Author Topic: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)  (Read 17238 times)

Offline HIP2BSQRE

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #40 on: 10/28/2017 06:16 PM »
How is a wet lab "better" than a dry lab?  Why would NASA want this rather than say a BA330?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #41 on: 10/28/2017 07:24 PM »
Cost.  Its lower cost way to add extra habitat modules. I think there is still a need for a few essential purpose built modules.

With every Cygnus mission they would get extra habitat module from US tank.

In case of Xeus lander, it is extra lunar habitat volume for every cargo lander.
« Last Edit: 10/28/2017 07:26 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline HIP2BSQRE

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #42 on: 10/28/2017 07:30 PM »
Cost.  Its lower cost way to add extra habitat modules. I think there is still a need for a few essential purpose built modules.

With every Cygnus mission they would get extra habitat module from US tank.

In case of Xeus lander, it is extra lunar habitat volume for every cargo lander.



What is the cost range to for  wet lab vs a dry lab? 

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #43 on: 10/28/2017 09:07 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

That diagram shows IXION using both a Mission Module and a Wet Lab. The combination makes sense, where as a Wet Lab by itself does not. All the complex stuff is launched in the Mission Module and arrives at the same time.

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #44 on: 10/29/2017 04:01 AM »
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.

That number is based on the Centaur V stage, and associated mission module and docking tunnel. You are correct that the Centaur III version is much smaller.

~Jon

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #45 on: 10/29/2017 04:07 AM »
How is a wet lab "better" than a dry lab?  Why would NASA want this rather than say a BA330?

The Ixion approach gets you the best of both worlds, IMO. You can  have the complex, hard-to-outfit hardware in the mission module, where it can be pre-installed and checked-out on the ground prior to launch (like a traditional hab), while still having the large volume in the wet lab portion that can be kitted out with less sophisticated but volume intensive things like sleeping quarters, ward-rooms, storage, etc (like an inflatable). But outfitting the tank is easier because you can bake in hard mounting points that make it easier to use robotic outfitting. There are other benefits of a wetlab over an inflatable, but I'm not sure how public the info is. Inflatables are also interesting, I just think they're a bit oversold.

~Jon

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #46 on: 10/29/2017 04:14 AM »
Cost.  Its lower cost way to add extra habitat modules. I think there is still a need for a few essential purpose built modules.

With every Cygnus mission they would get extra habitat module from US tank.

In case of Xeus lander, it is extra lunar habitat volume for every cargo lander.


What is the cost range to for  wet lab vs a dry lab?

I don't think we have great numbers for comparison (it's not like Bigelow publishes their cost numbers). But most of the pressure structure for Ixion is made on the same tank fabrication tooling as the upper stage, which keeps the mass efficiency high and the cost relatively low. And since you can do most of the complex outfitting on the ground without requiring as much labor time on orbit, that should also be a win. Your launch costs should be lower too because half your volume is already paid for in getting the upper stage to orbit in the first place, and the rest of your structure is very mass efficient.

That doesn't prove it would be cheaper, but it suggests it likely is.

~Jon

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #47 on: 10/29/2017 04:15 AM »
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

That diagram shows IXION using both a Mission Module and a Wet Lab. The combination makes sense, where as a Wet Lab by itself does not. All the complex stuff is launched in the Mission Module and arrives at the same time.

Bingo.

~Jon

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #48 on: 10/29/2017 01:08 PM »
Cost.  Its lower cost way to add extra habitat modules. I think there is still a need for a few essential purpose built modules.

With every Cygnus mission they would get extra habitat module from US tank.

In case of Xeus lander, it is extra lunar habitat volume for every cargo lander.


What is the cost range to for  wet lab vs a dry lab?

I don't think we have great numbers for comparison (it's not like Bigelow publishes their cost numbers). But most of the pressure structure for Ixion is made on the same tank fabrication tooling as the upper stage, which keeps the mass efficiency high and the cost relatively low. And since you can do most of the complex outfitting on the ground without requiring as much labor time on orbit, that should also be a win. Your launch costs should be lower too because half your volume is already paid for in getting the upper stage to orbit in the first place, and the rest of your structure is very mass efficient.

That doesn't prove it would be cheaper, but it suggests it likely is.

~Jon

Part of the cost is the mass of the Ixion module is the reduced mass and volume of the paying payload.

Is there a stretched Ixion module about half of which can be used instead of a Cygnus?

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #49 on: 10/29/2017 01:49 PM »
I want to see them try this because they been talking about this sort of thing for decades and it would be an opportunity to see if it really is feasible.
Though I'd like to seee something like this done on a New Glenn upperstage or the EUS.

« Last Edit: 10/29/2017 02:01 PM by Patchouli »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #50 on: 10/29/2017 03:09 PM »
Cost.  Its lower cost way to add extra habitat modules. I think there is still a need for a few essential purpose built modules.

With every Cygnus mission they would get extra habitat module from US tank.

In case of Xeus lander, it is extra lunar habitat volume for every cargo lander.


What is the cost range to for  wet lab vs a dry lab?

I don't think we have great numbers for comparison (it's not like Bigelow publishes their cost numbers). But most of the pressure structure for Ixion is made on the same tank fabrication tooling as the upper stage, which keeps the mass efficiency high and the cost relatively low. And since you can do most of the complex outfitting on the ground without requiring as much labor time on orbit, that should also be a win. Your launch costs should be lower too because half your volume is already paid for in getting the upper stage to orbit in the first place, and the rest of your structure is very mass efficient.

That doesn't prove it would be cheaper, but it suggests it likely is.

~Jon

Part of the cost is the mass of the Ixion module is the reduced mass and volume of the paying payload.

Is there a stretched Ixion module about half of which can be used instead of a Cygnus?
They are using Cygnus as it is ISS rated vehicle, the other plus is a large part of mission costs will be covered by cargo resupply out of ISS operating budget.

The Centuar proposal is a test, if it works then I can see Nanoracks looking at other US. .

Offline GWH

Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #51 on: 10/29/2017 05:11 PM »
I don't think we have great numbers for comparison (it's not like Bigelow publishes their cost numbers). But most of the pressure structure for Ixion is made on the same tank fabrication tooling as the upper stage, which keeps the mass efficiency high and the cost relatively low. And since you can do most of the complex outfitting on the ground without requiring as much labor time on orbit, that should also be a win. Your launch costs should be lower too because half your volume is already paid for in getting the upper stage to orbit in the first place, and the rest of your structure is very mass efficient.

That doesn't prove it would be cheaper, but it suggests it likely is.

~Jon

Jon, has any work been done to look at feasibility on lunar surface like with Xeus?

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #52 on: 10/29/2017 11:47 PM »

What is the cost range to for  wet lab vs a dry lab?

I don't think we have great numbers for comparison (it's not like Bigelow publishes their cost numbers). But most of the pressure structure for Ixion is made on the same tank fabrication tooling as the upper stage, which keeps the mass efficiency high and the cost relatively low. And since you can do most of the complex outfitting on the ground without requiring as much labor time on orbit, that should also be a win. Your launch costs should be lower too because half your volume is already paid for in getting the upper stage to orbit in the first place, and the rest of your structure is very mass efficient.

That doesn't prove it would be cheaper, but it suggests it likely is.

~Jon

I remain very skeptical that the conversion on-orbit is going to be as easy and/or cheap as proponents of wet lab concepts argue, but I certainly want them to give it a shot, so I can be proven wrong.  :)

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #53 on: 10/30/2017 01:57 PM »
I don't think we have great numbers for comparison (it's not like Bigelow publishes their cost numbers). But most of the pressure structure for Ixion is made on the same tank fabrication tooling as the upper stage, which keeps the mass efficiency high and the cost relatively low. And since you can do most of the complex outfitting on the ground without requiring as much labor time on orbit, that should also be a win. Your launch costs should be lower too because half your volume is already paid for in getting the upper stage to orbit in the first place, and the rest of your structure is very mass efficient.

That doesn't prove it would be cheaper, but it suggests it likely is.

~Jon

Jon, has any work been done to look at feasibility on lunar surface like with Xeus?

I had to think about if I had discussed this on the panel (to make sure I wasn't sharing not-yet-public info), but yes, we have looked at a Xeus version of Ixion. Short version is we can land the full Ixion 4-person space facility within the mass constraints of a Xeus lander (with Vulcan distributed lift). It's pretty sweet.

~Jon

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #54 on: 10/30/2017 01:59 PM »
I remain very skeptical that the conversion on-orbit is going to be as easy and/or cheap as proponents of wet lab concepts argue, but I certainly want them to give it a shot, so I can be proven wrong.  :)

Skeptics who are willing to be proven wrong are always welcome.

I wish I could say more about our outfitting strategy, but I'm not sure they want that info public at this point. But I'm pretty happy with where this is all going (and that's not just because Altius has been heavily involved in designing the outfitting hardware for the wet lab).

~Jon

Offline dror

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #55 on: 11/10/2017 12:46 PM »
Jon, thank you for sharing with what you can !
I had some thoughts about this concept and I wonder if these were considered:
*Instead of a seperate mission module, have the stage extended an seperated with a bulkhead between the tank and the mission section
*dont vent all the fuel, save some for the thrusters in a smaller, seperate tank
*recover the main engin in a 'smart reuse' way with HIAD and parachute.


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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #56 on: 11/10/2017 01:49 PM »
Wasn't the main reason they didn't use a Saturn upper stage was trapped hydrogen or oxygen that didn't completely vent would or may cause an internal fire, especially hydrogen.  Oxygen has to be breathed, and could be combined with nitrogen for stability.  However, the larger tank would be the hydrogen if you are needing space.  Sounds good, but it could be dangerous.  A lot of purging would have to be done. 

Beyond this, the problem I see is external blankets of Kevlar may have to be installed.  Radiation shielding on the inside may need to be installed.  A lot of internal construction would be required. 

Now leaving a lander on the surface of the moon or Mars might be more practical.  Gravity would allow the light hydrogen to escape out a top vent once purged with nitrogen.  It could then be outfitted for habitat on the surface.  Of course any engines remaining would be wasted, unless disconnected and shipped back for some type of reuse. 

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #57 on: 11/10/2017 07:47 PM »
Now leaving a lander on the surface of the moon or Mars might be more practical.  Gravity would allow the light hydrogen to escape out a top vent once purged with nitrogen.
A differential density purge is completely possible in orbit - rotating the relatively light empty stage about the mission module, or continuous low thrust out of the engine plumbing, would cause hydrogen to float up to the payload end of the stage when nitrogen is introduced.  Not as easy as transferring fluids in weightlessness (never thought I'd say that), but possible.

Could also go for a chemical cleaning approach, for example by hydrogenating alkenes with a platinum catalyst - almost like burning it off, except with much less potential for disaster since no oxidizer is present.

These are both just armchair ideas with their own problems, but my point is that it's entirely plausible that solutions to this problem exist.
All aboard the HSF hype train!  Choo Choo!

Offline AS_501

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #58 on: 11/10/2017 08:42 PM »
We Skylab-hugging greybeards just sigh....  Fabricate, integrate, assemble, test, take corrective actions after test, roll to pad and launch.  Ideally*, after launch you have a ready-to-use space station.  No propellant venting, no internal construction, no adding protective layers, no new power/data hookups, no systems testing, etc.  It's a turnkey product.

*Admitting solar array/meteoroid shield problems.

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Re: Ixion Wet Station Concept (NanoRacks, ULA, and MDA)
« Reply #59 on: 11/11/2017 03:45 AM »
Wasn't the main reason they didn't use a Saturn upper stage was trapped hydrogen or oxygen that didn't completely vent would or may cause an internal fire, especially hydrogen.  Oxygen has to be breathed, and could be combined with nitrogen for stability.  However, the larger tank would be the hydrogen if you are needing space.  Sounds good, but it could be dangerous.  A lot of purging would have to be done.

Once again, I'm not sure what's info I can share or not, but I feel ULA addressed the tank venting issues. Turns out they have some relevant experience.

Quote
Beyond this, the problem I see is external blankets of Kevlar may have to be installed.  Radiation shielding on the inside may need to be installed.  A lot of internal construction would be required.

They had solutions for MMOD protection that was pretty clever. Same with the internal construction--that was the part we got to help with. :-)

Quote
Now leaving a lander on the surface of the moon or Mars might be more practical.  Gravity would allow the light hydrogen to escape out a top vent once purged with nitrogen.  It could then be outfitted for habitat on the surface.  Of course any engines remaining would be wasted, unless disconnected and shipped back for some type of reuse. 

Yeah, It would be nice (but unlikely easy) if it were possible to pull and store the engines as spares for Xeus landers/ACES stages that aren't converted into Ixions. Probably same thing with the landing kit, IVF, etc.

~Jon

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