Author Topic: SpaceX / NASA Collaboration - Red Dragon - Goddard Teleconference.  (Read 28602 times)

Online Robotbeat

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Potentially some cost if SpaceX will be going anyway (who pays for the payload?) unclear yet.

Q) If SpaceX are able to propose this cheaper and faster, is there any thought on if NASA would make this an agency mission?

A) No, it would have had to have been thought of and proposed many years ago.

Wow, maybe I'm misinterpreting but this response seems extraordinarily arrogant.

I think the correct interpretation here is that for Red Dragon to become a NASA mission would require a much longer process proposal and review process. As a private SpaceX mission that isn't required.
Not only that, but SpaceX has been preparing this capability in some form or another since at least 2010, when they announced an integrated abort system. And I think since 2012, there have been graphics floating around of Red Dragon sitting on Mars.

2010 to 2018 is pretty tight for an agency program, but possible. But the main point is there is no way NASA could do 2018 if they decided to do this now. It'd probably be at least a decade later.

My guess is a NASA version would be:
1) an order magnitude higher cost, easily
2) twice as long from initial plans to launch
3) greater chance of succeeding first try (look at skycrane and tell me that's not JPL/NASA EDL engineers showing off...)
4) but at even greater chance of being canceled before it got very far.
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Offline whitelancer64

*snip*
 I think since 2012, there have been graphics floating around of Red Dragon sitting on Mars.
*/snip*

Close, SpaceX uploaded a video in April 2011, "SpaceX Next," with an animation of a Dragon landing on Mars, the one where it's a Dragon Cargo capsule with fire blasting out of the sides. The earliest reference I can find to the "Red Dragon" is a space.com article from July 2011.

Predated, sort of, by a mildly prophetic post on April 26 2011 by A_M_Swallow, who should probably get a clairvoyance trophy of some kind.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24179.msg729641#msg729641
« Last Edit: 09/21/2016 10:01 PM by whitelancer64 »
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Offline Chris Bergin

So this thread has everything we need per the content. I was tempted to write an article, but it would literally be what is in this thread. I'll save that for part of the series we'll be working on after Mexico drops, per the roadmap series to Mars, given this is a first major step.

Online Robotbeat

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Listening to the recorded version again, and someone actually asked about MCT:
Caller: "How does this agreement blend in to SpaceX's next generation Mars landing capability?"
Phil: "Yeah, no idea. SpaceX has not shared their next generation concept and architecture with us. My understanding is Elon might make some sort of announcement at the IAC coming up soon. But, don't know."

So there's no cooperation between SpaceX and NASA on MCT at least through this agreement so far. Puts that to rest, I guess.
« Last Edit: 09/22/2016 01:34 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline mlindner

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This may be off topic, and delete the post if it is, but "I told you so".

Payload should include some form of deployable solar arrays - and the means to clean them of the dust. If there were circular sets it might be as simple as a rotating wand/brush . That and a camera and possibly a scooper arm to dig down a bit might be enough for flight 1. A good telescope to show Earth and Moon from Mars would be cool too.

A lot of people seem to be overestimating how much Red Dragon is going to do. Red Dragon will be a stripped down Dragon 2 with lots of sensors, some interplanetary comms and no scientific payload. It will not deploy a rover. It will not have solar panels (other than what's on the trunk). It will be battery powered and take a few photos. The main purpose of the mission is to get data return on EDL techniques that will input into the design of MCT. Two years is not enough time to design build and test anything fancy.

Only thing I was wrong on is that it will apparently be carrying some limited engineering payloads from NASA.
« Last Edit: 09/22/2016 03:31 AM by mlindner »
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Online Robotbeat

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We still don't know what payload there may be. SpaceX still is interested in a payload but haven't narrowed down everything yet.
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Offline TrevorMonty

We still don't know what payload there may be. SpaceX still is interested in a payload but haven't narrowed down everything yet.
Some type of ISRU demonstrator is most likely, eg extracting oxygen from CO2.

The plus side of this mission is most payloads a not mission critical so they can be lower TRL demostrators. I hoping they can fly drone.
« Last Edit: 09/22/2016 05:44 PM by TrevorMonty »

Online Robotbeat

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We still don't know what payload there may be. SpaceX still is interested in a payload but haven't narrowed down everything yet.
Some type of ISRU demonstrator is most likely, eg extracting oxygen from CO2.

The plus side of this mission is most payloads a not mission critical so they can be lower TRL demostrators. I hoping they can fly drone.
Doesnt make sense unless they're flying a MOXIE clone.

SpaceX is going to be mining water on the surface, and their rockets are methane-based.  Since they're making the methane on the surface, they get more oxygen than they need as a byproduct of that, plus  A they'd just be duplicating the payload on NASA's 2020 rover. The likely type of payloads were shown in previous Red Mars presentations. Water extraction, in particular, would be the most useful.
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Offline DanielW

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... SpaceX is going to be mining water on the surface, and their rockets are methane-based.  Since they're making the methane on the surface, they get more oxygen than they need as a byproduct of that, ...

Is this just assuming a fuel rich engine? If stoichiometric I would assume no excess.

Offline guckyfan

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... SpaceX is going to be mining water on the surface, and their rockets are methane-based.  Since they're making the methane on the surface, they get more oxygen than they need as a byproduct of that, ...

Is this just assuming a fuel rich engine? If stoichiometric I would assume no excess.

The engines always run fuel rich.  As the products of ISRU will be in stochiometric relation there will be an excess of oxygen. Plus an excess of nitrogen as that is filtered out from the martian air to feed pure or nearly pure CO2 into the ISRU reactors.

Offline mfck

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Thinking of a possible payload, and assuming the highest priority of this mission is EDL data, a deployable robotic arm with a sensor suite for
a) external inspection of the craft after landing, things you cannot instrument the craft itself for, like heat shield and outer shell inspection
b) landing zone probing
would seem to be appropriate.

X-Ray, Multispectral UF-IR, Terahertz, Ultrasound? 

Offline ThereIWas3

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Making methane from CO2 is really old technology;  I don't think they need to demonstrate that early on.  Robotic mining ice on Mars and getting it into a form that the Sabatier reactor can actually use is the area that needs work.
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Offline mlindner

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We still don't know what payload there may be. SpaceX still is interested in a payload but haven't narrowed down everything yet.
Some type of ISRU demonstrator is most likely, eg extracting oxygen from CO2.

The plus side of this mission is most payloads a not mission critical so they can be lower TRL demostrators. I hoping they can fly drone.
Doesnt make sense unless they're flying a MOXIE clone.

SpaceX is going to be mining water on the surface, and their rockets are methane-based.  Since they're making the methane on the surface, they get more oxygen than they need as a byproduct of that, plus  A they'd just be duplicating the payload on NASA's 2020 rover. The likely type of payloads were shown in previous Red Mars presentations. Water extraction, in particular, would be the most useful.

You shouldn't expect anything that involves interactions with the soil surface. There's nowhere to mount payloads besides on the top of the vehicle where the mounting hatch was/is. Don't expect pressure hull changes for this mission because there isn't time to re-do all those analyses. No water mining.
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Offline guckyfan

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I would like to see a small Yutu sized rover with a ground penetrating radar like Yutu had. That could determine, how deep the regolith layer over the ice is. Maybe too much to ask for 2018 though.

Offline Bynaus

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I still think there will be no surface-contact experiments, and the lander will be battery-powered. Some pictures (through the windows?) would certainly be nice.

I think there is a chance for an ISRU experiment with an internal water supply combining with atmospheric CO2, but I presume that would be quite power-hungry and thus interfere negatively with other experiments (if it draws power from the Red Dragon's batteries). Something like a methane fuel cell running in reverse.

Online Robotbeat

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No reason to rule out ground-contact experiments. Elon even wrote a quick tweet saying you could deploy a lander with Red Dragon (sounded very confident a bout it, as if significant analysis had been done), then deleted the tweet.

I will say battery operations is supported by Phil's statements about (just) a few days surface operations, but SpaceX seems to be both changing plans on an ongoing basis and not always updating NASA on what they're doing (right away), so longer operations can't be firmly ruled out either.
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Offline llanitedave

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No reason to rule out ground-contact experiments. Elon even wrote a quick tweet saying you could deploy a lander with Red Dragon (sounded very confident a bout it, as if significant analysis had been done), then deleted the tweet.

I will say battery operations is supported by Phil's statements about (just) a few days surface operations, but SpaceX seems to be both changing plans on an ongoing basis and not always updating NASA on what they're doing (right away), so longer operations can't be firmly ruled out either.

This first Red Dragon mission will not be the only Red Dragon mission.  There are plenty of payloads they can develop for subsequent missions once past this initial demonstrator phase.
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Online Robotbeat

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No reason to rule out ground-contact experiments. Elon even wrote a quick tweet saying you could deploy a lander with Red Dragon (sounded very confident a bout it, as if significant analysis had been done), then deleted the tweet.

I will say battery operations is supported by Phil's statements about (just) a few days surface operations, but SpaceX seems to be both changing plans on an ongoing basis and not always updating NASA on what they're doing (right away), so longer operations can't be firmly ruled out either.

This first Red Dragon mission will not be the only Red Dragon mission.  There are plenty of payloads they can develop for subsequent missions once past this initial demonstrator phase.
Certainly. But that isn't a reason to rule out SpaceX trying to put on some payload on this initial mission. Water ISRU is a lynchpin of this whole architecture, is low TRL, and so trying it as soon as possible is likely a priority for SpaceX (after demonstrating EDL, of course).
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Offline john smith 19

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Holy cow, someone is making an epically long speech right now under guise of a "question." (Mostly complaining about duplication and reinventing the wheel or something?)
Identified himself as "Larry Cousins" from Berkley but mentioned he and some others had proposed  some sort of mod to the EM-1 mission to make the re-entry more Mars like to test the heat shield.

He seemed to be unaware of the fact that the building built for Apollo was for Lunar samples coming from the Moon, and in that case the "planetary protection" was for keeping Earth free from (potential) Lunar microbes or viruses. I would presume the people he cited then went on to write (or at least draft) the standards for planetary protection that NASA and SX will be using.

I always find it fascinating how SLS, a project in the 10s of $Bn still keeps saying how under funded they are and they could do with a bit more, even just a few 10s of $m, from anyone else.
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Offline Khadgars

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If Red Dragon makes the 2018 launch window, as unlikely as that is, there is still a chance.  I wouldn't expect much more than some camera's and perhaps some modified instruments already on-board or plan to be on-board for readings on local weather.

In 2020 however, I think we should start to get really excited on what can be delivered.  This all pending successful landing, which isn't a given either.  I feel like all this talk about payloads is distracting from what a huge challenge the EDL is going to be, which is the primary objective in the first place.


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