Author Topic: Cygnus return capability  (Read 34369 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.

Online 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.

Online 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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Offline krytek

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #20 on: 07/08/2012 09:47 PM »
Thank you  :)
I think that's at most around twice the landing speed of Soyuz, I think that's survivable.

Online douglas100

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #21 on: 07/09/2012 08:49 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.

It's true that you could have very high heating rates during a steep entry. In the paper that krytek cites, IRVE-4 reaches about mach 9 which is roughly 12% of orbital energy. If it were returning from LEO it would have to dissipate almost eight times the amount of heat. So there is difficult and there is difficult.

But the bottom line is that it is doable. It is a very promising technology.
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Offline mr. mark

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #22 on: 07/23/2012 05:06 PM »
A successful test of the technology that Orbital is considering using for Cygnus down mass return was carried out today.

"WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. -- A large inflatable heat shield developed by NASA's Space Technology Program has successfully survived a trip through Earth's atmosphere while travelling at hypersonic speeds up to 7,600 mph".

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_12-250_IRVE-3_Launch.html



« Last Edit: 07/23/2012 05:33 PM by mr. mark »

Offline manboy

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #23 on: 07/23/2012 05:25 PM »
Orbital is considering this technology for Cygnus down mass return.

"WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. -- A large inflatable heat shield developed by NASA's Space Technology Program has successfully survived a trip through Earth's atmosphere while travelling at hypersonic speeds up to 7,600 mph".

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_12-250_IRVE-3_Launch.html




We know. That's what was being discussed above.
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Offline hutchel

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #24 on: 07/23/2012 08:12 PM »
So the question becomes is this more economical than a traditional ablative system.  Seems to be pretty heavy - also how much volume would it take up - To return a Cygnus capsule intact.  I understand that weight inside the capsule/ module matters - but let's just pick a reasonable weight for the stuff that normally wants to be returned from the ISS.  We have some pretty good data from the shuttle days with the Logistics modules.

Offline yg1968

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« Last Edit: 07/23/2012 08:44 PM by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #26 on: 07/23/2012 08:22 PM »
So the question becomes is this more economical than a traditional ablative system.  Seems to be pretty heavy - also how much volume would it take up - To return a Cygnus capsule intact.  I understand that weight inside the capsule/ module matters - but let's just pick a reasonable weight for the stuff that normally wants to be returned from the ISS.  We have some pretty good data from the shuttle days with the Logistics modules.

It's a technology being designated mostly for Mars. From the link in my post above:

Quote
The HIAD could give NASA more options for future planetary missions, because it could allow spacecraft to carry larger, heavier scientific instruments and other tools for exploration.
« Last Edit: 07/23/2012 08:34 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #27 on: 07/23/2012 09:15 PM »
It'd allow you to have basically an unlimited size heat shield. Even with a typical 5 meter fairing, you could have, say, a 25 meter diameter heat shield for Mars entry. That's good enough for big pieces of a Mars base or a fully pre-fueled hypergolic Mars ascent vehicle.
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Offline Burninate

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #28 on: 07/13/2014 10:23 PM »
While it's forum necromancy, this is precisely the correct thread to ask in:

Any idea what happened to HEART?  IRVE-3 seems to have gone off without a hitch, it was supposed to be followed by IRVE-4 and HEART, and presumably adoption of Cygnus as a routine return vehicle.
« Last Edit: 07/13/2014 10:57 PM by Burninate »

Offline manboy

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #29 on: 10/09/2014 10:15 PM »
It looks like HEART (10 m) may still be planned, but first they want to fly THOR (3.7 m) which reuses a lot of hardware from IRVE-3 (3 m).

Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) Technology Development Overview (Summer 2013?)

Planned Flight of the Terrestrial HIAD Orbital Reentry (16 June 2014)
« Last Edit: 10/09/2014 11:03 PM by manboy »
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Online TrevorMonty

Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #30 on: 10/10/2014 07:02 AM »
Thanks Manboy for the article.

They are looking at testing on Antares 2nd stage, there wasn't a time mention but I get the impression it is with in a year or two.

There was also mention of using a F9 1st and 2nd stages, I would imagine SpaceX would be happy to test it on their 2nd stage. Besides acting as a heatshield it would also greatly reduce the lower atomsphere speed. Bonus, heatshield and small parachute in one.

Not sure it would be practical for returning Cygnus but it would make a great test bed as it also has built in thrusters for stability control.

Offline manboy

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #31 on: 10/10/2014 05:14 PM »
They are looking at testing on Antares 2nd stage, there wasn't a time mention but I get the impression it is with in a year or two.
THOR's flight is planned for 2016.

I don't think this aligns with SpaceX's recovery vision. But it could be used to make Cygnus recoverable. You could also possibly launch these in Dragon's trunk to recover larger payloads.
« Last Edit: 10/10/2014 05:16 PM by manboy »
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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #32 on: 01/11/2017 05:39 AM »
Any news on THOR or HEART or anything related to HIAD-Cygnus? It would go a long way in addressing the problem highlighted in this article:

http://spacenews.com/space-manufacturing-and-the-last-mile/

It would certainly be worth it for NASA to fund this project. Opening up the space manufacturing sector would have a huge return on investment for the taxpayer dollar.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #33 on: 01/11/2017 08:02 AM »
ULA with NASA help plan to do a demo as secondary payload on Centuar. ULA need for SMART and NASA needs it for Mars.
If OA wanted try it with Cygnus NASA would surely help, not sure if OA would be allowed access to ULA test results.

Offline Hog

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #34 on: 01/16/2017 03:01 PM »
IRVE-3 video
Paul

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #35 on: 01/20/2017 03:48 AM »
Not much new.

THOR - Terrestrial HIAD Orbital Reentry:
Quote
The project, which is led by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, will use existing hardware and launch as a secondary payload on a cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station. The demonstration flight is targeted for September 2016 on an Antares rocket from Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

This illustrates the mission better:


THOR is basically an orbital velocity test with better recoverability.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #36 on: 01/20/2017 05:22 AM »
OK, September is right in the middle of OA-8 on 6 July and OA-9 on 17 November. Can anybody clarify this?
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Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #37 on: 01/20/2017 08:51 PM »
OK, September is right in the middle of OA-8 on 6 July and OA-9 on 17 November. Can anybody clarify this?
I'm pretty sure the HIAD info is out of date.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #38 on: 01/21/2017 03:42 AM »
This test may switch to ULA as they want to test HIAD in partnership with NASA. Plan is similar demo secondary payload on Centuar. ULA need to prove it for their SMART system.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #39 on: 01/21/2017 08:31 AM »
I'm pretty sure the HIAD info is out of date.

That's what I figured as well. I've nominally placed THOR with OA-9, but that is only an educated guess. Still hoping someone can clarify that.
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Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #40 on: 01/21/2017 04:32 PM »
On the NASA LaRC website, THOR is listed under "cancelled missions"

https://fpd.larc.nasa.gov/completed-projects.html

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #41 on: 01/22/2017 08:07 PM »
Interesting cancellation.

Likely not due to lack of budget / over budget. Because mostly reuse of IRVE-3. It is the logical next step.

It also is a necessary next step for Mars sample return, upping the "land-able mass" for a escape/return vehicle. If you were to up it to the level of returning a US on Earth, on Mars it would mean scaling up to a capability for direct return to earth instead of just LMO of sample craft - reducing the mission to a single launch instead of two/three.

For America, this would mean outcompeting the rest of the world, taking that unique EDL advantage one step further.

Who would want to miss such an obviously fantastic return ... for so little risk?

Offline baldusi

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #42 on: 01/22/2017 09:15 PM »
Interesting cancellation.

Likely not due to lack of budget / over budget. Because mostly reuse of IRVE-3. It is the logical next step.

It also is a necessary next step for Mars sample return, upping the "land-able mass" for a escape/return vehicle. If you were to up it to the level of returning a US on Earth, on Mars it would mean scaling up to a capability for direct return to earth instead of just LMO of sample craft - reducing the mission to a single launch instead of two/three.

For America, this would mean outcompeting the rest of the world, taking that unique EDL advantage one step further.

Who would want to miss such an obviously fantastic return ... for so little risk?
The sort of aerodynamic extension of HIAD only scaled to 2tonnes of payload, tops. SpaceX has reliably demonstrated the retropropulsive EDL, which is the only one to scale to the 20~40tonne range needed for a crewed mission. That might have been an issue.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Cygnus return capability
« Reply #43 on: 01/23/2017 01:49 AM »
Interesting cancellation.

Likely not due to lack of budget / over budget. Because mostly reuse of IRVE-3. It is the logical next step.

It also is a necessary next step for Mars sample return, upping the "land-able mass" for a escape/return vehicle. If you were to up it to the level of returning a US on Earth, on Mars it would mean scaling up to a capability for direct return to earth instead of just LMO of sample craft - reducing the mission to a single launch instead of two/three.

For America, this would mean outcompeting the rest of the world, taking that unique EDL advantage one step further.

Who would want to miss such an obviously fantastic return ... for so little risk?
The sort of aerodynamic extension of HIAD only scaled to 2tonnes of payload, tops.
FWIW MSL rover is about a ton.

Quote
SpaceX has reliably demonstrated the retropropulsive EDL, which is the only one to scale to the 20~40tonne range needed for a crewed mission. That might have been an issue.
Was talking only about sample return. Which China is starting to talk about too.

And yes, RD as a sample return, and BFS/tanker as a HSF are in the retropropulsive EDL category, but also in a greater scale of R&D expense thus much higher risk too.

So I still maintain that the risk/reward/time for THOR is more than justified independent of retropropulsive EDL which is far bigger in all three.

Suggest that for Mars, where you'd still need a parachute for non-propulsive EDL, that failures to scale on that front may also limit interest in HIAD.

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