Author Topic: Orbital ATK Advocates Cislunar Outpost as America's NEXT Step in Human Space Exp  (Read 19764 times)

Online jacqmans

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Article by Chris Gebhardt:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/05/orbital-atk-cislunar-habitat-missions-sls-orion/

Nathan L2 renders included :)


Orbital ATK Advocates Cislunar Outpost as America's NEXT Step in Human Space Exploration

Former NASA Astronaut Frank Culbertson Proposes Four-Person Crew-Tended Lunar-Orbit Habitat to Be in Place by 2020

Company’s Flight-Proven Cygnus Spacecraft Could be Used as a Building-Block Habitat Leading to Lunar Research and Mars Exploration


Dulles, Virginia 18 March 2016 – Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today advocated for a manned lunar-orbit outpost as America’s next step in human space exploration.

During testimony this afternoon to the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space, Frank Culbertson, President of the company’s Space Systems Group, said, “A lunar-orbit habitat will extend America’s leadership in space to the cislunar domain. A robust program to build, launch and operate this initial outpost would be built on NASA’s and our international partners’ experience gained in long-duration human space flight on the International Space Station and would make use of the agency’s new Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion deep-space transportation system.”

Orbital ATK was recently selected by NASA to study an initial version of a cislunar habitat that could evolve over time to a much larger research platform with many of the capabilities required for a human mission to Mars. These studies fall under NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program, a public-private partnership model that seeks commercial development of deep-space exploration capabilities to support more extensive human space flight missions in the “proving ground” of cislunar space, the region from Earth orbit that extends beyond the moon.

During his testimony, Mr. Culbertson emphasized that Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft is a strong candidate to be used as a habitat building block for the cislunar outpost and eventually to help achieve NASA’s goal of human exploration of Mars.

“The experience gained in the cislunar proving ground will lead directly to longer mission durations in deep space and eventually enable a manned mission to Mars,” Culbertson said. “But, in order to increase stay times in cislunar space and accommodate a range of technology demonstrations and scientific experiments, additional habitation space and consumables are necessary. A very good starting point for the design of a cislunar habitat is our flexible, human-rated Cygnus spacecraft which incorporates the knowledge gained from delivering cargo to the ISS.”

The initial habitat concept includes pre-positioning a Cygnus-derived module in lunar orbit using a commercial launch vehicle in 2020, to be ready for a first visit by astronauts on the inaugural crewed flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft in 2021.  Additional habitat and research modules would expand the outpost following delivery by Orion/SLS and other launch systems in the 2022-2025 period.

This concept would serve a dual purpose:  to establish the first elements of cislunar infrastructure to enable expanded exploration of the Moon in the 2020s, and to also provide a platform for technology research and demonstration needed to enable human flights to Mars in the 2030s.  NASA, the European Space Agency and other international partners also could use the evolving outpost as a staging base and safe haven for lunar landing expeditions and robotic surface operations.

“Since many aspects of operations in deep space are as yet untested, confidence must be developed through repeated flights to, and relatively long-duration missions in, cislunar space,” Culbertson said. “Orbital ATK continues to operate our Cygnus cargo logistics vehicle as a flagship product, so we are ready to quickly and affordably implement an initial Cygnus-derived habitat in cislunar space within three years of a go-ahead.”

Orbital ATK has already expanded the capabilities of Cygnus beyond its core cargo delivery function. The spacecraft is serving as a research platform capable of hosting technology risk-reduction demonstrations to enable deep-space exploration as part of existing cargo delivery missions to the ISS. The first technology demonstration, Spacecraft Fire Experiment-1 (SAFFIRE-1) designed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center, is currently in-orbit aboard the OA-6 Cygnus. Following Cygnus’ departure from the ISS next month, the largest man-made fire ever in space will be ignited in the Cygnus Pressurized Cargo Module, which will enable NASA to investigate fire detection, advanced fire extinguishing methods, and post-fire clean up in a space environment. 
« Last Edit: 05/19/2016 06:03 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline MattMason

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Oooh. Orbital ATK is flexing its muscle, and I like how this can be read.

While Antares is on the mend from ORB-3, their launch vehicle is a good one, especially if the new RD-181 engines keep to a similar reliability model as similar ones on Atlas. But it's an LEO vehicle only, especially with that Castor solid engine, although the vehicle could change up their stages or even add a third.

The press release notes that Orbital would use their Cygnus modules as manned habitats, launched by the SLS. That's nice in that it's Orbital that's helping NASA with another option to  give the SLS some missions. Problem is, as the SLS thread notes, that the LV is slow to build, underfunded, and has few initial missions slated right now. I doubt Orbital's proposal changes these conditions.

But since the Cygnus module is basically a flying MPLM, it has all the pressure essentials as current ISS modules with some heating, cooling, ECLSS and electrical work. It may not require as much inner construction work as a Bigelow module but still require some neat automated "Voltron"-style mating process, which will also require a node with an IMA or, in this case, an Orion docking adapter.

I don't see this proposal flying, but I like that Orbital is adding more options to expand the space frontier and isn't waiting for its cooperative competitors to define things for them, leaving them in support mode as they and SNC often are characterized.

You go, "little" space launch and cargo provider and prospective space habitat supplier.
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Offline rayleighscatter

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The press release notes that Orbital would use their Cygnus modules as manned habitats, launched by the SLS. That's nice in that it's Orbital that's helping NASA with another option to  give the SLS some missions. Problem is, as the SLS thread notes, that the LV is slow to build, underfunded, and has few initial missions slated right now. I doubt Orbital's proposal changes these conditions.

OA seems to be proposing more to use commercial launches to put them up there. So it seems less about giving SLS additional cargo launches than the potential of a destination for manned SLS/Orion launches.

From a business perspective it's probably some healthy reading of the tea leaves regarding Congress' interest in habs lately.

Online abaddon

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You go, "little" space launch and cargo provider and prospective space habitat supplier.
Orbital ATK is anything but "little"!

The Cygnus is a great vehicle and it is nice to hear of talk of further use of it, although as always with any of these more far-reaching concepts you have to take it with a huge grain of salt.  Still, good on them, and hopefully it goes further than a PR some day in the future.


Offline MattMason

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You go, "little" space launch and cargo provider and prospective space habitat supplier.
Orbital ATK is anything but "little"!

The Cygnus is a great vehicle and it is nice to hear of talk of further use of it, although as always with any of these more far-reaching concepts you have to take it with a huge grain of salt.  Still, good on them, and hopefully it goes further than a PR some day in the future.

"Little" was deliberately in quotes for that reason. Orbital and SNC do a lot in the field. But they're aren't in the "in-crowd" like SpaceX and ULA and want to be. I suspect they're on the verge with the right connections.
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Offline Chris Bergin

Article by Chris Gebhardt:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/05/orbital-atk-cislunar-habitat-missions-sls-orion/

Nathan L2 renders included :)

Orbital ATK Render below.

Online abaddon

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"Little" was deliberately in quotes for that reason. Orbital and SNC do a lot in the field. But they're aren't in the "in-crowd" like SpaceX and ULA and want to be. I suspect they're on the verge with the right connections.
"Orbital" pre-merger, sure... not OrbitalATK, though.

Offline wannamoonbase

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OA seems to be proposing more to use commercial launches to put them up there. So it seems less about giving SLS additional cargo launches than the potential of a destination for manned SLS/Orion launches.

From a business perspective it's probably some healthy reading of the tea leaves regarding Congress' interest in habs lately.

Finally we are getting closer to something that makes sense. 

Orion and SLS have a destination and a more meaningful mission than the unexciting asteroid thing that has almost no traction.

The 'hab' discussion is an exciting development.  A decision could be made in the next couple years as Orion and SLS development budgets decrease and the ISS approaches end of life.

This could really happen folks.

YIPPEE!!!
Jonesing for a copy of 'Tales of Suspense #39'

Offline RocketmanUS

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Quote from article-
"Since its inception, critics of SLS have routinely repeated the mantra of “no missions” for the largest Heavy Lift Vehicle thus-far built."

Vulcan Aces could also deliver Orion to an EML-2 station if it is built. Still no need for this over sized vehicle and another yearly overhead. The HLV was sold to Americans for Mars and Lunar, not EML-2 or asteroid missions. SLS is for very wide body payloads that the smaller launchers could not deliver if we ever have such a payload beyond 8 meter diameter.

An EML-2 station is a good idea. As long as it does not get in the way of getting people to the surface of Mars. Let's be smart and use Vulcan ACES to get Orion to EML-2 and or FH Dragon V2 to get crew and supplies to an EML-2 station. Both are to be commercial launch vehicle with their yearly overhead payed for by the other launches needed or wanted in the commercial sector and or other government launches.

Any idea on what launch vehicle would be used to send Cygnus to EML-2?

Offline wannamoonbase

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Quote from article-
"Since its inception, critics of SLS have routinely repeated the mantra of “no missions” for the largest Heavy Lift Vehicle thus-far built."

Vulcan Aces could also deliver Orion to an EML-2 station if it is built. Still no need for this over sized vehicle and another yearly overhead. The HLV was sold to Americans for Mars and Lunar, not EML-2 or asteroid missions. SLS is for very wide body payloads that the smaller launchers could not deliver if we ever have such a payload beyond 8 meter diameter.

An EML-2 station is a good idea. As long as it does not get in the way of getting people to the surface of Mars. Let's be smart and use Vulcan ACES to get Orion to EML-2 and or FH Dragon V2 to get crew and supplies to an EML-2 station. Both are to be commercial launch vehicle with their yearly overhead payed for by the other launches needed or wanted in the commercial sector and or other government launches.

Any idea on what launch vehicle would be used to send Cygnus to EML-2?

Rocketman, don't dispair, this is a slow walk evolution to either a lunar base or trip to Mars.  slowly build up the idea and at some point someone somenwhere will say, 'Ghee all we need is a lander'

I for one am very happy with the Lunar emphasis.  Yes we all want to get to Mars, but the moon is so much closer and easier.  Humans on Mars is still 20+ years away, best to get past LEO and baby step from there.
Jonesing for a copy of 'Tales of Suspense #39'

Offline GWH

Finally we are getting closer to something that makes sense. 

Orion and SLS have a destination and a more meaningful mission than the unexciting asteroid thing that has almost no traction.

How is floating around in a "stationary" tin can* in cis-lunar space more exciting than visiting a 5m boulder plunked off an asteroid?

*Hyperbole added to reflect what the general public's opinion might be.


IMO this station would be a great place to bring the asteroid sample TO (and perhaps multiples), it opens the door to commercial and international use, however slim the business case might be.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2016 08:28 PM by GWH »

Offline Cherokee43v6

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What I like is the idea of getting it there first and set up.  I believe they used the term 'Safe Haven' in the article.  Should something go wrong on the early Orion flights, it gives them a place to 'abort to shelter' while a fix or rescue craft is worked out.

One possible impact I could see.  Using this as a 'risk reduction' factor in advancing the first manned Orion flight to the first service module flight rather than waiting for the third SLS (second SM).
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Orion and SLS have a destination and a more meaningful mission than the unexciting asteroid thing that has almost no traction.

I would think SLS and Orion supporters would not be rejecting any ideas that use the SLS and Orion...

Quote
The 'hab' discussion is an exciting development.

Why?

What does a cislunar habitat do for the U.S. Taxpayer?

It appears to be a less capable version of the ISS, but in a far more remote (and expensive) location.

How does this help us get to Mars, which is NASA's current internal goal?

And if it doesn't help us to directly get to Mars, what explicit political goal is needed to justify such a sustained operation as this demands?  Because flying the government-owned SLS frequently just to move cargo and crew back and forth in cislunar space seems like a waste of money after all the effort NASA has put into Commercial Cargo and Crew.  It would certainly look like a backwards step.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Cherokee43v6

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Finally we are getting closer to something that makes sense. 

Orion and SLS have a destination and a more meaningful mission than the unexciting asteroid thing that has almost no traction.

How is floating around in a "stationary" tin can in cis-lunar space more exciting than visiting a 5m boulder plunked off an asteroid?

1) Long term study of the effects of space radiation and mitigation methods beyond the protection provided by the Van Allen belts
2) Direct teleoperation of rovers on the Lunar Surface
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Offline notsorandom

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It appears to be a less capable version of the ISS, but in a far more remote (and expensive) location.

How does this help us get to Mars, which is NASA's current internal goal?
A cis-lunar habitat capable of long duration autonomous flight is basically a Mars transfer vehicle without a propulsion system. Gaining experience building and operating a habitat in cis-lunar space directly feeds into knowing how to build and operate a Mars transfer vehicle. ISS is not as good of an analog. It needs resupply every few weeks and is in a different space environment.

Offline RocketmanUS

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Quote from article-
"Since its inception, critics of SLS have routinely repeated the mantra of “no missions” for the largest Heavy Lift Vehicle thus-far built."

Vulcan Aces could also deliver Orion to an EML-2 station if it is built. Still no need for this over sized vehicle and another yearly overhead. The HLV was sold to Americans for Mars and Lunar, not EML-2 or asteroid missions. SLS is for very wide body payloads that the smaller launchers could not deliver if we ever have such a payload beyond 8 meter diameter.

An EML-2 station is a good idea. As long as it does not get in the way of getting people to the surface of Mars. Let's be smart and use Vulcan ACES to get Orion to EML-2 and or FH Dragon V2 to get crew and supplies to an EML-2 station. Both are to be commercial launch vehicle with their yearly overhead payed for by the other launches needed or wanted in the commercial sector and or other government launches.

Any idea on what launch vehicle would be used to send Cygnus to EML-2?

Rocketman, don't dispair, this is a slow walk evolution to either a lunar base or trip to Mars.  slowly build up the idea and at some point someone somenwhere will say, 'Ghee all we need is a lander'

I for one am very happy with the Lunar emphasis.  Yes we all want to get to Mars, but the moon is so much closer and easier.  Humans on Mars is still 20+ years away, best to get past LEO and baby step from there.
Not against EML-2 base, I'm for it but not with SLS.

Mars should not be 20+ years away as we have heard this for to many decades.

Finally we are getting closer to something that makes sense. 

Orion and SLS have a destination and a more meaningful mission than the unexciting asteroid thing that has almost no traction.

How is floating around in a "stationary" tin can in cis-lunar space more exciting than visiting a 5m boulder plunked off an asteroid?

1) Long term study of the effects of space radiation and mitigation methods beyond the protection provided by the Van Allen belts
2) Direct teleoperation of rovers on the Lunar Surface

That is good plus other reasons.

Use it to store reusable Lunar landers. Might help economically for commercial for their lander.
Study plant growth outside LEO.
Assemble a crew Mars craft. Departing from EML-2 could save travel time to Mars.
Could give reason for commercial to develop space craft for BLEO cargo and crew.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2016 08:58 PM by RocketmanUS »

Offline TrevorMonty

There are two versions of DSH proposed, a long term habitat with closed circuit ECLSS for mars missions. The EAM exploration augmentation module which uses open circuit ECLSS or relies on Orion to provide it, for short term stays ie 60days.
A stretched version of Cygnus as EAM should be straight forward, would need to using a docking port.

This EAM could be tested in LEO using a commercial crew vehicle, crew dock with EAM after or before ISS mission.

I don't see any commercial uses in cislunar space for a while,  but in LEO it could be used as commercial short stay station.

The Cygnus does have flight proven HSF rating, which is a huge plus compared to competition.

Offline Coastal Ron

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It appears to be a less capable version of the ISS, but in a far more remote (and expensive) location.

How does this help us get to Mars, which is NASA's current internal goal?
A cis-lunar habitat capable of long duration autonomous flight is basically a Mars transfer vehicle without a propulsion system. Gaining experience building and operating a habitat in cis-lunar space directly feeds into knowing how to build and operate a Mars transfer vehicle.

What I am concerned about is a lack of a detailed plan.  And by plan I mean a detailed list of technologies and techniques that need to be developed and proven before going to Mars, and a rough budget for accomplishing that in a number of different ways.

And instead of this piecemeal development approach, the President and Congress should agree on the overall plan and the initial funding that will start it.

Quote
ISS is not as good of an analog. It needs resupply every few weeks and is in a different space environment.

Actually it doesn't need to be resupplied every few weeks, as the Orbital & SpaceX CRS accidents showed.  They can store quite a bit of supplies on the ISS.  Plus you can park cargo modules full of supplies at the ISS just like they propose for this hab.

I'm not sure I understand the ROI of this yet - what is being tested that can only be done in this way.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline JazzFan

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Finally we are getting closer to something that makes sense. 

Orion and SLS have a destination and a more meaningful mission than the unexciting asteroid thing that has almost no traction.

How is floating around in a "stationary" tin can* in cis-lunar space more exciting than visiting a 5m boulder plunked off an asteroid?

*Hyperbole added to reflect what the general public's opinion might be.


IMO this station would be a great place to bring the asteroid sample TO (and perhaps multiples), it opens the door to commercial and international use, however slim the business case might be.


It is not as exiting but has a far greater chance of suceeding than capturing an asteroid.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Orion and SLS have a destination and a more meaningful mission than the unexciting asteroid thing that has almost no traction.

I would think SLS and Orion supporters would not be rejecting any ideas that use the SLS and Orion...

Quote
The 'hab' discussion is an exciting development.

Why?

What does a cislunar habitat do for the U.S. Taxpayer?

It appears to be a less capable version of the ISS, but in a far more remote (and expensive) location.

How does this help us get to Mars, which is NASA's current internal goal?

And if it doesn't help us to directly get to Mars, what explicit political goal is needed to justify such a sustained operation as this demands?  Because flying the government-owned SLS frequently just to move cargo and crew back and forth in cislunar space seems like a waste of money after all the effort NASA has put into Commercial Cargo and Crew.  It would certainly look like a backwards step.

A spacestation at EML-2 (or EML-1) is where the Mars Transfer Vehicles (MTV) return to. Only small capsules have heat shields able to perform Earth reentry, so the rest of a very expensive vehicle would be thrown away. An EML-1/2 to LEO flight needs more propellant than the trip back from Mars.

The returning Mars astronauts and sample rocks move to a capsule for the final part of the trip home.

The MTV can then be inspected and serviced at the EML-2 spacestation permitting reuse. Chemical MTV are then be provisioned, refuelled and sent back to Mars with a new crew. The SEP tugs given a new cargo and propellant and sent on their way.

p.s. The spacestation would spend the rest of its time providing similar services to the lunar landers.
« Last Edit: 05/20/2016 03:41 AM by A_M_Swallow »

Offline flyright

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Perhaps I missed something. The article states,"The initial habitat concept includes pre-positioning a Cygnus-derived module in lunar orbit".  How does this evolve to a station at EML-1 or EML-2, or is that implied by the term cislunar?

Offline woods170

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Orbital ATK Render below.
On a side note: that is one p*ss-poor render of Orion. I won't even bother listing all the flaws.

Offline WBY1984

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Presumably the bill for this is supposed to come out of the NASA budget?

Offline jgoldader

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It's an outpost in search of a mission, for a capsule in search of a mission, launched by a rocket in search of a mission.

(As always with me, this is not a criticism of the talented and dedicated engineers, for whom I have great respect.)
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Offline Endeavour_01

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It's an outpost in search of a mission, for a capsule in search of a mission, launched by a rocket in search of a mission.

This doesn't make any sense. Having an outpost in lunar orbit that can be used to test deep space life support and be used as a staging area for lunar surface and hopefully Mars missions is very valuable. It would have as much, if not more, of a "mission" than ISS. Plans are now being proposed to actually use SLS/Orion to good effect. This framework also leverages commercial investment. Can we stop pooh poohing everything that doesn't have to do with another rocket company and acknowledge the possible benefits of the Orbital ATK design?
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Online SimonFD

It's an outpost in search of a mission, for a capsule in search of a mission, launched by a rocket in search of a mission.

This doesn't make any sense. Having an outpost in lunar orbit that can be used to test deep space life support and be used as a staging area for lunar surface and hopefully Mars missions is very valuable. It would have as much, if not more, of a "mission" than ISS. Plans are now being proposed to actually use SLS/Orion to good effect. This framework also leverages commercial investment. Can we stop pooh poohing everything that doesn't have to do with another rocket company and acknowledge the possible benefits of the Orbital ATK design?

I think I'd be more convinced after seeing more detail of the intended purpose and capability of the proposed outpost. Also, could this outpost be built and serviced without Orion/SLS?
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Offline Rocket Science

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Cygnus as a Lunar outpost... Hmm, let me... Add some ascent engines to the sides of it and a descent stage below it... Now we got something! As it sits now this proposal 50 years after Eagle landed so we have have a look at the Moon from afar is just a typical job creation program for Orion/SLS and something to do with my backyard telescope. Want to test deep space hardware, sure... Leave the astros at home, they just add complexity and cost...

Some along these concepts:
http://www.astrotecture.com/Moon_files/SAE-2009-01-2366.FINAL_2.pdf
« Last Edit: 05/20/2016 01:28 PM by Rocket Science »
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Offline gospacex

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It's an outpost in search of a mission, for a capsule in search of a mission, launched by a rocket in search of a mission.

(As always with me, this is not a criticism of the talented and dedicated engineers, for whom I have great respect.)

And proposed by a company (ATK) which is most proficient at finding govt contracts, not creating something economically viable on its own.
« Last Edit: 05/20/2016 01:21 PM by gospacex »

Offline Endeavour_01

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And proposed by a company (ATK) which is most proficient at finding govt contracts, not creating something economically viable on its own.

I guess SpaceX would also fall under that category since they didn't get Dragon (or F9 to be honest) off the ground without government contracts (COTS, CRS)

As it sits now this proposal 50 years after Eagle landed so we have have a look at the Moon from afar is just a typical job creation program for Orion/SLS and something to do with my backyard telescope. Want to test deep space hardware, sure... Leave the astros at home, they just add complexity and cost...

So unless something lands on another celestial body it is useless? I don't think so. There are many potential applications for this outpost beyond just "looking at the moon" that are mentioned in the article.

Testing deep space hardware meant for human habitation with humans is extremely necessary. There is a reason Dragon 2 and Starliner will have manned test flights instead of immediately going into action after the unmanned flight.

A base like this is ideally suited to test long lasting life support systems in an environment similar to what a MTV would have to endure. It is also far away enough for the astronauts to be semi-autonomous while also retaining a capability of quick Earth return.

It is ironic to see people complain, "SLS doesn't have a mission," and then complain with equal vigor when proposals are made to give it missions.


I think I'd be more convinced after seeing more detail of the intended purpose and capability of the proposed outpost. Also, could this outpost be built and serviced without Orion/SLS?

It looks like it could be built via SLS/FH launches with SLS delivering crew or a lunar lander and FH or Vulcan delivering supplies. Sounds like an excellent way to use a model that has been proven to work to expand manned space flight into cis-lunar space.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Rocket Science

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Give it a rest you don't need humans in space to test hardware. Just send the hardware...That's why it's called a "hardware test"... ::)
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline notsorandom

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It appears to be a less capable version of the ISS, but in a far more remote (and expensive) location.

How does this help us get to Mars, which is NASA's current internal goal?
A cis-lunar habitat capable of long duration autonomous flight is basically a Mars transfer vehicle without a propulsion system. Gaining experience building and operating a habitat in cis-lunar space directly feeds into knowing how to build and operate a Mars transfer vehicle.

What I am concerned about is a lack of a detailed plan.  And by plan I mean a detailed list of technologies and techniques that need to be developed and proven before going to Mars, and a rough budget for accomplishing that in a number of different ways.

And instead of this piecemeal development approach, the President and Congress should agree on the overall plan and the initial funding that will start it.

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ISS is not as good of an analog. It needs resupply every few weeks and is in a different space environment.

Actually it doesn't need to be resupplied every few weeks, as the Orbital & SpaceX CRS accidents showed.  They can store quite a bit of supplies on the ISS.  Plus you can park cargo modules full of supplies at the ISS just like they propose for this hab.

I'm not sure I understand the ROI of this yet - what is being tested that can only be done in this way.
You're just not going to get a detailed plan for anything. There are several historical examples of a fully detailed and costed plan being presented and the sticker shock killing it. The irony is then NASA got funded for roughly the same amount over the next decade yet didn't get anywhere. This habitat is about building capability. Which is a smarter way to navigate the politics. It is easy to get people to agree to smaller things at a time. Eventually all of those adds up to the capability to do something big.

It would be helpful to look at the visiting vehicle schedule and see just how often ISS gets a supply ship. (http://www.nasa.gov/feature/visiting-vehicle-launches-arrivals-and-departures) Though the station can ride out a halt in deliveries for a few months they still need a pretty steady cadence of resupply to keep that margin and remain operational. Being in LEO the station gets other benefits too like better communications, more benign thermal and radiation environments, and quick return capability for the crew.

A Mars transfer vehicle will not have those luxuries. A habitat in cis-lunar space though can be resupplied more often than a Mars vehicle, though not nearly as much as ISS, and if needed the crew can still return in just a few days. The other difficulties deep space presents will still be there. Longer and longer duration flights can be tested in very similar conditions to interplanetary space before having to leave the Earth-Moon system. Once a crew can be kept alive long enough to do a Mars mission in cis-lunar space the same hardware, techniques, and lessons learned will with very minor modification keep a crew alive to Mars and back.

Offline jgoldader

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Can we stop pooh poohing everything that doesn't have to do with another rocket company and acknowledge the possible benefits of the Orbital ATK design?

Actually, I was quite taken by the Mars orbital module Lockheed-Martin recently proposed, and said so in the appropriate thread.  It would enable exploration of Phobos and Deimos, which I believe to be much more achievable destinations (for a variety of reasons) than the surface itself.

The cis-lunar hab has no well-defined mission.  So far, I've seen greenhouse, safe house, and as you noted, a testbed for deep space life support and staging area for lunar surface and hopefully Mars missions.  There's nothing wrong with any of those, but I've yet to see NASA articulate a case for them or Congress appropriate money.  And there has to be focus, because you're not getting all of those things in 1-3 Cygnus modules.
Recovering astronomer

Offline TrevorMonty

Given 2020 delivery date, commercial LV would most likely be Atlas or OA SRB based next generation LV.

HSF missions don't need to involve landing on a surface to be useful or interesting. All of our commercial and most exploration space assets are not sitting on surfaces.


Offline Endeavour_01

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Give it a rest you don't need humans in space to test hardware. Just send the hardware...That's why it's called a "hardware test"... ::)

Well given how much maintenance ISS requires only giving hab modules unmanned tests before going to Mars might not be the best option. Then of course there is the benefit of the astronauts learning how to maintain said systemx without as much help from Earth.

A cis-lunar station can be used to great effect for both lunar exploration and further expeditions BEO (not to mention expanding the commercial space sector beyond LEO).

Can we please give the "If it isn't made by SpaceX it shouldn't happen" attitude a rest?
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Online abaddon

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And proposed by a company (ATK) which is most proficient at finding govt contracts, not creating something economically viable on its own.
I guess SpaceX
Why are you bringing up SpaceX (twice now, the first time with a veiled reference) in an Orbital ATK thread?  How about we attempt to discuss the proposal on its own merits, without throwing in straw men to knock down?
Can we please give the "If it isn't made by SpaceX it shouldn't happen" attitude a rest?
And now a third time.  To quote someone else, "please give it a rest".
« Last Edit: 05/20/2016 02:26 PM by abaddon »

Offline Coastal Ron

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A spacestation at EML-2 (or EML-1) is where the Mars Transfer Vehicles (MTV) return to. Only small capsules have heat shields able to perform Earth reentry, so the rest of a very expensive vehicle would be thrown away. An EML-1/2 to LEO flight needs more propellant than the trip back from Mars.

Actually I wasn't advocating for a particular transportation architecture, or route to/from Mars.

My question was about what we were supposed to be testing at a cislunar habitat that we can't learn at our LEO space station.

Also, there is a question of "when" such cislunar testing is needed, and whether it's really the most important technology or technique that NASA should be using it's budget on.

For instance, if this cislunar hab is supposed to be testing hardware for a trip to Mars, have we finished developing that hardware?  Do we have an ECLSS system that can last for years without breaking down, or ready to test one in a real life environment?  I didn't think we did, and if we don't, then spending money on the cislunar hab seems presumptuous.

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The MTV can then be inspected and serviced at the EML-2 spacestation permitting reuse. Chemical MTV are then be provisioned, refuelled and sent back to Mars with a new crew. The SEP tugs given a new cargo and propellant and sent on their way.

p.s. The spacestation would spend the rest of its time providing similar services to the lunar landers.

Yes, sure, a transportation hub at every destination makes a lot of sense, and I've advocated that setting up such a system should be our highest priority, prior to going to Mars or returning to the Moon.

But again, are we ready for the level of spending required to support such an asset?

Do we have political support for such an effort?

And how much should NASA "own" of such a system?

These are all questions that MUST be answered before we start committing to spending $Billions of U.S. Taxpayer money, yet our politicians are unable to even acknowledge any areas of agreement on a long-term plan.

That's a bad sign.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline notsorandom

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Give it a rest you don't need humans in space to test hardware. Just send the hardware...That's why it's called a "hardware test"... ::)
You may be interested in what happened to the Urine Processor Assembly on the ISS. It worked perfectly on the ground. It worked fine in space too until the astronauts started using it. Then it got clogged by calcium crystals. Turns out that the astronauts have more calcium in their urine due to bone loss. If that had happened on the way to Mars they would have run out of water if they couldn't have aborted and returned in time. It could have been tested thoroughly in space without humans present. They even could have sent up plenty of urine from Earth to run through the thing. Yet they never would have caught that problem until is got used in space by humans.

Online abaddon

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You may be interested in what happened to the Urine Processor Assembly on the ISS. It worked perfectly on the ground. It worked fine in space too until the astronauts started using it. Then it got clogged by calcium crystals. Turns out that the astronauts have more calcium in their urine due to bone loss. If that had happened on the way to Mars they would have run out of water if they couldn't have aborted and returned in time. It could have been tested thoroughly in space without humans present. They even could have sent up plenty of urine from Earth to run through the thing. Yet they never would have caught that problem until is got used in space by humans.
That's a great example of something that requires humans in space to test.  Of course, that example is something that was caught in LEO, on the ISS.  I'm wondering what things (aside from the radiation environment being different) are different about cislunar space that would require humans to test, though.  Seems to me like almost all of the challenges that are separate from LEO issues could be tested robotically.

Offline AegeanBlue

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Skylab's main scientific contribution was turn sun observation into the science of Heliophysics. The ISS is very active as an Earth Observation platform, taking advantage of cheap access and relatively high bandwidth though shadows are an issue on the 51 degree orbit and anything to the north and south of that is invisible. I am pretty sure that if we build this or a similar habitat we can stoke it with enough moon and sun observing sensors to make it a scientific bonanza. It would also be great to see how stored food reacts to galactic and solar radiation: Before we send people to Mars let's make sure that the food does not spoil on the way back.

There are tons of missions that can be put on the outpost. The ISS is still getting new sensors (e.g. CATS) and new experiments today. Some thing can happen on this outpost, send an awesome sensor 10 years after launch.

Offline Coastal Ron

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You're just not going to get a detailed plan for anything. There are several historical examples of a fully detailed and costed plan being presented and the sticker shock killing it. The irony is then NASA got funded for roughly the same amount over the next decade yet didn't get anywhere.

And this is the plan you are advocating for?

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This habitat is about building capability. Which is a smarter way to navigate the politics. It is easy to get people to agree to smaller things at a time. Eventually all of those adds up to the capability to do something big.

Well you just said it doesn't, and I'd be hard pressed to come up with any examples that prove this is the fastest and least costly path for doing anything.

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It would be helpful to look at the visiting vehicle schedule and see just how often ISS gets a supply ship. (http://www.nasa.gov/feature/visiting-vehicle-launches-arrivals-and-departures) Though the station can ride out a halt in deliveries for a few months they still need a pretty steady cadence of resupply to keep that margin and remain operational.

The margin can be whatever they want it to be.  Extra supplies = more money, and it also means less "freshness" in your supplies.  These can all be simulated in LEO by just docking one or more MPLM full of supplies.

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Being in LEO the station gets other benefits too like better communications, more benign thermal and radiation environments, and quick return capability for the crew.

Communications can be simulated by inserting delays using software - that is pretty cheap and easy.

Yes, thermal and radiation environments are different, but are we at a point where we're ready to test our solutions for long-term voyages?  I don't think so, since this cislunar hab will be made from the same designs we're using in LEO, so how is that any different?

As to "quick return capability for the crew", how is being 3-days away in cislunar space supposed to simulate being 100 days away on Mars?

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A Mars transfer vehicle will not have those luxuries. A habitat in cis-lunar space though can be resupplied more often than a Mars vehicle, though not nearly as much as ISS

We will be able to resupply a Mars vehicle, and a Mars colony, as much as we want.  Just send more supplies ahead, with, or after a mission starts.  A habitat in cislunar space does nothing to simulate supply situations for trips to Mars.

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...and if needed the crew can still return in just a few days.

Not on a trip to Mars, so a hab in cislunar space does nothing to simulate the chance of dying on a trip to Mars.  And people will die in space, so let's just forget about distance from help.

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The other difficulties deep space presents will still be there. Longer and longer duration flights can be tested in very similar conditions to interplanetary space before having to leave the Earth-Moon system. Once a crew can be kept alive long enough to do a Mars mission in cis-lunar space the same hardware, techniques, and lessons learned will with very minor modification keep a crew alive to Mars and back.

Yes, I've advocated for such capabilities, but as of today NASA has ZERO new technology to test beyond LEO.  None.

This Orbital ATK proposal is for aluminum enclosures, which we know are bad for radiation environments.  If we are going to go beyond LEO it should be with Bigelow type inflatables, or composite enclosures, since plastic is a much better radiation barrier and doesn't have the secondary radiation effects that aluminum does.

Do you see what I mean?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Endeavour_01

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I guess SpaceX
Why are you bringing up SpaceX (twice now, the first time with a veiled reference) in an Orbital ATK thread?  How about we attempt to discuss the proposal on its own merits, without throwing in straw men to knock down?

That particular quote was in reference to the poster's name "gospacex." I was merely making the point that OrbitalATK having government contracts for space hardware is no different than what SpaceX, ULA, or SNC do. Cygnus is as economically viable as Dragon and Dream Chaser.
 
Can we please give the "If it isn't made by SpaceX it shouldn't happen" attitude a rest?
And now a third time.  To quote someone else, "please give it a rest".

I am a fan of everything involved in spaceflight (just read my sig). I try to cheer for everyone. When I see a concept that is being badmouthed for no reason (or because it doesn't match up with some other architecture) I try to restore some balance. Maybe since I have seen so much of it in other threads I overreacted here.

Maybe everyone should "give it a rest" and focus on the pros and cons of this plan rather than declaring "it has no mission" or "it is just a jobs program."
« Last Edit: 05/20/2016 02:58 PM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Rocket Science

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Give it a rest you don't need humans in space to test hardware. Just send the hardware...That's why it's called a "hardware test"... ::)

Well given how much maintenance ISS requires only giving hab modules unmanned tests before going to Mars might not be the best option. Then of course there is the benefit of the astronauts learning how to maintain said systemx without as much help from Earth.

A cis-lunar station can be used to great effect for both lunar exploration and further expeditions BEO (not to mention expanding the commercial space sector beyond LEO).

Can we please give the "If it isn't made by SpaceX it shouldn't happen" attitude a rest?
The only person that mentioned SpaceX is you... Learn something about me before you categorize me pal...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline Endeavour_01

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The only person that mentioned SpaceX is you... Learn something about me before you categorize me pal...

The last part was meant as a general statement, I wasn't talking about you specifically. I apologize for failing to make that distinction.

I let my anger over what is happening in other threads color my view of what is going on in this one. I sincerely apologize for that and apologize for unfairly impugning anyone's motivations.
« Last Edit: 05/20/2016 03:22 PM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Rocket Science

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The only person that mentioned SpaceX is you... Learn something about me before you categorize me pal...

The last part was meant as a general statement, I wasn't talking about you specifically. I apologize for failing to make that distinction.

I let my anger over what is happening in other threads color my view of what is going on in this one. I sincerely apologize for that and apologize for unfairly impugning anyone's motivations.
Fair enough... Remember my approach to the mentioned company... "Don't tell me Elon, show me"... I feel that approach provide a healthy skepticism and maintains perspective...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline Endeavour_01

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Getting back on topic:

One of the advantages of this proposal is that it is one that can be ready in the near term for not much money. That is sorely needed right now. Since the "deep space" Cygnus already has a prototype in the form of the current Cygnus the construction of a station should take less time vs. starting from scratch with another hab module concept.

Even if a "deep space" Cygnus is a preliminary/cargo module vs. the core of a lunar station it still provides a great benefit to cis-lunar exploration efforts. EM-2 will be more exciting with the addition of a destination.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline jtrame

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Getting back on topic:

One of the advantages of this proposal is that it is one that can be ready in the near term for not much money. That is sorely needed right now. Since the "deep space" Cygnus already has a prototype in the form of the current Cygnus the construction of a station should take less time vs. starting from scratch with another hab module concept.

Even if a "deep space" Cygnus is a preliminary/cargo module vs. the core of a lunar station it still provides a great benefit to cis-lunar exploration efforts. EM-2 will be more exciting with the addition of a destination.

The diameter of a Cygnus at about 3 meters makes it better suited as a supply closet vs. an ISS sized module at 4.2 meters. That makes room for equipment racks, etc.  Plenty of experience building those so it wouldn't be starting from scratch either. 
« Last Edit: 05/20/2016 03:51 PM by jtrame »

Offline BrightLight

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Getting back on topic:

One of the advantages of this proposal is that it is one that can be ready in the near term for not much money. That is sorely needed right now. Since the "deep space" Cygnus already has a prototype in the form of the current Cygnus the construction of a station should take less time vs. starting from scratch with another hab module concept.

Even if a "deep space" Cygnus is a preliminary/cargo module vs. the core of a lunar station it still provides a great benefit to cis-lunar exploration efforts. EM-2 will be more exciting with the addition of a destination.
I am not sure what "not much money" means.  While the Cygnus spacecraft is operational, it is not a stand-alone manned platform it needs man-rated environmental and power sub-systems

Frank DeMauro, Orbital ATK Vice President for Human Spaceflight Systems was quoted in Universe Today and re-quoted in
http://phys.org/news/2016-05-orbital-atk-man-tended-lunar-orbit-outpost.html;
"A variety of supplementary subsystems would also need to be enhanced... We looked at what systems we would need to modify to make it a long term habitation module. Since we would not be docked to the ISS, we would need our own Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) out at lunar orbit to support the crew...
The service module would also need to be improved due to the high radiation environment and the longer time...
We also need to look at the thermal protection subsystem, radiation protection subsystem and power subsystems to support the vehicle for many years as opposed to the short time spent at the ISS. More power is also needed to support more science. We also need a propulsion system to get to the moon and maintain the vehicle...
All that work is getting looked at now – to determine what we need to modify and upgrade and how we would do all that work,"
All this work won't be cheap, just to get to a ground based prototype will be hundreds of millions, let alone a flight-ready package.



Offline RonM

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People are forgetting political reality. Congress mandated NASA build SLS and Orion. SLS needs payloads and Orion needs a destination. NASA is going to use cislunar space as a proving ground for future Mars missions. Obama killed the Constellation program, but Congress still got Orion and a big rocket, so the next president will probably just go with what Congress wants.

Under this political environment, Orbital ATK has suggested a cislunar outpost based on their current Cygnus vehicle. It's a good idea considering what is going on in Washington.

BTW, Congress does care about anyone's opinion on NASA. NASA funding isn't a political issue today, so they're not going to lose any votes over it.

The question isn't whether or not NASA will use Orion in cislunar space because that's a given. The question is whether or not this Orbital ATK proposal is a good one for utilizing Orion.

Personally, I think it is a good idea to have a place for EM-2 and later missions. A cislunar outpost can be equipped with instruments for lunar and solar system observation. Orion missions can be used for repairs and experiment replacement.

Offline Eric Hedman

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Orbital ATK is only one of four companies working on proposals for this as part of NASA's NextSTEP.  Info on this starts on page 35 of the PowerPoint:

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/3-Status_of_AES.pdf

I'm looking forward to the other proposals from Bigelow, Boeing & LM.

The ECLSS proposals starting on page 43 are from Dynetics, Inc, Hamilton Sundstrand Space
Systems International, and Orbitec.

Offline Joffan

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One advantage of a cis-lunar station would be improved micro-gravity conditions, rather than the ISS's drag-affected location in the thermosphere. The ISS is great for Earth viewing, so a high earth orbit doesn't give any advantage on that mission, whereas proximity to the Moon could be a significant enabler for a lot more lunar science and exploration.

I do agree this will be a tough mission to sell politically, though. Saying much more would take me into the Space Policy zone...
Max Q for humanity becoming spacefaring

Offline Coastal Ron

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People are forgetting political reality. Congress mandated NASA build SLS and Orion.

This was relatively easy, since the SLS and Orion MPCV took over existing contracts and contractors (i.e. no bidding was required).

But using the SLS and Orion is a different thing, since so far Congress has refused to fund any long-term and continuous programs that require the SLS or Orion.  Those will require new appropriations and votes by both parties.  It's rare for a new spending program to be approved these days.

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NASA is going to use cislunar space as a proving ground for future Mars missions.

That remains to be seen.  There is a HUGE disconnect between when such a need is required and when NASA is going to Mars.  For instance, because of secondary radiation effects it is unlikely we will go to the Moon or Mars with aluminum habitats - which is what Orbital ATK is proposing to use.

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The question isn't whether or not NASA will use Orion in cislunar space because that's a given. The question is whether or not this Orbital ATK proposal is a good one for utilizing Orion.

Unfortunately there is no mechanism in place that can properly evaluate this proposal, since there is no overall plan for going to Mars, the Moon, or anywhere.  Instead we have politicians dictating engineering decisions and science choices.

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A cislunar outpost can be equipped with instruments for lunar and solar system observation. Orion missions can be used for repairs and experiment replacement.

None of which are on the critical path for NASA getting to Mars.  What your are describing is called "mission creep".
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline TrevorMonty

Getting back on topic:

One of the advantages of this proposal is that it is one that can be ready in the near term for not much money. That is sorely needed right now. Since the "deep space" Cygnus already has a prototype in the form of the current Cygnus the construction of a station should take less time vs. starting from scratch with another hab module concept.

Even if a "deep space" Cygnus is a preliminary/cargo module vs. the core of a lunar station it still provides a great benefit to cis-lunar exploration efforts. EM-2 will be more exciting with the addition of a destination.
I am not sure what "not much money" means.  While the Cygnus spacecraft is operational, it is not a stand-alone manned platform it needs man-rated environmental and power sub-systems

Frank DeMauro, Orbital ATK Vice President for Human Spaceflight Systems was quoted in Universe Today and re-quoted in
http://phys.org/news/2016-05-orbital-atk-man-tended-lunar-orbit-outpost.html;
"A variety of supplementary subsystems would also need to be enhanced... We looked at what systems we would need to modify to make it a long term habitation module. Since we would not be docked to the ISS, we would need our own Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) out at lunar orbit to support the crew...
The service module would also need to be improved due to the high radiation environment and the longer time...
We also need to look at the thermal protection subsystem, radiation protection subsystem and power subsystems to support the vehicle for many years as opposed to the short time spent at the ISS. More power is also needed to support more science. We also need a propulsion system to get to the moon and maintain the vehicle...
All that work is getting looked at now – to determine what we need to modify and upgrade and how we would do all that work,"
All this work won't be cheap, just to get to a ground based prototype will be hundreds of millions, let alone a flight-ready package.
Sounds like the changes to Cygnus are significant(expensive). Given these changes they may as well go to a 4.5m dia habitat and benefit from extra room for shielding and equipment. Both LM and Boeing are proposing  4.5m habitats.

For EAM a light low cost 3m dia Cygnus make sense but for DSH I think the 4.5m cans or BA330 are better.

Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk


Offline a_langwich

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It would be helpful to look at the visiting vehicle schedule and see just how often ISS gets a supply ship. (http://www.nasa.gov/feature/visiting-vehicle-launches-arrivals-and-departures) Though the station can ride out a halt in deliveries for a few months they still need a pretty steady cadence of resupply to keep that margin and remain operational.

The margin can be whatever they want it to be.  Extra supplies = more money, and it also means less "freshness" in your supplies.  These can all be simulated in LEO by just docking one or more MPLM full of supplies.

You mean launching two or more resupply missions at the same time, then gradually using those supplies, and setting that up as the ISS resupply scheme for a few years?  Yes, you could do that, except for the research returns, and perhaps some trash issues.  But realize you are disrupting ISS use as a LEO laboratory--a capability which has had a long leadtime because it depends on winning the confidence of academic researchers that changes like this won't ruin some careers.  So this potentially screws up an investment of several hundred billion dollars to avoid making a new several billion dollar investment.

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Being in LEO the station gets other benefits too like better communications, more benign thermal and radiation environments, and quick return capability for the crew.

Communications can be simulated by inserting delays using software - that is pretty cheap and easy.

You can insert delays, but realize you have to insert delays in EVERY communication transmission to/from ISS.  And then sweat it out when it becomes really inconvenient, say when it makes planned spacewalks completely different and less productive, or prevents interviews and outreach from the station except through pre-arranged Q&As.  Again, you have to realize the severe disruption this represents to the current station, which was not designed for this.

Didn't you say your career experience was in manufacturing?  This is like backing _out_ of a just-in-time manufacturing and inventory scheme, because we are headed to a destination where communication and travel is constrained, and where the old store-and-forward mechanisms work better.  It is not enough to simply pick one part, store it on-site, time-delay your orders and deliveries for that part, and claim that you've simulated non-JIT.  NASA will need to examine all its processes, some things will absolutely not be as convenient, some may be more convenient.


Yes, thermal and radiation environments are different, but are we at a point where we're ready to test our solutions for long-term voyages?  I don't think so, since this cislunar hab will be made from the same designs we're using in LEO, so how is that any different?

It's a chicken and egg.  Need to do the research, in order to build a solution.  But needed to have built something, in order to do the research to get a solution.  It's not necessary for the first module to be perfect.  In fact, it might be better to go simple, and then try substituting various shielding options and measure the differences.

In general, though Cygnus forms the base of the design, the cis-lunar module won't be the same design we are using in LEO.  As the quote from Frank DeMauro above shows, there will be a lot of changes involved.  And presumably, since they won't proceed without buy-in from NASA, NASA will have every opportunity to decide whether it fits their needs or not.


As to "quick return capability for the crew", how is being 3-days away in cislunar space supposed to simulate being 100 days away on Mars?

Of course it's not.  It's supposed to represent a middle ground, where the dangers are intermediate between Mars and LEO.  Medically, you are looking for additional data points to see if things that looked potentially dangerous on ISS continue to get worse, or level out.  Look to see if the mental and physical health of the astro/cosmo/taikonauts holds up, or if issues crop up, what are they and can they be addressed.  If you are injecting a potentially toxic substance into humans, you would do it gingerly, carefully, and gradually.  Isolation, radiation, utterly unforgiving and alien surroundings, and life-or-death circumstances easily represent that.

The other difficulties deep space presents will still be there. Longer and longer duration flights can be tested in very similar conditions to interplanetary space before having to leave the Earth-Moon system. Once a crew can be kept alive long enough to do a Mars mission in cis-lunar space the same hardware, techniques, and lessons learned will with very minor modification keep a crew alive to Mars and back.

Yes, I've advocated for such capabilities, but as of today NASA has ZERO new technology to test beyond LEO.  None.

(It's not true that they have no new tech to test, there's been a fair amount of discussion of these issues and mockups and prototypes examined.  Nearly all you know about space radiation shielding, for example, is based on NASA research.  The DSH prototypes.  Etc.)  That's what these proposals are aimed at doing, further developing BLEO techs.  Do you want to stop NASA from developing these BLEO ideas, just so you can criticize them for not developing any BLEO hardware?


This Orbital ATK proposal is for aluminum enclosures, which we know are bad for radiation environments.  If we are going to go beyond LEO it should be with Bigelow type inflatables, or composite enclosures, since plastic is a much better radiation barrier and doesn't have the secondary radiation effects that aluminum does.

plastics != composites

Even though polyethylene may be a good shielding material, it doesn't mean the entire module has to be constructed out of the shielding material.  Whether Bigelow modules are better or worse protection from radiation is still undetermined, I believe, but it would certainly be worthwhile to add one to the cislunar outpost.  Both types of modules would require additional shielding, I think, and with that additional shielding it likely doesn't matter what the inside structure is. 

Offline Coastal Ron

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You mean launching two or more resupply missions at the same time, then gradually using those supplies, and setting that up as the ISS resupply scheme for a few years?  Yes, you could do that, except for the research returns, and perhaps some trash issues.  But realize you are disrupting ISS use as a LEO laboratory...

The ISS is a national research laboratory, specifically to be used for solving the problems related to humans being in space.  Yes there are efforts to fill in time with commercial projects, but the goal of the ISS is to solve as many problems as possible before committing to the next effort to expand humanity out into space.

So from that standpoint this hab is premature, since so far I haven't heard any cohesive list of technologies or techniques that can only be done on this hab, and have to be done now.

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It's a chicken and egg.  Need to do the research, in order to build a solution.  But needed to have built something, in order to do the research to get a solution.

We're not talking about magic here, we're talking physics.  It's something that can be quantified to a great degree, and even tested here on Earth.

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It's not necessary for the first module to be perfect.  In fact, it might be better to go simple, and then try substituting various shielding options and measure the differences.

I'll let NASA address this from 2005 in this article:  Plastic Spaceships - NASA Science

"...Some scientists believe that materials such as aluminum, which provide adequate shielding in Earth orbit or for short trips to the Moon, would be inadequate for the trip to Mars.

Barghouty is one of the skeptics: "Going to Mars now with an aluminum spaceship is undoable," he believes.
"

NASA scientists know the material they want to use, and it's not aluminum.  So why is an aluminum habitat being considered?  Because of politics.

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Do you want to stop NASA from developing these BLEO ideas, just so you can criticize them for not developing any BLEO hardware?

No.  But so far there is no plan, just a bunch of disconnected activities.

If the goal of the U.S. Government is to send humans to Mars, or wherever, then that should be the explicit goal.  From that a study group should be formed to identify the technologies and techniques that need to be mastered before we can go, and only then can a plan of action be formed that can start identifying for our politicians what the cost profile will be based on the schedules the politicians want.

We don't have an Apollo situation here - there is no world-wide political situation that demands humans to be sent into space.  So we do have the luxury of time.

Plus, if the goals are for the sake of humanity, and not for a specific national need, the U.S. Government should not be considering they have to go it alone.  There are other countries and private interests that want to go out in space, so why not figure out how to partner up and spread the responsibilities?  We would likely get there faster and for less taxpayer money.

I am EXTREMELY suspect of any plans one faction within one part of our government is pursuing that is not in complete synchronization with the other parts of our government.  That means there is something to hide.

So do I support BLEO activities?  Sure.  Is this activity worth supporting?  Not sure.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline rayleighscatter

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The ISS is a national research laboratory, specifically to be used for solving the problems related to humans being in space.  Yes there are efforts to fill in time with commercial projects, but the goal of the ISS is to solve as many problems as possible before committing to the next effort to expand humanity out into space.

So from that standpoint this hab is premature, since so far I haven't heard any cohesive list of technologies or techniques that can only be done on this hab, and have to be done now.
But by current schedules we won't have an ISS anymore when this is proposed to come online for research (2025).

Offline RonM

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I am EXTREMELY suspect of any plans one faction within one part of our government is pursuing that is not in complete synchronization with the other parts of our government.  That means there is something to hide.

No, there's nothing to hide. That's just how the government works. It's a massive bureaucracy that stumbles along with many duplicate programs.

So do I support BLEO activities?  Sure.  Is this activity worth supporting?  Not sure.

A reasonable point of view.

Offline Coastal Ron

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The ISS is a national research laboratory, specifically to be used for solving the problems related to humans being in space.  Yes there are efforts to fill in time with commercial projects, but the goal of the ISS is to solve as many problems as possible before committing to the next effort to expand humanity out into space.

So from that standpoint this hab is premature, since so far I haven't heard any cohesive list of technologies or techniques that can only be done on this hab, and have to be done now.
But by current schedules we won't have an ISS anymore when this is proposed to come online for research (2025).

OK.  However there is no law that says we have to have a contiguous government presence in space.

Let's not do things for artificial reasons.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline okan170

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OK.  However there is no law that says we have to have a contiguous government presence in space.

Let's not do things for artificial reasons.

Well that makes sense; I've seen you advocate closing down and defunding NASA (on other sites) should a perfect plan not materialize and be funded 100% for many years. 

I respectfully submit that Congress disagrees, and I for once agree with them.

Offline Coastal Ron

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I am EXTREMELY suspect of any plans one faction within one part of our government is pursuing that is not in complete synchronization with the other parts of our government.  That means there is something to hide.

No, there's nothing to hide.

Sure there is.

Why do you think we haven't seen any information about the operational costs of the SLS from NASA?

Why do you think there are no cost estimates being made public for what it will cost NASA to go to Mars?

Because most of Congress would react in a negative way.

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That's just how the government works. It's a massive bureaucracy that stumbles along with many duplicate programs.

Sure, there are inefficiencies in any organization.  I don't expect perfection.

However I don't condone pork politics, and there is too much of that happening with NASA's budget.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Perhaps I missed something. The article states,"The initial habitat concept includes pre-positioning a Cygnus-derived module in lunar orbit".  How does this evolve to a station at EML-1 or EML-2, or is that implied by the term cislunar?

Earth-Moon Lagrange point 1 (EML-1) and 2 are in cislunar space. They are in orbits around the Moon and also around the Earth. There are other lunar orbits, but the other orbits are less useful for going to Mars which matters since officially this is a STEP on the way to Mars.

Offline RonM

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I am EXTREMELY suspect of any plans one faction within one part of our government is pursuing that is not in complete synchronization with the other parts of our government.  That means there is something to hide.

No, there's nothing to hide.

Sure there is.

Why do you think we haven't seen any information about the operational costs of the SLS from NASA?

Why do you think there are no cost estimates being made public for what it will cost NASA to go to Mars?

Because most of Congress would react in a negative way.

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That's just how the government works. It's a massive bureaucracy that stumbles along with many duplicate programs.

Sure, there are inefficiencies in any organization.  I don't expect perfection.

However I don't condone pork politics, and there is too much of that happening with NASA's budget.

You said NASA doesn't have a plan to get to Mars, so how are they going to create a budget for a nonexistent plan? Just like CBO ten year budget predictions, it would be made on assumptions that won't be valid in ten years. A Mars plan would have to project out to thirty years, a waste of time and effort.

I think you missed my point about Congress doesn't care what we think. Pork politics is how they keep the voters in their district or state happy and get reelected. Unfortunately, it's how the Federal government works.

Any spaceflight plan will have to deal with political reality to have any chance of being funded. Good for Orbital ATK for coming up with a plan that plays the game.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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A spacestation at EML-2 (or EML-1) is where the Mars Transfer Vehicles (MTV) return to. Only small capsules have heat shields able to perform Earth reentry, so the rest of a very expensive vehicle would be thrown away. An EML-1/2 to LEO flight needs more propellant than the trip back from Mars.

Actually I wasn't advocating for a particular transportation architecture, or route to/from Mars.

My question was about what we were supposed to be testing at a cislunar habitat that we can't learn at our LEO space station.

Also, there is a question of "when" such cislunar testing is needed, and whether it's really the most important technology or technique that NASA should be using it's budget on.

For instance, if this cislunar hab is supposed to be testing hardware for a trip to Mars, have we finished developing that hardware?  Do we have an ECLSS system that can last for years without breaking down, or ready to test one in a real life environment?  I didn't think we did, and if we don't, then spending money on the cislunar hab seems presumptuous.

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The MTV can then be inspected and serviced at the EML-2 spacestation permitting reuse. Chemical MTV are then be provisioned, refuelled and sent back to Mars with a new crew. The SEP tugs given a new cargo and propellant and sent on their way.

p.s. The spacestation would spend the rest of its time providing similar services to the lunar landers.

Yes, sure, a transportation hub at every destination makes a lot of sense, and I've advocated that setting up such a system should be our highest priority, prior to going to Mars or returning to the Moon.

But again, are we ready for the level of spending required to support such an asset?

Do we have political support for such an effort?

And how much should NASA "own" of such a system?

These are all questions that MUST be answered before we start committing to spending $Billions of U.S. Taxpayer money, yet our politicians are unable to even acknowledge any areas of agreement on a long-term plan.

That's a bad sign.

Policy level questions about whether we should go to Mars and do we need a space station should probably be asked in the Mars forum. Orbital ATK just needs to reply to the NextSTEP Broad Agency Announcement.

Offline a_langwich

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The ISS is a national research laboratory, specifically to be used for solving the problems related to humans being in space.  Yes there are efforts to fill in time with commercial projects, but the goal of the ISS is to solve as many problems as possible before committing to the next effort to expand humanity out into space.

The ISS--including ops and mission control, which are critical parts of the changes needed for a further-out station--is neither designed for, nor currently suited for, cislunar type operations. 

You could stop existing operations, and implement a faked "further-out" resupply scheme, and artificially-lagged communication scheme, and rework astronaut training for slightly greater autonomy, and rework mission control and planning to be slightly less hands-on, but then you give up all the good research that is currently being done on ISS, much of which is designed for active involvement and reasonably low comm latency to the ground and sponsors.

The ISS is no longer a human exploration plaything, it is a national lab.  It can certainly queue up human exploration research--it does loads and loads of it--but there's no shutting down the other research that is being done, just because "Coastal Ron" has been arguing so passionately against SLS and is suspicious of any work that has been mentioned in the same paragraph.  It will have taken more than a decade to ramp up all the commercial and academic users, and in fact they will largely determine whether LEO stations continue to exist or not, along with the tourism market. 

And even if you did trash ISS utilization like that, you still would not address radiation, ECLSS under cislunar solar irradiance, astronaut health under those distance/duration/isolation conditions, and so on.


I'll let NASA address this from 2005 in this article:  Plastic Spaceships - NASA Science

"...Some scientists believe that materials such as aluminum, which provide adequate shielding in Earth orbit or for short trips to the Moon, would be inadequate for the trip to Mars.

Barghouty is one of the skeptics: "Going to Mars now with an aluminum spaceship is undoable," he believes.
"

NASA scientists know the material they want to use, and it's not aluminum.  So why is an aluminum habitat being considered?  Because of politics.

1.  one scientist is not "NASA". 

2.  he might have been selling his own work on replacing aluminum with his experimental material.  Just maybe...it being a PR where he's touting his research. 

3.  when he says "with an aluminum spaceship" maybe he compared his shielded baby vs a plain unshielded aluminum can, because that's going to put his research in the best possible light. 

4. read the end of your link!  They tell you that computer simulations suggested there was no difference in radiation risk between an aluminum craft and this guy's RXF1 ship on a round-trip to Mars!  They then point out his material might currently burst into flames with direct sun exposure and the need for more realistic testing, which is exactly what this cislunar station is about.

If you think a Bigelow module should be tested, fine!  It probably would be a good idea at some point.  If you think a module made out of this RXF1 should be tested, fine!  I suspect research on this material could easily last another ten to twenty years (only if it is extremely promising, otherwise you will never read about it again), but if somebody can build it, fine! 

It's ludicrous, though, to assume based on one optimistic press release that that should be the baseline.  Even if you think composite or RXF1 is likely to be better, you will want an aluminum baseline measurement, because that is most likely to give you results comparable to previous exploration measurements of radiation (eg Apollo), and aluminum will most certainly be heavily represented inside the module one way or another.

Beyond all that, as I said, I doubt the construction material of the module will be that critical if you have to slather on additional shielding. 


Offline Coastal Ron

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I think you missed my point about Congress doesn't care what we think. Pork politics is how they keep the voters in their district or state happy and get reelected. Unfortunately, it's how the Federal government works.

In the Preamble to the United States Constitution is a brief introductory statement of the Constitution's fundamental purposes and guiding principles.  It starts with:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..."

I personally take that to mean that we shouldn't be complacent with pork politics, and that we should always be striving for that "more perfect Union" of using taxpayers money as wisely as possible.

But maybe that's just me...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline RonM

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I think you missed my point about Congress doesn't care what we think. Pork politics is how they keep the voters in their district or state happy and get reelected. Unfortunately, it's how the Federal government works.

In the Preamble to the United States Constitution is a brief introductory statement of the Constitution's fundamental purposes and guiding principles.  It starts with:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..."

I personally take that to mean that we shouldn't be complacent with pork politics, and that we should always be striving for that "more perfect Union" of using taxpayers money as wisely as possible.

But maybe that's just me...

Then you should be become active in politics where you and like minded individuals can make a difference. Complaining about it off topic in a spaceflight forum won't change a thing.

Offline Rocket Science

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Something from Bigelow would be interesting for a comparison... Add a fuel depot in the mix if you please... :)
« Last Edit: 05/21/2016 01:22 PM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline baldusi

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Let's get back to technical aspects, or the mods will surely intervene.
The Lagrange points have a very important property and that is the fact that is the least depth in any gravity well that you can stay relatively stable within the Earth gravity well. If you want to go to the Moon, you are almost at escape (C3=-1.8km2/s2). But once you get in any lunar orbit, you have to get out of the lunar gravity well to go anywhere.
What's worse, interesting places in the Moon don't allign with the ecliptic, mainly because neither the Moon orbit nor its rotation (since it's tidally locke to Earth), do.
So being in lunar orbit no only means getting out of the plane and gravity influence, but that launch windows constrain to when things are aligned.
EML1 or 2 have none of those problems, actually reduce delta-v requirements and enable visiting the whole Moon all the time. So, unless you want to stage from LEO, EML1/2 are the only other reasonable places.

Offline gospacex

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The question isn't whether or not NASA will use Orion in cislunar space because that's a given. The question is whether or not this Orbital ATK proposal is a good one for utilizing Orion.

Another excellent example of government planning. "We built a capsule, and now we need to devise what it can be used for." Cart before the horse all over again.

Offline gospacex

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"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..."

I personally take that to mean that we shouldn't be complacent with pork politics, and that we should always be striving for that "more perfect Union" of using taxpayers money as wisely as possible.

History tells us that money given to the government end up used not particularly "wisely" (I take it means "efficiently").

The entire post-Apollo US government manned space program is at best mediocre. It's not glaringly apparent only because all other manned space programs on this planet are also run by governments. Just like Ariane and Proton looked okayish until recently.

Offline baldusi

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Second question is Aluminum radiation. Al is heavier if you only use it (which is not how current Al hulls are built). And it does have the issue of secondary radiation. But the posture of that guy is like saying:
"I have designed (but not built not certified) a new suspension that improves clearance a 30%. So all current 4x4 have to be dumped because my system is superior."
He's not saying anything about cost, reliability, manufacturability, repairability, torque transfer, power distribution, etc. Just takes the single measure where your theoretical system is superior and make a strong statement.

Offline TrevorMonty

The question isn't whether or not NASA will use Orion in cislunar space because that's a given. The question is whether or not this Orbital ATK proposal is a good one for utilizing Orion.

Another excellent example of government planning. "We built a capsule, and now we need to devise what it can be used for." Cart before the horse all over again.

Most people purchase a car based on how they plan to use it eg 4x4 for towing boat, RLV for touring, small commuter for city. They don't have all future trips or destinatins planned out before buying the car.

Why should LV large or small be any different.


Offline TrevorMonty

Let's get back to technical aspects, or the mods will surely intervene.
The Lagrange points have a very important property and that is the fact that is the least depth in any gravity well that you can stay relatively stable within the Earth gravity well. If you want to go to the Moon, you are almost at escape (C3=-1.8km2/s2). But once you get in any lunar orbit, you have to get out of the lunar gravity well to go anywhere.
What's worse, interesting places in the Moon don't allign with the ecliptic, mainly because neither the Moon orbit nor its rotation (since it's tidally locke to Earth), do.
So being in lunar orbit no only means getting out of the plane and gravity influence, but that launch windows constrain to when things are aligned.
EML1 or 2 have none of those problems, actually reduce delta-v requirements and enable visiting the whole Moon all the time. So, unless you want to stage from LEO, EML1/2 are the only other reasonable places.
See this recent fiso pod cast on cislunar staging orbits.

http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Whitley_4-13-16/

The choice of location for first DSH, doesn't stop it being repositioned for different applications or missions.

Offline Hotblack Desiato

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The question isn't whether or not NASA will use Orion in cislunar space because that's a given. The question is whether or not this Orbital ATK proposal is a good one for utilizing Orion.

Another excellent example of government planning. "We built a capsule, and now we need to devise what it can be used for." Cart before the horse all over again.

Most people purchase a car based on how they plan to use it eg 4x4 for towing boat, RLV for touring, small commuter for city. They don't have all future trips or destinatins planned out before buying the car.

Why should LV large or small be any different.

Yet, people in cities buy SUVs, dreaming about "I could go to the mountains, if I wanted and if I found the time". ;-)



Regarding construction of such a station, they could go the SpaceX-way of testing things. They could send a manrated version of the Cygnus uphill to ISS, filled with cargo, and maybe even a bit (4.2m) wider than normal (would require a wider fairing). This way, the craft is filled with cargo and is the subject to tests itself. After the regular delivery and a lot of tests, it detaches from ISS, and follows it at 20km distance. 1-2 years later, it reapproaches ISS, docks and gets tested again.

Besides, if docking or berthing with the station are not too complicated or take too much work to do, this method would offer an extra long term storage space. Things you don't need now but would be required in a certain period of time, which take space inside the station could be stored in that module, detach and follow ISS autonomously.

Later, NASA could set something up like the CRV-contracts, provide a station at EML1/2 or even in orbit around Mars and send supplys to it.

Offline Kaputnik

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Turning a stock Cygnus into a hab: how 'off the shelf' are the various ECLSS components? Do you just go to a company who supplies this sort of stuff and bolt it in, or does the whole system need to be designed from scratch to suit the particular spacecraft, usage pattern, space environment, etc?
Can we take a stab at what sort of mass a basic habitable Cygnus would be?
Waiting for joy and raptor

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Turning a stock Cygnus into a hab: how 'off the shelf' are the various ECLSS components? Do you just go to a company who supplies this sort of stuff and bolt it in, or does the whole system need to be designed from scratch to suit the particular spacecraft, usage pattern, space environment, etc?
Can we take a stab at what sort of mass a basic habitable Cygnus would be?
Start with the Cygnus dry weight and add. Current enhanced Cygnus dry weight is 1,800kg.

Additional propulsion system wet weight for 1km DV of a fully loaded 5,000kg payload using a storeable prop is +2100kg. 100kg for small pressure fed engines with large expansion (ISP 311) and tanks and 2000kg for prop.

Now every time you add more weight you add to the propulsion system size or decrease the pre-loaded "supplies" 3,200kg. In this example the supplies are decreased to make it simpler.

Addition of power long duration power source (solar arrays) 50w/kg (this include structure and power conditioning subsystems [batteries etc]) for a 50kw power system with modern lightweight thin film cells 1,000kg.

Radiation shielding 1,000kg.

Thermal and ECLSS 1,000kg.

Remaining capabilities for supplies 200kg.

Total wet weight 7.1mt.

This is to make it light enough that it can fit on an Atlas V (551) and get to EML-2 with ~500m/s DV to spare in propulsion system.

A re-supply which does not have a large power system only 5kw (100kg) and smaller ECLSS and less radiation shielding (250kg and 250kg) would have a capability for 2,600kg of supplies.



Offline the_other_Doug

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Turning a stock Cygnus into a hab: how 'off the shelf' are the various ECLSS components? Do you just go to a company who supplies this sort of stuff and bolt it in, or does the whole system need to be designed from scratch to suit the particular spacecraft, usage pattern, space environment, etc?
Can we take a stab at what sort of mass a basic habitable Cygnus would be?
Start with the Cygnus dry weight and add. Current enhanced Cygnus dry weight is 1,800kg.

Additional propulsion system wet weight for 1km DV of a fully loaded 5,000kg payload using a storeable prop is +2100kg. 100kg for small pressure fed engines with large expansion (ISP 311) and tanks and 2000kg for prop.

Now every time you add more weight you add to the propulsion system size or decrease the pre-loaded "supplies" 3,200kg. In this example the supplies are decreased to make it simpler.

Addition of power long duration power source (solar arrays) 50w/kg (this include structure and power conditioning subsystems [batteries etc]) for a 50kw power system with modern lightweight thin film cells 1,000kg.

Radiation shielding 1,000kg.

Thermal and ECLSS 1,000kg.

Remaining capabilities for supplies 200kg.

Total wet weight 7.1mt.

This is to make it light enough that it can fit on an Atlas V (551) and get to EML-2 with ~500m/s DV to spare in propulsion system.

A re-supply which does not have a large power system only 5kw (100kg) and smaller ECLSS and less radiation shielding (250kg and 250kg) would have a capability for 2,600kg of supplies.

Nice analysis.  Now, for the $64,000 question -- how much of the additional stuff you discuss that needs to be added to a Cygnus to make it into a hab has to go into the pressurized compartment, or otherwise reduce the interior volume of the Cygnus?  And if the pressurized volume goes down, by how much?

In other words, it doesn't help much to provide a "hab" that is so stuffed with the equipment and consumables you need to make it a hab that there is only about as much internal usable volume of a phone booth.  If that's the case, you don't have a hab, you have a long-duration consumables logistics module.  You'd need to add a real hab to that setup in order to provide minimum personal space for a long interplanetary voyage...
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Rocket Science

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Turning a stock Cygnus into a hab: how 'off the shelf' are the various ECLSS components? Do you just go to a company who supplies this sort of stuff and bolt it in, or does the whole system need to be designed from scratch to suit the particular spacecraft, usage pattern, space environment, etc?
Can we take a stab at what sort of mass a basic habitable Cygnus would be?
Start with the Cygnus dry weight and add. Current enhanced Cygnus dry weight is 1,800kg.

Additional propulsion system wet weight for 1km DV of a fully loaded 5,000kg payload using a storeable prop is +2100kg. 100kg for small pressure fed engines with large expansion (ISP 311) and tanks and 2000kg for prop.

Now every time you add more weight you add to the propulsion system size or decrease the pre-loaded "supplies" 3,200kg. In this example the supplies are decreased to make it simpler.

Addition of power long duration power source (solar arrays) 50w/kg (this include structure and power conditioning subsystems [batteries etc]) for a 50kw power system with modern lightweight thin film cells 1,000kg.

Radiation shielding 1,000kg.

Thermal and ECLSS 1,000kg.

Remaining capabilities for supplies 200kg.

Total wet weight 7.1mt.

This is to make it light enough that it can fit on an Atlas V (551) and get to EML-2 with ~500m/s DV to spare in propulsion system.

A re-supply which does not have a large power system only 5kw (100kg) and smaller ECLSS and less radiation shielding (250kg and 250kg) would have a capability for 2,600kg of supplies.

Nice analysis.  Now, for the $64,000 question -- how much of the additional stuff you discuss that needs to be added to a Cygnus to make it into a hab has to go into the pressurized compartment, or otherwise reduce the interior volume of the Cygnus?  And if the pressurized volume goes down, by how much?

In other words, it doesn't help much to provide a "hab" that is so stuffed with the equipment and consumables you need to make it a hab that there is only about as much internal usable volume of a phone booth.  If that's the case, you don't have a hab, you have a long-duration consumables logistics module.  You'd need to add a real hab to that setup in order to provide minimum personal space for a long interplanetary voyage...
(cough) *Bigelow*(cough)... ;)
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline redliox

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Now, for the $64,000 question -- how much of the additional stuff you discuss that needs to be added to a Cygnus to make it into a hab has to go into the pressurized compartment, or otherwise reduce the interior volume of the Cygnus?  And if the pressurized volume goes down, by how much?

In other words, it doesn't help much to provide a "hab" that is so stuffed with the equipment and consumables you need to make it a hab that there is only about as much internal usable volume of a phone booth.  If that's the case, you don't have a hab, you have a long-duration consumables logistics module.  You'd need to add a real hab to that setup in order to provide minimum personal space for a long interplanetary voyage...

Well the hab itself doesn't have to be huge, but it does need to serve as testbed to long-term life support systems.  That, above all else, is the real purpose of the "Proving Ground" around the Moon in NASA's "Journey to Mars" scheme.  Unlike the ISS in LEO, the Cislunar outpost will have to operate for months without servicing, which will validate what can work on a Mars transit vehicle and for Martian outposts; considering especially how different the surface outposts will be from an orbiting platform, about the only thing they'll have in common is enclosed life support systems.

But you are probably right in that the small space of a Cygnus will make it cramp coupled with the life support.  Orbital ATK might only be required to build one module and NASA might either build its own or, for example, buy from a second company like Bigelow which could be akin to how the next round of commercial cargo has multiple providers.

(cough) *Bigelow*(cough)... ;)

Yeah that's what we're all thinking if you want a fully-loaded hab.  It's not unreasonable to expect either a Cislunar station or Mars transit vehicle to require multiple modules, although I'd hope it could be limited to a handful plus whatever propulsion stages to minimize assembly - the ISS was nice but it'd be practical to condense building time.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline rayleighscatter

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Nice analysis.  Now, for the $64,000 question -- how much of the additional stuff you discuss that needs to be added to a Cygnus to make it into a hab has to go into the pressurized compartment, or otherwise reduce the interior volume of the Cygnus?  And if the pressurized volume goes down, by how much?

In other words, it doesn't help much to provide a "hab" that is so stuffed with the equipment and consumables you need to make it a hab that there is only about as much internal usable volume of a phone booth.  If that's the case, you don't have a hab, you have a long-duration consumables logistics module.  You'd need to add a real hab to that setup in order to provide minimum personal space for a long interplanetary voyage...

A Cygnus/Bigelow combination isn't a bad combination for a small hab/station. Cygnus gets packed to the gills with ELCSS, waste disposal, water treatment, power, storage tanks, etc. and the Bigelow hab gets added on for usable manned space.

Offline DGH

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Turning a stock Cygnus into a hab: how 'off the shelf' are the various ECLSS components? Do you just go to a company who supplies this sort of stuff and bolt it in, or does the whole system need to be designed from scratch to suit the particular spacecraft, usage pattern, space environment, etc?
Can we take a stab at what sort of mass a basic habitable Cygnus would be?
Start with the Cygnus dry weight and add. Current enhanced Cygnus dry weight is 1,800kg.

Additional propulsion system wet weight for 1km DV of a fully loaded 5,000kg payload using a storeable prop is +2100kg. 100kg for small pressure fed engines with large expansion (ISP 311) and tanks and 2000kg for prop.

Now every time you add more weight you add to the propulsion system size or decrease the pre-loaded "supplies" 3,200kg. In this example the supplies are decreased to make it simpler.

Addition of power long duration power source (solar arrays) 50w/kg (this include structure and power conditioning subsystems [batteries etc]) for a 50kw power system with modern lightweight thin film cells 1,000kg.

Radiation shielding 1,000kg.

Thermal and ECLSS 1,000kg.

Remaining capabilities for supplies 200kg.

Total wet weight 7.1mt.

This is to make it light enough that it can fit on an Atlas V (551) and get to EML-2 with ~500m/s DV to spare in propulsion system.

A re-supply which does not have a large power system only 5kw (100kg) and smaller ECLSS and less radiation shielding (250kg and 250kg) would have a capability for 2,600kg of supplies.
1)   Just found 2 documents from Orbital that seem to say dry mass is 3151 kg
2)   If you can take 90 days you can get to L-1 and L-2 for less than 250 m/s.
3)    Delta IV heavy or Falcon Heavy could do the station.
4)   Atlas V could deliver cargo.
5)   This is doable without a SLS launch.
Bigelow and Lockheed seem too large.
Bigelow needs a 552 for LEO Lockheed is ATV based.


Offline TrevorMonty

The current Cygnus uses chemical propulsion, which is ideal for LEO. The deep space version will most likely use SEP plus chemical.
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Offline baldusi

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Well, Falcon Heavy should be able to do at least 14 tonnes to TLI (-1.8km˛/s˛), and Vulcan/ACES was supposed to do 30% better than Delta IV Heavy (11 tonnes). So, 2025 might have two commercial vehicles that can put 14 or more tonnes to TLI. I would guess that would be plenty for all supply requirements. SLS might bee needed for some rally big module, but the rest can be handled by FH/Vulcan with ease.

Offline BrightLight

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If Orbital-ATK is going to be successful, they will have a proposal that addresses these NASA Cis-lunar objectives (extracted from Research Objectives for Human Missions in the Proving Ground of Cis-Lunar Space, April 2016):
"Research Objectives: Primary mission objectives are listed below. In order to help define details of the mission
architecture, including the means by which the architecture can be supported, more specific research objectives are
needed.
Title/Objective
• Crew Transportation/Provide ability to transport at least four crew to cislunar space
• Heavy Launch Capability/Provide beyond LEO launch capabilities to include crew, co-manisfested payloads,
and large cargo
• In-Space Propulsion/Provide in-sapce propulsion capabilities to send crew and cargo on Mars-class mission
durations and distances
• Deep Space Navigation and Communication/Provide and validate cislunar and Mars system navigation and
communication
• Science/Enable science community objectives
• Deep Space Operations/Provide deep-space operation capabilities: EVA, Staging, Logistics, Human-robotic
integration, Autonomous operations
• In-Situ Resource Utilization/Understand the nature and distribution of volatiles and extraction techniques,
and decide on their potential use in the human exploration architecture
• Deep Space Habitation/Provide beyond LEO habitation systems sufficient to support at least four crew on
Mars-class mission durations and dormancy
• Crew Health/Validate crew health, performance, and mitigation protocols for Mars-class missions"
« Last Edit: 05/23/2016 08:16 PM by BrightLight »

Offline redliox

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A cis-lunar habitat capable of long duration autonomous flight is basically a Mars transfer vehicle without a propulsion system. Gaining experience building and operating a habitat in cis-lunar space directly feeds into knowing how to build and operate a Mars transfer vehicle.

At the least it's a precursor for a transit vehicle, but you are right in that that a propulsion stage is the only main difference between a Cislunar hab versus a Mars transit/transfer vehicle.  If the radiation shielding and life support can be perfected to handle the lunar environment, which is beyond the benefit of Earth's magnetosphere and convenience of LEO servicing, the same systems, albeit not necessarily same vehicle, could tackle a Mars trip.  Hauling extra snacks along would be wise though.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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