Author Topic: NASA Exploration Roadmap: A return to the Moonís surface documented  (Read 39227 times)

Offline HappyMartian

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There's no lander because Luna isn't the destination.

That's still up in the air.

The next POTUS will either decide on a new destination or more likely just stick to the "unknown asteroid in 2025" so he/she doesn't have to increase funding.


A POTUS may blather, but it is Congress that funds human spaceflight.

The polar areas of the Moon are the only destinations that makes any sense at this time. Exploration missions to Lunar polar areas are affordable, doable, and where our international space partners want to go.

The President blathered about Mars and tried to cancel both the SLS and the Orion spacecraft.

A bipartisan Congress thought very differently than POTUS and has funded the building of the SLS and the Orion spacecraft.

For folks who haven't noticed, the SLS is a great Moon rocket and the Orion spacecraft was designed specifically to do Lunar missions. And there is an excellent reason to go to the Moon. Note:


LCROSS Finds Water on the Moon
At: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/13nov_lcrossresults/

"November 13, 2009: The argument that the Moon is a dry, desolate place no longer holds water."

"At a press conference today, researchers revealed preliminary data from NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, indicating that water exists in a permanently shadowed lunar crater. The discovery opens a new chapter in our understanding of the Moon."

And, "'Multiple lines of evidence show water was present in both the high angle vapor plume and the ejecta curtain created by the LCROSS Centaur impact,' says Colaprete. 'The concentration and distribution of water and other substances requires further analysis, but it is safe to say Cabeus holds water.'"



International missions will go to the Lunar polar surface to mine ice and produce the large supply of affordable hydrolox propellant that is needed for fast, robust, routine, and frequent spaceflights to the surface of Mars.

And we do want frequent human Mars spaceflights, don't we?

Or would it be better to support to the unfunded blather of a POTUS that isn't really interested in human BLEO spaceflight?
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline Robotbeat

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Mars and asteroids may not be the destinations you like, but it isn't just blathering.
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 JohnFornaro

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There's no lander because Luna isn't the destination.

That's still up in the air.

The next POTUS will either decide on a new destination or more likely just stick to the "unknown asteroid in 2025" so he/she doesn't have to increase funding.

If anything's up in the air, it would be that asteroid.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline HappyMartian

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Mars and asteroids may not be the destinations you like, but it isn't just blathering.

Without funding and strong political support, it is cheap and misleading political blather and a 'kicking the can down the road' process that indicates a lack of Presidential leadership of NASA.

The SLS and Orion are being built despite the efforts of the President to cancel them. Congress wants and is funding the preparations needed for spaceflights to explore the Moon, yet the President maintains his firm anti-Moon policy for human spaceflight.

The President's odd anti-Moon policy has resulted in major NASA planning confusion and paralysis in creating a NASA Exploration Roadmap and trying to figure out affordable, sustainable, and international missions to the Moonís surface.

Many others have noted the President's problem in following American space law and getting astronauts back on the Moon.



"The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space recently held a hearing on a proposal to change how the NASA Administrator is selected and the agency is monitored."

And, "Although many details of this proposal remain obscure, I find the motivation for it interesting.  Clearly, it stems from a belief that the current direction of the agency is aimless, unacceptable and in need of independent oversight.  Moreover, I take the proposal for a committee-nominated administrator as a not-so-subtle rebuke to the current management of the agency.  How and why did we arrive at this sorry state of affairs?"

And, "To recap that episode, one of the principal objectives of the VSE was to return to the Moon to learn how to use it to create new space faring capability (this ďmissionĒ was clearly articulated in the Presidential speech given at NASA Headquarters in January 2004).  But by the summer of the same year, that original objective mostly had been forfeited, morphed by the agency into a ďtouch-and-goĒ on the Moon in support of an Apollo-style Mars effort."

And, "Given that the agency had changed the direction of the VSE, the conclusions of this effort were entirely foreseeable Ė we were going on (what they thought was) the wrong path (i.e., the notion that lunar return was simply a repeat of Apollo Ė confusion caused by the agencyís re-direction of the VSE had become the perception) and without the necessary funding (so they told us) to reach it."

And, "Now, several highly questionable decisions later, we have arrived at the current pitiful ďgoing nowhereĒ state of the U.S. civil space program."

And, "The agencyís misdirection and lack of focus have irreparably destabilized our national space program.  Other space faring countries recognize that the U.S. program is adrift and floundering.  They are offering their astronauts Chinese language classes and actively (and very publicly) courting involvement and association with Chinaís space program and leadership."

And, "China has moved steadily toward the goal of manned lunar access while America has retreated from that arena, content with fantasizing about a human Mars mission that wonít occur for many decades, if then.  Rather than facilitating a strong American presence in space, our current administration has sent the world a strong message Ė that they are fine with the ongoing atrophy of national capabilities in human spaceflight."

And, "American space leadership has left the building and Congress is arriving late in the game in calling for legislation to preserve it."

Spudis Lunar Resources  Whatís Our Vector, Victor?
Posted on March 3, 2013 by Paul Spudis
At: http://www.spudislunarresources.com/blog/



It is indeed unfortunate that the President and NASA's leadership are not making any serious plans to get American astronauts on the Moon in a manner that minimizes LOM (Loss of Mission) and LOC (Loss of Crew). The President and NASA's leadership are not interested in following the American law that requires NASA to put astronauts on the Moon.

The reality is that simply blathering about unfunded L2 based asteroid and Mars missions is a whole lot cheaper than going directly to the Moon to tap its resources and learn how to 'live off the land.'

But we are not going to Mars or an asteroid prior to 2016, or even 2026, or maybe not even 2036.

And if the anti-Moon policies of this administration continue after 2016, the Moon is going to belong to, and its resources be exploited by, other folks who are more focused and sensible than us. And that is fair. Those who go to the Moon fully deserve the benefits from their Lunar risks and investments.

So where are the NASA plans for a Lander for direct and efficient American spaceflights from low Lunar orbit to the Moon's surface? Are those plans permanently lost in the White House between L2 blatherland and asteroid fantasyland?



"The lunar surface is no longer a target for NASA human exploration missions."

From page 2 of: An Architecture for Lunar Return Using Existing Assets
By James R. French, S. Alan Stern, Max Vozoff, Taber McCallum, and Charles Deiterich       Golden Spike Company       December 3, 2012
At: http://goldenspikecompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/French-et-al.-Architecture-Paper-in-AIAA-Journal-of-Spacecraft-and-Rockets.pdf


Since the President and NASA's leadership are obviously incapable of following American space law in devising an affordable Exploration Roadmap with A return to the Moonís surface, maybe Congress needs to put James R. French, S. Alan Stern, Max Vozoff, Taber McCallum, and Charles Deiterich in charge of that particular Moon project.


Edited.
« Last Edit: 03/26/2013 10:20 PM by HappyMartian »
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline JohnFornaro

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Despite the smokescreen and delays we are going back to the Moon.

I hope so.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline HappyMartian

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Despite the smokescreen and delays we are going back to the Moon.

I hope so.


Going to the surface of the Moon is difficult and dangerous. L1 or L2 based Lunar missions would add unjustifiable risks, mass, delta-v, and costs to Lunar missions.

Russian and proposed private spaceflights to the Lunar surface do not first go to L1 or L2. An L1 or L2 space station would be an unjustifiable diversion of scarce money to fund an unneeded and out of the way and risk adding destination.

Anytime anyone from NASA's leadership or the White House starts to blather about an L1 or L2 space station and asteroid and Mars missions, ask them to show you where the money is going to come from.

Low cost, direct, and affordable international missions to the Lunar polar surface to do ISRU are doable by NASA if the organization is led by folks who want to follow American space law instead of the anti-Moon whims of the President.

Hope is good. NASA Exploration Roadmap: A return to the Moonís surface that is based on reality, instead of the President's anti-Moon whims, is needed for hope to become reality. 
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline HappyMartian

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Despite what some folks may think, we are not preparing for a limited and paltry 4 to 6 crewed missions to Mars orbit between 2030 and 2050. Instead we are preparing to make Mars the third large sphere that humans call home.

A limited number of missions to the Moon with nothing for five or maybe six decades afterwards and many lost human BLEO space capabilities was a foolish and short-sighted NASA space policy that should not be in NASA's Exploration Roadmap or anyone's space policy plans as we eventually head off to Mars. We are going to the Moon to stay there. We are going to Mars to stay there. And we are going to Ceres to stay there. 

Congress wants to spur the economic development of cislunar space. That goal in and of itself will take a very large and always increasing amount of Lunar ISRU propellant because most likely cislunar development will include Lunar tourism on commercial and privately owned spaceships, and also a large and growing international Lunar polar base where many of the astronauts and science folks stay for one or more years per visit.

Fully exploring the Moon and its resources by doing hop missions will also take a large and continually increasing amounts of ISRU propellant.

Sustainable, affordable, robust, fast, and international human missions to Deimos, Phobos, Ceres, Vesta, and Mars will require the skill of setting up ISRU propellant facilities on those very distant celestial bodies. We will first learn how to do ISRU propellant production in the polar regions of the Moon.

Our international space exploration partners can afford to participate and have the launchers and other technology needed for human Lunar surface missions. And they want to get their people on the Moon doing ISRU, not sitting at L1 or L2 and twiddling their thumbs.

Our international partners fully understand that Mars will come after we are running a Lunar ISRU propellant facility.

Our international partners cannot afford and do not want very sporadic and skimpy human Mars orbit or asteroid missions, and to be blunt, with NASA's budget most likely staying flat or slightly increasing or decreasing, we cannot afford anything but direct missions, that carefully share costs with our space exploration partners, to the Moon's polar regions

As to the safety aspects of an L2 space station, it is nonsense.

L2 simply adds unneeded risk, mass, complexity, maintenance issues, and costs to Lunar missions. Anytime return is doable from low Lunar orbit if there is propellant stored in a frozen polar orbit which would be accessible from the polar Lunar base every two hours.

Other than the polar regions, we should not be going anywhere else on the Lunar surface until we have an ISRU propellant production facility going full speed

Why?

Because Lunar exploration missions with propellant imported from Earth are costly, lack robustness, and are much more riskier than robust Lunar exploration missions that are readily resupplied with Lunar polar ISRU propellant and have an available Launch on Need Lunar Lander that is based at the polar base and capable of quick rescue missions.

Time is usually in very short supply on a rescue mission. L2 is simply too far away to be useful. 

Once Lunar derived propellant is available, many options open up for exploring all of the Lunar surface.

And best of all, once Lunar derived propellant is widely available in cislunar and beyond cislunar space, and ISRU propellant production is replicated on Mars and Ceres, the likelihood of any President being able to significantly impede NASA, the space agencies of other countries, and private companies and individuals from sending folks to Mars, and various asteroids, will be greatly diminished or even reduced to zero.

Recent experience should have taught us that without Lunar propellant ISRU, all human BLEO human spaceflights, including missions to the Martian surface, are dependent on the mercurial whims of future Presidents and the soundness of economic policies often devised by folks that should probably be sitting in prison rather than sitting on the boards of large banks and huge international corporations.

Build the Martian Stack in low Lunar orbit. Load up with relatively cheap Lunar propellant. Test the hydrolox engines by flying to a high Lunar orbit or L2. Meet up with Lunar based tankers that top off your propellant tanks and give you the delta-v push needed for your long dive towards the Earth.

Do a large delta-v perigee burn 150 miles above the Earth and head off to Mars.

Reliable access to relatively low cost Lunar and Martian ISRU propellant is what enables lots of affordable and fast human Mars missions. 


Please note:

"Mission/Trajectories
Initially the OTV transfers the lander from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO). For maximum efficiency, the Earth-Moon transfer will be performed during the nodal alignment of LEO with the Moon's orbit. From a stable 200 km lunar polar parking orbit, the lander will wait for the orbit to align with the landing site longitude and then descend to the desired position on the Moon to deliver the payload."

"After the lander unloads the payload, it returns to the same polar orbit to await the arrival of another payload from an OTV. The total źV required for one mission is 3.594 km/s."

From: Lunar Lander By Ruwan Arseculeratne, et. all      May 9, 1991
At: http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/archive/design/lunar_lander.html



"1.3.2.1 Option Analysis Approach
The lunar mission mode option space considered the location of ďnodesĒ in both cislunar space and the vicinity of Earth. The study originally considered cislunar nodes at the Earth-Moon L1 libration point, in LLO, and on the lunar surface. Respectively, these translate to Libration Point Rendezvous (LPR), LOR, and Lunar Surface Rendezvous (LSR) mission modes. The study also considered Earth-orbital staging locations in LEO, higher-inclination ISS orbits, and raised-apogee HEOs. In all three cases, elements brought together in any type of Earth orbit were generically termed an EOR mission mode."

And, "LPR was eliminated early from the mission mode trade space. Recent studies performed by NASA mission designers concluded that equivalent landing site access and 'anytime abort' conditions could be met by rendezvous missions in LLO with less propulsive delta-V and lower overall Initial Mass in Low Earth Orbit (IMLEO). If used only as a node for lunar missions, the L1 Earth-Moon LPR is inferior to the LOR mission mode.

And, "In support of the lunar architecture mission mode trade studies, several options were identified to vary the rendezvous locations for the CEV and lander. The initial rendezvous could either occur in Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) per the EIRA assumptions or they could initially rendezvous in LEO. The LEO rendezvous was preferable from an operational, safety, and reliability perspective because any problems with the rendezvous would occur in close proximity to the Earth and would allow better contingency options. The second major rendezvous occurs when the lander returns from the surface of the Moon. In the EIRA, the lander returns from the lunar surface and rendezvous with the CEV in LLO. Another option is to take the CEV to the lunar surface; then the return to Earth does not require a rendezvous at all."

And, "The lunar direct-return cost was much lower due to the elimination of the habitable volume and crew systems on the lander ascent stage. These were replaced by the CEV going all the way to the lunar surface. The ascent stage of the lander was also eliminated by using the SM capabilities for ascent propulsion from the lunar surface. These cost advantages were offset by reduced safety and reliability due to the loss of the redundant habitable volume provided by the lander. Having both the CEV and the lander as separable crew habitation space was desirable from a crew survival perspective and for operational flexibility."

From: NASAís Exploration Systems Architecture Study Pages 14,15, and 685. November 2005
At: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/news/ESAS_report.html
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline tnphysics

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One of the advantages of using EML2 is that there is a powered lunar flyby trajectory that requires less delta-V than a normal LOI. The same is true for the return to Earth.

Offline HappyMartian

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One of the advantages of using EML2 is that there is a powered lunar flyby trajectory that requires less delta-V than a normal LOI. The same is true for the return to Earth.


Time is money. Time is risk. Unneeded complexity is risk.

Why don't you provide a total mission delta-v, mass, time, LOM numbers, LOC numbers, radiation risks, and cost elements for everything involved in Lunar surface missions?

Try using Apollo/LEM, Orion/Altair, and L2 based Orion/Lander scenarios.

Don't forget all the building costs, time, and maintenance requirements and costs of the lovely L2 based space station.

Note the increased delta-v, mass, and propellant requirements of an L2 based Lander.

Don't forget to factor into that analysis the risks of space walks to maintain the L2 space station in a high GCR environment. And since the L2 based mission flight time is much longer add in the costs and mass requirements for additional insulation, cryogenic coolers, boil-off, complexity, and whatever else that is required for the L2 based Lunar missions that use hydrolox.

Where is the space station's massive GCR shielding coming from? How much is that shielding going to cost?

Or do you simply buy into the idea of putting astronauts in a high GCR environment without adequate GCR protection? Do you really think you can sell such an idea to the radiation adverse Europeans and Japanese? Oh, we don't want to involve the Europeans and Japanese in our Moon and Mars missions? Really? That's brilliant!

Oh and don't forget the costs of all the computers and robots needed to safe and maintain and prep the big and costly Lander after it returns to the L2 space station and no humans are there to do that work.

And make sure your comparative mission analysis has the explanation of how you are going to convince Congress, the Russians, the Europeans, and the Japanese of why they should pay for an unneeded and risk and cost adding L2 space station. That should be interesting.

Yep, let's all just forget about the BLEO mission's legal requirement of "pay as you go" and simply buy into the L2 space station blather. Listening to unfunded blather is certainly cheaper and more fun than actually going to the Moon, isn't it?
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Offline Warren Platts

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Unfortunately, actually going to the Moon is unfunded blather and will remain so for the foreseeable future, at least as far as the USA is concerned. You'd probably be better off channeling your energies trying to convince the Chinese of the wisdom of Lunar ISRU.
"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.Ē--Leonardo Da Vinci

Online Ben the Space Brit

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Unfortunately, actually going to the Moon is unfunded blather and will remain so for the foreseeable future, at least as far as the USA is concerned. You'd probably be better off channeling your energies trying to convince the Chinese of the wisdom of Lunar ISRU.

You'll have to excuse Hap, Warren.  He thinks that, because the pro-SLS faction have inserted pro-Lunar language into at least one bill, that means anyone in a position of authority ought to care about returning to the moon or feel bound to act as if Lunar surface has a mandate for action.

FWIW, at the moment, everything beyond EM-2 (HLO orbiter) is unfunded blather at the moment.  I have little confidence that this will change during the current presidential cycle.
« Last Edit: 03/28/2013 08:57 AM by Ben the Space Brit »
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Offline HappyMartian

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Unfortunately, actually going to the Moon is unfunded blather and will remain so for the foreseeable future, at least as far as the USA is concerned. You'd probably be better off channeling your energies trying to convince the Chinese of the wisdom of Lunar ISRU.


Wrong Warren.

Wrong Ben the Space Brit.

America is currently spending billions of dollars on a Moon mission capable SLS launcher and on the Orion spacecraft which is designed to meet the specific requirements of Lunar missions. The only piece missing from getting Americans and other folks on the polar Lunar surface and doing propellant ISRU from known ice deposits is a reusable hydrolox Lander.

Constellation, or CxP, has been reborn right in front of you. This time CxP has a clear legal requirement to do ISRU.

It really doesn't matter who builds the Lander, as long as it is designed for cost effective low Lunar orbit to surface missions and is not some large, clunky, and overweight L2 based Lander that is too expensive to do in an affordable manner the task it is supposed to do.



"Inspired by all that has come before, and guided by clear objectives, today we set a new course for America's space program. We will give NASA a new focus and vision for future exploration. We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon, and to prepare for new journeys to worlds beyond our own."

And, "Our second goal is to develop and test a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, by 2008, and to conduct the first manned mission no later than 2014. The Crew Exploration Vehicle will be capable of ferrying astronauts and scientists to the Space Station after the shuttle is retired. But the main purpose of this spacecraft will be to carry astronauts beyond our orbit to other worlds. This will be the first spacecraft of its kind since the Apollo Command Module."

And, "Our third goal is to return to the moon by 2020, as the launching point for missions beyond. Beginning no later than 2008, we will send a series of robotic missions to the lunar surface to research and prepare for future human exploration. Using the Crew Exploration Vehicle, we will undertake extended human missions to the moon as early as 2015, with the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods. Eugene Cernan, who is with us today -- the last man to set foot on the lunar surface -- said this as he left: "We leave as we came, and God willing as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind." America will make those words come true."

And, "Returning to the moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions. Lifting heavy spacecraft and fuel out of the Earth's gravity is expensive. Spacecraft assembled and provisioned on the moon could escape its far lower gravity using far less energy, and thus, far less cost. Also, the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air. We can use our time on the moon to develop and test new approaches and technologies and systems that will allow us to function in other, more challenging environments. The moon is a logical step toward further progress and achievement."

And, "With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond."

And, "We'll invite other nations to share the challenges and opportunities of this new era of discovery. The vision I outline today is a journey, not a race, and I call on other nations to join us on this journey, in a spirit of cooperation and friendship."

And, "Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives, and lifts our national spirit. So let us continue the journey."

From: President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program  Remarks by the President on U.S. Space Policy  January 14, 2004
At: http://history.nasa.gov/Bush%20SEP.htm


I added the bold.


Folks in Congress, and sometimes even wise Presidents, understand that we invest in the flightpath to Mars by first going to the Moon to tap into its polar ice deposits and other resources.

Mars isn't going to be footsteps and flags and samples and then quit going there for fifty or sixty years. Human Mars missions will be the start of an ongoing effort to colonize the Red Planet. If humans become unwilling to colonize Mars, it would be far cheaper to just send an endless series of robots instead of humans.

Doing Lunar propellant ISRU is what prepares us for doing the Martian propellant ISRU that is needed for quick and robust human missions to Mars. 

Doing Lunar propellant ISRU is what will enable us to do propellant ISRU on many planets, moons, asteroids, and comets.

It is quite likely that Congress will get NASA the Lander we need for A return to the Moonís surface.


Edited.
« Last Edit: 03/28/2013 03:05 PM by HappyMartian »
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline RanulfC

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To quote YOU "Wrong-Happy" specifically the following:
"America is currently spending billions of dollars on a Moon mission capable SLS launcher and on the Orion spacecraft which is designed to meet the specific requirements of Lunar missions. The only piece missing from getting Americans and other folks on the polar Lunar surface and doing propellant ISRU from known ice deposits is a reusable hydrolox Lander.

Note the "bolded" part (as you like to do to call attention to points you consider "important" usually out of context) as the "only" missing part is THE most important part of the whole idea. Without it SLS and Orion are quite capable of reaching beyond LEO but are then INCAPABLE of performing a "useful" manned mission once there.

As people above have kept pointing out to you "rehtoric" is available in plenty about going back to the Moon however action and especially Congressional or political action of any type is most definitly missing. In fact it actually DOES matter who is going to build a Lunar Lander because it has to be integrated into the overall mission planning and launch system and is not something you can throw together in short order.

You also seem to ignore frequently that the studies of landers done before under CxP/ESAS were not capable or even considered for the types of missions you suggest. (Once again however, none of those "concepts" have or had reached a stage where they were anywhere near final or even ready for any serious work to begin. And they are still to this day "unfunded" and un-supported either politically or financially. The very FACT that this shows EXACTLY how little support there is in Congress to actually go back to the Moon should be obvious to you but you simply refuse to see the truth)

You continue to "preach" about Congress "legally" commiting NASA to returning to the Moon, and for some reason make the assumption that Congress would feel legally or morally bound to support, finance, and direct NASA in that direction.
Yet the evidence is continually and overwhelmingly pointing to the exact opposite being the reality in that Congress feels no such compulsion and indeed is not pursuing any NASA activity beyond simply building the SLS and Orion spacecraft as an END IN ITSELF. Period.

Congress has shown no political or financial support for expanding manned space flight despite decades of taking every opportunity to SAY the opposite. Words of course "cost" nothing either politically or financialy, while active support by political or financial means does "cost" and it is very clear that Congress has not been willing to put "money" where their "mouths" are for decades.

I understand that you have been taken in by the "usual" rhetoric in Congress and the specific WORDING of the same from various "authorization" acts over the years but the reality is clear that unlike you, Congress does not see any reason to actually support or finance manned space flight beyond a certain politically expediant "minimum" level.

"Legally" Congress has commited itself along with NASA and the United States to a large scale and continous plan to colonize the Solar System and exploit space resources both in documentation and spoken words over the last few decades.
In reality Congress has shown that despite what party is in "power" or who's President is in office they have no inclination to "spend" any political or financial resources on actually supporting ANY of the various "legally mandated" commitments they have "directed" NASA to carry out beyond a few expensive set-piece programs.

Randy

Offline ChileVerde

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The only piece missing from getting Americans and other folks on the polar Lunar surface and doing propellant ISRU from known ice deposits is a reusable hydrolox Lander.

Well, that and delivering the equipment to mine the ice-containing material(*), extract the water, dissociate the water into H2 and O2, store either the water or H2/O2 until needed, and then deliver it to whatever is going to use it.

Lunar ISRU is an interesting idea that has received considerable encouragement from the well-known radar/neutron/impact results. It deserves to be pursued seriously, but at the present time there are many unknowns that tend to be obscured by much hand-waving.  Landing some robotic prospectors at the promising polar regions to find out what's actually there would be a good start.

(*) Once we've determined what that material is and what it would take to mine and process it.
"I canít tell you which asteroid, but there will be one in 2025," Bolden asserted.

Offline HappyMartian

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...

Congress has shown no political or financial support for expanding manned space flight despite decades of taking every opportunity to SAY the opposite. Words of course "cost" nothing either politically or financialy, while active support by political or financial means does "cost" and it is very clear that Congress has not been willing to put "money" where their "mouths" are for decades.
...

Randy


Randy, are you still supporting missions with large, costly, and clunky Landers from an unneeded, out of the way, and expensive white elephant L2 space station? NASA's leadership is still pushing the same nonsense.

Are you still in denial about GCRs?

Are you a supporter of the President's policy of no NASA human missions to the Lunar surface?

If the article this thread is based on and billions of dollars being spent for an SLS Lunar mission capable launcher and a Lunar mission Orion spacecraft haven't  convinced you that Americans are headed back to the Moon to do ISRU, then any words I post also won't influence your confused thinking. Maybe you and the President share a similar confusion about the Lunar program Congress has allocated money for.

There isn't enough money for an L2 space station and regular international Lunar polar ISRU missions.

You can have a costly and unneeded high maintenance white elephant L2 space station and lots of asteroid and Mars fantasies that are loudly supported by NASA's current leadership,

or you can have regular, efficient, international, affordable, and direct missions to the Lunar polar surface to do ISRU.

Pick one.

If you think there are more choices, show us where the money will come from. 
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Online Ben the Space Brit

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You can have a costly and unneeded high maintenance white elephant L2 space station and lots of asteroid and Mars fantasies that are loudly supported by NASA's current leadership,

or you can have regular, efficient, international, affordable, and direct missions to the Lunar polar surface to do ISRU.

Pick one.

If you think there are more choices, show us where the money will come from. 

Ironically, you are missing that the latter of your two 'choices' is not funded either.  Show us where the money is coming from for international ISRU-based lunar landing? Here's a clue - it isn't.  It's your personal fantasy.
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Offline JohnFornaro

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The only piece missing from getting Americans and other folks on the polar Lunar surface and doing propellant ISRU from known ice deposits is a reusable hydrolox Lander.

Well, that and delivering the equipment to mine the ice-containing material(*), extract the water, dissociate the water into H2 and O2, store either the water or H2/O2 until needed, and then deliver it to whatever is going to use it.

Well, all that and the instructions from political and executive leadership to actually do all that...

Of course, the precursor robotic, teleoperated, power generation, prospecting, extraction, dissassociation, pumping into tanks, firing of return rockets, need to happen at a demonstration scale as well, over the course of five to maybe ten years.

All of which as Ben points out, has not been funded.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2013 11:57 AM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline HappyMartian

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.....

Lunar ISRU is an interesting idea that has received considerable encouragement from the well-known radar/neutron/impact results. It deserves to be pursued seriously, but at the present time there are many unknowns that tend to be obscured by much hand-waving.  Landing some robotic prospectors at the promising polar regions to find out what's actually there would be a good start.

(*) Once we've determined what that material is and what it would take to mine and process it.


Yep.

It sure would be nice if some of our current or future international space exploration partners put some robots on the surface of the Moon's polar regions. After all they wouldn't want NASA to hog all the fun, would they?
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline HappyMartian

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The only piece missing from getting Americans and other folks on the polar Lunar surface and doing propellant ISRU from known ice deposits is a reusable hydrolox Lander.

Well, that and delivering the equipment to mine the ice-containing material(*), extract the water, dissociate the water into H2 and O2, store either the water or H2/O2 until needed, and then deliver it to whatever is going to use it.

Well, all that and the instructions from political and executive leadership to actually do all that...

Of course, the precursor robotic, teleoperated, power generation, prospecting, extraction, dissassociation, pumping into tanks, firing of return rockets, need to happen at a demonstration scale as well, over the course of five to maybe ten years.

All of which as Ben points out, has not been funded.


One step at a time.

The SLS and Orion are pretty significant contributions to international Lunar missions. The Europeans are going to build an Orion Service Module, maybe even two. They might even consider building lots of them.

Let's see what else our current and future international space explorations partners might be willing to bring to the Lunar exploration table. 
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline HappyMartian

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You can have a costly and unneeded high maintenance white elephant L2 space station and lots of asteroid and Mars fantasies that are loudly supported by NASA's current leadership,

or you can have regular, efficient, international, affordable, and direct missions to the Lunar polar surface to do ISRU.

Pick one.

If you think there are more choices, show us where the money will come from. 

Ironically, you are missing that the latter of your two 'choices' is not funded either.  Show us where the money is coming from for international ISRU-based lunar landing? Here's a clue - it isn't.  It's your personal fantasy.


Nope. The Europeans aren't building a Service Module for a Lunar mission Orion simply to barter for some ISS benefits. They want to be in on the next big space exploration project.

Given that asteroid and Mars missions are the unfunded fantasy, maybe we should stick with supporting the direct international Lunar missions that are considered doable and desirable by the Russians, Europeans, and lots of other international folks.

Maybe you didn't notice, but Congressional folks have also been focused on getting humans back on the Moon for quite some time. A former American President is even on record as favoring Lunar missions.



"Returning to the moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions."

From: President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program  Remarks by the President on U.S. Space Policy  January 14, 2004
At: http://history.nasa.gov/Bush%20SEP.htm



The only politician that has publicly and resolutely opposed the attempt of NASA human Lunar surface missions to "vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions" is the current President. That's a bit odd, isn't it?

Maybe the President doesn't understand that Congress and our international partners want to do ISRU on the Moon. Congress even put the requirement of NASA Human Lunar surface missions and ISRU into a bill that the President signed into American law.

As for, " Show us where the money is coming from for international ISRU-based lunar landing? Here's a clue - it isn't", perhaps some folks missed it, but the Russians are already spending some money on designing a low Lunar orbit human carrying spacecraft.



"Anticipating the latest direction of the Russian space policy and possible budget restrictions, RKK Energia quietly dropped its plans to develop several variants of PTK NP ships that would be available to perform a variety of missions, such as servicing the space station, autonomous flights in the Earth orbit or reaching into deep-space. On April 12, Roskosmos issued a formal request to RKK Energia to focus the project on the development of the lunar vehicle."

And, "As a result, a single spacecraft with the primary goal of carrying a four-member crew to lunar orbit has emerged as the focus of the PTK NP project during 2012. RKK Energia analyzed various orbits around the Moon and concluded that it would consider the polar orbit as the primary destination for the future vehicle. Despite a highest propulsion expense for reaching the polar orbit, it also provided almost unlimited access to any point on the lunar surface."

And, "At the end of December, the leadership of RKK Energia reported that the company had completed the design of the PTK spacecraft and had planned to start manufacturing prototypes and flight hardware for the next-generation spacecraft in the following year. (617) RKK Energia apparently finished the work despite an addendum to the formal technical assignment issued by Roskosmos on April 12 and reportedly giving the company until mid-2013 to address all the requirements."

And, "By the end of the design process, the project documentation included 1,073 volumes, including 407 volumes generated at RKK Energia and 666 volumes issued by various sub-contractors. A total of 17 scale models of the crew module and the payload section had been manufactured and tested at wind tunnels. A total of 40 technical reports covered the results of various experiments. Plasma generators were used to test thermal properties of the crew module and its protective materials during the reentry into the Earth atmosphere from lunar trajectories."

PPTS/PTK-NP development during 2012
At: http://www.russianspaceweb.com/ptk_2012.html


I added the bold.
     
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

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