Author Topic: Recycling ISS for Gateway  (Read 668 times)

Offline redliox

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Recycling ISS for Gateway
« on: Today at 01:13 AM »
I'm unsure if something similar has been discussed with ISS modules, but in this case I'll specifically refer to applying ISS components to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (I prefer calling it Gateway myself).

Three factors come to mind that prompted this thought experiment:
1) Overall the ISS modules seem to be holding up well; most issues I hear about seem to be with either the cooling system or concern the solar arrays may fall apart over time.
2) When the time comes for ISS to be decommissioned, it is doubtful JAXA, ESA, and other partners large and small will be enthusiastic to see their billions of dollars burn up.
3) The Gateway station has the benefit of receiving large modules via SLS but currently looks dinky alongside the ISS.

While I believe the ISS should be halted in the mid-to-late 2020s, I also understand the concept of "if it ain't broke don't fix it."  The truss and its systems, minus the robotic arm, I wouldn't be interested in reusing but the modules themselves are modules...as in modular; they obviously had been designed to be assembled in pieces.  It doesn't feel like a stretch of the imagination to picture them systematically popped off and reused as components of Gateway during an LEO assembly.

What comes to mind is basically taking at least the front of the ISS, consisting of Columbus, Harmony/Node 2, and Kibo (with its respective add-ons) and adding them to either the side or front of the Gateway.  Any modules probably could suffice, but these 3 stand out and while the Destiny or various Russian labs could be used I would suspect NASA and Roscosmos (if Russia could afford to) might favor new labs for their Gateway contributions.

Assuming the Gateway platform is naturally assembled in LEO prior to flying to Luna, would it be possible to do this?
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Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #1 on: Today at 02:46 AM »
Assuming the Gateway platform is naturally assembled in LEO prior to flying to Luna, would it be possible to do this?
Questions you might want to ask first:

Why would you want to do this?
Even if possible, what's the remaining life in these modules?
Are they obsolete compared to what is going to be built for LOP-G?
What specifically would you use these modules for in lunar orbit?
Would it save any money over new modules?
Are they going to be compatible with the technology on the new station?

Offline redliox

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #2 on: Today at 02:25 PM »
Questions you might want to ask first:

Why would you want to do this?

The best question to ask.  In short, to save money, utilize the most productive parts of the ISS, and to appease partner nations.

Even if possible, what's the remaining life in these modules?

That's a reason why I put this thread up.  The Zarya aka Functional Cargo Block module was designed to last 15 years, and it is now 20 years old.  Without knowing metal fatigue in space or astronautical engineering, I would presume it'd be unwise to use the oldest modules from phase I of construction (the Russian modules, Unity, Destiny, Quest, Z1 truss) from a conservative standpoint.  Inversely, the best candidate modules would be from phase III (Tranquility, Harmony, Leonardo, Columbus, Kibo, and Nauka[if Russia does actually launch it]).  I did mange to dig this report up regarding extending the ISS' life: https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-14-031.pdf
Specifically, ESA may be the best prepared to extend the life of Columbus until 2028 whereas Russia may not but partly because it's been mum on sharing reports; Canada, JAXA, and NASA are in the middle of the range.

Are they obsolete compared to what is going to be built for LOP-G?

Mir was obsolete compared to the space shuttle or spacelab and spacehab, including expired experiments bolted uselessly to walls, yet Russia was very hesitant to deorbit their Soviet heirloom.  The modules (at least in the US half) of ISS are more interchangeable than that; you can certainly switch out computers and hard drives alongside instrument shelves unlike Mir.

What specifically would you use these modules for in lunar orbit?

Likely the same uses for LEO; Harmony and Tranquility and their multiple berths could stow modules and vehicles while the various labs (including possibly Nauka) could perform material and life sciences coupled with lunar obserations (recall how JAXA likes launching cubesats, and imagine pointing them at the Moon).

Would it save any money over new modules?

So long as the innards can be changed out and the hulls aren't breached, you have free hardware courtesy of the Regan and Clinton eras.  Think of how many expensive shuttles launches were needed to put up the ISS, recall how most rockets are still expensive (and explosive) things, and the value of hardware already safely in orbit remains greater than gold, even if it's old.

Are they going to be compatible with the technology on the new station?

More than likely.  Even without accounting for spare parts for the modules, new entities like SpaceX and OrbitalATK have active spacecraft and live designs compatible with the ISS; future designs could emulate these in turn.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:30 PM by redliox »
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Online Patchouli

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #3 on: Today at 02:54 PM »
Could be a good excuse to build Skylab II to replace the functionality of Zarya, Unity,and Destiny with one module.

Use SLS or New Glenn to lift the new module while the tug needed to move all the parts could be lifted on any EELV class LV.

The the basic design can be reused for deep space missions so it does not have to be a one off.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:55 PM by Patchouli »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #4 on: Today at 03:44 PM »
Sorry I find this a very stupid idea.
1) LEO is much better (cheaper) accessible than a lunar  orbiting station. 0-G science is best done in  LEO.
2) AFAIK the 56deg LEO orbit the ISS is for orbiting in, is not a good staging point towards Lunar orbit. To inclenation has to be removed during the transit phase to the moon. That's going to cost tons of propellants.
I think it would be a far better idea to reuse N2, N3, Col, Kibo, PMM, Bishop, Dexter and Bartolomeo for a new LEO science station. I think one module derived from ATV could do the job (take over functions of Russian segment). Possibly with ROSA solar array replacements also Lab, N1, Airlock and the thrust can be reused.

In my opinion a LEO science station is far more practical, usefully and affordable than a lunar outpost. I think abandoning LEO for the Moon would be a huge mistake. It's very likely we'll end up in a post Apollo like era.

In my opinion the practice of doing spacewalks should end. It consumes far to much crew time and is far to dangerous. And visiting vehicles should dock not berth. A CBM softdock interface should be developed ASAP. This reduces crew time by many hours for each VV.
I think orbital maintenance should be done with GOx-GCH4 or -GH2 engines. Only launch water and food. Electrolyse the water to make GO2 and GH2. The crew will convert the food and O2 into CO2, and nr2. With a salbatier reaction the CO2 and H2 can be converted into H2O and CH4. The CH4 and O2 could be fead into pressure vessels and used in spark-plug gas O2 CH4 engines to maintain the ISS orbit. Yesterday's coffee is converted in tomorrow's coffee. Yesterday's food should be converted into next month food.

I think habitability and functionality of modules with larger diameter than the current ISS modules reduces a lot.  Internal walls/racks inside a space station should be spaced at most two meters apart. This was very nicely and clearly demonstrated by Mike Finke (If I remember correctly) during the Kibo/JPM egress.

Offline redliox

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #5 on: Today at 04:14 PM »
Could be a good excuse to build Skylab II to replace the functionality of Zarya, Unity,and Destiny with one module.

Use SLS or New Glenn to lift the new module while the tug needed to move all the parts could be lifted on any EELV class LV.

The the basic design can be reused for deep space missions so it does not have to be a one off.

I'm unsure if Skylab II (the proposal) would fully materialize, but using Bigelow modules for Gateway is a possibility.  In either case a module optimized for SLS would have the benefit of being significantly largely and indeed being more robust functionally than the ISS core modules were.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #6 on: Today at 04:25 PM »
I'm unsure if something similar has been discussed with ISS modules, but in this case I'll specifically refer to applying ISS components to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (I prefer calling it Gateway myself).

Three factors come to mind that prompted this thought experiment:
1) Overall the ISS modules seem to be holding up well; most issues I hear about seem to be with either the cooling system or concern the solar arrays may fall apart over time.
2) When the time comes for ISS to be decommissioned, it is doubtful JAXA, ESA, and other partners large and small will be enthusiastic to see their billions of dollars burn up.
3) The Gateway station has the benefit of receiving large modules via SLS but currently looks dinky alongside the ISS.

While I believe the ISS should be halted in the mid-to-late 2020s, I also understand the concept of "if it ain't broke don't fix it."  The truss and its systems, minus the robotic arm, I wouldn't be interested in reusing but the modules themselves are modules...as in modular; they obviously had been designed to be assembled in pieces.  It doesn't feel like a stretch of the imagination to picture them systematically popped off and reused as components of Gateway during an LEO assembly.

What comes to mind is basically taking at least the front of the ISS, consisting of Columbus, Harmony/Node 2, and Kibo (with its respective add-ons) and adding them to either the side or front of the Gateway.  Any modules probably could suffice, but these 3 stand out and while the Destiny or various Russian labs could be used I would suspect NASA and Roscosmos (if Russia could afford to) might favor new labs for their Gateway contributions.

Assuming the Gateway platform is naturally assembled in LEO prior to flying to Luna, would it be possible to do this?
I brought forth this proposal in the other thread about Trump's plan to end ISS. Thank you for creating this thread! :)
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #7 on: Today at 05:00 PM »
Think of how many expensive shuttles launches were needed to put up the ISS, recall how most rockets are still expensive (and explosive) things, and the value of hardware already safely in orbit remains greater than gold, even if it's old.

The costs of putting up ISS are sunk costs.  They don't matter.  What matters is the cost of putting up new modules today.  Falcon Heavy is far less expensive than the shuttle and it puts up things of the same size.  And newer, bigger, less-expensive reusable rockets are on their way.

Of course, for political reasons SLS might be used instead, but for the same reasons SLS would be used over reusable rockets, it would be used over re-using ISS components.

Are they going to be compatible with the technology on the new station?

More than likely.  Even without accounting for spare parts for the modules, new entities like SpaceX and OrbitalATK have active spacecraft and live designs compatible with the ISS; future designs could emulate these in turn.

Being compatible with visiting vehicles is the least of the compatibility issues.  Is it going to be compatible with the cooling system in the new station?  The power system?  The communication system?  The ECLSS system?

Offline speedevil

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #8 on: Today at 05:49 PM »
I suspect you may want to keep NASA designers and many aerospace contractors as far away from any new infrastructure as possible.

I made a rough list of NASA infrastructure, and did not find anything under $20K/kg.

The median cost might be ten times this.

Assuming $20K/kg is reasonable - this was the cost per kilo of the international docking adaptor, about a tenth of that of ISS in total, and multiplying by 25 tons, for an 8m*20m 'hotel' pressurised volume in orbit, this comes out to 600 million dollars.

This is somewhere around 5-10* the cost of using whole BFS as modules.
It is probably significantly more expensive than a fully expendable BFR, which can launch a preconfigured BFS to orbit with a 300 ton payload.

(costings implicit and explicit from IAC2016/17)

Even if you don't believe BFS will be a thing, at the time New Armstrong/FH-reusableS2/Vulcan come along, launch cost is going to be around $1000/kg or under, unless things go very wrong.

I am unsure NASA can make payloads at close to $1000/kg.
There are reasonable arguments why you might not want to optimise at $1000/kg. By the time you start getting to $150000/kg, like ISS, these arguments start to become rather weak.

This is assuming that BFS does not actually work reusably.

Offline Nibb31

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Re: Recycling ISS for Gateway
« Reply #9 on: Today at 05:51 PM »
The whole point of LOP-G is to give something for SLS and Orion to do. Reusing stuff that was brought up by the Shuttle does nothing for that goal.