Author Topic: Commercial LEO Destinations Development  (Read 113604 times)

Offline sdsds

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #20 on: 03/29/2021 03:41 am »
https://www.nasa.gov/leo-economy/long-term-needs
Quote
The white paper entitled Forecasting Future NASA Demand in Low-Earth Orbit: Revision Two Ė Quantifying Demand forecasts the services NASA intends to purchase as a customer in this sustainable LEO marketplace. NASA is providing this forecast to aid private industry in planning for future commercial LEO destination capabilities.
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/forecasting_future_nasa_demand_in_low-earth_orbit_revision_two_-_quantifying_demand.pdf

« Last Edit: 03/29/2021 03:43 am by sdsds »
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Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #21 on: 03/29/2021 04:12 am »
DragonXL or just a full Starship.

Or possibly launch a Dragon XL with Starship and recover the whole thing later.

When I brought up Dragon XL I was mostly thinking of the type of free flyer that docks with ISS, gets loaded with microgravity research/manufacturing, detaches, does its thing, reattaches, then is reset to repeat the process.  Dragon XL with its Cygnus-like design is already well suited to winning this type of contract sooner rather than later.  Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.  I can see SpaceX writing up a proposal to get feedback but I don't see Starship winning this type of contract until later in the decade. 

I guess a Starship could bring this type of free flyer back for <insert reason> one day.  It's not something I can argue in favor of being useful enough to do in the near future though.

There are other types of free flyers we could also discuss.  For example pre-merger Orbital ATK was proposing Cygnus variants with multiple ports, robot arms, airlocks, basically everything that is needed to recreate ISS's capabilities contained in modules that can dock themselves.  In theory SpaceX could offer Dragon XL versions of those Cygnus variants.  I don't see it happening though.  Instead I think it is far more likely SpaceX will offer Shuttle-in-a-Starship to provide construction support to other companies that want to assemble their own full service stations.
Yeah, based on what they're describing, they don't want to bring the freeflyer back to Earth for recovery of experiments and refitting.

I brought it up because it's basically what NASA sort of did Shuttle days pre-ISS Spacelab, and Starship is essentially a successor to Shuttle.

Unlike Shuttle, though, SpaceX is happy to make whatever modifications are deemed necessary for the mission at hand. Lunar starship doesn't have any aerosurfaces and is painted white for thermal constraints. And they also proposed a depot variant of Starship (no, NOT a mere tanker, but a depot) to assist in lunar Starship missions as part of their HLS bid.

Agreed.

Quote
I definitely don't think SpaceX would shy away from bidding a permanent space station version of Starship. Like lunar Starship, no aerosurfaces, painted white, with crew accomodations, airlocks. But instead of an elevator, extra docking ports and big ol' solar arrays like have been seen on many Starship variants. Supposing Starship gets to orbit successfully, why WOULDN'T NASA take such a bid seriously? Could be a kind of consolation prize if SpaceX loses on HLS (kinda like how NASA threw Dream Chaser a bone when it lost the Commercial Crew bid by bringing on Dream Chaser for commercial cargo).

The contract value has to be worth it for SpaceX.  We've seen what has happened with commercial crew and HLS funding.  It wouldn't surprise me if NASA has a very limited budget for commercial station budget in the near future.  Developing Starship to the point I will describe below on an acceptable budget strikes me as unlikely.

Quote
A beefed-up Dragon XL would work, too, and would be kind of a no-brainer bid, considering it was already picked as a semi-permanent node on Gateway (housing the bathroom, beds, etc) and is based on the only US vehicle with proven autonomous docking capability at ISS (in case being attached to ISS temporarily was a desired feature, i.e. to transfer useful equipment from ISS before ISS goes in the drink).

Like Cygnus Dragon XL doesn't need much in the way of beefing up to function as an automated research/manufacturing free flyer.  I'm not talking about something that houses humans for long periods here.  Instead I'm talking about something that, for example, houses ZBLAN production equipment.  This particular mission profile starts out with ISS crew preparing the production equipment and raw materials for the production run.  Next the free flyer undocks, moves to the predesignate distance, waits for vibrations to die down, then commences the production run.  Once done the free flyer returns to ISS where finished product is unloaded and preparations are made for the next run.  The reason to do this is things like spacecraft docking/undocking and ISS maintenance induce vibrations that degrade the quality of ZBLAN fiber pulled in microgravity.

The reason I've used ZBLAN production as an example instead of NASA research is because my estimate is ZBLAN production will begin in earnest in the next 1-3 years.  There are three companies, MIS, FOMS, and POC, all of which could be ordering their own free flyers for their initial production lines.  Company employees could arrive at ISS on commercial missions(perhaps Axiom's) to prepare their production lines and cross dock cargo.  If everything goes well ISS will be too busy to provide the clean microgravity needed.  Cygnus/Dragon XL used as free flyers are a good enough stopgap to allow these companies to expand their production in the near future.

Quote
Or possibly both. Modified Starship as the free-flyer station, with equipment transfered over from ISS using a Dragon XL (with a proven autonomous docking system and more reasonable size...

Something like Cygnus/Dragon XL as an orbital transfer vehicle that transfers crew/cargo from a "port" station to a microgravity manufacturing station will probably make sense one day.  I see the day when microgravity manufacturing can support a Starship-sized manufacturing station that is fully outfitted to support crew as being further into the future.

Quote
although keep in mind Shuttle was attached to ISS and is about the same size as Starship, so it's not as crazy of an idea as some here suggest).

I said, "Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.  I can see SpaceX writing up a proposal to get feedback but I don't see Starship winning this type of contract until later in the decade."  Please don't go using words like crazy.  If I chose to take that the wrong way I'd be mad at you for insulting me.

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #22 on: 03/29/2021 04:14 am »
(...)

Aside:  I haven't been able to find the Axiom thread.  If someone can point me in the right direction so I can read and talk about Axiom in the appropriate thread I'd greatly appreciate it.

The Axiom thread: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40601.0
(It hadn't actually fallen off of page 1 of this board yet)

Thank you.

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #23 on: 03/29/2021 04:23 am »
I didn't say that it wasn't allowed to dock, I said that it wasn't meant to be docked to the ISS (full-time) unlike the Axiom module. The free flyer can only dock for a short time per the Q&A document. But companies could decide that they don't want to dock at the ISS at all. Docking to the ISS isn't a requirement. The free flyer is meant to be autonomous from the ISS.

OK, but I wasn't talking about Axiom's module station core construction plan.  I don't know why you replied to me because I'm trying to talk about free flyers.

Aside:  I haven't been able to find the Axiom thread.  If someone can point me in the right direction so I can read and talk about Axiom in the appropriate thread I'd greatly appreciate it.

Because, you said that Starship couldn't easily dock to the ISS and my point is that the free flyer doesn't need to dock with the ISS.

First, what I said was, "Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.  I can see SpaceX writing up a proposal to get feedback but I don't see Starship winning this type of contract until later in the decade."  Stop making stuff up.

Second, I had a closing dedicated to free flyers that don't dock.  Since you seem to have missed it completely here is what I said:

Quote
There are other types of free flyers we could also discuss.  For example pre-merger Orbital ATK was proposing Cygnus variants with multiple ports, robot arms, airlocks, basically everything that is needed to recreate ISS's capabilities contained in modules that can dock themselves.  In theory SpaceX could offer Dragon XL versions of those Cygnus variants.  I don't see it happening though.  Instead I think it is far more likely SpaceX will offer Shuttle-in-a-Starship to provide construction support to other companies that want to assemble their own full service stations.

Your point was completely wasted.  Do you have any response to what I actually said or are we done here?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #24 on: 03/29/2021 04:34 am »
I didn't say that it wasn't allowed to dock, I said that it wasn't meant to be docked to the ISS (full-time) unlike the Axiom module. The free flyer can only dock for a short time per the Q&A document. But companies could decide that they don't want to dock at the ISS at all. Docking to the ISS isn't a requirement. The free flyer is meant to be autonomous from the ISS.

OK, but I wasn't talking about Axiom's module station core construction plan.  I don't know why you replied to me because I'm trying to talk about free flyers.

Aside:  I haven't been able to find the Axiom thread.  If someone can point me in the right direction so I can read and talk about Axiom in the appropriate thread I'd greatly appreciate it.

Because, you said that Starship couldn't easily dock to the ISS and my point is that the free flyer doesn't need to dock with the ISS.

First, what I said was, "Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.  I can see SpaceX writing up a proposal to get feedback but I don't see Starship winning this type of contract until later in the decade."  Stop making stuff up.

Second, I had a closing dedicated to free flyers that don't dock.  Since you seem to have missed it completely here is what I said:

Quote
There are other types of free flyers we could also discuss.  For example pre-merger Orbital ATK was proposing Cygnus variants with multiple ports, robot arms, airlocks, basically everything that is needed to recreate ISS's capabilities contained in modules that can dock themselves.  In theory SpaceX could offer Dragon XL versions of those Cygnus variants.  I don't see it happening though.  Instead I think it is far more likely SpaceX will offer Shuttle-in-a-Starship to provide construction support to other companies that want to assemble their own full service stations.

Your point was completely wasted.  Do you have any response to what I actually said or are we done here?
Shuttle was essentially the same size as Starship.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #25 on: 03/29/2021 04:34 am »
Starship could well be cheaper than DragonXL.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #26 on: 03/29/2021 04:46 am »
I didn't say that it wasn't allowed to dock, I said that it wasn't meant to be docked to the ISS (full-time) unlike the Axiom module. The free flyer can only dock for a short time per the Q&A document. But companies could decide that they don't want to dock at the ISS at all. Docking to the ISS isn't a requirement. The free flyer is meant to be autonomous from the ISS.

OK, but I wasn't talking about Axiom's module station core construction plan.  I don't know why you replied to me because I'm trying to talk about free flyers.

Aside:  I haven't been able to find the Axiom thread.  If someone can point me in the right direction so I can read and talk about Axiom in the appropriate thread I'd greatly appreciate it.

Because, you said that Starship couldn't easily dock to the ISS and my point is that the free flyer doesn't need to dock with the ISS.

First, what I said was, "Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.  I can see SpaceX writing up a proposal to get feedback but I don't see Starship winning this type of contract until later in the decade."  Stop making stuff up.

Second, I had a closing dedicated to free flyers that don't dock.  Since you seem to have missed it completely here is what I said:

Quote
There are other types of free flyers we could also discuss.  For example pre-merger Orbital ATK was proposing Cygnus variants with multiple ports, robot arms, airlocks, basically everything that is needed to recreate ISS's capabilities contained in modules that can dock themselves.  In theory SpaceX could offer Dragon XL versions of those Cygnus variants.  I don't see it happening though.  Instead I think it is far more likely SpaceX will offer Shuttle-in-a-Starship to provide construction support to other companies that want to assemble their own full service stations.

Your point was completely wasted.  Do you have any response to what I actually said or are we done here?
Shuttle was essentially the same size as Starship.

So?

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #27 on: 03/29/2021 04:50 am »
Starship could well be cheaper than DragonXL.

The cost of Starship in the future isn't my main consideration.  My main consideration are the capabilities customers will be looking for in the near term.

Offline dror

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #28 on: 03/29/2021 04:53 am »
Interesting that SpaceX is among the companies interested in the upcoming commercial LEO free flying habitats procurement:

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1375799375742525440
What about Bigelow Aerospace?
How come they are not amongst the interested companies list?

What do you think other offers will include? We only have SNCs announcement and Axiom plan laid up so far.
Space is hard immensely complex and high risk !

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #29 on: 03/29/2021 10:21 am »
I think Bigelow Aerospace has closed up shop or gone into hibernation. Covid would've hit his motel business hard.
Bigelow just had bad timing when it came to commercial spacestations, was reliant on commercial crew which had the use delays. Now that CC is ready Bigeliw isn't in position to capitize on it.

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Offline Danderman

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #30 on: 03/29/2021 01:34 pm »
Note that a NASA program to develop commercial platforms in space has a high likelihood of devolving into a technology development project. In other words, whoever has the coolest high risk tech may win, and then fail to deliver. This is a typical move by the Big Guys to crowd out new entrants in the field. So, a Big Guy will promise to invest $1 billion to win a $200 million contract, and then the program dies.


Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #31 on: 03/29/2021 02:17 pm »
I didn't say that it wasn't allowed to dock, I said that it wasn't meant to be docked to the ISS (full-time) unlike the Axiom module. The free flyer can only dock for a short time per the Q&A document. But companies could decide that they don't want to dock at the ISS at all. Docking to the ISS isn't a requirement. The free flyer is meant to be autonomous from the ISS.

OK, but I wasn't talking about Axiom's module station core construction plan.  I don't know why you replied to me because I'm trying to talk about free flyers.

Aside:  I haven't been able to find the Axiom thread.  If someone can point me in the right direction so I can read and talk about Axiom in the appropriate thread I'd greatly appreciate it.

Because, you said that Starship couldn't easily dock to the ISS and my point is that the free flyer doesn't need to dock with the ISS.

First, what I said was, "Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.  I can see SpaceX writing up a proposal to get feedback but I don't see Starship winning this type of contract until later in the decade."  Stop making stuff up.

Second, I had a closing dedicated to free flyers that don't dock.  Since you seem to have missed it completely here is what I said:

Quote
There are other types of free flyers we could also discuss.  For example pre-merger Orbital ATK was proposing Cygnus variants with multiple ports, robot arms, airlocks, basically everything that is needed to recreate ISS's capabilities contained in modules that can dock themselves.  In theory SpaceX could offer Dragon XL versions of those Cygnus variants.  I don't see it happening though.  Instead I think it is far more likely SpaceX will offer Shuttle-in-a-Starship to provide construction support to other companies that want to assemble their own full service stations.

Your point was completely wasted.  Do you have any response to what I actually said or are we done here?
Shuttle was essentially the same size as Starship.

So?
The context seems pretty obvious, but Iíll spell it out more explicitly:

You wrote: ď Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.Ē

But ISS was BUILT and resupplied for many years with a spacecraft basically as massive as Starship. I donít think itís as hard as you think.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #32 on: 03/29/2021 02:52 pm »
Note that a NASA program to develop commercial platforms in space has a high likelihood of devolving into a technology development project. In other words, whoever has the coolest high risk tech may win, and then fail to deliver. This is a typical move by the Big Guys to crowd out new entrants in the field. So, a Big Guy will promise to invest $1 billion to win a $200 million contract, and then the program dies.
Boeing does the latter, but they donít usually propose cutting edge tech.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #33 on: 03/29/2021 04:28 pm »
Note that a NASA program to develop commercial platforms in space has a high likelihood of devolving into a technology development project. In other words, whoever has the coolest high risk tech may win, and then fail to deliver. This is a typical move by the Big Guys to crowd out new entrants in the field. So, a Big Guy will promise to invest $1 billion to win a $200 million contract, and then the program dies.

The "Big Guys" tend to do that sort of thing to the DoD a lot more than they do to NASA though. And NASA, especially after two crewed Dragon flights, is a lot more open to giving out contracts to the "new entrants". I think this is intended explicitly as a technology development project, and also that NASA is a lot wiser about giving out contracts than they were 10 years ago, and that we'll at least see some hardware from this program reach orbit.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #34 on: 03/29/2021 06:32 pm »
SNC would be my top pick, they may partner with Nanoracks.

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Offline AnalogMan

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #35 on: 03/29/2021 10:47 pm »
NASA has posted a some Questions & Answers following the industry briefing on CLD.

https://beta.sam.gov/api/prod/opps/v3/opportunities/resources/files/2e93d3fabb02417081bf10b1c54446fe/download?

(copy also attached)

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #36 on: 03/30/2021 01:49 am »
I didn't say that it wasn't allowed to dock, I said that it wasn't meant to be docked to the ISS (full-time) unlike the Axiom module. The free flyer can only dock for a short time per the Q&A document. But companies could decide that they don't want to dock at the ISS at all. Docking to the ISS isn't a requirement. The free flyer is meant to be autonomous from the ISS.

OK, but I wasn't talking about Axiom's module station core construction plan.  I don't know why you replied to me because I'm trying to talk about free flyers.

Aside:  I haven't been able to find the Axiom thread.  If someone can point me in the right direction so I can read and talk about Axiom in the appropriate thread I'd greatly appreciate it.

Because, you said that Starship couldn't easily dock to the ISS and my point is that the free flyer doesn't need to dock with the ISS.

First, what I said was, "Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.  I can see SpaceX writing up a proposal to get feedback but I don't see Starship winning this type of contract until later in the decade."  Stop making stuff up.

Second, I had a closing dedicated to free flyers that don't dock.  Since you seem to have missed it completely here is what I said:

Quote
There are other types of free flyers we could also discuss.  For example pre-merger Orbital ATK was proposing Cygnus variants with multiple ports, robot arms, airlocks, basically everything that is needed to recreate ISS's capabilities contained in modules that can dock themselves.  In theory SpaceX could offer Dragon XL versions of those Cygnus variants.  I don't see it happening though.  Instead I think it is far more likely SpaceX will offer Shuttle-in-a-Starship to provide construction support to other companies that want to assemble their own full service stations.

Your point was completely wasted.  Do you have any response to what I actually said or are we done here?
Shuttle was essentially the same size as Starship.

So?
The context seems pretty obvious, but Iíll spell it out more explicitly:

You wrote: ď Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.Ē

But ISS was BUILT and resupplied for many years with a spacecraft basically as massive as Starship. I donít think itís as hard as you think.

From a technical perspective I see no reason why Starship couldn't dock with ISS after completing a series of milestones that prove Starship's low thrust maneuvering capability.  Technically possible isn't the only consideration I'm taking into account.  If it were then I would be arguing that Starship could complete the necessary milestones quickly enough to be a near-term competitor to the type of free flyer services Cygnus can offer now.  Can you accept that I have reasons why I say convincing NASA it will be safe to dock Starship no later than 2024 will be easier said than done without me needing to go into details(specifically politics) that will get this thread locked?

Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #37 on: 03/30/2021 03:39 am »
Shuttle was essentially the same size as Starship.

So?
The context seems pretty obvious, but I’ll spell it out more explicitly:

You wrote: “ Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.”

But ISS was BUILT and resupplied for many years with a spacecraft basically as massive as Starship. I don’t think it’s as hard as you think.

Well Starship, despite being about the same size dimensionally as the Shuttle, will (as I understand it) be substantially more massive. That aside, the ISS could handle the Shuttle not because it could handle any vehicle of that size, but because the entire station was designed around the Shuttle.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2021 03:40 am by JEF_300 »
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #38 on: 03/30/2021 04:36 am »
Shuttle was essentially the same size as Starship.

So?
The context seems pretty obvious, but Iíll spell it out more explicitly:

You wrote: ď Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.Ē

But ISS was BUILT and resupplied for many years with a spacecraft basically as massive as Starship. I donít think itís as hard as you think.

Well Starship, despite being about the same size dimensionally as the Shuttle, will (as I understand it) be substantially more massive. ...
Common misconception! It was about the same, actually. Over 100 tons (up to 110 tons on launch) when docking to station with a full load for Shuttle. The lighter variants of Starship are about that mass.

And yes, that ISS was primarily designed to be built and serviced by a vehicle roughly the size and mass of Starship kind of proves my point for me. ;)
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #39 on: 03/30/2021 05:00 am »
Shuttle was essentially the same size as Starship.

So?
The context seems pretty obvious, but I’ll spell it out more explicitly:

You wrote: “ Convincing NASA it is safe to allow a spacecraft as massive as Starship to dock with ISS is something I believe to be easier said than done.”

But ISS was BUILT and resupplied for many years with a spacecraft basically as massive as Starship. I don’t think it’s as hard as you think.

Well Starship, despite being about the same size dimensionally as the Shuttle, will (as I understand it) be substantially more massive. That aside, the ISS could handle the Shuttle not because it could handle any vehicle of that size, but because the entire station was designed around the Shuttle.

For the last time, mere technical considerations are not the only considerations I'm considering.  Can you accept that or do we need to go where the conversation will absolutely get this thread locked?

Please say you understand that there are other considerations that will prevent Starship from stealing the near-term market segment Cygnus free flyer tests aspire to establish that require without having to go into P-word details. 

If not I have apparently wasted a lot of words dancing around the P-word.  You've refused to respond to any of the points I took care to meticulously craft.  At this point I don't know what else I can say that doesn't require me reporting myself to a moderator.  I don't want to go there.  Ask yourself, "Is it really worth forcing such a trivial point that moderator intervention is the only option?"

Edit:  JEF, my appologies.  This response was meant to be specifically directed at Robotbeat, not you.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2021 05:06 am by Joseph Peterson »

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