Author Topic: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)  (Read 19696 times)

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4160
  • California
  • Liked: 3564
  • Likes Given: 2197
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #20 on: 04/16/2017 07:09 PM »
Indeed. And if they are so hell-bent on doing the outfitting in orbit... try this thought experiment. How about launching just an empty habitation shell as a payload, and then outfit that instead. Does that sound like a lot of work? Still a LOT easier than a wet lab conversion.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3700
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2277
  • Likes Given: 2911
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #21 on: 04/16/2017 07:13 PM »
Dry storage space itself is already valuable. Maybe things are easier to relocate if there is no need to store them 3 layers deep.


The big problem with wet workshop is that you just get an empty tank and then have to outfit it.
I wonder what happens if the concept gets reversed. Start with a rather simple module including all the MMOD and external connections, strip the internals down, using it as tank during launch and reinstall gear on orbit.

Upper stages are very carefully designed for their purpose.  It would be totally impractical to take a module designed to be a habitat module and bolt on some engines and use it as an upper stage.

An upper stage might look like it's the same shape as an ISS module, but it doesn't mean they're really very similar other than shape.

Offline Chasm

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 370
  • Liked: 160
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #22 on: 04/17/2017 01:57 PM »
 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It's a reversal for arguments sake.
The goal in both cases is to get additional usable volume, for cheap.

NanoRacks basically says that their concept is not exactly new and that over the decades much work went into it. Few modifications to Centaur itself are required, most of them in areas that are easily modded. That together with ULA they can build the concept with standard parts or things that have been done before in a few weeks for the centaur items and a bit more for the rest. (Paperwork obviously not included.)

Cue a small set of objections: But MMOD, but balloon tank, but thermal regulation, but interior of any kind, but attaching anything internally because balloon tank, but electrical connections, but fluids, but external handholds, but external attachment points, but radiation shielding, but .....

Next step is to mitigate by adding things to the stage and it is not simple any longer.

So what happens if you start from the other end and take wet lab a bit more literal. Starting with an empty module as (additional) upper stage tank. Remove everything from the interior but attachment points and maybe major structural elements. Probably patch in bulkheads/parts of a tank dome to cover the docking adapter(s) and assorted gear around them. It's not like upper stages are perfectly empty either.

Is that a particularly great idea? Hell no. It removes one set of complaints and replaces them with others.



After listening to the podcast again and the concept to launch Ixion together with a Cygnus on top...

A variation of that idea would be to revert to a variation of their first CRS round wet lab concept. Stick a docking adapter on the centaur H2 tank. Only use this contraption as trash truck.
That should cut down exposure to MMOD and other risks nicely. Much less need to do interior work on orbit. Cygnus moves the stack to the ISS, both get captured and berthed. Open the wet and fill it what has accumulated for disposal, replace the access cover. Undock and reentry. Only then really start to work on the Cygnus cargo.
Now that there is less need for disposal services extra points for upgrading the Cygnus pressure section to a full if somewhat empty module like some of the ATV concepts, the propulsion section to a detachable tug and recovering Centaur engine and avionics with SMART. ;)

Sounds roundabout enough for gouvernment work. After all why just play rocket lego if there are also ISS and transport addons aviailible.  ;D

Offline dror

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 580
  • Israel
  • Liked: 138
  • Likes Given: 369
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #23 on: 04/17/2017 07:05 PM »
...
After listening to the podcast again and the concept to launch Ixion together with a Cygnus on top...

A variation of that idea would be to revert to a variation of their first CRS round wet lab concept. Stick a docking adapter on the centaur H2 tank. Only use this contraption as trash truck.
That should cut down exposure to MMOD and other risks nicely. Much less need to do interior work on orbit. Cygnus moves the stack to the ISS, both get captured and berthed. Open the wet and fill it what has accumulated for disposal, replace the access cover. Undock and reentry. Only then really start to work on the Cygnus cargo.
Now that there is less need for disposal services extra points for upgrading the Cygnus pressure section to a full if somewhat empty module like some of the ATV concepts, the propulsion section to a detachable tug and recovering Centaur engine and avionics with SMART. ;)

Sounds roundabout enough for gouvernment work. After all why just play rocket lego if there are also ISS and transport addons aviailible.  ;D

If it is ACES and not Centaur, you don't really need a propultion module at all, do you?

But, then again, what's in it for Orbital ATK?
"If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal. "
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6184
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2278
  • Likes Given: 772
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #24 on: 04/18/2017 02:31 AM »
Cue a small set of objections: But MMOD, but balloon tank, but thermal regulation, but interior of any kind, but attaching anything internally because balloon tank, but electrical connections, but fluids, but external handholds, but external attachment points, but radiation shielding, but .....

There are answers to most of those objections... :-)

~Jon

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4160
  • California
  • Liked: 3564
  • Likes Given: 2197
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #25 on: 04/19/2017 11:36 PM »
Cue a small set of objections: But MMOD, but balloon tank, but thermal regulation, but interior of any kind, but attaching anything internally because balloon tank, but electrical connections, but fluids, but external handholds, but external attachment points, but radiation shielding, but .....

There are answers to most of those objections... :-)

~Jon

There are, but are they credible and practical? NOTE, no one has said that this is impossible. Just impractical.

I finally got around to listening to the pod cast while driving yesterday, some notes from the interview:

1. Mike Johnson clearly likes Centaur. A LOT. He is spent the last 15(?) years working on and off with proposals to adapt Centaur tanks as station components or cargo spacecraft. First as a "dry lab" (modified on ground), then now as a "wet lab" (modified in orbit). While he does admit that his concept could be applied to many other upper stages, I do find the single-minded obsession with Centaur stages somewhat baffling. He seems to have lots of connections with people at ULA, perhaps that is the explanation. But this single-mindedness does bring to mind the saying "if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail".

2. The actual work of outfitting and modifying the Centaur on orbit is hand-waved away, aside from a brief mention of robots doing the work. I really do wish the host would have pressed him more on this.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 05:20 AM by Lars-J »

Offline Patchouli

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4388
  • Liked: 176
  • Likes Given: 326
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #26 on: 04/20/2017 04:12 AM »
Cue a small set of objections: But MMOD, but balloon tank, but thermal regulation, but interior of any kind, but attaching anything internally because balloon tank, but electrical connections, but fluids, but external handholds, but external attachment points, but radiation shielding, but .....

There are answers to most of those objections... :-)

~Jon

There are, but are they credible and practical. NOTE, no one has said that this is impossible. Just impractical.

I finally got around to listening to the pod cast while driving yesterday, some notes from the interview:

1. Mike Johnson clearly likes Centaur. A LOT. He is spent the last 15(?) years working on and off with proposals to adapt Centaur tanks as station components or cargo spacecraft. First as a "dry lab" (modified on ground), then now as a "wet lab" (modified in orbit). While he does admit that his concept could be applied to many other upper stages, I do find the single-minded obsession with Centaur stages somewhat baffling. He seems to have lots of connections with people at ULA, perhaps that is the explanation. But this single-mindedness does bring to mind the saying "if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail".

2. The actual work of outfitting and modifying the Centaur on orbit is hand-waved away, aside from a brief mention of robots doing the work. I really do wish the host would have pressed him more on this.


I think DCSS would be better suited though the Delta IV doesn't fly as often and generally is not used for LEO missions.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 04:16 AM by Patchouli »

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6184
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2278
  • Likes Given: 772
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #27 on: 04/20/2017 07:05 AM »
There are, but are they credible and practical? NOTE, no one has said that this is impossible. Just impractical.

I think the solutions for several of the problems are pretty straightforward. Especially MMOD protection, and how you mount stuff to the inside and outside of a Centaur/ACES style balloon tank. A lot of the other concerns (about kitting out the volume) are ones that inflatables tend to share or are worse at. Admittedly it's an idea I've been noodling for years, so I'm somewhat biased.

I'm being intentionally vague for now, but hopefully can say more down the road.

~Jon

Offline Chasm

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 370
  • Liked: 160
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #28 on: 04/20/2017 09:07 AM »
Not say, show.  :)

I would really like to see some form of wetlab fly. If it is not a perfect solution? So what.
The concepts have been around for a long time and got reworked again and again. Unlike some other ides which gets thrown around there is certainly no "That doesn't even work in Kerbal Space..." factor.
I'm pretty tired of all those ideas that get developed to hardware and then canceled at the last second because they are not shiny enough, don't make that last ‰ of profit or got endorsed by the wrong person at some point in time, three decades ago.



ACES
As I understand there is no getting close to the ISS while there are still cryogenics in the stage. If you have to vent all tanks ACES does not help too much as far as docking or disposal goes. Otherwise it would be time for another round of rocket lego. 8) The upside is the the increased size and that more gear is located on the rear bulkhead, removing obstacles from the top. Construction method stays the same so no changes there.

Other upper stages
As per the linked podcast the H2 upper stages are quite similar, there is not too much difference between them. It's hard to justify launching on Delta IV because of price. Using a foreign launcher is not a real option for an American company either.
I suppose switching stages would be an easy fix if "but balloon tank" was the only complaint, but it isn't.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #29 on: 06/06/2017 01:01 AM »
tweets from Jeff Foust today

At a @spaceRESlux event in New York this afternoon, featuring space industry executives and the deputy prime minister of Luxembourg.

Manber (NanoRacks)also noted they (finally) had kickoff meeting on their NextSTEP hab module study. Hope to have 1st comm’l module up by 2021.

Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk


Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6184
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2278
  • Likes Given: 772
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #30 on: 10/25/2017 02:57 AM »
FYI, there will be a NextSTEPs panel at the Von Braun Symposium in Huntsville on Thursday morning (8:30am Central Time) with Jason Crusan and representatives from most of the NextSTEPs teams.

http://astronautical.org/dev/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017-Von-Braun-Program-Website-3.pdf

There'll be a webcast at astronautical.org/live for those who're interested.

~Jon

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #31 on: 10/25/2017 03:49 AM »
FYI, there will be a NextSTEPs panel at the Von Braun Symposium in Huntsville on Thursday morning (8:30am Central Time) with Jason Crusan and representatives from most of the NextSTEPs teams.

http://astronautical.org/dev/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017-Von-Braun-Program-Website-3.pdf

There'll be a webcast at astronautical.org/live for those who're interested.

~Jon
Jon, I see you representing Nanoracks on the panel. Have they contracted you for this project?

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6184
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2278
  • Likes Given: 772
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #32 on: 10/25/2017 04:28 AM »
Jon, I see you representing Nanoracks on the panel. Have they contracted you for this project?

Yeah, we've been supporting them since late June. We weren't part of the originally proposed team, and I didn't realize at the time of my earlier comments on this thread that we'd be involved in any way, but wet labs have been one of those ideas I've always liked, and so we were excited to have the chance to help out.

The reason they're having me go is that the person NanoRacks was originally going to have on the panel (Mike Lewis) was double-booked, so they asked if I could fill in for him. Should be a lot of fun. It'll also be my first time ever in Huntsville.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 10/25/2017 04:30 AM by jongoff »

Offline GWH

Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #33 on: 10/26/2017 08:49 PM »
Podcast interview with Jeff Manber, Nanoracks CEO, on SpaceQ:

Nanoracks is hoping to go beyond just the NextStep program to their own complete private space station.

Relevant info on Nanoracks own station starting at 33:10
Link:
https://soundcloud.com/spaceq/episode-19-jeff-manber-ceo-of-nanoracks-new-space-entrepreneur-unfiltered

The entirety of the interview is great and covers a lot of history in establishing a private market within Mir and ISS.

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4160
  • California
  • Liked: 3564
  • Likes Given: 2197
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #34 on: 10/26/2017 09:58 PM »
So now that ULA is moving to a 5.4m very wide body Centaur for all Vulcan flights, how does this affect this wet station concept? More volume is better, but changed construction techniques could add challenges, I would think.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #35 on: 10/26/2017 10:11 PM »
So now that ULA is moving to a 5.4m very wide body Centaur for all Vulcan flights, how does this affect this wet station concept? More volume is better, but changed construction techniques could add challenges, I would think.
Jon Goff mention Centuar V at seminar, so it is in their plans. Would be best candidate given it's 5.4m dia.

One way I see it working is for Centuar to carry cargo/docking module between its self and primary payload. After payload/satellite is deployed, proceed to spacestation and dock. Cargo module would have bits to fit out Centuar.
They primary payload could even be a Starliner going to space station.

For cost of docking module and a extra SRB or two they get a new habitat module.

Offline GWH

Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #36 on: 10/26/2017 10:46 PM »
Everything points to Centaur V and ACES still using stainless steel tanks, common bulk head.  Also external Multi-Layer Insulation.

More importantly ULA is a partner in development of this concept - so there should be no reason that Ixion's design isn't future compatible.

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6184
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2278
  • Likes Given: 772
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #37 on: 10/28/2017 04:11 PM »
So now that ULA is moving to a 5.4m very wide body Centaur for all Vulcan flights, how does this affect this wet station concept? More volume is better, but changed construction techniques could add challenges, I would think.

Everything points to Centaur V and ACES still using stainless steel tanks, common bulk head.  Also external Multi-Layer Insulation.

More importantly ULA is a partner in development of this concept - so there should be no reason that Ixion's design isn't future compatible.

I'm not sure what all I can say publicly but I will say that the main reason I showed the Centaur III version in my symposium presentation wasn't because we're not working with Centaur V/ACES, but because those were the pictures we knew were approved for release the time. Also, we didn't want to steal the thunder from our final feasibility study briefing with NASA.

~Jon

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6184
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2278
  • Likes Given: 772
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #38 on: 10/28/2017 04:14 PM »
Also, here's a copy of my short (~5min) Von Braun Symposium presentation for those who weren't able to watch it live or online on Thursday. I don't know that there's a huge amount of new information there, but it was a good discussion.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 10/28/2017 04:15 PM by jongoff »

Offline DreamyPickle

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 188
  • Home
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 18
Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #39 on: 10/28/2017 05:48 PM »
Quote
With up to 310 m3 habitable volume Ixion is the largest single element station since SkyLab

How do you get this number, isn't the Centaur relatively small? Some of the volume would be in the "mission module" but that looks small. Are you counting an additional cygnus-like module on top?

Hydrolox density is about 360 kg/m so the current centaur with 23 ton of propellant would have ~60 m3 of volume. 310 m3 volume would hold more than 100 tons of hydrolox.

Tags: