Author Topic: Cygnus return capability  (Read 38602 times)

Offline krytek

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Cygnus return capability
« on: 07/07/2012 03:52 PM »
I read somewhere recently OSC is in discussions/developing technology to add return capability to Cygnus. IIRC it was to use some sort of ballute.
Can't find the original nor any discussion on this forum.
Does anyone know  any details?

Offline manboy

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Offline krytek

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #2 on: 07/07/2012 05:46 PM »
Thank you :)

If they can make it work, Cygnus might turn out to be the best cargo hauler out of the whole CRS bunch.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2012 05:47 PM by krytek »

Offline Jose

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #3 on: 07/07/2012 06:11 PM »
Interesting video. It definitely looks like a Cygnus SM separating from a Cygnus PCM at the3:10 mark.


Edit: Another interesting video.



The sound is bad, but the video they present definitely shows a Cygnus and an Antares. The video in the video was apparently prepared by AMA studios. I couldn't find the video in question on AMA's site. They have an Android game that looks like it may use the Cygnus animations. I don't have an Android phone so I didn't try it out.




« Last Edit: 07/07/2012 06:39 PM by Jose »

Offline manboy

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #4 on: 07/07/2012 09:03 PM »
Thank you :)

If they can make it work, Cygnus might turn out to be the best cargo hauler out of the whole CRS bunch.

I skeptical of that mainly because of the limitations of Antares.

Interesting video.
The sound is bad, but the video they present definitely shows a Cygnus and an Antares. The video in the video was apparently prepared by AMA studios. I couldn't find the video in question on AMA's site.
It was on their youtube channel, it's apparently called the HEART concept.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2012 09:31 PM by manboy »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #5 on: 07/07/2012 10:10 PM »
Thank you :)

If they can make it work, Cygnus might turn out to be the best cargo hauler out of the whole CRS bunch.

I skeptical of that mainly because of the limitations of Antares.
...
If that's the ONLY limitation, it can be overcome by launching on something else. But even so, much cargo is volume-limited, not mass-limited. And we are, after all, talking about down-mass not up-mass...
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #6 on: 07/08/2012 02:19 AM »
I skeptical of that mainly because of the limitations of Antares.


The only parts I find lacking on the Antares vehicle vs Atlas V and Falcon 9 is the relatively low performance upper stage and smaller fairing.
Neither of these are issues that cannot be removed in later versions.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2012 02:22 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #7 on: 07/08/2012 02:38 AM »
I skeptical of that mainly because of the limitations of Antares.


The only parts I find lacking on the Antares vehicle vs Atlas V and Falcon 9 is the relatively low performance upper stage and smaller fairing.
Neither of these are issues that cannot be removed in later versions.

The finite supply of NK-33 engines doesn't bother you?

Offline manboy

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #8 on: 07/08/2012 03:52 AM »
Thank you :)

If they can make it work, Cygnus might turn out to be the best cargo hauler out of the whole CRS bunch.

I skeptical of that mainly because of the limitations of Antares.
...
If that's the ONLY limitation, it can be overcome by launching on something else. But even so, much cargo is volume-limited, not mass-limited. And we are, after all, talking about down-mass not up-mass...
Cygnus will probably never launch on any other rocket. Mass to LEO has an effect on the volume of Cygnus, adding an inflatable heatshield will decrease the volume and mass delivered to the ISS.
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Offline Lars_J

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #9 on: 07/08/2012 03:59 AM »
I'm skeptical, but I would love to see some actual trials of large scale ballutes for reentry. It would very useful technology for many purposes - for Earth, Mars, Titan, and other destinations.

Offline douglas100

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #10 on: 07/08/2012 01:31 PM »
I'm skeptical, but I would love to see some actual trials of large scale ballutes for reentry. It would very useful technology for many purposes - for Earth, Mars, Titan, and other destinations.

The inflatable heat shield in the video resembles Lavochkin's IRDT, tested ten years ago. See http://www.spaceflight.esa.int/irdt/factsheet.pdf

The tests weren't very successful and development seems to have been abandoned. But I agree that once developed it could be a very useful technology.

A similar scheme was proposed for ARCTUS.

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Offline GClark

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #11 on: 07/08/2012 02:20 PM »
Have you been keeping up with IRVE?  IRVE-3 is supposed to launch up at Wallops this month.  This concept looks more like that than the Lavochkin product (to my admittedly non-engineer eye).

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #12 on: 07/08/2012 04:31 PM »
Thank you :)

If they can make it work, Cygnus might turn out to be the best cargo hauler out of the whole CRS bunch.

I skeptical of that mainly because of the limitations of Antares.
...
If that's the ONLY limitation, it can be overcome by launching on something else. But even so, much cargo is volume-limited, not mass-limited. And we are, after all, talking about down-mass not up-mass...
Cygnus will probably never launch on any other rocket. Mass to LEO has an effect on the volume of Cygnus, adding an inflatable heatshield will decrease the volume and mass delivered to the ISS.

But as long as the vehicle is volume-limited, this inflatable heatshield could be mounted, on the exterior of Cygnus, not affecting the pressurized cago capacity of the spacecraft. And a iRVE test could be fairly low-risk with Cygnus, since they weren't counting on recovering the spacecraft or the trash located inside anyway. As long as re-entry using the inflatable heatshield is somewhat controllable, why not.

After the first 2 flights, the volume of Cygnus does get extended, along with a larger second stage motor to handle the increased mass.

Offline douglas100

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #13 on: 07/08/2012 04:48 PM »
Have you been keeping up with IRVE?  IRVE-3 is supposed to launch up at Wallops this month.  This concept looks more like that than the Lavochkin product (to my admittedly non-engineer eye).

No I haven't, thanks for the heads up. I had a quick look at it. Looks promising.

NASA's  claim that the 2009 IRVE test was the first was successful inflatable heat shield test is technically correct, but that was only a sounding rocket flight. I believe that IRDT made it back from LEO but was damaged.
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Offline Prober

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #14 on: 07/08/2012 05:05 PM »
Have you been keeping up with IRVE?  IRVE-3 is supposed to launch up at Wallops this month.  This concept looks more like that than the Lavochkin product (to my admittedly non-engineer eye).

Maybe IRVE-4 could hitch a ride in the 4th  unpressurized section of the HTV  or even better would be a small pkg to hitch a ride on the EFT-1 mission?

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Offline Jose

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #15 on: 07/08/2012 05:24 PM »

It was on their youtube channel, it's apparently called the HEART concept.

That parachute-free landing must pack one heck of wallop. Also, won't the thing flip over once it's in the water?

They show the SM separating before the heat shield inflates. All the avionics are on the SM which makes that thing a brick at that point. I thought I read somewhere that they can steer during reentry somewhat by shifting the center of mass. How are they going to do that with no avionics?



Offline Jose

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #16 on: 07/08/2012 05:41 PM »

Maybe IRVE-4 could hitch a ride in the 4th  unpressurized section of the HTV  or even better would be a small pkg to hitch a ride on the EFT-1 mission?


IRVE-4 is still suborbital and due to get a ride on a Black Brant X in "the spring of 2014".

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110012170_2011012601.pdf



Offline sdsds

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #17 on: 07/08/2012 07:16 PM »
that was only a sounding rocket flight

I am not an aerodynamicist, but reentry from a sub-orbital trajectory is not necessarily easier than reentry from LEO. (AIUI this is one of the issues that can lead to "black zones" for some ascent trajectories.) If the descent is too steep the vehicle gets to thicker atmosphere with high velocity, whereas if the descent is nearly circular the vehicle can lose enough velocity in thin upper atmosphere and survive the thick atmosphere heating.

As regards this particular video, it does look like the descent is unguided. But can the vehicle plus heat shield be weighted (or asymmetric) such that it nonetheless provides lift?
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Offline krytek

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #18 on: 07/08/2012 08:23 PM »
I'll try to sum up some of the stuff from the videos posted earlier:

* structure is made up from a kevlar weave with the electronics sown inside.
* TPS system made from commercial materials mostly intended for industrial furnace isolation. A material to isolate high temperature piping is shown.
* Nitrogen tank is carried onboard to inflate the system.
* reentry is currently uncontrolled.
* reentry control is planned and in development
* reentry control system will use a center of gravity offset system.

She says next test article is about 8-10 meters in diameter, allowing for a little over 1 tonne return mass.
Any idea how to estimate critical velocity for that one? I wanna get a feeling for how hard that landing is going to be without parachutes.

Found this awesome pdf about IRVE-4 with answers to most questions.


« Last Edit: 07/08/2012 09:48 PM by krytek »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #19 on: 07/08/2012 09:08 PM »
I'll try to sum up some of the stuff from the videos posted earlier:

* structure is made up from a kevlar weave with the electronics sown inside.
* TPS system made from commercial materials mostly intended for industrial furnace isolation. A material to isolate high temperature piping is shown.
* Nitrogen tank is carried onboard to inflate the system.
* reentry is currently uncontrolled.
* reentry control is planned and in development
* reentry control system will use a center of gravity offset system.

She says next test article is about 8-10 meters in diameter, allowing for a little over 1 tonne return mass.
Any idea how to estimate critical velocity for that one? I wanna get a feeling for how hard that landing is going to be without parachutes.

terminal velocity? that is easy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_velocity
And, using a 1.4 drag coefficient (pretty conservative, 1.7 is optimistic) :

http://www.google.com/search?q=sqrt(2*1000kg*9.8m/s^2/(1.2kg/m^3*pi*(4m)^2*1.4)) = 15m/s pessimistic and:

http://www.google.com/search?q=sqrt(2*1000kg*9.8m/s^2/(1.2kg/m^3*pi*(5m)^2*1.7)) = 11m/s optimistic.
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