appropriate size, or could utilize a propellant depot.

The small lunar lander would be MUCH cheaper than Altair since the goal is only to collect samples and leave some lightweight surface equipment.

The command module, EDS would use the tech that emerges from the flexible path. The lander should be fairly simple. Main cost is requirement to launch two stacks for rescue use.
Thoughts?

Given finite cash, if we want to go to Mars then we should go to Mars.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #1 on: 02/07/2010 10:14 AM »
Hardly worth doing, then: this is exactly the type of thing Apollo was (often wrongly) criticised for -- flags and footprints, not much science for a lot of risk and a mission that achieves not much beyond the accomplishment of the landing itself. When humans return to the Moon it should be at first for a week, then a lunar day (fortnight), one month then etc up to six months.

Sound familiar?! Wasn't that very thing just dumped?

But Seriously: a one-launch HLV of modest size might work with a 'Wal-Mart' lander crewed by 2, refuelling from an L-1 propellant depot. In fact, with NO Ares V and probably no Jupiter 241 in our future, refuelling or multiple launches of 25-ton class EELVs made be the only way to do it. Then, build up your small outpost to the point where the crew can be built up to 4 Astronauts -- make the 'Wal-Mart' lander capable of taking 4 people home to the Command Module (Orion/beefed-up Dragon) in a pinch.

You can bet that China will be looking at architectures that has an HLV with no more than a 45-50 metric ton-to-LEO launcher. Such a booster can be readily, affordably based on Long March designs already about -- the way Delta IV-Heavy, Falcon 9-Heavy or evolved Ariane V has already been looked at. Oh, and not to mention little designs such as the Jupiter 140 and Side-Mount HLV...

It's deja-vu all over again, class. Seek out the VSE 'final' proposal PDFs that someone linked around here a couple weeks back, and a sober more, er, *affordable* architecture could be looked at... Again.

Remember: Low Earth Orbit is a PRISON -- It's WAY past time for a JAILBREAK... Sigh :( :)
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline MP99

Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #2 on: 02/07/2010 11:23 AM »
One thing I like about this - it seems it could be done without developing loads of new technologies. Each mission would be about the same duration as a Shuttle mission, for instance.

With a decent budget, it also looks like it would allow a scatter-gun approach to sampling multiple places around the Moon. Just see what serendipity turns up.

If it could be done in parallel to game-changing research, would give much more info about where to send the longer missions later on. Maybe even were we'd want to setup a base.

Martin

Offline mars.is.wet

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #3 on: 02/07/2010 12:52 PM »
Remember: Low Earth Orbit is a PRISON -- It's WAY past time for a JAILBREAK... Sigh :( :)

I used to love your tag line ... now it is just soulfully sad an ironic.

Almost like we have been put in triple lockdown without a parole hearing for 20 years or something ... :)

Offline tamarack

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #4 on: 02/07/2010 03:23 PM »
With the new "flexible path" now on the agenda I am wondering what missions to the lunar surface could emerge should Congress push the issue.
...
Thoughts?

Before answering out how to put men on the Moon, tell me what's on the Moon worth sending astronauts? Same thing goes for NEOs and Martian moons.

Offline Downix

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #5 on: 02/07/2010 03:30 PM »
With the new "flexible path" now on the agenda I am wondering what missions to the lunar surface could emerge should Congress push the issue.
...
Thoughts?

Before answering out how to put men on the Moon, tell me what's on the Moon worth sending astronauts? Same thing goes for NEOs and Martian moons.
titanium, gold, platinum, iron, nickel....

the average worth of a single NEO nickel-iron asteroid is more than most countries total value.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline luke strawwalker

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #6 on: 02/07/2010 03:36 PM »
One thing I like about this - it seems it could be done without developing loads of new technologies. Each mission would be about the same duration as a Shuttle mission, for instance.

With a decent budget, it also looks like it would allow a scatter-gun approach to sampling multiple places around the Moon. Just see what serendipity turns up.

If it could be done in parallel to game-changing research, would give much more info about where to send the longer missions later on. Maybe even were we'd want to setup a base.

Martin

Most of this could be done with big rovers FAR more cost and mass efficiently.  The time limitations alone on such a short mission means there won't be much scientific return.  This is grasping at straws. 

You want to do lunar science and lots of it??  Land several jeep or small pickup size rovers on the moon, with solar panels sufficient for daytime ops and to power water hydrolysis units for fuel cell power during the lunar night, teleoperated from Earth.  Have manipulators, tool kits, sample equipment, a small core drilling rig, ground penetrating radar, and anything else of practical value you can squeeze in.  Map out a traverse from it's landing site through areas of interest, rendezvousing with a pre-positioned sample return probe en route if the samples need returning for more elaborate lab analysis than the probe can perform remotely.  Call it "Lewis and Clark"-- the rovers travel a pre-planned route, taking detours of interest or where necessary, to scout out the locations and blaze a trail.  You'd have FAR FAR greater scientific return because of the LONG mission duration and long-distance traverse than you would from a number of small extremely short manned 'hops' down to the lunar surface and your rover could prove the technology for non-nuclear powered lunar night ops and perhaps also be equipped for ISRU "proof of concept" type units, perhaps even producing usable quantities of ISRU and storing them on the lunar surface for later use by manned missions performing significant stays on the lunar surface.  These ISRU missions might better be 'follow ons' to the originals, however.  These "Prospectors" could scout out the locations and quantities of veins of lunar ice and even set up limited preliminary operations as proof of concept for ISRU and produce limited but usable quantities of ISRU's on the lunar surface, pre-positioned for use by human missions when they arrive to set up more long-term presence.  A pre-positioned oxygen/water solar power plant (the Prospector rover itself, continuously 'taking samples' and processing it into small quantities of ISRU could build up a substantial cache after prolonged operations, and it's added power capabilities could prove an extremely valuable asset to a manned mission when it arrives. 

Build these on a 'common chassis' capable of being outfitted with different sets of instruments and equipment and use them at Mars as well-- leverage the program to get the most possible use out of the development, and to lay as much of the groundwork as possible BEFORE undertaking the manned missions. 

Seems to me to be the most logical progression with the greatest returns, instead of leaping into underpowered, underfunded manned missions just for the sake of manned missions...

 JMHO!  OL JR :)
NO plan IS the plan...

"His plan had no goals, no timeline, and no budgetary guidelines. Just maybe's, pretty speeches, and smokescreens."

Offline tamarack

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #7 on: 02/07/2010 03:37 PM »
Before answering out how to put men on the Moon, tell me what's on the Moon worth sending astronauts? Same thing goes for NEOs and Martian moons.
titanium, gold, platinum, iron, nickel....

the average worth of a single NEO nickel-iron asteroid is more than most countries total value.

Lunar exploration cannot be justified in such a way.
It's still only speculation those elements exists and in what quantities on NEOs. They are likely absent on Mars' moons and you failed to consider the cost of transit in your business case.
« Last Edit: 02/07/2010 03:38 PM by tamarack »

Offline Downix

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #8 on: 02/07/2010 04:05 PM »
Before answering out how to put men on the Moon, tell me what's on the Moon worth sending astronauts? Same thing goes for NEOs and Martian moons.
titanium, gold, platinum, iron, nickel....

the average worth of a single NEO nickel-iron asteroid is more than most countries total value.

Lunar exploration cannot be justified in such a way.
It's still only speculation those elements exists and in what quantities on NEOs. They are likely absent on Mars' moons and you failed to consider the cost of transit in your business case.
Modify it slightly with longer term vision.  Land, piecemail, a lunar base.  Likely take 8-9 EELV.  These lightweight landers are dropped from a lunar-orbiting capsule, which stays up there for the return leg of the mission.  These landers, well, land, and the astronauts can then join up with the base, possibly one of those lunar rovers being tested in new mexico desert.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline MP99

Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #9 on: 02/07/2010 04:16 PM »
One thing I like about this - it seems it could be done without developing loads of new technologies. Each mission would be about the same duration as a Shuttle mission, for instance.

With a decent budget, it also looks like it would allow a scatter-gun approach to sampling multiple places around the Moon. Just see what serendipity turns up.

If it could be done in parallel to game-changing research, would give much more info about where to send the longer missions later on. Maybe even were we'd want to setup a base.

Martin

Most of this could be done with big rovers FAR more cost and mass efficiently.  The time limitations alone on such a short mission means there won't be much scientific return.  This is grasping at straws. 

Fair point. Desperate times.

Martin

Offline Hop_David

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #10 on: 02/07/2010 05:40 PM »
With the new "flexible path" now on the agenda I am wondering what missions to the lunar surface could emerge should Congress push the issue.

One option is a Rapid Lunar Sortie.

This option is a waste of money

Offline Hop_David

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #11 on: 02/07/2010 05:43 PM »
Before answering out how to put men on the Moon, tell me what's on the Moon worth sending astronauts? Same thing goes for NEOs and Martian moons.

A valid question but incomplete list. Same thing goes for NEOS, Martian moons and Mars.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #12 on: 02/07/2010 05:49 PM »
Remember: Low Earth Orbit is a PRISON -- It's WAY past time for a JAILBREAK... Sigh :( :)

I used to love your tag line ... now it is just soulfully sad an ironic.

Almost like we have been put in triple lockdown without a parole hearing for 20 years or something ... :)

Three strikes; now we're out. :(
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline tamarack

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #13 on: 02/07/2010 06:18 PM »
Before answering out how to put men on the Moon, tell me what's on the Moon worth sending astronauts? Same thing goes for NEOs and Martian moons.
A valid question but incomplete list. Same thing goes for NEOS, Martian moons and Mars.

OT: Mars is a much more complex destination and is ill-served by the 'scratch and sniff' robotic exploration to date. It requires human visits.

Offline Hop_David

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #14 on: 02/08/2010 03:15 AM »
Before answering out how to put men on the Moon, tell me what's on the Moon worth sending astronauts? Same thing goes for NEOs and Martian moons.
A valid question but incomplete list. Same thing goes for NEOS, Martian moons and Mars.

OT: Mars is a much more complex destination and is ill-served by the 'scratch and sniff' robotic exploration to date. It requires human visits.

Sortie missions to Mars as well as the moon are a waste of money.

Humans might be able to do some science that robots can't (though this is becoming a less substantial argument as robots improve). However that science isn't worth the enormous expense.

Online notsorandom

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #15 on: 02/08/2010 04:12 AM »
What about using a small lander like this as a taxi to the surface? We are talking about sorties but if there was a small base module on the surface the mission could be weeks instead of hours. Also if there is a habitat already there on the surface there is no need to build one in to the lander. Keeps the lander light with no pressure hull. It would be sort of like how a Soyuz on its own isn't very capable but when used with the ISS an impressive program was created. The astronauts land and walk off their unpressurized lander over to the airlock on the habitat.

The habitat wouldn't have to be big and it might be an advantage to keep it small. If it was small and cheep enough many could be placed in different locations. Logistics could be simplified if there was no need to resupply. Put all the supplies on the habitat for a few weeks and launch it. When it runs out launch another one somewhere else. Get done with one area leave and move on. There are probably a million problems with this idea though.

Offline Nathan

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #16 on: 02/08/2010 08:28 AM »
One thing I like about this - it seems it could be done without developing loads of new technologies. Each mission would be about the same duration as a Shuttle mission, for instance.

With a decent budget, it also looks like it would allow a scatter-gun approach to sampling multiple places around the Moon. Just see what serendipity turns up.

If it could be done in parallel to game-changing research, would give much more info about where to send the longer missions later on. Maybe even were we'd want to setup a base.

Martin

That's my thought. We don't have to give up lunar sample missions because we have lost Constellation. A single moon rock - selected by a geologist and studied in labs on Earth will provide an amazing amount of data and insight into the lunar history.
Bring back 100kgs each mission.
Given finite cash, if we want to go to Mars then we should go to Mars.

Offline Nathan

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #17 on: 02/08/2010 08:30 AM »
Hardly worth doing, then: this is exactly the type of thing Apollo was (often wrongly) criticised for -- flags and footprints, not much science for a lot of risk and a mission that achieves not much beyond the accomplishment of the landing itself.

But the mission wouldn't be flags and footprints. It would be sample collection by a trained geologist and a specific site for a specific scientific purpose. Leave the flags at home and get on with the mission!

Besides - I'm not sure how much more Altair would have given us.
Given finite cash, if we want to go to Mars then we should go to Mars.

Offline Nathan

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #18 on: 02/08/2010 08:33 AM »
What about using a small lander like this as a taxi to the surface? We are talking about sorties but if there was a small base module on the surface the mission could be weeks instead of hours. Also if there is a habitat already there on the surface there is no need to build one in to the lander. Keeps the lander light with no pressure hull. It would be sort of like how a Soyuz on its own isn't very capable but when used with the ISS an impressive program was created. The astronauts land and walk off their unpressurized lander over to the airlock on the habitat.

The habitat wouldn't have to be big and it might be an advantage to keep it small. If it was small and cheep enough many could be placed in different locations. Logistics could be simplified if there was no need to resupply. Put all the supplies on the habitat for a few weeks and launch it. When it runs out launch another one somewhere else. Get done with one area leave and move on. There are probably a million problems with this idea though.

Could be a second generation use. A COTS type program could send cargo to the surface to which a lunar taxi could rendezvous.
We don't need to spend much on the moon - the flexible path should not exclude the moon on principle though. It should embrace it and hold it up as a symbol of it's success!

Given finite cash, if we want to go to Mars then we should go to Mars.

Offline tamarack

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Re: Rapid Lunar Sortie Mission
« Reply #19 on: 02/08/2010 11:13 PM »
But the mission wouldn't be flags and footprints. It would be sample collection by a trained geologist and a specific site for a specific scientific purpose. Leave the flags at home and get on with the mission!

Besides - I'm not sure how much more Altair would have given us.
Re: Apollo astronauts were trained in geology, including sample selection, and their sites were chosen for geological interest as well as technical feasibility. Apollo 17, and especially 15, took incredible risk to sample important sites.

PS: Apollo 15 landing site = cajones
http://www.nasm.si.edu/collections/imagery/Apollo/AS15/a15landsite.htm
« Last Edit: 02/09/2010 12:05 AM by tamarack »

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