Author Topic: Skycrane future developments discussion thread  (Read 10057 times)

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: Skycrane future developments discussion thread
« Reply #40 on: 10/20/2022 03:17 pm »
Just one word - Litter...

There's a part of me that is kind of glad that it's becoming a go-to reaction to not want to litter the universe with man-made junk. I get it. I'm appalled by what we've done to our own planet.

But seriously, it's not going to do any harm on Mars. No life forms will be harmed by some bits of mylar etc. And the cost of trying to do something 'tidily' on Mars is enormous. Just getting a spacecraft down there safely ranks as amongst the hardest technological challenges that humans have ever attempted.
Thought experiment: you want to soft land the descent stage. Ok, that means adding extra propellant and a set of sensors and computers so that it can achieve controlled flight. So you've added a fair chunk of mass.
That ripples through the whole system. Now you need a bigger parachute, backshell, and heat shield, all of which are going to end up discarded on the surface. You're actually *adding* to the 'litter'.
It doesn't stop there. You need a bigger launch vehicle. That's using up more of earth's resources, putting more pollution in to earth's atmosphere, and dumping more hardware in to the ocean. And these are things with a measurable effect upon a biosphere, unlike dropping some expended hardware on another, lifeless, planet.

If you want to actually do something useful, look at Earth.
"I don't care what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do"- Gene Kranz

Offline Jim

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Re: Skycrane future developments discussion thread
« Reply #41 on: 10/20/2022 07:34 pm »
  Hurry, several could be utilized in the 2024 launch window! :)

Who is to hurry?

Re: Skycrane future developments discussion thread
« Reply #42 on: 10/20/2022 09:52 pm »
Hi Jim, the "Hurry" was more of a generic shout-out to the universe. But now that you made me think about it, I suppose it is mostly for this thread which is discussing "Skycrane future developments" and then for someone who will convince a company - JPL, SpaceX, Grumman - to design and build: the Mars Surface Cargo Delivery {Ship? Truck? Vehicle?} which is like a Skycrane, but with a few more sensors for NAV and landing, a couple more pounds of fuel to cover a non-RID soft-landing and added elements, and a brain to direct it all, resulting in a "single-use, general purpose Mars surface delivery system for ~1Ton cargo loads". Are you in? Just think, with this and a standardized Rover platform, we could be dropping Rovers all over the place. :)

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: Skycrane future developments discussion thread
« Reply #43 on: 10/21/2022 10:08 pm »
Hi Jim, the "Hurry" was more of a generic shout-out to the universe. But now that you made me think about it, I suppose it is mostly for this thread which is discussing "Skycrane future developments" and then for someone who will convince a company - JPL, SpaceX, Grumman - to design and build: the Mars Surface Cargo Delivery {Ship? Truck? Vehicle?} which is like a Skycrane, but with a few more sensors for NAV and landing, a couple more pounds of fuel to cover a non-RID soft-landing and added elements, and a brain to direct it all, resulting in a "single-use, general purpose Mars surface delivery system for ~1Ton cargo loads". Are you in? Just think, with this and a standardized Rover platform, we could be dropping Rovers all over the place. :)

There may be an argument for a multi-purpose payload delivery system, if there are enough payloads.
There is no argument in favour of soft landing it as the default.
"I don't care what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do"- Gene Kranz

Offline Jim

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Re: Skycrane future developments discussion thread
« Reply #44 on: 10/24/2022 07:07 pm »
Hi Jim, the "Hurry" was more of a generic shout-out to the universe. But now that you made me think about it, I suppose it is mostly for this thread which is discussing "Skycrane future developments" and then for someone who will convince a company - JPL, SpaceX, Grumman - to design and build: the Mars Surface Cargo Delivery {Ship? Truck? Vehicle?} which is like a Skycrane, but with a few more sensors for NAV and landing, a couple more pounds of fuel to cover a non-RID soft-landing and added elements, and a brain to direct it all, resulting in a "single-use, general purpose Mars surface delivery system for ~1Ton cargo loads". Are you in? Just think, with this and a standardized Rover platform, we could be dropping Rovers all over the place. :)

Who is going to pay them?

Offline deadman1204

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Re: Skycrane future developments discussion thread
« Reply #45 on: 10/24/2022 07:53 pm »
Hi Jim, the "Hurry" was more of a generic shout-out to the universe. But now that you made me think about it, I suppose it is mostly for this thread which is discussing "Skycrane future developments" and then for someone who will convince a company - JPL, SpaceX, Grumman - to design and build: the Mars Surface Cargo Delivery {Ship? Truck? Vehicle?} which is like a Skycrane, but with a few more sensors for NAV and landing, a couple more pounds of fuel to cover a non-RID soft-landing and added elements, and a brain to direct it all, resulting in a "single-use, general purpose Mars surface delivery system for ~1Ton cargo loads". Are you in? Just think, with this and a standardized Rover platform, we could be dropping Rovers all over the place. :)

There may be an argument for a multi-purpose payload delivery system, if there are enough payloads.
There is no argument in favour of soft landing it as the default.
More than paying them to make so many sky cranes (or even a generic design), who is gonna pay for all the payloads? They cost more than the skycrane. 500-1000kg payloads to mars are not cheap. Perseverance and curiosity took years (and over a billion dollars and a decade each).
Something like a generic skycrane would come about due to need. If there are enough missions, its a worthwhile investment. NASA/ESA simply don't have the money to make a generic sky crane with no use planned, and then try to justify it afterwards.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Skycrane future developments discussion thread
« Reply #46 on: 10/25/2022 02:07 pm »
Perseverance and curiosity took years (and over a billion dollars and a decade each).

I think both missions were at least $2.5 billion apiece (I have vague memories that Perseverance came in at $2.8 billion, and you'd have to adjust the earlier mission for inflation). Somebody more industrious than me can look up the costs. The point is that they're expensive.

Re: Skycrane future developments discussion thread
« Reply #47 on: 10/27/2022 07:37 pm »
Hi Jim, Blackstar and Deadman1204, well you are bringing up some really annoying realities - and I mean that in a good way. In the end, it is about the money, and I never dreamt those Rover Programs cost so much. I was thinking commercial-esk, not remembering that there aren't any commercial programs for Mars. At least for LEO (LowEarthOrbit), NASA has established Commercial Cargo & Crew, which has enabled SpaceX and others to enter that market with re-useable launch, cargo and crew capsule tech. Hopefully Mars will see some commercialization to bring repeatability, design reuse, standards for delivery size/weight/EDL, and best of all - reduced cost. But, I'm guessing, that NASA is not about to request proposals for my dream "Standard Skycrane 1-Ton Mars Surface Cargo Delivery Vehicle". So, I will take back to the "Will a Starship head to Mars in the 2024 Launch Window" thread, the conclusion that the proposal to have Starship put something on the surface with Skycrane tech is not possible given the limited amount of time, unavailability of key experienced vendor resources, unique-ness of the design, and the high cost.

 

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