Author Topic: Senate Commerce Committee Executive and Congress Version - July 15 onwards  (Read 668848 times)

Offline 93143

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The delta-V, cargo mass, structural strain and control authority of such a tug would need investigating.

I suspect all-axis translation would be a problem.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 05:59 pm by 93143 »

Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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How big is the VASIMR engine?
How big is the biggest ISS airlock?

Why does it need to fit through an airlock? It could be serviced while it's mounted on the outside, much like the experiments on the japanese platform. In addition, it could have diagnostic sensors to monitor it's performance from a distance.

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Are some of the ISS crew members going to be trained in the skills needed to properly take apart the VASIMR engine?
Are any of the labs properly equiped to deal with the potential environmental and other issues of taking apart the  VASIMR engine in zero G?
Where is the Internet reference that answers these types of questions about the VASIMR engine?

Why are you so interested in the details of this one project? Further, what makes you think they would be on the internet? VASIMR is being developed by a private firm in conjunction with NASA. Any information they've chosen to release to the public is available on their website.

This is regarding the prototype engine they plan to test on ISS - http://www.adastrarocket.com/aarc/VF200

For more in depth reading, these are Ad Astra's publications - http://www.adastrarocket.com/aarc/Publications

If it isn't satisfactory, take it up with the Ad Astra Rocket Co. and demand more information.
The inspace tests aren't due for another 3-4 years at the earliest IIRC and the people that work at Ad Astra and NASA are likely competent enough to manage their own projects.

Quote
I'm glad to know that Cog_in_the_machine has the answers equal to his or her sarcasm. I always have questions.

Cheers!

I don't have "the answers", but neither do you and it's obvious, so you shouldn't assert that if the test article can't fit through an airlock, then it's somehow a pointless project and the entire Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA, along with the people at Ad Astra are apparently too incompetent to plan a demonstration mission. Again I ask, why must it fit through an airlock, why wouldn't the astronauts be trained in time to handle that experiment, why do you think there isn't a way to bring it back to Earth, why is it even necessary to return it, and why, out of the myriad of technologies on the table, you chose this one to focus on?

There are threads elsewhere on the forum about VASIMR that deal with details surrounding it. On a personal note, I feel it's an overrated form of electrical propulsion and think that ISRU and life support are most critical, but again this is OT.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2010 07:00 pm by Cog_in_the_machine »
^^ Warning! Contains opinions. ^^ 

Online JohnFornaro

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...if Shuttle becomes unavailable because of some accident or system failure, that is not a violation of US law. But if NASA shuts down STS before its crew-capable replacement is available, that is a violation of US law. That has yet to be addressed, at least as far as I am aware.
Good point.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline sdsds

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It's quite interesting to read that some spaceflight supporters in Washington D.C. are still keeping alive the dream of a substantial extension to the Shuttle program!  It seems this is now principally motivated by a desire to fully support ISS.

While that kind of thinking may be politically viable, from a dispassionate technical perspective those dreams look unrealistic.  Instead the reality seems to be that decisions made long ago have left ISS in a posture where its continuation is exposed to some risks, and no amount of funding now can mitigate those risks in a timely fashion.

Much is made of ISS dependence on Soyuz for crew rotation.  Stand-down of Soyuz would put continued station operation at risk; it might also put crew safety at risk.  However, the likelihood of a Soyuz stand-down is small, and the plan for retiring that risk is the development of commercial crew taxis.

Much is made of ISS dependence on Progress, HTV, ATV, and COTS for up-mass.  None of these have the capability to carry certain large items (solar array blankets, rotary joint race rings, etc.)  Losing the use of an item like that on orbit would curtail full use of ISS.  However the risk of such a loss is low, the result of such a loss may be tolerable, and the eventual plan for retiring that risk is the development of SLS and a ISS-capable tug.

Much is made of ISS dependence on COTS for down-mass.  The only COTS vehicle planned to provide any down-mass is Dragon, and Dragon cannot transport certain large items (ammonia pumps, for example).  Bringing this type of failed component down for analysis would be helpful.  However, full utilization of ISS does not require that large items be transported down; this capability would be an expensive convenience.

Even so, why is it difficult to extend Shuttle?  The technical reasons commonly mentioned are:  no available SRB components and a cold SRB production line; no available ET foam, and a nearly-cold ET production line; orbiters requiring maintenance with limited parts availability; crawler and crawler-way degradation and other deferred ground support maintenance.  The non-technical reasons commonly mentioned are:  no support from the Executive branch; strong resistance based on safety concerns from ASAP; uncertain Legislative support for funding; uncertain support from the general populace; uncertain support from other parts of NASA.

Commercial crew; Orion; LEO SLS; ISS-capable tug.  This is where NASA is headed.  Starting up new Shuttle production now would be ... the opposite of game-changing!
— 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 —

Offline MP99

BTW, 51D - what is now covered by the "21st Century Spaceport" programme? I'd understood it was partly to setup infrastructure for commercial launchers, including a commercial HLV. Without a commercial HLV, what is that element of the budget expected to accomplish under the Senate's bill?

cheers, Martin

I would suggest that *that* part of the budget could be redirected to help offset the cost of 2xShuttle flights per year.

That was what I was edging towards, but to me this is by far the element of the bills that I least understand.

Also, interesting comment at http://www.spacenews.com/civil/100820-nasa-ease-doubts-commercial-crew-support.html, that commercial launches would need to reimburse NASA for the cost of any NASA facilities used. Wouldn't that make it less likely they'd want to take advantage of the "21st Century" infrastructure?

I can understand refurb'ing SLS-relevant infrastructure during the gap, when it will have minimal impact. For anything commercial, I'd have thought the operators might be happy to invest themselves, then recover the costs through launch services over some guaranteed number of launches? << To be honest, that's more of a question than a statement.

cheers, Martin

Offline Warren Platts

Quote from: sdsds
from a dispassionate technical perspective those dreams look unrealistic.

lol.... Yeah what the world needs now is a few hypergolic depots instead of the Space Shuttle!
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline Warren Platts

Nope: merely pointing out that your perspective is neither dispassionate nor technical.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline A_M_Swallow

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The delta-V, cargo mass, structural strain and control authority of such a tug would need investigating.

I suspect all-axis translation would be a problem.

Yes that was being optimistic.  The Dragon is a 7 seater vehicle, in ground terms a family car.  Cars can pull a 1 ton caravan but cannot pull a 30 ton trailer.  Industrial trailers need something stronger.

An ISS-capable tug should be able to refuel at the propellant depot, since buying a new tug each time would be expensive.
« Last Edit: 08/24/2010 12:44 am by A_M_Swallow »

Offline libs0n

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If Orion can provide "last mile" guidance and ISS docking for that cargo, up mass logistics problem would appear solved, rather nicely in fact.


What you have in mind can be accomplished with an already purposed Progress or ATV flight at the ISS.  It was a part of ULA's Payload Bay Container proposal.

Offline orbitjunkie

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Here's a wild idea: Has anyone ever looked into adding some kind of additional "workshop" module to ISS to support full utilization? It could be used for maintenance and tinkering with various experiments on-board (people have been asking about VaSIMR). Or, if it's got enough room, failed components could be investigated there in lieu of downmass opportunities.  Of course, if those things couldn't squeeze into Dragon for a ride home that means it would have to be quite spacious itself, perhaps an inflatable with an oversized airlock?

Long ago our space station was envisioned as an orbital assembly station. This could be a cool way to take one step in that direction. Maybe even have some on-orbit manufacturing and assembly experiments.

Offline robertross

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Also, interesting comment at http://www.spacenews.com/civil/100820-nasa-ease-doubts-commercial-crew-support.html, that commercial launches would need to reimburse NASA for the cost of any NASA facilities used. Wouldn't that make it less likely they'd want to take advantage of the "21st Century" infrastructure?

I can understand refurb'ing SLS-relevant infrastructure during the gap, when it will have minimal impact. For anything commercial, I'd have thought the operators might be happy to invest themselves, then recover the costs through launch services over some guaranteed number of launches? << To be honest, that's more of a question than a statement.

cheers, Martin

You know, that's really funny, though not altogether surprising.

Here we get this FY2011 announcement of a 21st Century launch complex, but when I read that NASA is expecting the commercial companies to come back to them with their needs, it makes it seem that it was just pork.

Sure, some elements probably do need upgrading, but to say things need to change, but they really don't know what needs to change, makes me think it was yet another reason to push something down the throat.

Offline robertross

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Here's a wild idea: Has anyone ever looked into adding some kind of additional "workshop" module to ISS to support full utilization? It could be used for maintenance and tinkering with various experiments on-board (people have been asking about VaSIMR). Or, if it's got enough room, failed components could be investigated there in lieu of downmass opportunities.  Of course, if those things couldn't squeeze into Dragon for a ride home that means it would have to be quite spacious itself, perhaps an inflatable with an oversized airlock?

Long ago our space station was envisioned as an orbital assembly station. This could be a cool way to take one step in that direction. Maybe even have some on-orbit manufacturing and assembly experiments.

They do that now with on-orbit soldering repairs, ORU replacement, and so on.

For what I think you're getting at, many of those items are external ORUs, are of such an extreme toxic hazard or complexity, they dare not attempt such repairs.

But these are discussions for an ISS thread...

Offline pathfinder_01

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BTW, 51D - what is now covered by the "21st Century Spaceport" programme? I'd understood it was partly to setup infrastructure for commercial launchers, including a commercial HLV. Without a commercial HLV, what is that element of the budget expected to accomplish under the Senate's bill?

cheers, Martin

I would suggest that *that* part of the budget could be redirected to help offset the cost of 2xShuttle flights per year.

That was what I was edging towards, but to me this is by far the element of the bills that I least understand.

Also, interesting comment at http://www.spacenews.com/civil/100820-nasa-ease-doubts-commercial-crew-support.html, that commercial launches would need to reimburse NASA for the cost of any NASA facilities used. Wouldn't that make it less likely they'd want to take advantage of the "21st Century" infrastructure?

I can understand refurb'ing SLS-relevant infrastructure during the gap, when it will have minimal impact. For anything commercial, I'd have thought the operators might be happy to invest themselves, then recover the costs through launch services over some guaranteed number of launches? << To be honest, that's more of a question than a statement.

cheers, Martin

Depends on what the facilities are and how much they cost. For instance my city government has a department dedicated to the film industry. A person making a film can pay the city and gain use of an area, or rent a bus or a el train from the CTA. Part of the last Batman film was filmed inside the old post office building. For the filmmaker it is more realistic looking and often cheaper than trying to build a city set themselves. For the city a minor source of revenue.

Anyway for commercial space they need to determine what they need, if they want it from NASA and if the price NASA is charging is worth it. If they need say a wind tunnel, it would be silly to build one of their own when you can rent it.

Wither they buy it themselves, rent it from NASA, or rent it elsewhere they are going to recover their costs from their customers anyway.

Offline Jim

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Here's a wild idea: Has anyone ever looked into adding some kind of additional "workshop" module to ISS to support full utilization? It could be used for maintenance and tinkering with various experiments on-board (people have been asking about VaSIMR). Or, if it's got enough room, failed components could be investigated there in lieu of downmass opportunities.  Of course, if those things couldn't squeeze into Dragon for a ride home that means it would have to be quite spacious itself, perhaps an inflatable with an oversized airlock?



No viable. 
a.  Astronauts are not real technicians
b.  Spacecraft are full of bad propellants and pyros.
c.  Not enough air to waste in airlocks that large
d.  No spacecraft in the vicinity of the ISS
« Last Edit: 08/24/2010 02:13 am by Jim »

Offline yg1968

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BTW, 51D - what is now covered by the "21st Century Spaceport" programme? I'd understood it was partly to setup infrastructure for commercial launchers, including a commercial HLV. Without a commercial HLV, what is that element of the budget expected to accomplish under the Senate's bill?

cheers, Martin

I would suggest that *that* part of the budget could be redirected to help offset the cost of 2xShuttle flights per year.

That was what I was edging towards, but to me this is by far the element of the bills that I least understand.

Also, interesting comment at http://www.spacenews.com/civil/100820-nasa-ease-doubts-commercial-crew-support.html, that commercial launches would need to reimburse NASA for the cost of any NASA facilities used. Wouldn't that make it less likely they'd want to take advantage of the "21st Century" infrastructure?

I can understand refurb'ing SLS-relevant infrastructure during the gap, when it will have minimal impact. For anything commercial, I'd have thought the operators might be happy to invest themselves, then recover the costs through launch services over some guaranteed number of launches? << To be honest, that's more of a question than a statement.

cheers, Martin

If you watch the webcast, they meant that commercial companies could use NASA testing facilities, etc. But it wouldn't be free. They weren't talking about the launch pad and service tower costs. But if investments are made on LC-40, I imagine that the rent charged to SpaceX could also be increased. That's a good question.
« Last Edit: 08/24/2010 02:48 am by yg1968 »

Online JohnFornaro

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Starting up new Shuttle production now would be ... the opposite of game-changing!
I thought you were doing pretty good up there till you got to this sentence.  It's a mis-characterization, to say "starting up".  What needs to happen, I think, is "merely" to stretch it out;  use up the last few tanks; buy some critically needed time for COTS to get thru the difficult early flights, and minimize the American human launch capability gap.

Also, I would disagree with your characterization that: "However, full utilization of ISS does not require that large items be transported down; this capability would be an expensive convenience."  The word "convenience" is too loaded with triviality.  True, bringing down the ammonia pump would be an expensive capability, but necessary for a full analysis of the failure mode.  And now's the time to do it, while the shuttle is still flying.  And seeing how critical this component is, maybe we should be building a new one, more reliable, and launching it as soon as possible, to forestall a future calamity.  Even with five or siz extra shuttle flights, the "gap" of launch capability is not guaranteed to go away. even if Chuck and Ross's most optimistic schedules come to pass, right?

Also, interesting comment at http://www.spacenews.com/civil/100820-nasa-ease-doubts-commercial-crew-support.html

From that article, the insurance and indemnification issue is gathering more widespread attention:

Quote
NASA officials had little to say about the thorny issue of indemnification, or shielding commercial launch service providers against catastrophic third-party liability claims.

Quote from: sdsds
from a dispassionate technical perspective those dreams look unrealistic.

lol.... Yeah what the world needs now is a few hypergolic depots instead of the Space Shuttle!

And of course, this remark attempts to link two relatively unrelated subjects with a false conclusion which itself seems to be the result of false logic.  First, even if the shuttle is extended, it would probably play no role in the development of the depot architecture, which is likely to be launched on an entirely different rocket, whether DIRECT-ish or EELV-ish.  Second, a passionate embrace of hypergolic fuel for depots is readily, and honestly differentiable from a passionate opinion on the shuttle.  or a passionate opinion of the Red Sox.  There is no link between the two passionate technical perspectives.

In other words, one can be right on one subject, and wrong on another.  Don't conflate.

...Long ago our space station was envisioned as an orbital assembly station...
The woodwork fairly crackles with the noise of the naysayers, but I think this is a good opinion, and one which should be considered.  I drag out my Harper's ferry analogy again.  Harper's Ferry was quite the bustling town up till the Civil War or so.  The town, like the ISS eventually, will be an important footnote in American history, as the economics of space come into their own.  We should use what we have already.  This political fascination with theoretical optimization seems the mark of political immaturity, and is amply demonstrated by our lack of human exploration beyond LEO, despite the demonstrated ability to do so.

Here we get this FY2011 announcement of a 21st Century launch complex, but when I read that NASA is expecting the commercial companies to come back to them with their needs, it makes it seem that it was just pork.
Personally, I only laugh at this to keep from crying.

No viable. 
a.  Astronauts are not real technicians
b.  Spacecraft are full of bad propellants and pyros.
c.  Not enough air to waste in airlocks that large
d.  No spacecraft in the vicinity of the ISS
Yes viable.
1.  They are quite amenable and able to be trained for assembling large items in space, with the assitance of Canadarms and Robonauts built for the purpose.
ii. This has not stopped the current work at all.
c.  If we're gonna work in space, we'll have to bring up sufficient O2, no matter what the future holds.
IV. To quote Jed Clampett: "Every time we hear that bell, someone's at the door!"  Every time the shuttle, a type of spacecraft, gets in the vicinity of the ISS, crew members ring the doorbell!
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jim

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1.  They are quite amenable and able to be trained for assembling large items in space, with the assitance of Canadarms and Robonauts built for the purpose.
ii. This has not stopped the current work at all.
c.  If we're gonna work in space, we'll have to bring up sufficient O2, no matter what the future holds.
IV. To quote Jed Clampett: "Every time we hear that bell, someone's at the door!"  Every time the shuttle, a type of spacecraft, gets in the vicinity of the ISS, crew members ring the doorbell!

1.  big difference than fixing black boxes
ii.  None of the work has a spacecraft inside a pressurized space
III. we are talking current ISS
iv.  shuttle will be gone and this is about other spacecraft

Offline mmeijeri

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I like the idea of a large, inflatable, unpressurised hangar. It could be used for servicing tugs or lander precursors, provided we had those (sadly unlikely) and if one of the goals was to learn how to do this kind of servicing in space.
Pro-tip: you don't have to be a jerk if someone doesn't agree with your theories

Offline MP99

Also, interesting comment at http://www.spacenews.com/civil/100820-nasa-ease-doubts-commercial-crew-support.html, that commercial launches would need to reimburse NASA for the cost of any NASA facilities used. Wouldn't that make it less likely they'd want to take advantage of the "21st Century" infrastructure?

I can understand refurb'ing SLS-relevant infrastructure during the gap, when it will have minimal impact. For anything commercial, I'd have thought the operators might be happy to invest themselves, then recover the costs through launch services over some guaranteed number of launches? << To be honest, that's more of a question than a statement.

cheers, Martin

If you watch the webcast, they meant that commercial companies could use NASA testing facilities, etc. But it wouldn't be free. They weren't talking about the launch pad and service tower costs. But if investments are made on LC-40, I imagine that the rent charged to SpaceX could also be increased. That's a good question.

Thanks. Looks likes I need to watch the video through.

cheers, Martin

Offline nooneofconsequence

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It's quite interesting to read that some spaceflight supporters in Washington D.C. are still keeping alive the dream of a substantial extension to the Shuttle program!  It seems this is now principally motivated by a desire to fully support ISS.

While that kind of thinking may be politically viable, from a dispassionate technical perspective those dreams look unrealistic.  Instead the reality seems to be that decisions made long ago have left ISS in a posture where its continuation is exposed to some risks, and no amount of funding now can mitigate those risks in a timely fashion.
This is due to the historical (or should I say hysterical) way HSF is funded ... we play a collective game of "chicken" at the end of a program, forcing a clumsy transition. Political theatre to force a budgetary endgame ... which gets mangled by legislators doing rocket design for favoring special interests.

As long as HSF is still too much of a "circus act", this will happen.

People want to hold on to the past performance while the new one's genned up - but they don't want to pay for "double gate ticket prices"  :)

Much is made of ISS dependence on Soyuz for crew rotation.  Stand-down of Soyuz would put continued station operation at risk; it might also put crew safety at risk.  However, the likelihood of a Soyuz stand-down is small, and the plan for retiring that risk is the development of commercial crew taxis.
It isn't pragmatism ... if it were, we'd phase over launch systems continually. As we did with ELV - EELV.
Much is made of ISS dependence on Progress, HTV, ATV, and COTS for up-mass.  None of these have the capability to carry certain large items (solar array blankets, rotary joint race rings, etc.)  Losing the use of an item like that on orbit would curtail full use of ISS.  However the risk of such a loss is low, the result of such a loss may be tolerable, and the eventual plan for retiring that risk is the development of SLS and a ISS-capable tug.
One of the much maligned technology demonstrators.

Note that when you look at upmass schedules, what gets lost in the debate is the timeline associated with need. Things are conflated together to create a crisis that wasn't there.
Much is made of ISS dependence on COTS for down-mass.  The only COTS vehicle planned to provide any down-mass is Dragon, and Dragon cannot transport certain large items (ammonia pumps, for example).  Bringing this type of failed component down for analysis would be helpful.  However, full utilization of ISS does not require that large items be transported down; this capability would be an expensive convenience.
Yes. Often times all you'd need to isolate a failure is a few components taken off of a larger one to fault isolate a failure. Frequently we've found all we need from handfuls of parts - rarely do you need a Shuttle sized - downmass.
Even so, why is it difficult to extend Shuttle?  The technical reasons commonly mentioned are:  no available SRB components and a cold SRB production line; no available ET foam, and a nearly-cold ET production line; orbiters requiring maintenance with limited parts availability; crawler and crawler-way degradation and other deferred ground support maintenance.  The non-technical reasons commonly mentioned are:  no support from the Executive branch; strong resistance based on safety concerns from ASAP; uncertain Legislative support for funding; uncertain support from the general populace; uncertain support from other parts of NASA.
Part you are not mentioning is the examination of the spending on Shuttle, whereby it might be found to be exorbinant and require legal/congressional inquiry (and bad press). Do not underestimate this as a slower draw down - this has happened on weapons systems before.
Commercial crew; Orion; LEO SLS; ISS-capable tug.  This is where NASA is headed.  Starting up new Shuttle production now would be ... the opposite of game-changing!
We have a culture that is split between going forward and staying back.

If we were not in a "fear culture", we'd have a very different HSF footprint right now. But because we collectively "lost it" in 2000 - we've taken a different path which rejects the "reaching beyond" (but also perhaps the "overreaches" of Shuttle overdesign & X-33/VentureStar SSTO madness), for want of pseudo Apollo CxP, neglecting the grow-in  of commercial providers both new and established.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

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